Westhampton College '10
Maybe Sarah Palin is aware of her gender, but Lex Reynolds (in her article "I'd Choose Sarah Palin Over Rosie the Riveter) is clearly unaware of the facts.
I believe Vickey Allen's claim that Sarah Palin "seems unaware of her gender" implies the idea that any woman fully aware of her gender -- and aware of the patriarchy that we live in (look it up before you disagree) -- would lead that woman to be a strong advocate for women's rights (i.e. feminism). I believe that we would hope for this to be especially true when that woman is in a position of power, such as a mayor, governor and potential vice president. However, since Sarah Palin seems to be against all that is truly feminist, it also seems that she is unaware of her gender.
Let's consider the idea of pro-life. Surely you can be pro-life and be a feminist. You can believe that at the time of conception, the fetus has become a living entity and therefore has rights. You can hold that as a personal belief. However, personal beliefs aren't the issue. The issue is this: What happens when someone's personal beliefs spill into the public sector, and you begin to eliminate other women's choices? What happens when you force a woman to endure nine months of pregnancy, when that woman doesn't believe that a fetus has rights? Well, then, you have negated everything that feminism stands for: giving women the right to choose (hence pro-choice, not pro-death).
Surely pro-choice does not suggest that we end every fetus's "life." Pro-choice simply allows a woman the right to not have a child she does not wish to have. And while we're considering this, we should remember that not even close to every woman who doesn't want a child has an abortion -- they're expensive, physically and emotionally draining, and an overall extremely difficult thing to undergo.
Shall we discuss the fact that men never have to endure this? But I guess in Reynolds' eyes it's the woman's fault because she "forgot to take [her birth control pill] too many days that month." Forget about conception being a mutual endeavor -- it's the woman's responsibility to control her fertility. Well to this, I recommend a pill that makes semen sperm-less. I recommend a pill for men that regulates and controls their hormones and can consequentially affect their emotions and their appetites. I recommend a pill for men that puts them at greater risk for strokes and heart attacks. Lex thinks we should work towards "equalizing men's rights." I think we should work towards creating a birth control pill for men. Why aren't we asking men to take these pills? (Again, look up "patriarchy").
Additionally, Reynolds brings up the idea that men are unfairly burdened by these children that they did not want in the first place. Well, Lex, I suggest you look up some statistics on child support, on "deadbeat dads," and on the feminization of poverty. But, in your eyes, men probably shouldn't have to pay for a child they didn't want -- they wanted their girlfriend to have an abortion and she didn't. Man, what a stubborn b---- she must be. How dare she not want to undergo a procedure that puts her at risk for future miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, sterility and stillbirths, not to mention the chances of perforating the uterus, of getting infections and of losing other organs. Last time I checked, a man can't have an abortion, and this is exactly the reason that it is the woman's choice to either carry the baby to term or not -- it is her body and hers alone. She is the one either enduring nine months of pregnancy or undergoing an abortion, and she has every right in the world to choose either option. And while we're at it, since Lex believes that men are so unfairly burdened, we should consider the fact that single women with children are the most disadvantaged group of people in our country. But hey, the men are suffering, right?
And now let's consider the idea that it is not "any more fair to fiscally penalize citizens for a criminal's action" and thus acceptable to ask the victims of rape to pay for their own rape kit. Ms. Reynolds, do you know how police are paid? Do you know how judges are paid? Do you know how district attorneys, forensic scientists, medical examiners and criminal psychiatrists are paid? Taxes. Surely we need to stop fiscally burdening all of these citizens for criminals' actions.
We should surely ask the victims of rape -- a crime that goes unreported more often than reported -- to pay for their own rape kits. I guess we want even more rapists walking out on the streets, since victims of rape tend to be disproportionately poor, and therefore incapable of paying for the kit required to gather evidence. When was the last time we asked the family of a murder victim to pay the detectives to collect the evidence? Again, Lex, you may want to do your research. (Here are some stats to make it easier for you: The FBI estimates that 61 percent of rapes go unreported. However, if it is reported, there's a 50.8 percent chance that an arrest will be made, and an 80 percent chance of prosecution -- well, I guess assuming the woman was able to cough up the $500 to $1,300 for the rape kit required to collect the evidence needed for court. From there, there is a 58 percent chance of felony conviction, and, if convicted, there is a 69 percent chance that the rapist will actually spend time in jail. Thus, in the 39 percent of reported rapes, only 16.3 percent of the rapists end up in jail. And, if we combine all of the factors, including the estimation of unreported rapes, 94 percent of rapists walk free. Do we really want to make this number even higher? Do we really want to make it even harder for women to report rapes? (I guess maybe we should look up patriarchy again ...)
Lastly, let's consider the controversy over Bristol Palin's pregnancy. I applaud Palin for standing by her daughter, regardless of what may or may not be a political tactic. However, it seems that the real issue is being overlooked. That issue is this: Sarah Palin supports the funding of abstinence-until-marriage education and ONLY abstinence-until-marriage education. She clearly stated that sex-ed programs would not find her support for funding (see Eagle Forum Alaskan Questionnaire). Her political platform didn't even work in her own family. So, now let's consider it's implications for the country as a whole: Let's combine abstinence-only education, which produces adolescents who are unaware or less aware of contraception, with hormone-driven teenagers, with an overturn of Roe v. Wade. My guess is we will be seeing a LOT of Bristols out there ... except these girls won't be daughters of rich politicians and they won't have the same support and resources as Bristol Palin. They may not even be as old as Bristol Palin. Yet, they will be forced to have their baby (and/or resort to a wire hanger). Gee, sounds like feminism to me!
I don't believe that anything Sarah Palin stands for is feministic. In fact, I believe that a woman who wants to institute her own personal beliefs, beliefs that are predominantly grounded in religion, as public policy for Americans is not only messing with the separation of church and state, but is also attempting to severely limit the choices of millions of women -- and thus, is blatantly anti-feminism. And to this extent, I would agree that Palin is either unaware of her gender, or just doesn't believe in women's rights.
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So, Lex Reynolds, feminism says it is your own prerogative to "serve your reproductive rights to Sarah Palin on a silver platter" if you desire to do so. But by all means, please do not ask the rest of us to do the same.
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