Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Another SNL skit I can't resist

Yes, yes, IS another skit mocking Sarah Palin (sigh).

Please...send me references to skits mocking John McCain--I'll gladly post them!

[note: this is a totally partisan blog, so don't bother sending in anti-Obama/Biden material]

I do think that these skits are part of a larger issue regarding sexism and politics. I had this conversation last night with some friends at dinner. As you can probably guess, my friends are of the elite, liberal ilk (and many of them are professors to boot) and they were talking about the thrashing Sarah Palin was going to suffer through during tomorrow's debates with Joe Biden. This is a common theme I have been hearing around town among Obama supporters--that they expect tomorrow's debate to be a verbal smackdown.

But I'm not so sure. And I think that one of the things I've been hearing, that Biden has to be careful about his "tone," that he can't be too "mean" towards Governor Palin, that he can't appear to be "sexist," well, what all of this means is that there is this idea that as a woman, Sarah Palin needs to be handled in a certain way.

And this belief, that a man can't treat a woman as an equal, is a sexist attitude. I think it's something we ALL do. Like the legacy of racism, sexist attitudes are embedded in our daily lives in ways we often never recognize. And they often go uncommented on. Case in point: a friend who is a mother notes that when one of her male colleagues brings his infant daughter into the office, people note what a good Dad he is for taking care of his daughter and taking part in child care. Whereas NO ONE ever says the same of my friend, who also brings in her infant daughter to the office (academia allows this more easily than other spaces) from time to time.

But getting back to Sarah Palin and the Vice Presidential debates tomorrow, I don't know if it will be the thrashing that so many folks seem to think. I haven't been impressed by her AT ALL. Certainly not her record as mayor or governor. Nor the rhetoric she has used in her speeches. And definitely not during her interview with Katie Couric or with Charlie Gibson. I don't have high expectations for her, not because she has ovaries but because she seems unprepared and underqualified to discuss issues of foreign affairs and domestic public policy in our current time, nor does she seem to have a grasp of history and how we feel the effects of history right now (and I'm thinking of the current financial crisis most especially).

However, Palin could surprise us all. By just hanging in. By just being competent. There is so much extra expectation of how well Biden will do and so much speculation about whether or when Palin will fall on her face. All she has to do is show up and hold herself well and she will be granted the winner.

And this, too, is part of sexism I believe. That we are deciding to hold her to a different accountability because of her gender. No one, of course, is saying this. But I feel it everywhere implied. And quite frankly, I wish people would stop worrying if they are seeming "hard" on her and just treat her the way they treat any other male politician. That seems the most respectful thing to do.


s-fizzle said...

hi!! :) i can't resist those either.

Jennifer said...

I know--what would we do without funny video skits that we can send to one another throughout the work day?!!

Ahhh, You Tube...what was my life like before you?