Monday, September 15, 2008

Sexism: Um, can we talk?

Republican women are having a field day on the issue of sexism. It seems to be their new pet project.

Many who read this blog are women, and of course only the smartest of men do also and moved way beyond sexism years ago. It was that or face the frying pan. I joke of course. No decent woman cooks.

We all know sexism is real, it exists, just like racism, homophobia and all the other social malfeasance and phobias that somehow pass as one ism or another. And the results of these isms are tied to crimes: hate crimes, domestic crimes of violence in all its egregious forms, and crimes of power including rape.

This whole Palin sexism thing honestly has me puzzled. Not because I buy into it, but because others do.

Here's a few statements, and a question, help me out here:

I'm a hockey mom. Okay, no problem.

Pitbull with lipstick. And that isn't sexist? It identifies tough with female, no problem there. It calls out gender. Problem. Why not just skip the sexist joke and BE a pitbull? (I hate this whole analogy and it wouldn't be any better if you used 'shark'.)

I'm a governor, and a hockey mom, I have five kids, one pregnant and a special needs child that is six months old that I am nursing, and am pitbull with..., and can be the vice president of the United States 24/7.

In that sentence, there are so many balls in the air, obvious and not, I cannot even count them.

This is where I don't just get off, I leap off the bus and hit the ground running in the opposite direction. This is the stuff of clown shoes for me.

We all make judgements from our own perspective, and I am making mine. Maybe it is wrong.

I have always been an extremely busy person. I have been pulled every which of a way to help with things. Only now have I asked that people use me only when absolutely necessary, but always keep me in the (oy!) paperwork loop.

I was at a meeting tonight (after a private preliminary meeting on Saturday) for this very purpose. It was a good thing I was there. The county was lying through their teeth.

And it was a really good thing we had the preliminary meeting. After the three hour preliminary meeting, and some good solid information, another just took the bone and ran with it... did an excellent job! (And I mean excellent and I almost never able to use that word in this context.)

It's not about the fact Palin is female. It is about the fact she, as a human, has made life decisions and commitments and is a mere mortal. And because Palin is running for Vice President, it is about her capabilities. And for me, it is also about whether she can actually reasonably see her limits.

I was reading through some Alaskan news archives yesterday and came across something I am not certain the press has tangled with--perhaps because she is female (meaning, sexism). Palin was absent from the Alaskan capital so often, legislators started wearing buttons reading, "Where's Sarah?" Palin was away from the capital sleeping in her very own bed some ten hours away for 300 of the year's days. Yikes. I think I would be wearing the button too!

Perhaps the question isn't so much where was Sarah, but why wasn't Sarah where she was expected to be.

She was in Wasilla, preferring to live there v. the capital because it was, after all, her home thus the now-present flap over her taking daily allowances for 300 of the year's days while sleeping in her own bed. It is strange no matter how you look at it.

So, what do I draw from all this? I draw that she is over extended, woman or not. Sexist? Nope. I don't think so.

Joe Biden's wife and daughter were killed in 1972 in a terrible car accident while Christmas shopping. His two young sons were in the hospital, in critical condition for months. He was sworn in at their bedsides after deciding--and being talked out of--resigning his newly won senate position.

After this, and apparently for a period of time, Wikipedia indicates that Joe was not up to the job at all, would not come in (he was tending to his family) and they were taking bets as to how long he would last until he resigned. He never did.

Joe must have had huge resolve. For years, and to this day, he rides the train to DC, and home again every night--a trip that is 1.5 hours, one way on top of complex and long days. He wanted to take care of his two remaining boys.

Am I wrong in seeing a difference here? He was a senator, she is a VP candidate--basically in custody of the US gov 24/7 no matter what.

So why do I feel that it is too much for Palin? Is it? Am I wrong? Am I actually, as a woman, a sexist?

There is an old saying that if you want something done, ask a busy person. It implies that they know how to manage time, juggle the unimaginable and manage to keep things together. It is true, often. But there IS a tipping point. I know. I am a really busy woman.