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September 15, 2008

Mansfield on Palin!

Topics: Political News and commentaries

Harvey Mansfield, professor of government at Harvard and a member of the Hoover Institution's Taskforce on Virtue and Liberty, has what Bill Kristol refers to as a short, brilliant piece on Sarah Palin, Simone de Beauvoir, and feminism, at

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Was feminism necessary to produce Sarah Palin's fine performance at the Republican Convention? She is of course no heroine to radical feminists, who disliked everything she said, but could one rightly say--could they say--that she is indebted to their brand of feminism for the opportunity she used so successfully? I'm speaking of the feminism that says that women can be equal to men only when they are held to be the same as men.

Sarah Palin was appealing and accomplished, with the force of a man and the grace of a woman. But while reaching another, higher first for women, she expressed no gratitude to the women's movement. She has had good words for women politicians like Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton, but she showed none of the features that betray the feminist in action. On the contrary: She spoke proudly of "my guy," grateful to the man who was hers--implying that she needed him, and that any woman needs a guy of her own. She introduced her children, especially little Trig, the one with Down's syndrome. She was displaying a mother's unconditional love, as opposed to the conditional love that insists on a "wanted" child. She did these things unapologetically, quite unafraid of seeming to be a normal, healthy sexist female: one who knows what it is to be a woman and enjoys it."

As Kristol recommends, you should read the whole thing. Twice.

Posted by Richard at September 15, 2008 8:46 PM

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