Mary Grabar

Ah! The sisterhood! I’ve experienced it. In academia the sisterhood reigns. They have a grip, and exclude every woman who does not share their animus. They are all too happy to disperse their money and support to “sisters” who join them in shrilly denouncing the patriarchy. But woe to the pro-life, pro-patriarchy, pro-West woman. Hell hath no fury--

Now Sarah Palin is experiencing it.

The reaction from feminist women within hours of the announcement of McCain’s selection of her as his running mate reveals the true nature of this “sisterhood.” The Huffington Post featured photos of Palin playing basketball in high school in order to diminish her accomplishments. Acclaimed novelist Jane Smiley’s comments were perhaps the nastiest in terms of cattiness and innuendo, with a simple series of questions beginning an entry: “Who’s that? Is this a joke? Who’s that again? She has a four month old baby and she’s hitting the campaign trail? Is she breastfeeding?” Smiley continued: “If she is breastfeeding at 3 a.m. and the phone rings will she answer it?”

Kimberly Brooks, part of the Huffington Sisterhood, commented too on Palin’s new motherhood and then weighed in with what to her are more substantial issues: “But what I really want to talk about is her hair. Can someone please get this woman to a SuperCuts? What is that thing on her head? I admit, I am completely jealous of her flawless Linda Carter Skin. And I fully expect her to take out that plastic hair clip, pull off her glasses, rip off her blazer to reveal either Wonder Woman or Demi Moore in Disclosure. But the hair has GOT TO GO.”

(I know from experience that these “feminists” go for the hair, having had my own unruly locks the target of online insults).

And then Sarah Seltzer wrote, under the title, “A Feminist Appalled by Palin,” that when she saw the announcement while on the elliptical trainer her “rage propelled me to the most furious workout I’ve had in a while.” It’s mostly Palin’s pro-life position that enrages these women, and Seltzer sees this pick as just another instance of the “right wing” using “prominent women to keep the rest of us down.” Seltzer provides a link to an online magazine called, appropriately, “Bitch.”

Mary Grabar

Mary Grabar earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and teaches in Atlanta. She is organizing the Resistance to the Re-Education of America at Her writing can be found at