Sarah Palin's Feminine Mystique

By Chris Good

Sarah Palin has been on a tear with her "Mama Grizzlies" theme, endorsing female candidates as such and producing a web video last week that put the catch phrase into more tangible, clickable form. What is the appeal of the Mama Grizzlies idea? How does it play into Palin's identity as a female politician? The Washington Post's Kathleen Parker sums up the feminine mystique of Sarah Palin as an aggressive confrontation of what people don't like, paired with a brilliant style-over-substance value scheme, topped off with a brilliant monopolization of all things female:


...Sarah knows just what drives us all nuts and, instead of changing her tune, she turns up the volume -- and triples down. Don't like her little red shoes? She'll add a red leather jacket. Got gloss?

This woman is not to be feared or loathed. She is to be taken with a grain of humor and a dash of admiration. A different version of Madonna, she's a public relations machine who manipulates public perception with well-timed and, recently, sophisticated messaging.

In the nearly two years since she became the first female Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah has morphed from a pit bull with lipstick to a mama grizzly. Grrrrrrrr.

...the genius isn't the message but the messenger. Sarah has positioned herself as the spokesperson for The Good Woman (i.e., conservatives) and thus has inoculated herself and her message from criticism. To criticize Sarah now is to impugn Womankind. Worse, it is anti-Mom.

One never tires of Mom, I suppose. I'm a mom. You're a mom. We all had a mom. Why, even some Democratic women are moms. Don't they love their little darlings just as much as conservative women do?

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/07/sarah-palins-feminine-mystique/59760/