Palin earned her now-famous nickname on the hardcourt--"Sarah Barracuda." Her enemies have tried to belittle her by pointing to her stint as a beauty queen, but it is clear that Palin's background in sports, more than any other experience, is what has made her the existential threat to liberal feminism (and possibly the Democratic ticket) that she is today. . .
"I know this sounds hokey," she told an interviewer in 2006, "but basketball was a life-changing experience for me." The problem for today's feminists is that the life lessons Palin learned from basketball have made her their biggest nightmare. . .
Instead of teaching her to view the world through the prism of gender, as feminists would have it, sports taught Palin the opposite lesson. "Sports taught me that gender isn't an issue," she said shortly after becoming governor. "In fact, when people talk about me being the first female governor, I'm a little absent from that discussion, because I've never thought of gender as an issue." . . .
Palin takes this theory of the victimized female, prisoner of false-consciousness, and drives a stake through its heart. She didn't need anyone to teach her that she was an athlete back in the seventies, and she won't allow anyone to call her a token female today. . .
But liberal feminists are, in fact, afraid of Sarah Palin. For the first time, they face real competition in their claim to speak for women. For decades, feminist groups have insisted they are the voice of American women, when in fact they are the voice of a narrow, liberal fringe. It's an argument that has convinced the media and has cowed politicians of both parties. And it's an argument that Sarah Palin is busy blowing clean out of the water.
If she wins, that hissing sound you will hear will be the air wheezing out of modern feminism. And even if she doesn't win, she will have given America--and, more important, American politicians--the example of a female former athlete who knows who she is and what she wants and doesn't need Big Brother to protect her from the old boys network.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
Non-Zero Sum Feminism
Jessica Gavora, an Alaska native, former Ashcroft speechwriter, and my source for Title IX data, on the Veep nominee in the September 15th Weekly Standard: