Friday, May 20, 2011

Palin's statement is a reflection of modern feminism

Yesterday Palin was a guest on Greta van Susteren and said "I think my problem is that I do have the fire in my belly (to run)." Interesting that she referred to it as a problem. I take Sarah at her absolute word in that she is still weighing her decision to run or not and a large part of it is because of the affect it'll have on her family. She views the fire in her belly as a problem because she has this longing to fulfill the ultimate career ambition, but she's also a wife and mom whose primary responsibility is to protect her children and family. Given her history with the media, we know they'll all be attacked and that's a huge risk to take.

I see this as a dilemma in modern feminism. If Palin were a man, there's absolutely zero question that she would run. There's a phrase I've heard a few times which is "working women don't have wives." Meaning, men can go out and fulfill every career ambition to their utmost potential and know their wife will be back home taking care of their home and children. Women who want to fulfill every career ambition outside the home usually don't have that luxury. For mothers, their number one priority is always their children. Sarah alone could run against Obama in 2012 with one hand tied behind her back and still win in a landslide. But the reality of life is that she can't just think of herself. She has to think of her family - how the media will treat them, how they'll live in the future no matter what the outcome of the election, the travel, the long hours, the time away from them. All of these things men don't ever have to think of. Men aren't perceived as selfish or bad fathers if they run a tough presidential campaign. But women are, and if they're Republican women that means their children will also be attacked ruthlessly on the national stage.

It's sad to think we still have these "problems" in today's society. As a woman and mother, this touches a nerve and deeply affects me. I can't wait for the day when we don't have to think about this anymore. When women's motherhood isn't questioned by running for office. When Republican's children aren't attacked because of their parent's beliefs. I hope it changes.

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