Saturday, January 10, 2009

Honestly Supporting Strong Women

Written 23 September 2008

Even though she’s nearly the epitome of what they’ve always said women should be, Sarah Palin has learned that she can’t count on feminists to have her back in this election.

She is a woman of strong character and possesses a force of will that is well balanced with astute leadership skills. She is confident in herself and in her decisions. By all accounts, she tolerates no nonsense and demonstrates the courage to take on tough problems.

Strength, force, leadership, confidence, courage; all qualities feminists advocate for women.

These are also the same qualities I try to instill and develop in my own daughter. I’m always reminding her that she can be whatever she wants to be. The only limits she encounters will be those she places on herself.

Not only do I try to nurture these characteristics in her, she also participates in a program called Girls on the Run. Completely apolitical, Girls on the Run teaches young girls many of these same things at an age when they can be quite vulnerable to the negative messages society sends about “a girl’s place” in the world.

As the name implies, Girls on the Run coaches physical health (the girls work up to a 5K run), but it also does much more. Through several months of a structured course, it trains young girls to be confident in themselves, to be happy with themselves, and most importantly to not let the world pigeon-hole or stereotype them.

The program is designed to help them resist the attempts by others to shove them into the small box of physical appearances and “acceptable” behavior of girls when they’re in the 3rd through the 5th grades. They learn to define and choose who they are and who they will become, not letting societal influences dictate who they should be.

It’s an incredible program that has garnered much confidence and an unexpected, but wonderful growth of personality in my daughter.

Guiding my daughter and watching her mature, it makes sense that someone like Sarah Palin, someone who has succeeded in becoming her own woman, would be a role model for my daughter.

And, having successfully utilized all these skills feminists admire, I thought Palin would garner at least some support among leading feminists. There were probably going to be some who disagreed with her political views and others who might simply ignore her; both fair positions. But some would surely support her, right?

Wrong. I misunderstood feminism. I thought feminists were for women. Turns out they’re not for women, they’re just for liberalism.

Not only have they not supported Palin, they have been the most vicious in the attacks against her. They have tried harder than most to push Sarah back into the little box the world likely tried to squeeze her into when she was 10. Suddenly, a woman’s place was not in a position of power or utilizing all of her God-given talents as they’ve espoused and as I’ve taught my daughter.

They have questioned whether or not she could be a mother and Vice President. Quite hypocritical since they’ve always been admirable proponents of women being able to work and be mothers.

They have attacked her ability to lead because she’s a woman. Could she actually handle the job? Suddenly they were the chauvinists asking whether or not a woman could handle any job.

They have attacked her mercilessly on a personal level because of her political views.

Their overall attitudes were captured in a New York Sun story reporting feminists who describe themselves as “flipping out, in fits of rage, experiencing all consuming panic, beside themselves with terror, freaking out, and feeling violent murderous rage, visceral hostility, incandescent anger boiling in the skull, wanting to vomit with rage, and surprised by the depths of their own anger” about Palin.

Their problem with her is she refuses to toe their line. She is pro-life, evidently a mortal sin among feminists. She is an advocate of gun ownership, another sacrilege. She is a practicing Christian, how dare she? And she has succeeded without them.

Ironically, a group that claims to have fought so hard against society’s attempts to stereotype women is now attacking a woman who has become almost everything they advocate because she refuses to fall in line with their stereotype of a woman.

If they won’t support her, plenty of us who truly believe a woman can become whatever she wants will support her, especially since she’s a conservative, a Christian, and a role model for young girls.

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