Thursday, September 18, 2008

what did she do to you?

I just read about Oprah Winfrey choosing not to interview Sarah Palin. There’s certainly no law that says she has to but I thought she was in the business of ratings. And maybe there’s some kind of ‘equal time for all candidates opportunity’ here she doesn’t want to address. Maybe it would feel awkward since she endorsed Barack Obama months ago. Then again, maybe she doesn’t feel like devoting one hour of her show to the most hated woman in America.

One of Oprah’s recent guests was actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a woman who named her daughter ‘Apple’ by the way, who spoke about the tug of motherhood and how it has changed her viewpoint in terms of working away from home. I get it – I do. And I have no ax to grind with Ms. Paltrow. She’s choosing to work less frequently and spend more time with her children.

This kind of revelation about life choices by people like her are pointless. Quite honestly, I don't know why no one gets this: the "choice" women face has NOTHING to do with gender and everything to do with money. Otherwise, Oprah would be talking to dewey-eyed toll-collectors or secretaries or bartenders or waitresses who decide they simply must ‘take less work’ in order to not lose any of those precious Hallmark moments with their children. One problem: a lot of women want to spend more time with their children but they have to work that annoying 40-hour work week.

Back to Palin. I’m so tired of hearing about how selfish she is and how unconscionable it is that she has young children – including a newborn with Down’s Syndrome and a teenage daughter having a baby in a few months – and is still seeking the office of vice-president. Make no mistake: the number one reason people in the media and around the country are denigrating her and worse (making comic figurines and creating demeaning nicknames for her) is that she’s a woman. A woman who doesn’t meet the standards of “modern,” “enlightened,” or “politically correct” according to everyone in this country who is simply too smart for the rest of us.

This is why people don't go all weak in the knees, worrying about Obama, and judging him harshly about all the precious moments he's already missed (since his presidential campaign has been going on for two years,) and will continue to miss in his daughters’ lives, should his political career reach the stratosphere. They never said it about Bill Clinton, either, and his daughter was twelve years old when he took office. (Chelsea was three years old when he began serving his term as governor of Arkansas.)

Because until about forty years ago, men made the money; women raised the kids. But Gloria and Bela and their ilk told us we could do more. Like gullible idiots, women in this country bought into this. And now where are we? Mocking Sarah Palin for having the "audacity" to have children and ambition as well.

Shame on Governor Palin. She's got a helluva lot of nerve.

So do millions of women who chose both motherhood and a career. Yes, believe it or not, it’s possible. It's not exactly a joy-filled ride from start to finish and I have spent countless hours torturing myself, wondering how it all went so awry, beleive me. (The trouble with the women's movement is that we forgot to tell the guys about it. And I think it's fair to say that none of it quite worked out the way Gloria thought it would. That's another blog entry for another day.)

But think about it: the open-mindedness of the Sarah-haters boggles, doesn’t it?


Deb said...

Thanks for putting into words some of what I've been thinking. I don't yet know how I feel about Sarah Palin. I do find the personal attacks on her both mean-spirited and vicious.

I never bought into the creed that a woman could "have it all." Sure, millions of women now manage to have both full-time careers/jobs and to raise families. But there are sacrifices, for them and for society.

The fact that Sarah Palin did embrace this belief of "having it all" - and is now being stoned for her choice by those who preached the sermon - is appalling. The words and actions of those attacking her speak more to some skewed political agenda than anything else.

renee said...

Thank you for your comment, Deb. This issue is complicated - and like you, I'm not sure how I truly feel about her candidacy and possibly her serving as the vice president.

But I think we should collectively be ashamed of the treatment we've given this women who so far, has done nothing (on a national level) but agreed to serve the country if elected.

Chris said...

Renee, what I find most Ironic is the attitude by those who supported Hillary Clinton.
Qualifications aside, why the personal assaults? Show her some respect for getting out there and trying. As for Oprah, I think she hurts her own credibility by shunning Sarah Palin. I'd respect Oprah if she had her (Palin) on and gave her an opportunity to legitimately face the critics.

renee said...

Thanks Chris. Exactly. I'm all for supporting the candidate of your choice but I, like you, don't understand when this became an all out smear campaign against Palin and her entire family.

When I start reading about Jill Biden, I'l pay more attention to the news about Todd Palin.

I stand by my comment; she doesn't fit the mold. She's not politically correct so she stands no chance in the media. None.

And if I have to watch that Couric clip one more time - without the substantive answer Palin provided to Katie immediately predeeding the infamous "gaff" - I'm going to scream.