Dowager feminists and their followers have a hard time with Sarah Palin, and there's more than a little cat scratching along with the meows. Wendy Kaminer in The Atlantic magazine, recalls that "middle-aged, male members of the Republican elite, like Bill Kristol and Fred Barnes, found Sarah Palin "exceptionally pretty" when they promoted her as John McCain's running mate. She insists they wouldn't have done that if she had been homely and 30 pounds heavier. (Who's being sexist now?)
Fads in feminism and mothering come and go; stereotypes change with the times. The first wave of feminism in the 1970s pushed women in suits with big shoulder pads and exhorted them to be as tough as men.
That wave was followed by "difference feminism," which asked women to listen to their inner voices and "make love not war." Liberal ladies today are surprised when conservative women, Palin's grizzlies, campaign for lower taxes, smaller government and personal responsibility. The liberal ladies were even more surprised when some of the grizzlies won midterm elections.
But every movement needs a light-hearted moment, and Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol offers such a moment. The television audience voter, rather than the professional judges who awarded her low scores, put Bristol in the finals of "Dancing With the Stars." Newspaper and television critics naturally noticed only her "terrible" dancing. To be sure, she's no match for her chief competitor, Jennifer Gray of "Dirty Dancing" fame. But who is?
Conrad Green, executive producer of the show, told The Washington Post that he would love to have a Democratic icon dance on the show, "but Bill Clinton turned us down." Or maybe he could recruit some of these fidgety feminists. With nothing else to do, they could show us how they trip the light fantastic.