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But of COURSE she's pretty!

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader

2008-10-21


I called a trucking friend of mine in Pennsylvania to see how her job search was going and what she thought about McCain picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Her answer was interesting. I’ll have to paraphrase it, but she basically said the Republican Party knows middle-class America better than middle-class Americans do. Noting the support Hillary Clinton got, they picked a white woman for McCain’s running mate because they know middle-class white Americans won’t vote for an African-American presidential candidate.

She may be on to something. A co-worker was thrilled that Palin was selected. The co-worker didn’t really care about McCain, but enthusiastic about a woman being vice-president. And that’s what the powers that be are banking on. And it just might work. Stick a pretty woman on television, and men start to drool.

Okay, maybe I’m being a little bit harsh here. But the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Sarah Palin is an “acceptable” woman. She went to college (earning a bachelor of arts in communications/journalism) but didn’t pursue an advanced degree; she’s worked in a variety of jobs, but still maintains a home life; she’s running for vice president, but seems approachable, using words like “shucks” and “doggone it.” Middle Americans probably think she’s perfect. She seems pleasant enough, but as for being vice-president, I just can’t see it happening.

She doesn’t represent me. She wouldn’t understand my childless, husbandless life, my struggle to find work this summer, or my feminist outlook. Nor can I understand her having five kids, a husband, or being in a beauty pageant.

Being a woman is strange. We get paid less than men even if we are doing the same job. A college-educated woman with a four-year degree probably gets paid less than an above-average stripper. An accomplished woman isn’t a big deal, but a gorgeous woman with large breasts is. If you aren’t married, there’s something wrong with you. If you have kids, you’re frowned on for not having enough or having too many. Stay at home moms get criticized because they stay at home. Working mothers get criticized because they work. Career vs. kids, looks vs. accomplishments, “unfeminine” jobs vs. “feminine” jobs. We can’t win! Are all men created equal? I think not, and the same thing goes for women. The more attractive ones snag successful, or at least gainfully employed husbands, and settle down. The less attractive ones struggle along.

Time will tell if Palin gets the chance to be the first female vice-president. But because she is a woman, her every word, mood, and outfit will be discussed ad nauseam. It’s unfair, but that’s the way it is. No one cares about McCain’s suit or what he looks like, but Palin will be scrutinized for any hair, makeup or wardrobe changes. It’s kind of sad. If she can lead our country down the right path, it will send a strong message for women in politics. If she can’t change anything for the better, well …

I’ll vote, because I want to exercise that right until it gets taken away from me, but even though this election year is an exciting one, I can’t get excited. I’ll be voting against as opposed to voting for. But I’m not taking the bait. My co-worker will probably vote for Sarah Palin and not think about electing McCain, but I know that I can’t choose one and refuse the other. I think the Republican Party picked her because she’s a more acceptable version of Hillary Clinton. Successful, but not too successful, a mom (with plenty of kids) and a down-home, folksy way about her. She doesn’t come off as being an elitist, which I think Hillary does to a certain extent. Lots of women can’t identify with female lawyers, but they can identify with other women who are moms. The powers that be know us better than we know ourselves. I’m still going to vote. While I still can.

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