I've been gradually collecting links and such to put together a substantive post on Palin's vice presidential candidacy -- but between the work schedule and my compulsive reading of political blogs lately, I haven't finished and yet am going to go ahead and wait till after I see her speech tonight. However, I ran into a thought somewhere-or-other that struck me enough to seem worth passing on briefly:
One of the complaints I've heard a number of women, particularly Catholic women, about the modern ideal of feminism is that it seeks to achieve "equality" for women by essentially turning them into men. Whether it's achieving a "masculine" detachment from relationships, or not allowing being a mother to interfere at all with one's ability to hold down a 60-hour-a-week job.
In politics, most major female politicians in our country have fit the woman-as-man model to some extent: women past a certain age, families kept generally out of sight, and bouts of showing "toughness" that occasionally boarder on the ludicrous -- think Hillery's photo op knocking back working class beer and Jack Daniels shots.
Governor Palin very much breaks with this mold. Here was have a woman who is still young looking and has young children who are not kept strictly out of sight. A governor who's been seen at work wearing her baby in a sling. A family load-balancing ethic: apparently she's had her older daughters along on the campaign bus much of the time to help take care of the baby when she's not available.
While most women in politics fit a "professional woman" mode, in which the woman has to essentially function as a man; Governor Palin seems to have more of a "pioneer woman" ethic, taking on massive tasks but remaining clearly a woman and clearly a mother while at her work.
It seems to me a more encouraging type of feminism from a cultural perspective, one that takes human nature into account better and is less artificial. And it may also be one of the reasons why she is being seen as such a different (and generally scorned) creature by the mainstream press.