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Ditzy female politicians - an asset for feminism?
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Tehanu
More or less, more or less


Joined: 12 Apr 2006
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Location: Seceded from the Ford Nation

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hallelujah! The first good thing I've heard about Michele Bachmann: She's not calling herself a feminist.

I don't expect to hear many more good things.

It's also quite possible that she'll change her mind about feminism when she's treated like dirt in the political arena, not because she's a Republican idiot, but because she's a woman.

Quote:
... Unlike Sarah Palin, who has brandished the feminist moniker and spoken of an “emerging conservative feminist identity,” Bachmann told me in an interview Tuesday that she wouldn’t call herself a feminist—instead, she simply described herself as “pro-woman and pro-man.” When I pressed her on the matter, the Minnesota congresswoman said she sees herself as an “empowered American.”

... Said Bachmann: “I’m a woman comfortable in her own skin. I grew up with three brothers. My parents didn’t see us [as] limited [by gender]. I would mow the lawn and take out the trash; I was making my own fishing lures. I went along with everything the boys did.”

... In a joint interview with Bachmann last year, then-Sen. Arlen Specter lectured her to “act like a [lady]” when she strenuously disagreed with him on a point. A recent Rolling Stone diatribe by Matt Taibbi called her “completely batshit crazy” with a “retro-Stepford image.” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews has accused her of being “hypnotized” on the air and has referred to the three-term House member and former tax attorney as a “balloon head.”

And over the weekend, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Bachmann if she was a “flake.” She was not pleased. “It seemed very insulting,” she told me. “But he did give me a call and he did offer me an apology.” (Wallace also posted a video apologizing and explaining why he asked the question.)

... True, the media have a field day playing up her every misstep—most recently her assertion that the Founding Fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery—but we should know by now what that is about. (Hint: She’s a woman with presidential aspirations.) If Joe Biden’s gaffes had received half the attention of Bachmann’s, nobody would take him seriously, either.
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TS.
Delicious schadenfreude


Joined: 11 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2011 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I went along with everything the boys did" is a pretty good encapsulation of Bachmann's political philosophy.
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Tehanu
More or less, more or less


Joined: 12 Apr 2006
Posts: 17898
Location: Seceded from the Ford Nation

PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In contrast with Gloria Steinam, Naomi Wolf is probably my least favourite liberal feminist. And she's done it again -- she apparently thinks it's at our peril that we don't call Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann feminists.

Nope, Ms. Wolf, the core of your feminism may be "individual choice and freedom"; the core of my feminism is fighting gender-based social inequity. So I have no problem at all saying that Palin and Bachmann are about as far away from feminism (mine, anyway, and that of many others, certainly) as it's possible to be.

And more and more, I'm thinking you are too.

Quote:
It’s obvious that the left and the media establishment in the United States can’t fully understand the popular appeal of the two Republican tigresses in the news – first, Sarah Palin, and now, as she consolidates her status as a Republican presidential front-runner, Michele Bachmann. What do they have that other candidates don’t – and that so many Americans seem to want?

... The nature of their attraction has to do with two strains in American thought to which the left and media establishment are truly blind. One is the tradition of populist demagoguery ...

... The second reason Ms. Palin and Ms. Bachmann appeal to so many Americans has to do with a serious historical misreading of feminism. Because feminism in the 1960s and 1970s was articulated via the institutions of the left – in Britain, it was often allied with the labour movement; in America, it was reborn in conjunction with the emergence of the New Left – there is an assumption that feminism itself must be leftist. In fact, feminism is philosophically as much in harmony with conservative, and especially libertarian, values – and, in some ways, even more so.

The core of feminism is individual choice and freedom, and it’s these strains that are being sounded now more by the Tea Party movement than by the left. But apart from these sound bites, there’s a powerful constituency of right-wing women in Britain and Western Europe, as well as in America, who don’t see their values reflected in collectivist social-policy prescriptions or gender quotas. They prefer what they see as the rugged individualism of free-market forces, a level capitalist playing field, and a weak state that doesn’t impinge on their personal choices.

Many of these women are socially conservative, strongly supportive of the armed forces, and religious – and yet they crave equality as strongly as any leftist vegetarian in Birkenstocks. It’s blindness to this perfectly legitimate approach to feminism that keeps tripping up commentators who wish to dismiss women such as Margaret Thatcher or Muslim women or now right-wing U.S. women leaders as somehow not being the “real thing.”

But these women are real feminists – even if they don’t share policy preferences with the “sisterhood,” and even if they themselves would reject the feminist label. In the case of Ms. Palin – and especially that of Ms. Bachmann – we ignore the wide appeal of right-wing feminism at our peril.


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