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4 Sep 2008 / Julie

my thoughts on last night’s RNC

Yeah, i’ve got no snappy title this time, but i do have a lot to say…

There is a question about Sarah Palin and double standards on ireport.com, “Is there a double standard in parenting expectations? Does the fact that she’s a woman and mother affect her abilities as a politician”

My question is Who *doesn’t* see that there’s a double standard? In her speech last night to the RNC, an emphasis was given to her family that was not present in anyone elses speech. Obama mentioned his wife and girls, but briefly, and not as part of a list on why he’s qualified to run the country.

I do agree that being a mom is a job that should be held in higher regard. Mothers do so much for so little. They run organizations, manage people and multiple tasks; they’re heads of departments, chefs, maids, medical technicians, etc, etc, etc. But I’d like to argue that being a mom doesn’t make you qualified to do anything. As her daughter prooves to us, anyone can be a mom. It’s being a good one that gives you credit. And frankly, there’s no objective evaluation that any of us go through that determines if we’re good parents or not.

I’d argue that being a good parent, to most people, would mean that their children are ultimately more well off than their parents (not just in finances, but physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing). I’d say that you were a good parent if your child succeeded in school, didn’t turn to drugs, has never been justly arrested, and is a productive member of society. But, someone else might think their good parenting showed the day their child joined the National Rifle Association.

As far as the double standard goes, there ABSOLUTELY IS a double standard. Women are still largely viewed as second in our society. The fact that the Double Standard question is even asked proves that. If there was no double standard, no “lesser” of the two, it would never even be a question. Women are still overwhelmingly NOT in power positions. Women make up almost half of America’s labor force, as of 2007, only thirteen Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs or presidents, and 74 of those 500 companies don’t have any women corporate officers. If there was no double standard in regard to the abilities of humans, there wouldn’t be such a disparity here.

I suppose you *could* argue it’s all biology; that men and women are simply different and those differences make women and men cut out for different paths in life. I suppose that was true, in the time when women wore corsets so tight, they could barely breathe to drink tea, let alone complete more laborious tasks. But in 2008, we should realize that it’s society and our culture that shapes these perceptions of who can do what based on what we see them to be. Sexism, racism, ageism… the conversation is the same. Our culture has certain assumptions based on various factors. You look at me, a woman in her mid-20s, running a state-wide initiative in a ever-changing industry, who lifts weights, takes ballet, and doesn’t like to take flak from anyone and might say, “Go, Girl!” Or you might look at me and question why i’m not married, why i don’t want any children, or why i speak my mind so much. It’s all depending on your environment. It depends on the signals and information your family instilled you with. It depends on the thoughts and ideas of the people whom you call friends. It depends on what society as a whole, if you pay attention to it, signals you to believe. See enough commercials where women are simply pretty, dainty, objects and you start to get ideas. (I guarantee you if this protester was a man, no one would have covered his mouth like this.)

But despite whatever ‘isms exist, they are better than they have been in the past in this country. If for no other reason than we’re able to talk about them. I’m told being aware of the problem is the first step to solving it. Perhaps we just need to talk a little harder…

And despite all the talk of sexism and double standards, clearly we’ve come a long way; she IS the nominee for VP. I am glad to be a part of a present and future where people of varying backgrounds, pigments, races, sexes, and genders are nominated for important, society-leading positions. It shows an overall turn in thinking. And I did appreciate how Palin called out “the good-ol’ boys network” (although, honey, did you notice what party you were running with?).

But her being a woman doesn’t automatically qualify her for anything (other than childbirth, as i hear the scientific advancements for pregnant men aren’t quite here yet); just as Obama and McCain being men doesn’t automatically qualify them for the Presidency (despite what our society and it’s history would have you believe).

In fact, the fact that she’s a woman doesn’t do anything to soothe the stomach-churning illness i felt rising in my stomach as i listened to her speech last night as her voice grated on my nerves and her discussion of her husband’s snowmobile record (tell me, why is that even remotely important to this election? Right, so why mention it?) Although, I might have been the residual illness left over from Guilliani’s puke-tastic speech (talk about negative). In fact, Palin looked like she was up there trying to convince herself this was a good idea.

With all my political expertise (none) I really think McCain shot himself in the foot with this one. McCain is like Obama in that he’s for change. McCain has a history of disagreeing with Bush (except in matters of national security, which, once a decision has been made, you need to stand behind it no matter what). But having people like Giuliani speak on his behalf, and picking Palin has his running mate I think really did him a disservice. And accidentally caught on a hot mic, Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy seem to agree with me.

In other news, is it just me, or does Levi looks like a condemned man?

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