Sarah Palin debate strategy [pic]

// 3 October 2008


palin debate.jpg

Diagram created by Daily Kos

Comments From You

Mary Tracy9 // Posted 3 October 2008 at 5:42 pm

Look at that. Sexism made by women! So much more effective than sexism made by men.

Saranga // Posted 3 October 2008 at 5:55 pm

Very amusing post. I haven’t seen Palin debate so I don’t know if it’s true, but amusing nontheless.

A question. Why is a lot of the internet ire around the Republicans focused on Palin, and not McCain? Irrelevant of her policies, he must have some too which I presume are just as anti feminist and anti liberal as Palin. Yet Palin seems to receive a disproportionately large amount of the ridicule and the rage.

I understand this site may prefer to focus on her as she’s a woman, but are posts like the above really neccessary? They are not adding anything to the debate, they are making her a figure of fun. Patting her on the head and putting her in the corner and refusing to engage. Shutting her out.

I can’t help but think that is at least partly because she’s a woman and we still don’t like outspoken women.

Do we feel that Palin is somehow also, betraying our kind by not being pro feminist? Is that fuelling our anger? And if that’s the case doesn’t that POV buy into the idea of there being a feminist hive mind, and isn’t that a bad thing?

And I am in no way suggesting that Milly is doing this deliberately. She’s an F Word blogger, she’s a feminist. For that I respect her. However a more serious addendum to the flow chart discussing her policies or stance would be good, to counter the ridicule.

Renee // Posted 3 October 2008 at 9:05 pm

I Love this! It is such an accurate assessment of her performance last night. She may have spoken in complete sentences but she didn’t really answer any questions.

Milly Shaw // Posted 6 October 2008 at 11:55 am

Hi, thanks to everyone for the comments. In hindsight, and as Saranga said, I should have explained my reasons for posting.

I posted this diagram was because I thought it was a light-hearted but accurate attack on Palin as a politician. It doesn’t mock her for being a woman, it mocks her for being evasive, wooden and inexperienced.

Perhaps this post wasn’t really suitable for The F Word because of that reason: it was about Palin as a politician, rather than her specific policies. Saranga brings up some excellent points about the focus on Palin’s anti-feminist policies compared to McCain’s, and her ‘betrayal’ of women – the fact is there is a lot to be said about Palin from a feminist perspective, but this diagram didn’t go into any of it.

Rightly or wrongly, the reason I chose to post it was because, as a feminist who finds Palin’s policies alarmingly anti-feminist, I relish any criticism of her which doesn’t involve her gender or appearance. However, it didn’t really add anything to the issue, which was an error on my part.

BTW, anyone interested in the issue of sexism against Palin should see Melissa from Shakesville’s Sarah Palin Sexism Watch series.

Saranga // Posted 6 October 2008 at 1:46 pm

Milly – thanks for the response.

Something I perhaps should have added into my response – I think the F word is a good place to discuss Palin – as a female politician and as a woman who could quite conceivably become President of America I can definitely see why the F Word wants to include articles about her. And I think that’s appropriate. It was just this particular post with no context or debate that riled me.

I hadn’t even realise that it didn’t comment on her gender or appearence, let alone that that is probably quite a rare occurence. Thanks for pointing it out. :)

Anna // Posted 6 October 2008 at 8:59 pm

How is criticising a genuinely awful politician sexism? Surely it would be sexist to let her off solely on basis of her gender?

Aleu // Posted 7 October 2008 at 1:35 am

I havent seen her debate but that sounds like something she would do.


Kath // Posted 7 October 2008 at 2:35 pm

I thought Milly had posted this as an example of sexism directed against Sarah Palin. I dislike most, if not all, of Palin’s policies. I don’t have an opinion about her skills as a debater. But I know that telling “heartwarming hockey mom stories”, memorizing words told to her by her male running mate and doing “something really cute” are not accusations that would be levelled at a male politician.

Saranga // Posted 7 October 2008 at 2:55 pm

Anna – I am not sure if your comment was directed at me or not. If it was, here is my response:

I do not have a problem with criticising Palin’s policies or her as a politician generally, it was more the way in which this criticism was done.

As I said in my first post, that diagram does not add anything to the debate, it makes Palin a figure of fun and refuses to engage or debate any of the real issues.

I agree that it would be sexist to let her off because she’s a woman, and that is not what I am calling for. I would prefer to see a more structured criticism dealing with actual policies, not ridiculing her apparent lack of verbal debating skills. The manner in which Palin has been attacked in not mirrored in attacks against male politicans. I think this makes it gender specific, and as such was an odd thing to be posted (in the manner it was) on The F Word.

Kath: Just goes to show how we all read the internet differently!

Bee // Posted 7 October 2008 at 3:55 pm

@ Kath: “But I know that telling “heartwarming hockey mom stories”, memorizing words told to her by her male running mate and doing “something really cute” are not accusations that would be levelled at a male politician.” Actually, I think they might well be, if they did those things, or the equivalents. And plenty of incompetent male politicians have been the target of hilarity (Dan Quayle, anyone?). The cute part might be open to debate, but I can certainly imagine various male politicians being accused of parroting words told them by others… I agree that the fact that Palin is a woman and McCain a man does give this an added edge, though.

Kath // Posted 7 October 2008 at 5:21 pm

@Bee: I suppose so, and “dubya” got plenty of stick for apparently not being the sharpest pencil in the box either. The “cute” label really riled me though. Also, I’m just not sure that any of this is true. We know that Palin has described herself as a “hockey mom”. I’m sure it’s not as interesting as a lot of other things she has to say, but that’s what the media keeps trotting out: a nicely packaged stereotype. I didn’t see the Palin-Biden debate but from what I read it seems that everyone was waiting for Palin to fuck-up and then she didn’t. I’m not against making fun of politicians I just think we need to be really careful that if we’re labelling a woman “dumb” we need to ask ourselves whether we’ve really tried listening to what she has to say.

Bee // Posted 8 October 2008 at 9:56 am

There’s undoubtedly been some vile sexism aimed at Palin – but having watched some of the debate, I think this flowchart is spot on! Frequent references to being a “hockey mom”, liberal use of “doggone” and “you betcha”s (all that “I’m-an-ordinary-American-mom-just like you” – er, right), refusing to answer any questions she doesn’t like or have a ready answer for… she even winked at the audience! How “cute” is that? I’ve listened to what she has to say and…. not impressed would be an understatement. As far as I can see, she’s image and style over substance – and what substance there is, I profoundly disagree with. I’d say exactly the same about a male politician – though it’s a little harder to imagine a male politician indulging in the winking and kiss-blowing.

Leigh Woosey // Posted 8 October 2008 at 10:51 am

Particularly @ Kath

I’m a bit disturbed so many people are prepared to not only comment BEFORE they’ve looked at the source material, but comment THAT they’ve not looked at the source material.

While there is a disturbing gender dynamic with the implied obedience to McCain, we must not put Palin above criticism because she is a women. If she is deliberately capitulating to sexist ideologies it is quite fair to call her on it.

Lesley // Posted 9 October 2008 at 12:43 am

hi, found this as useful article in clarifying for me why criticising palin is not criticising women:

of course we have to be alert to lazy criticism that does arise from misogyny and sexism but criticism in itself cannot be ignored for that reason otherwise we deny palin personhood and responsibility for actions surely?

Kath // Posted 9 October 2008 at 11:53 am

@Leigh. Thank you for the link. I will watch it when I have time. I do not think the chance that I have not had time to watch it so far means I should not comment on this post. I really don’t see why political sites like Daily Kos should be attacking the way people debate, rather than engaging with the policies. It’s petty and immature. I don’t understand why you would wish someone not to state that they have not seen the debate if they have not done so.

Qubit // Posted 9 October 2008 at 12:04 pm

I feel the reason a lot of women don’t like Sarah Palin is they feel pressured to explain why they don’t want to vote for her because she is a women. For some reason ‘I disagree with her politics’ isn’t considered a good enough reason. I think there is also a misinterpretation that not voting for someone when you are female and they are female has a stronger inherent dislike than not voting for someone in general.

I think this pressure leads to resentment. I can understand that, after all no man feels the need to explain why he isn’t voting for McCain or Obama because they are men so he should.

Bee // Posted 9 October 2008 at 12:30 pm

@ Qubit – according to the link posted by Lesley, apparently the reason many women don’t like Palin is assumed by some to be jealousy (that old chestnut!), because she is more attractive than us. LOL.

Chris // Posted 10 October 2008 at 2:29 am

Kath, I think you quite succinctly argue the case for this diagram, albeit unintentionally. ‘…We need to be really careful that if we’re labelling a woman “dumb” we need to ask ourselves whether we’ve really tried listening to what she has to say.’

You said you didn’t listen to the debate (which is fine), but if you youtube any one of her interviews (or the debate itself) I think you’d have to come to the conclusion that, like W, she doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about and she’s quite clearly uncomfortable being held to scrutiny. The ‘cute’ stuff she pulls is done deliberately to try and endear voters to her, so if you want to criticize someone for playing up the stereotype of women as under-qualified but likable, blame her. Hilary never would have pulled this kind of thing, and this criticism would never have been labeled against her.

As for your last point, ‘I really don’t see why political sites… should be attacking the way people debate, rather than engaging with the policies’, I’d say that the lack of clear policy discussion on the behalf of Palin herself is to blame for this, at least in part. Irrespective, her manner has been so baffling as warrant analysis. The personality of leaders, particularly in the office of the US President which invests so much executive power in the individual, can have substantial weight in the playing of political affairs. How much so is open to discussion, but it should be considered a valid analysis either way.

Mary // Posted 14 October 2008 at 3:34 pm

Apologies if I am repeating anything anyone has said, I am in a rush and only had time to read the first 10 comments or so.

While I agree that it is ridiculous to comment that any criticism of Paylin can be construed as sexist, I don’t believe that “OMG you’re such a good debater!” would ever be written to mock McCain (who’s debating skills are also appauling). In fact if they made an election barbi I’m sure that’s what they would have her say in the adverts. Otherwise it was a bit funny and a bit true.

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