Just a few Fridays ago I got the good news about the addition of Sarah Palin to the 2008 Republican ticket. I was so excited I fired off a few rounds from my assault rifle and then hopped in the car and drove back to my office at UNC-Wilmington. I wanted to talk to some of the feminists in my department about this great breakthrough in the struggle for gender equality.
Of course, none of the feminists were in the office in the hours after Sarah Palin’s introduction as John McCain’s running mate. Maybe they were off celebrating the great moment in women’s history. I think it’s more likely they were field dressing a moose. Regardless, I was just glad to spend an afternoon at the office without having to look at a feminist.
I guess in some ways the lack of feminist enthusiasm for Palin was to be expected. But I never could have expected the cumulative hostility feminists have already shown towards Palin. One of my students recently told me that his feminist professor – in the midst of a classroom lecture, no less – deemed Palin to be unqualified to serve as Vice President because she could not control her 17-year old daughter.
It is certainly interesting to hear feminists talking about the need to control other women’s bodies. But an even more interesting question arises in the context of the call for parental control over the body of Bristol Palin: How can parents possibly control the bodies of their teenaged daughters in light of feminist opposition to parental notification laws?
This situation with Bristol Palin and with Sarah Palin’s youngest son really seems to be a large part of the feminist hostility towards the Palin candidacy. The Palins are adamantly pro-life and they live lives in accordance with their pro-life views. Indeed, Bill O’Reilly suggested recently – to a nodding Laura Ingraham – that the feminist hatred of Sarah Palin was solely about the issue of abortion.
I disagree that this hostility is all about abortion. I think it also has a lot to do with Palin’s personality – specifically with her personal courage and ability to think and act independently.
Those who don’t work around feminists fail to realize fully their incapacity for independent thought and action. The feminist response to a recent controversy in my department (Sociology and Criminology) provides a good example of what I’m talking about.
Our recent decision to hire Brian Chapman as Provost at UNC-Wilmington has been, to say the least, a source of great controversy. Chapman is a very confident and assertive man who has little problem voicing his opinions. He also has no reservations about criticizing faculty members to their faces.
Provost Chapman severely ruffled the feathers of some Criminology professors when he began to insist on a fully online degree program in our department despite the complete lack of support of the faculty. Later, it was perceived by some that he was threatening to withdraw any funding of individual online courses if the department would not agree to a complete online program.
When our Dean came to the next meeting and Chapman’s perceived authoritarianism was discussed, the behavior of one feminist really said it all. With her arms folded in her lap she raised her head up meekly and asked the Dean: “Will you protect us (from Provost Chapman).”
This has been my consistent experience with “liberal” feminists. Whenever they are unable to handle a conflict with a confident man, they ask another man to protect them. And it doesn’t matter whether the feminist has the protection of lifetime tenure. She still lacks the courage to confront the problem on her own.
A few days later Provost Chapman offended some faculty with his remarks at a joint faculty meeting. (Author’s note: A joint faculty meeting is one where all faculty members are supposed to be present although not all are expected to bring joints). The provost made some remarks about the poor attendance at the meeting, which were seen as condescending in tone.
After the meeting, a feminist in my department went into the office of one of her male colleagues and asked “Who’s going to stand up to this (offensive term for private body part deleted)”. This is typical of feminists in that it insults a male by making a crude reference to his private parts. (Author’s note: When feminists wish to endear themselves to others feminists they make a crude reference to a woman’s private parts. This is called “endearment” or, more broadly, “progress.”). Of course, it is another example of how feminists believe they need men to help them stand up to other men.
Finally, at the end of the week, when faculty in my department began to criticize the Provost via emails sent on the department email list, an interesting pattern emerged. First, one male professor sent an email criticizing the Provost. Then a second male professor joined in followed by a third, fourth, and fifth male professor. At the end of the day, five male professors exercised their First Amendment right to free speech.
Of course, not a word was to be heard from a feminist – not even the one who called the Provost a (offensive term deleted). It reminded me of my first free speech controversy at UNCW some eleven years ago. In that controversy, numerous males expressed their opinions about a controversy surrounding “indecent” sexual speech in the student newspaper. Finally, two dozen feminists signed their “joint” (read: collective or conformist) opinion on the matter. The males acted as individuals, the feminists acted as a pack.
It is true that Sarah Palin does not share my feminist colleagues’ stance on abortion. Nor does she behave the way my feminist colleagues behave in the workplace. She has a faith in God that inspires courage. She has courage that inspires individualism. And, clearly, she lacks the cowardice that is a pre-requisite for radical feminism.