Friday, October 3, 2008

Are Women Jealous of Palin?

It's really hard not to notice the hostility many women have toward Sarah Palin. First, it was her supposed "know-nothing" side that annoyed. And since the majority of women are pro-choice, it was her conservative views as well. Now, since it's clear that she's plenty smart, it's her personality that women are attacking. They hate that she winked, that she said folksy things, that she seemed to be putting on a cutesy act, that she did a shout out to her brother's third grade class.

That wasn't an act. That is her personality, whether you meet her in the supermarket, or on the campaign trail, as explained by local Alaskan folks. I personally don't find it annoying. I think she is funny, smart, tough, and very confident, all with a little edge.

It was her edge that came out in her interview with Katie Couric. Sarah did an interview for Fox News today in which she explained that she was annoyed and behaved flippantly during the Couric interview because Katie missed a lot of opportunity to ask her things that she felt the American people really cared about. She wanted to move Katie along toward less trivial things. She apologized for being flippant, and mentioned that she especially should have taken the Supreme Court question more seriously, since it probably was important to many people to know her judicial philosophy. She was asked the question again by the friendly but puzzled Fox interviewer, and not surprisingly, she rattled off a few cases, with much detail and confidence, that she disagreed with. She also mentioned, when asked again, the names of publications she reads, and went on to say she thought that particular question seemed demeaning or snobbish toward the people of Alaska, as if they weren't aware of what was going on in the world, or as if they didn't have the same access to a variety of publications. The Fox interviewer was pleasantly trying to uncover why she didn't show her true self during the Couric interview.

Sarah said that she has to try harder and have more patience with the mainstream media, and that she realizes she has to speak to the American people through them, whether it's her favorite forum or not. As well, she asked that the media try harder also, to be fair, balanced and truthful.

I really felt that some of the questions Katie asked were just plain silly, and seemed to be almost like a snobbish intelligence test. I can't tell you how much that annoys me, since Sarah is a very accomplished woman, as evidenced by her winning a governorship at the age of 42, and reaching 80% to 90% approval ratings in her first two years on the job. Why in the world should we question her intelligence, or ask sneaky questions with the underlying intent of testing her intelligence? And why can't we give such an accomplished person at least the benefit of the doubt, since a misunderstanding might have taken place? It seemed all too easy for many, many people to jump on the bandwagon and just assume she was dumb, rather than reserving judgment until more information could be gathered.

Regardless, I think she put the media in its place, which was long in coming, and for which I applaud her. Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were surely patting themselves on the back after their annoying and condescending interviews, but they don't look too good now.

I will surely annoy women in saying this, but I have to wonder if some are jealous of Sarah Palin. Few women reach her level of confidence; it's extraordinary. The word fearless describes her well. She is beautiful, being at the age of 44 practically wrinkle-free with enviable skin. She is good at virtually everything she does, right down to sports and the high-powered political world. She is high-energy, fun, and has a very positive attitude. While making it in a man's world, she's given nothing up in terms of femininity and sensitivity. She obviously doesn't have to struggle with her figure, and has excellent taste in how she presents herself physically. Perhaps Hillary Clinton blended in so well with men, and had so few classically feminine traits, that it was easy for women to side with her, without the surfacing of any unconscious jealousy.

Men responded to Sarah much more favorably last night than did women, as reported by special monitoring devices. That surprised me quite a bit, although I do get that God created men to be visually stimulated. But for heaven's sake! Do we, as women, have to have Hillary's or Speaker Pelosi's seriousness to earn the respect of our peers? Hillary is all about politics and little else. I would hardly call her a well-rounded person, although I do have plenty of respect for her. Longtime friends of the Clinton's say that the couple talk about nothing but politics. It's their entire world.

Why can't we be happy for Sarah, for having it all? For being unusually blessed by God in a variety of ways? Why can't she be confident, smart, accomplished, cute, fun, lively, beautiful, and edgy or gutsy, all wrapped up in one, without turning us off? Can we embrace this fantastic combination of traits in any woman, without jealousy? Or is it just annoying in female heavyweights who desire to represent our country?

I'll tell you, I think humor is an important part of being a good leader. Daily life can be so serious, and world events so traumatic, that a high-profile leader who can lighten us up and lend some perspective is a real blessing, whether you agree with their politics or not.

1 comment:

Liz said...

I agree wholeheartedly! I do think women are jealous. I found myself struggling with those feelings as I watched the debate and the Fox interview. As women, we tend to always be comparing ourselves to other women instead of comparing ourselves to God's standard for our lives. I think your post rang true for me because I caught myself struggling with this as I watched and trying to remember that Sarah and I have different gifts and different callings.