by Jeff Fecke, 10/3/08 • The right is fond of complaining that feminists and feminist allies hate Sarah Palin because she’s pretty. We don’t. She’s conventionally attractive, yes, but that’s not really surprising. Most politicians are on the pretty end of the spectrum, from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton to George W. Bush to Mitt Romney. Not all of them, of course, but many of them.
Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, will available for sale in September.
Palin’s physical attractiveness is, for feminists, a null issue. She’s pretty? Fine, but will she be a good vice president? A good president? She’s not going to be able to negotiate better with Putin because she’s pretty — but it won’t be a handicap, either. No, her mind is the part of her anatomy we’re most interested in.
This is not the case with her ideological cohort:
I’m sure I’m not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, “Hey, I think she just winked at me.” And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America.
Now, physical attraction is what it is; if you’re not asexual, you find someone attractive, somewhere. Probably more than one person. And it’s okay for Rich Lowry to find Palin attractive.
But that is not her raison d’etre. Quite frankly, Lowry’s purple prose is demeaning to a woman who is only the second to serve on a national ticket. His argument for her is simple: she’s hot. Therefore I want to vote for her. Her mind? Issues? Whatever, dude, she winked at me!
It’s sexist, pure and simple, to view the vice presidency as another place for eye candy to be. By all means, find Palin attractive — or Obama, or Dick Cheney (hey, some find evil to be sexy). But have enough respect for Palin to argue for her on her merits as a leader. That her merits as a leader are wanting is no reason to reduce her to her sexuality.