Victor Davis Hanson

First, there is a particular class and professional bent to the practitioners of feminism. Sarah Palin has as many kids as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she has as much of a prior political record as the once-heralded Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, who was named to the Democratic ticket by Walter Mondale in 1984 -- and arguably has as much as, or more executive experience than, Barack Obama. Somehow all that got lost in the endless sneering stories about her blue-collar conservatism, small Alaskan town, five children, snowmobiling husband and Idaho college degree.

Second, feminism now often equates to a condescending liberalism. Emancipated women who, like Palin, do not believe in abortion or are devout Christians are at best considered unsophisticated dupes. At worse, they are caricatured as conservative interlopers, piggybacking on the hard work of leftwing women whose progressive ideas alone have allowed the Palins of the world the choices that otherwise they would not now enjoy.

Apparently these feminists believe that without the ideas of Gloria Steinem on abortion, a moose-hunting PTA mom would not have made governor. The Democrat’s vice presidential candidate, Joe Biden, said Palin’s election, given her politics, would be "a backward step for women."

Third, hypocrisy abounds. Many female critics of Palin, in Washington and New York politics and media, found their careers enhanced through the political influence of their powerful fathers, their advantageous marriages to male power players and the inherited advantages of capital. The irony is that a Palin -- like a Barbara Jordan, Golda Meir or Margaret Thatcher -- made her own way without the help of money or influence.

Fourth, most Americans still believe in the old feminism but not this new doctrinaire liberal brand. Consequently, a struggling John McCain suddenly has shot ahead of Obama in the polls. Apparently millions of Americans like Palin's underdog feminist saga and her can-do pluckiness. Many are offended by haughty liberal media elites sneering at someone that, politics aside, they should be praising -- for her substantial achievements, her inspirational personal story and her Obama-like charisma.

This past week we were supposed to learn about a liberated Gov. Sarah Palin. Instead the media taught us more than we ever wanted to know about what they now call feminism.


Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.