5 Ways of Looking at “Sarah Palin Feminism”

Here is me telling you about a thing I wrote elsewhere! For Jezebel, specifically. A sample:

So, can’t I just agree to disagree with Sarah Palin – or at least to ignore her use of the term and continue to go about my business? Well, evidently not, or I wouldn’t be writing this. The problem is, words mean things. I could start calling myself a red meat conservative, or campaign for those of us who are against the death penalty to “reclaim” the term “pro-life,” but at some point, the relationship between your beliefs and your choice of words either passes the sniff test or it doesn’t. And someone who actively seeks to restrict women’s freedom calling herself a feminist is, not to put too fine a point on it, a liar. There’s a difference between a big tent and no boundaries whatsoever; if Palin’s “entitled to be accepted” as a feminist just because she says she’s one, then the word is completely meaningless — as opposed to merely vague and controversial. And I might just start calling myself a “right-winger” because I’m right-handed, or a “fundamentalist” because I believe everyone deserves a solid primary education, or a “birther” because I once hosted a baby shower.

65 thoughts on “5 Ways of Looking at “Sarah Palin Feminism”

  1. I just saw a comic strip in the Funny Times with the caption “Herbal Tea Party.”

    I just read this from the Wikipedia entry on Saul Alinsky: “Alinsky described his plans in 1972 to begin to organize the White middle class across America, and the necessity of that project. He believed that what President Richard Nixon and Vice-President Spiro Agnew called “The Silent Majority” was living in frustration and despair, worried about their future, and ripe for a turn to radical social change, to become politically-active citizens. He feared the middle class could be driven to a right-wing viewpoint, “making them ripe for the plucking by some guy on horseback promising a return to the vanished verities of yesterday.” His stated motive: “I love this goddamn country, and we’re going to take it back.”

    Maybe there’s hope in the teenage rebellion of tea party offspring.

  2. I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have her as a member. It’s embarrassing enough sharing a species.

  3. Word times a million.

    Sarah Palin is a feminist the same way Amanda Palmer is a feminist. Willing to wear the mantle when it leads to personal advancement, full speed ahead and fuck all those other chicks.

  4. OMG the whole femogynist/misfeminist/misogynist thing is really one of your best moments, I think. And that’s a crowded field of competition. KAAAAATE, why are you such a GOOD WRITER?!?!?!

  5. Hell yes to that.

    If feminism can mean anything, particularly anything a misogynist wants it to mean, it means nothing. Feminism goes backwards, embracing anew ideals of womanhood which only play into established norms of Good and Bad. Convenient that. (I really like your ‘Look 3′. Fucking hell, ideally we’re supposed to be moving away from that, albeit sloooowly it seems, not saying “Oh hey actually, that’s cool, I <3 the kyriarchy because the kyriarchy <3's me.")

    If Palin can be a feminist because she says she is then we're supposed to ignore or accept her misogynistic policies, we're supposed to allow her not only the power she already has as a wealthy cis conservative white woman, but also power to determine and define the marginalised experiences of other women (or, you know, ignore them completely because people unlike her apparently don't count as, you know, PEOPLE). As you say, it's straw feminism to distract from actual human rights issues. And excuse me while I say a big FUCK YOU to that.

  6. Kate is awesome and is consistently witty in a way I only am when rehearsing what I SHOULD have said, 3 hours later with a pink loofah in my hand. Which is to say, I don’t so much have anything new new to say as I’m trying to chime in with my experience.

    I spent the first 20 years of my life in Texas, surrounded by largely upper-middle-class Protestant Republican white people. To them it’s “self-evidently” obvious that everyone should want any pregnancies they happen to have… just like it’s obvious that anyone who “works hard” will become successful. I’ve come to the conclusion that Palin is “feminist” in the same way that Ayn Rand accurately represents class mobility and ‘opportunity’ in capitalistic societies*.

    The people I grew up with believe that the shit Palin espouses can possibly count as feminism because bluntly, all the women that don’t fit into that mold just don’t count. My mother dismisses abortion because “won’t their insurance just cover the delivery?**”, as if (even if it were even vaguely sort of true) that’s the only possible problem.

    *Which is to say that I feel like I’m watching some particularly screwed-up “news” from the Onion playing out, only it’s real. Thanks, life, for always making me weep slightly more often than the Internet.

    **Yes, I know. If you think you’re embarrassed to share a species with Palin…

  7. “Of course, if that were true, then feminists would need an even higher tolerance for logical inconsistency than Biblical literalists. (OOH, DO YOU SEE? DO YOU SEE HOW THEY HATE CHRISTIANS?) ”

    I loled at my desk at work. The boys who surround me looked at me like I was crazy.

  8. Dear Kate,

    <3!

    I don't always agree with you, but I LOVE reading you. Always. And when I disagree, your arguments always lead me to re-examine my positions.

    You are always fabulous. =)

  9. Thank you for this.

    I find myself noticing this sort of apparent appropriation of language in lots of subjects lately.

    Any time someone declares them self to be a ‘something’-ist all I can think is “and what do you mean by that? What does being a something-ist mean to you?” because often it’s the exact opposite of what I’d always been given to believe something-ism was about.

    When your words suddenly have different meanings – indeed the opposite meaning to how you intend them – debate becomes very difficult.

    But then, perhaps that’s the whole point. It’s pretty Orwellian.

  10. I agree with Kate on all counts. Valerian, I loved your line “I’ve come to the conclusion that Palin is “feminist” in the same way that Ayn Rand accurately represents class mobility and ‘opportunity’ in capitalistic societies*.”

  11. Agree. (Anyone remember her allowing the police to make women pay for their own rape kits when she was Wasilla mayor? Yup, she sure values womens’ rights! Not.

  12. “Words Mean Things” has become somewhat of a personal motto of mine lately. Examining my own language and the language of those around me is such a fulfilling exercise. I just wish everyone felt the same way! But you know, paying attention to word choice and meaning is just so hard! It’s so much easier to just pick up whatever word you feel like using and making it mean whatever the hell you want it to. Blabblesmat wonkerdoodle! See? Easy.

  13. All I have to say is that I LOVE having a handy recepticle of Kate’s writing right here on my favorite place in the internet. So… yeah, if you ever wonder if you should post a link to your writing elsewhere, I say YES PLEASE!

  14. @eli
    Willing to wear the mantle when it leads to personal advancement, full speed ahead and fuck all those other chicks.

    You’re on to something there.

  15. Kate, I love your bogging but I really hate it when people promoting anti-woman policies call themselves feminists. Reading about Sarah Palin’s co-opting of the term “feminist” just makes me angry. I’m perfectly happy to police *these* borders a bit. Sarah Palin is not a feminist. One is not a feminist by simple virtue of having a vagina.

  16. Just echoing Octavia and A Sarah; you are a kick-ass writer, and if Sarah Palin is a Feminist, I’m the Pope.

  17. Greta Christina always does this on her blog when she writes articles for Blowfish, AlterNet, or anything else online. I think it’s an excellent idea. Helps everyone to keep track.

    TRiG.

  18. I don’t know if it’s me being dumb but has the thing telling you who the most recent commenters were (and on what) gone? If we’re going to be plundering the archives more it would be helpful to have that back to know where the comments party has gone (or indeed for someone to tell me where it has moved to if it’s still there and I am in fact a dumbarse!).

  19. After ruminating about this for a while, I thought of this: The best word to describe “feminists” like Sarah Palin is this: “Femininist.”
    Has anyone else coined this?

  20. I thought it was a great piece. I personally have had to block Sarah Palin out of my thoughtspace entirely, because a couple of years ago she inspired me to do things like neglect my child for days on end while I didn’t nothing about blog about her evilness or engage in loud public rants about her that were liberally peppered with the c-word (a word I had never used before in my life and hope to never use again). Basically, exposure to her appears to short-circuit my brain.

    Suffice to say that I see no meaningful definition of feminism–including the most loose and inclusive I can think of–that would include her, on any day that isn’t Opposite Day.

  21. @CraftyLuna, sure you can, but you should perhaps avoid anti-feminist actions such charging victims for rape kits.

    If a politician does or advocates anti-feminist things and calls themselves a feminist, they should expect an Inigo Montoya-esque “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.”

  22. That should’ve been “such as charging.” And apropos of nothing, those are some very spiffy and pretty coasters.

  23. *EYEROLL* at CraftyLuna’s straw-interjection. Did she actually read the essay linked here? Or the part of it posted on this actual page?

    Reeding comprehenshun skillz r gud.

  24. I still can’t believe there’s a system anywhere in a developed nation which requires victims of crime to pay the bill for evidence collection.

  25. Thanks, Kate, for your poignant post. I agree with most of the other comments: you are a kick-ass writer and Sarah Palin is as much a feminist as Rush Limbaugh is a progressive Democrat. After all, she is so experienced in international relations, from looking out that window at Russia and all, she must have done something to benefit some woman at some point….Sometimes I wonder why life is much worse than a Saturday Night Live sketch.

  26. As far as reading the article, yes I did. In the first paragraph Kate’s attacking the ideas of Tea Party Feminism and conservative feminism in general, not just Sarah Palin.

  27. @CraftyLuna: Yep. She’s attacking several kinds of feminism that are actually not feminism, but are instead the perpetuation of traditional ideas about gender norms/roles, limiting rights of women and NOT advocating equality of women with men.

    Not feminist.

  28. “By now you’ve heard that Sarah Palin’s making noise about a “new, conservative feminist movement,” a tent big enough to include”Tea Party feminism”, “pro-life feminism” and “real feminism” as embodied by the likes of Liz Cheney and Michelle Malkin.”

    I’m not saying she’s supporting them, but CraftyLuna, here is the complete first paragraph directly quoted. Tell me, where is the attack in that single sentence?

  29. Quite right, Valerian. I’ll stop now.

    In any case, I loved the article Kate, and thanks to you “Words mean things” has been my motto for months now.

  30. Here’s the thing. (I meant first section, not first paragraph, but that doesn’t negate my point.) The article seems to be attacking the notion that one can be feminist and conservative, because of the mistaken belief that all conservatives are like Sarah Palin and believe what she believes.

    For example, the Tea Party movement is about tax reform. Just because a lot (not all) of the people who want lower taxes are conservatives, and some (not all) of the people who want to outlaw abortion are conservatives, does not mean that Tea Party supporters all want to outlaw abortion, or make rape victims pay for their rape kits, or whatever other nutso thing Palin has said.

    It is unfair to imply that conservative feminist is a contradiction in terms, because there are many political beliefs that could be called “conservative” that are in no way in conflict with feminist ideals.

    And yes, when the entire article is read, there are many parts that indicate it is not about Sarah Palin and Sarah Palin only, but about conservative women in general calling themselves feminist.

    There is a lot of misinformation out there about what a conservative is, and also about what a feminist is. In some circles, you say “conservative” and people assume republican, old, white, rich, racist, homophobic, misogynistic. In some circles, you say “feminist” and people assume man-hater, lesbian, unshaven, sexually promiscuous, liberal, anti-family.

    I have actually heard young women say that they can’t be feminists because they want to get married and have kids and stay home with them. And I have to remind them that feminism is about having MORE choices, not about replacing the old mandate (must stay home and have kids) with a new mandate (must work outside the home.) Feminism is about having the choice.

  31. I was going to suggest “Feminisn’t”. Although I think the search was over as soon as SingOut broke out “fauxminist”.

    CraftyLuna – I read the article as being specifically about people who hold anti-women beliefs self-identifying as feminist. I don’t think Kate is saying that no conservatives can be feminists, but she IS saying that conservatives who hold anti-women views or whose actions in positions of power have been antithetical to building an equal society should not be considered feminists just because they co-opt the term. I.e. the word “feminist” means something (“words mean things”, as Kate said).

    And someone who actively seeks to restrict women’s freedom calling herself a feminist is, not to put too fine a point on it, a liar. There’s a difference between a big tent and no boundaries whatsoever; if Palin’s “entitled to be accepted” as a feminist just because she says she’s one, then the word is completely meaningless — as opposed to merely vague and controversial.

    From an outsider’s perspective (I am a Brit) the Tea Party movement looks quite scarily deranged, with obvious racist overtones whenever they start talking about Obama. If these are your fellow protestors, maybe you need to disassociate from them and make it clear to outsiders that wanting lower taxes =/= basically hating President Obama for his skin colour, or thinking women shouldn’t have bodily autonomy, rather than expecting them to work out your nuanced position yourself.

    It’s like the SWP (Socialist Workers’ Party) here in the UK, which shot themselves in the foot by invading the conciliation talks between British Airways and the Unite union, talks that were aimed at avoiding a strike by BA crew. The SWP are in theory lefty progressive types like myself, but their actions are usually stupid, publicity-seeking, incendiary and counter-productive, and I will not stand up to be counted with them because they make the things I believe in look bad. It’s my job to disassociate myself from them and say “Normal, reasonable people believe in these things too, not just agitprop-spouting idiots. And by the way, we condemn these idiots as idiots just as much as every other rational person does”. It’s up to me to show that there’s a difference between me and the loons, otherwise people who disagree with me will dismiss me as a loon as well. Just as it’s your job to show people that conservatists can hold feminist ideals, not by co-opting feminist rhetoric as Palin has done, but by genuinely believing in and working for female equality. It sounds like that’s what you’re doing, and more power to you for doing it, but I think saying, “Hey, I’m a GENUINE conservative feminist and Sarah Palin doesn’t speak for me” and explaining how that works would have been more powerful than complaining that Kate’s article wasn’t nuanced enough when it comes to understanding conservative feminism.

    I mean, really, if Sarah Palin is calling herself a “conservative feminist” then the REAL conservative feminists need to call her out on this bullshit more than anyone else.

  32. Aargh, what happened to the formatting? There was supposed to be a blockquote (para 3) in there…

    And “rather than expecting them to work out your nuanced position yourself” should obviously be “rather than expecting them to work out your nuanced position themselves”.

  33. And I have to remind them that feminism is about having MORE choices, not about replacing the old mandate (must stay home and have kids) with a new mandate (must work outside the home.) Feminism is about having the choice.

    I know that’s the popular view of feminism–that it’s about MORE CHOICES! YAY!–but I can’t say I agree. The one thing I took home after four years as a women’s studies major is that, at root, it’s not about choices, but about power. We can have all of the theoretical choices in the world, but unless those choices are a realistic option, just having them is meaningless. That’s exactly why, while it’s not impossible to be an affluent, white feminist, it’s mighty hard, because it means recognizing that there are not only choices available to you that are not practically available to other women but also that your ability to exercise that choice may be directly related to taking away other people’s choices. Case in point: a woman’s ability to go to work after having a child may be contingent upon her ability to find affordable child care. But, affordable child care may mean that some other woman–who may wish she could stay home but has to work–may be working for minimum wage at a day care center, which is going to severely limit the choices available to her. It’s just not as simple as having choices, because choice only means something when it can actually be exercised.

    So, honestly, I don’t think being either socially conservative (which is going to put constraints on the options theoretically available to women) or economically conservative (which is going to put constraints on the options practically available to women) is particularly compatible with feminism. I’m not sure I think somebody can be conservative and a feminist, because feminism is about a radically transformed society, where power isn’t concentrated in the hands of the few and hierarchical structures are dismantled, and so necessarily progressive.

  34. I actually kind of have to disagree (with the point made here, not the full article, which I admit I haven’t read yet).

    Feminism is not a monolithic organised movement. There are (almost) no LAWS to feminism. There is no party leader, no Feminism Pope who can kick you out for ‘doing it wrong’. THIS IS A GOOD THING.

    It’s not a matter of “a club that would have her for a member”. It’s not a club, and we don’t get to choose who belongs.

    This is something I try to get across to hard-headed people elsewhere on the internet when they start going into rants about how evil feminists are because (vague generality they made up) and (specific incident having to do with specific person/subset). Those people don’t speak for all of us, and even if you strongly disagree with (specific incident) it’s completely wrong to hate all feminists for it, because feminists as a group whole had nothing to do with it.

    Many of us have at some point been faced with angry reactions from other feminists because we failed to be sufficiently outraged at some specific thing that meant more to the other person than it did to us. That doesn’t mean our feminist membership card gets rejected.

    I’m a pro-porn anti-censorship feminist, and I’m sure that very idea annoys someone reading this. :)

    If Sarah Palin wants to claim she’s a feminist because she supports women in the workplace (but not all these other things) then fine. She can do that. She’s not the same kind of feminist I am, but neither are many people here.

    Now, if she wants to claim that some of her specific actions are ‘a feminist thing to do’ then I have more of an objection.

  35. loriersea said: “I’m not sure I think somebody can be conservative and a feminist, because feminism is about a radically transformed society, where power isn’t concentrated in the hands of the few and hierarchical structures are dismantled, and so necessarily progressive.”

    I think you’re completely wrong. Feminism is about men and women having equal rights and opportunities, not about all humans having equal outcomes. Women, just like men, have the right and the opportunity to succeed, and the right and the opportunity to fail.

    Not being able to afford child care because you didn’t make good financial decisions is not the responsibility of people who did make good financial decisions. That’s not feminism, that’s communism. Can’t afford to take care of your kids? Don’t have them.

  36. “Women, just like men, have the right and the opportunity to succeed”

    WOW. There is so much privilege in that statement I can hardly believe it. Do you honestly believe that in our society everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed? Or that there are massive issues facing people that are literally impossible to overcome? Not to mention success is not a basic human right, you can be the perfect person but the universe don’t owe you shit.

    “Not being able to afford child care because you didn’t make good financial decisions”

    This here, well it’s just incredibly offensive and also once again smacks of privilege. I’m glad that you weren’t born into poverty, don’t suffer from a disability that makes it difficult if not impossible to work, aren’t facing discrimination because you’re trans, gay, etc. that means you get turned down for jobs. How-fucking-ever not everyone lives that life. Not being able to afford child care MIGHT have something to do with someone’s poor choices, but that is far from the only reason or even the most common reason for that inability. You need to check your fucking privilege and quick because few people find it charming, especially not the ones who have significantly less than you.

    “If Sarah Palin wants to claim she’s a feminist because she supports women in the workplace (but not all these other things) then fine.”

    What I think you aren’t getting here is it’s not about her not being outraged at porn, it’s about her actually going and making life more difficult for women. She oppresses women with her statements and actions.

    It’s kind of like you’re saying Rush Limbaugh can call himself a feminist because he’s never raped a woman, despite the fact that his hate speech actively damages feminists and their cause. You can’t be a feminist and actively hurt the cause. It’s not about following a certain structure for being a feminist, it’s about not infringing on the choices and rights of women.

  37. Correction:

    “Or that there aren’t massive issues facing people that are literally impossible to overcome?”

  38. Just because I disagree with you doesn’t mean I’m a troll.

    Do I believe everyone has equal opportunities? NO, absolutely not! Being born into poverty sucks, absolutely. For both men and women. I don’t see what this has to do with FEMINISM though.

    How is it offensive to say that people who can’t afford child care, yet choose to have children anyway, are making a poor decision? The simple fact is, if we start having the government provide for every need, there is no incentive to work. People are basically selfish and lazy, and if they can get all their needs met by the government, most people won’t work. Then there’s not enough workers to provide the taxes for the government to afford the social programs . . . and then (SPOILER ALERT!) the Soviet Union fails.

    A society that takes, by force, from producers and gives to non-producers is not good for men OR women. Which is obvious if you read history, or can follow, you know, logic.

    OR . . . hmm, do you think feminism = “women are really weak and can’t overcome the circumstances they’re born into, because they’re just too weak or dumb or whatever, so the government has to take care of them, because they can’t do it themselves, and it’s really unfair and anti-feminist of you to not want to take all the money from people who earned it and give it to these poor, dumb, helpless, weak women who need it.” Is that what you believe? Because you’re coming across as really condescending.

    And perhaps, just think about this, but perhaps if we didn’t have a punitive tax system to punish those “evil rich people” who own the companies that provide the jobs, perhaps instead of small businesses shutting down, and large businesses outsourcing overseas, perhaps it wouldn’t be so damn hard to find a job, and perhaps more women (and men) in desperate circumstances could find a way out.

    I don’t want less government spending, lower taxes, and less governmental interference in business because I don’t care about poor people, I want a more libertarian government because I honestly believe it is the best way for our country to be better for ALL people.

    And you know, I’ve never thought of myself as privileged before, but I suppose I am. Only grew up with one parent, who was a self employed blue-collar worker, never had health insurance, dad went bankrupt at least once and his credit never recovered, which seriously limited where we could live, never been homeless only because I have friends who have couches, had a full-time job for a whole year before the economy tanked and they cut me to part time, but yeah . . . I’m white so my life MUST be sweetness and roses.

  39. Sometimes I just have to think, “Get thee to a Sociology 101 class, and pronto! Oh, and a political theory class too, if you think that communism is remotely comparable to the social services offered in the US.”

    For the record: I grew up in an impoverished home with an abusive mother who made my life a living hell. For most of high school we didn’t have heat or hot water, there were months when we had no electricity, and I routinely wore shoes with holes in them. I was screamed at for hours on a near-daily basis, and that screaming routinely turned into messages that I am “useless, stupid, and worthless.” We never had health insurance, and did the couch-surfing brand of homelessness too. I also graduated as the valedictorian of my high school class, went to college on a scholarship, now have a PhD, and am a college professor.

    I “made the right choices,” “pulled myself up by my bootstraps,” etc etc. BUT, I don’t translate that into a politics of arrogance in which I assume that everyone else with tough circumstances will/should do the same things that I have done/do.

    There is this basic value called “compassion” that conservatives REALLY need to check out, and in a way that goes beyond turning it into a cheap political slogan. It really galls me when people express what is essentially an “I had it hard, and now I’ve got mine, so to hell with you” attitude. Having a rough life and “making better choices” doesn’t entitle you to then spit on everyone else.

    It is so hard to stop feeding the trolls.

    Maybe we are up for another thread on lemurs?

  40. Annitspurple, I think the purpose of a glass ceiling is for dancing on, yes?

    Oh… no, wait. Not.

    I lived in Europe for a long time and have to say, I laugh and laugh and laugh when people call Obama a socialist/ call our social services communism. True, UK social services aren’t communism and aren’t really all that socialist, but still. Not the same. He’s a lovely centrist with centrist ideas.

    But! What I really wanted to say is, aside from having a moment of “yay Annitspurple!!!!” is, bootstraps mentality relies on only a few people making it, not everyone making it.

    A few individuals prospering in a rigged system is not the same as radically changing the system so everyone is free from oppression. If everyone makes it by making “right choices” then we will be a kyriarchy in search of someone to oppress.

    It goes back to that “right of choice v. ability to choose” thing that seems not to be important to Sarah Palin Fauxminists.

    In my year of being a prison educator, I got told by other staff that it’s always important to “give offenders choices.” Which is great, except, so often the choices were “you can do exactly what I say, when I say, in the way I say whether or not it’s actually fair, or I can have the squad come and take you to isolation in handcuffs.” I started to call it “the choice that is no choice.”

    I don’t mean to say that oppressed women and imprisoned men are exactly the same with the same problems. I just mean to say, I learned a lot about how constraints can be imposed on a person by people with power, to the point that having “choices” was a symbolic exercise of agency more than it was a state of being that would yield any particularly advantageous outcome.

    I learned, of course, because I found myself inviting men to exercise the power of choice, within in the boundaries I chose to set as a minor staffer of little significance.

  41. Not being able to afford child care because you didn’t make good financial decisions is not the responsibility of people who did make good financial decisions. That’s not feminism, that’s communism. Can’t afford to take care of your kids? Don’t have them.

    I’m curious as to whether you feel there should be a income cutoff for those who are able to “have” kids and those who should be forcibly sterilized or prevented from having kids.

    I’m sure your theory is nice, except since there are kids already here we probably should feed, house, clothe them and provide them with medical care. Or is it your assertion we should just let those children die as an warning to all those other people who dare to have (having meaning the act of adding children to a family) kids if they don’t meet your rigorous income standards.

  42. And you know, I’ve never thought of myself as privileged before, but I suppose I am. Only grew up with one parent, who was a self employed blue-collar worker, never had health insurance, dad went bankrupt at least once and his credit never recovered, which seriously limited where we could live, never been homeless only because I have friends who have couches, had a full-time job for a whole year before the economy tanked and they cut me to part time, but yeah . . . I’m white so my life MUST be sweetness and roses.

    Class is not the only way one is oppressed, nor does it erase the privileges of being white, able bodied, cisgendered or any other privileges you might have.

    If you can’t understand the concept kyriarchy there’s no reason for us to believe your views on feminism would be any more nuanced. trot along now and go steam up the front of someone else’s dress.

  43. Only grew up with one parent, who was a self employed blue-collar worker, never had health insurance, dad went bankrupt at least once and his credit never recovered, which seriously limited where we could live, never been homeless only because I have friends who have couches, had a full-time job for a whole year before the economy tanked and they cut me to part time, and you know what? It made me strong. Society should be built around giving as many kids as possible the opportunity for these formative experiences. If today’s soft, pampered youth had a little more grit and a little less “food,” “shelter,” and “medical attention” maybe they’d be better prepared to march and die with King Leonidas, or whatever the fuck we’re breeding them for.

  44. How is it offensive to say that people who can’t afford child care, yet choose to have children anyway, are making a poor decision? The simple fact is, if we start having the government provide for every need, there is no incentive to work. People are basically selfish and lazy, and if they can get all their needs met by the government, most people won’t work. Then there’s not enough workers to provide the taxes for the government to afford the social programs . . . and then (SPOILER ALERT!) the Soviet Union fails.

    This is hilarious. Wow. Nice try. Goodbye.

  45. Wow, looks like I gave CraftyLuna WAY too much credit upthread. I doubt she’d know a feminist if she fell over one.

    Also, Aleks, this:
    If today’s soft, pampered youth had a little more grit and a little less “food,” “shelter,” and “medical attention” maybe they’d be better prepared to march and die with King Leonidas, or whatever the fuck we’re breeding them for.
    Made me laugh out loud.

  46. Re: people are lazy and wouldn’t work if they didn’t have to

    This could just be my experience, but when I was laid off last year, being unemployed was great for about a week. After that, I absolutely missed having something to do. The year I was unemployed was boring as hell, and intensely damaging to my sense of self-worth. Now, as someone who is very very priveleged and had a job I found worthwhile, challenging, and fun, I realize my reaction was different from someone who makes minimum wage in a job they hate, but I’m pretty sure that there aren’t many people whose preferences are to lounge about idly all the time. My stay-at-home mother didn’t earn a wage, but she was certainly working! Without the SAHM volunteers, my elementary school wouldn’t have had foreign language classes, wheelchair-friendly playground equipment, Parent’s Night, extra help for kids who struggled with reading, and a host of other enrichment activities. If people didn’t need to worry about money, possibly they’d chose to focus their efforts in unpaid labors of love, but I doubt that everyone who is able to work would choose to sit at home doing nothing all day. A handful of people, sure, but not the majority of the population.

  47. Crafty Luna,

    You’re right: Communism did fail. So did the Free Market, in case you hadn’t noticed. Meanwhile, the Welfare State muddles along well enough.

    The Welfare State doesn’t appeal to idealogues, because it’s not a theoretically pure system; it does, though, have the major benefit of actually working, here, in the real world, unlike Libertarianism, which works only in theory, and Communism, which works only on a very small scale (a village, perhaps, but certainly not a country).

    Of course, the Welfare State still has plenty of privilege discrepancies. It’s far from perfect. That’s one thing the feminists are working on.

    ***

    Everyone Else,

    Can I just say I’m really enjoying reading this thread.

    TRiG.

  48. If people didn’t need to worry about money, possibly they’d chose to focus their efforts in unpaid labors of love, but I doubt that everyone who is able to work would choose to sit at home doing nothing all day. A handful of people, sure, but not the majority of the population.

    I think you’re absolutely right, Emaloo. Like, how long does it take your average kid or college student to get bored during summer vacation? A few weeks, maybe.

    I wonder if the myth that people would sit around doing nothing if given the chance is kind of like the myth that people not on a diet will Devour the World. Maybe it comes partly from a state of being hungry or tired. A person who works a tough job is going to fantasize about sleeping in and sitting around like a dieter is going to fantasize about chocolate and cheeseburgers.

  49. @Snarky’s: That was awesome!

    @Everyone else: Let’s stop feeding the trolls, for realz. We don’t need to be having a 101 conversation.

  50. This isn’t funny enough to justify such a late entry, but would we say Sarah Palin is a Feminemesis?

  51. Libertarianism, which works only in theory

    It doesn’t, though, unless by theory you mean such a kooky level of disconnect that the actions of individuals and corporations have no external effects on other people (for example, BP’s methods of production don’t impact anyone but its willing employees and customers).

  52. I realized while driving to the store the other night that nobody can stop me from eating nothing but popsicles. So I bought a box, had 2… then had a spinach salad, because I like spinach. I find it hard to imagine a world where everyone does absolutely nothing, just like I can’t imagine forsaking my beloved green crunchies forever for Popsicles.

    It all works itself out. I get bored with sugar, I get bored with inactivity, I get a ferocious sunburn or maybe I start craving vitamin something-or-other, and back to work (and green crunchy things) we go.

    I wonder about people who tell me that humans are inherently lazy, in a similar way to the way I wonder about people who tell me (the atheist) that non-theists CAN’T have a moral code because if _they_ didn’t believe, they’d be out killing people.

    I don’t wonder long, though, I’m too busy backing away slowly and then running as fast as I can.

  53. @KellyK,

    It kind of ties to the abstinence-only education too, in that people assume that if you give teens any information about safe sex at all, they’ll engage in wild orgies or something and never choose say “no.” Possibly because sexually repressed people spend so much time fantasizing over what they think they can’t have. And much like we still have to diet or be gluttons and work or be lazy, despite evidence to the contrary, people like Sarah Palin still insist we have to train kids to say no to sex all the time or they’ll be indiscriminately lustful, even after definitive proof that doesn’t work. It’s a really weird polar opposites way of thinking, where the middle ground is rejected right out of the gate.

    It seems like a tendency towards either/or thinking should correspond to a preference of kyriarchy too, but I’m not sure I can articulate it. So someone like Palin isn’t feminist not only due to her anti-woman actions, but because she seems more interested in climbing the social ladder than getting rid of it. I’m not sure that makes sense.

  54. Emaloo, I think you’re right about abstinence-only education. It all comes from an assumption that people have no willpower whatsoever.

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