The Battle for the Term "Feminist": Sarah Palin Wins This Round

What Women Really Think
Aug. 18 2010 5:40 PM

The Battle for the Term "Feminist": Sarah Palin Wins This Round

Yesterday, the pro-choice group Emily's List released a video with a bunch of women in "mama grizzly" suits telling Sarah Palin that she doesn't speak for them . Well, Palin's seen the video, and she's responded with an epic, winkingly condescending Facebook post where she purports to be civil , which was then completely contradicted by a snotty Tweet . First, a highlight from the Facebook post:

On this anniversary of women’s suffrage, let’s take a moment to be grateful for the diversity of the debate. Women don’t walk in lockstep with each other in politics, any more than men do. We should be proud of our ability to engage in a civil discussion and healthy debate. I know I am. Unfortunately, I’ve recently come under attack for speaking up for sisters who seek to serve in public office. The sad part is that the attack comes from other sisters who happen to be on the other side of an issue that has been of great importance to American women from the time of our feminist foremothers, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, down to today. I’m speaking of the issue of life. I feel compelled to offer some advice to our sisters who like to throw stones at those of us who respectfully disagree with them on this issue (and they sometimes refuse to even countenance the fact that some of us can call ourselves feminists and disagree with those who claim the mantle of "real feminists"). First, ladies, it’s hard to take a critic seriously when they lecture you wearing a bear suit. So, it’s difficult for me to drum up much outrage at this latest ad. But, really, lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory. But, that aside, I’d love to know where you got those get-ups. Halloween is just around the corner, and Piper and Trig would look adorable as little grizzly bears.
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Gotta love her use of the pseudo-'70s "sisters," like we're all part of a big consciousness-raising circle of love. However, she does make one reasonable point-when anyone (liberals or conservatives) creates a feminist litmus test, it cuts off the possibility of real, fruitful discussion. However, her claims of civility are undercut by this tweet:

Who hijacked term:"feminist"?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it's ironic (& passé)

Gawker has some good suggestions about what a " cackle of rads" might actually mean . In the meantime, I think liberals must cede this round in the debate to the sassy Ms. Palin. The Emily's List video wasn't gathering liberals around an electrifying idea-it was attempting to co-opt Palin's very effective rallying cry. As Hanna said yesterday, Palin gets to be the cool one in this situation , the one the other ladies are sweating. The List, and liberals in general, would be better served creating a stunning, galvanizing idea of our own. Also, that burn about Piper and Trig is pretty good.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

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