Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mediocre Female Politicians: A Mark of Success?

Judith Warner writes on the opinion pages of The New York Times:

In 1977, Bella Abzug, the former congresswoman and outspoken feminist, said, “Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein get appointed as an assistant professor. It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted as a male schlemiel.”

In other words: women will truly have arrived when the most mediocre among us will be able to do just as well as the most mediocre of men.

By this standard, the watershed event for women this year was not Hillary Clinton’s near ascendancy to the top of the Democratic ticket, but Sarah Palin’s nomination as the Republicans’ No. 2. ...

Mediocrity, after all, is the privilege of those who have arrived.
Go read the whole thing. Then I hope you'll come back here and drop a line about what you think of Warner's argument.


Samuel Tinianow said...

Honestly, I found the article totally unconvincing. It might have been otherwise if Palin was a short, chubby senior citizen with an annoying voice (remember who Al Gore's running mate was?). As it is, the difference between her and a dumb-but-attractive male politician is the way in which she has been deployed, which I personally see as strongly counter-feminist.

And, as has been said before, Palin is just one woman. One who has made it where she is largely by pandering to dominant chauvinist ideals. The article seems to ignore this point.

Habladora said...

I'm inclined to agree, S.T. Palin has gained much of her popularity in the Republican Party by "pandering to chauvinist ideals" and by supporting legislation which is bad for women. Playing by the patriarchal rules is one sure way to advance your own career while doing nothing for, or even hurting, the rest of us.

Donna said...

She's a set back for women. She's the 50's secretary. Someone who is hired because she's attractive but can't type or do dictation, instead she's the boss' fantasy. I think her choice was disrespectful of women, especially since the republican party has so many respected and influential women who would be much better suited to be VP.