Ladies to the Left

by Katie Oldaker

The Republicans made a good choice with Sarah Palin. That’s the point Anna Holmes (editor of and Rebecca Traister (author of the forthcoming Big Girls Don’t Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women) consider in their op-ed in the New York Times this past Sunday. And it’s an interesting one to consider: what ladies do the Democrats have? For the group that is supposed to be more liberal and open, their main player was Hillary Clinton, but now she’s gone from the spotlight, attending to her duties as Secretary of State, while Palin is holding rallies and trying to dump tea into harbors or something.


Holmes and Traister do note Palin’s flip-flopping on feminist issues:


“Ms. Palin, in turn, has been making a greedy grab at claiming feminism as her own. She recently marked the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment by expressing her gratitude ‘to those brave feminist foremothers who struggled and sacrificed, endured imprisonment and ridicule … to grant future generations of American women a voice.’ On the same day, she sent out this Twitter message: ‘Who hijacked the term ‘feminist’? A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/ whom they disagree on a singular issue.’”


But Republicans also don’t really have a history of valuing feminism at all, making Palin seem more universal. Palin appears to be supporting feminism, a hair away from calling herself a feminist, while the Democrats, long supporters of a woman’s right to choose and feminism in general, have very few women in their party to show for it.


So the question becomes: who can the Democrats put forth onto their own main stage? Off the top of my head, they have Kathleen Sebelius (former governor of Kansas, now Secretary of Health and Human Services on the National Level), and Hillary. The fact that I struggled to think of another Democrat (and, actually, almost listed both senators from Maine until I remembered they were actually Republicans, albeit moderate ones) makes me re-consider the open-mindedness of the left.


What do you think? Do you know of any up-and-coming powerful left-leaning ladies? Is Sarah Palin really the best litmus test for a party’s acceptance of women?



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