Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sexual Politics -- or, Don't fall for the woman in red-state red

[X-posted to Hyperlucidity and my other blog; feel free to pass on (w/ due credit/blame of course) if you want, just let me know about it.] _____________________________________________________

Okay, here we are with two things at the forefront, one expected and the other a bit of a twist: A, Barack Obama accepting the Democratic nomination for President, and B, John McCain choosing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (a real live WOMAN, disgruntled Hillaryites!) as his running mate on the Republican ticket.

Do you think this'll work to steal the feminist vote, this whole "cut off your nose to spite your face" angle to snare in those old-school feminists who are too attached to the idea of a certified woman in the Oval Office (or close enough to it) to care that her politics are the opposite of practically everything that old-school feminism fought for in the first place?

I sure as hell hope that people aren't fooled by this act, and I'm sure as hell going to spread it around every way I know how that this is a trick designed to catch women with estrogen like flies with vinegar (which actually does attract flies more than honey does, but that's beside the point and has nothing to do with human body chemistry...). It's a feint to the left that's a thrust for the right, trying to pull swing voters back into the Republican fold by appealing to that vilest form of sexual prejudice -- the idea that a woman in authority automatically gives a shit about women in general, let alone anyone else in the category of social minority. A token female doth not a kinder+gentler government make -- just ask anyone who lived through the term of Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. Just like a token black+female Secretary of State (or a token Latino Attorney General) does not mean that there is any actual solidarity with those who have the same minority signifiers but lack the political voice and status.

This isn't the first time that Republicans have played identity politics against the causes for which minorities need to gather and remain cohesive. I'm sure that groups who solely see colour, ethnicity or sex as reasons for togetherness applauded the appointments of Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Alberto Gonzales without questioning the intent behind the inclusion. And now the GOP is eagerly anticipating that Hillary Clinton's supporters, pissed off 'cause Barack Obama (a MAN) not only beat her in the primaries but passed her over as his running mate (in favour of another MAN), will turn to McCain out of sheer vitriol and resentment, rather than remember the issues at stake, and the fact that Sarah Palin is one of those religiously-motivated cultural conservatives who have long desired to overturn Roe v. Wade and send other women (just, y'know, poorer women with less power and fewer options in the first place) back to the cultural Dark Ages of illegal abortions, inaccessible birth-control and rescinded autonomy over their own bodies altogether.

Hmm. I wonder how many people will turn their brains off and fall for that? Actually, some comments I've read online say that Palin'll grab the male vote as well, based on her physical attractiveness. So that's two kinds of thinking with the ol' hormones that McCain and his team are counting on.....heck, never mind the whole "college education" split between Hillary and Barack, even -- this one's going straight to below the belt.

Voters, please -- just because a woman's in high political office, or preaching on TV, or on the radio being a pundit, it does not mean that she shares concerns about "women's issues" or will do anything to better the state thereof. Conservative women-in-power care primarily for themselves and their party's (faith's) agenda, and will gladly sacrifice the legal status, socioeconomic conditions and the very lives of women in general, whether to the infallibility of "market forces" or "ad majorem Dei gloriam."

They don't include themselves in the populations they affect, and therefore (like Log Cabin Republicans) will vote against what one would think to be their own interests and concerns -- and which would be, perhaps, were they not insulated from seeing it by their own social position. Because, as much so as celebrities are courted by Scientology, attractive and articulate women are prized by both the Political and Religious Right as figureheads and spokepeople, as proof that can be whipped out to bely the idea that Republicans (or Evangelicals) are systemically misogynistic and anti-female in their policies.

In other words: it's a trap. Don't fall for the stereotype of women caring about women, or caring about anything but what their own actions show as their agenda. Don't assume. Don't assume that seniors care about other seniors, that veterans care about other veterans (or active military personnel), or that anyone cares about anyone, categorically speaking, until and unless their actions prove that it's actually part of their platform.

And that's a point at which "issues voters" on the left(ish) in particular had better keep their eyes on the issues and not let themselves be misled by that purty gun-totin' feminine fly in the ointment.

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