Sarah Palin is Not a Feminist.

26 Jun

The recent firestorm surrounding “Palin Feminism” has got me thinking about what, exactly, it means to be a feminist. What do you have to believe in to earn the feminist title?

Obviously, a commitment to reproductive justice is key. You can’t call yourself a feminist and deny women the right to make their own healthcare decisions. If you are anti-choice, you simply can NOT be a feminist. You also have to support comprehensive sex-ed so that women can make their own choices about whether to have sex or to abstain. A support of abstinence only sex-ed is not feminist, it denies women the right to decide their sexual future in a safe and healthy way. Without educating women on safe sex practices and allowing them access to birth control, “Palin feminists” are harming women, and therefore are decidedly anti-feminist.

Although a commitment to reproductive justice is a necessary condition to being a feminist, it is not sufficient. You have to show support for women in ALL areas of their lives, not just reproductive health. Palin feminists do not support equal workplace rights, protections for battered women, or healthcare for all. Poverty rates are much higher for women than they are for men, which requires feminists to fight for the rights of ALL Americans, not just those in the top tax bracket.

A commitment to healthcare for all, better school systems, better childcare, marriage equality, AND reproductive justice, among many other issues, are critical to being able to call yourself a feminist. Without a commitment to empowering ALL women to make their own decisions, whether they are gay, straight, poor, rich, educated, or uneducated, you can not be a feminist.

6 Responses to “Sarah Palin is Not a Feminist.”

  1. Jameson June 26, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

    I despise that woman (Palin) so much. I wish she’d just go crawl back under her rock, she is such poison.

  2. Dee June 27, 2010 at 10:25 am #

    People like Palin think that woman=feminist. The truth of the matter is that all repressive regimes use members of oppressed minorities to keep the others in check. The Nazis recruited Jews to oppress other Jews. Thus, in this case, being a Jew did not automatically mean that you were representing the best interests of your people. In places like Iran, women are recruited and “empowered” to terrorize other women who fail to follow the dress/social code. These recruits walk up to women, slap them, and then wipe make up off their faces, or adjust their clothes. Would conservatives say that these women, who have an amount of power within their country, are feminists? Of course not! The only power they have is the one that allows them to crush their own gender. In the same way, people like Sarah Palin are women with power and influence, but they are not feminists, because their interest, their power, lies in their opposition to the rights of women. Woman does not equal feminist.

  3. Dena June 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    I agree with everything you said here. And I’m getting quite annoyed with the logic that says, “She’s a feminist just because she’s a woman.” Definitely not true.

    As far as I’m concerned, as Ali said, you’re not a feminist or reproductive rights advocate if you’re sitting around not teaching safe-sex. That’s like people saying they’re feminist when they only teach abstinence-only sex education and not comprehensive sex ed. It’s a load of crap.

    She’s definitely not a feminist. Ugh!

  4. Ann June 29, 2010 at 6:24 pm #

    Although I am opposed to most everything Palin stands for, I am saddened by this article and its responses. I find it extremely disheartening that feminism has come to a place where we have certain people in the inner circle who have the right to deem people “Feminist” or “Anti-Feminist.” Many of the requirements laid out in these comments are hard pills to swallow for women who are just coming to understand feminism. By suggesting that women who cannot quite get on board with certain things are not welcome, we really weaken our cause and ostracize those who may benefit from open and honest conversation.

    Of all the things going on on this page, do you know what I find least “feminist”? The patriarchy that dominates these definitive statements. But that is according to my understanding, and I for one have room for alternative perspectives in my ever-changing definition of the term.

  5. Dee June 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    @Ann:

    As I’ve said, feminism is built on the idea that women have rights that need to be promoted and protected, to be the equals of men. When a woman comes out against the bodily autonomy of other women, that makes her anti-feminist. Period. The fact that one is a woman does not make one a feminist. If one of the Jews who collaborated with the Nazis in WWII said they were not anti-Jewish, would you believe that? See my previous post for examples of members of oppressed peoples turning against their own groups. If a woman acts in a way that is against the best interests of women, then she is an anti-feminist, and I’m glad to “alienate” her. I rather have her alienated than to compromise on our fundamental rights.

  6. Ali June 30, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    @Ann

    Feminism is based on the notion of supporting women in every aspect of their lives and allowing them to make choices that they deserve to be able to make.

    You can’t be a feminist and actively work to oppress women, in any way, shape, or form. You can’t support denying women information about abortion, comprehensive sex-ed, and a safe work environment. Opposing equal pay, legal support for battered women, or any other feminist issue is anti-woman… and therefore anti-feminist.

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