Feminist Hero of 2008

Not even Nostradamus could have predicted that in 2008 the one woman on a major party presidential ticket would be a Republican, or Governor of Alaska, or mother of five, or a moose hunter. Yet, today, we have all four in Sarah Palin.

Any betting American would have predicted Hillary Clinton as the "feminist" role model of the year. Hillary Clinton, a product of the feminism of the '60s and '70s, where "femininity" meant weak and "motherly" meant flawed.

Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's new favorite daughter, is of the new breed of feminists, those who believe women have crucial roles as wife, mother, and nurturer, and because of that — not in spite of it — they can be powerful, and effective executives. (Note: The lipstick line)

Last night, Palin gave the speech she needed to give and so much more. She demonstrated why she was a superior choice for McCain vs. the other so-called "short list" VP picks. Not only is she smart, tough, articulate, and dynamic, but also feminine, compassionate and real. Some critics thus far have focused on the fact that she defied expectations because the bar was so low. Hogwash!

I ask them to watch or listen to Sarah Palin again. Her convention address would be considered enormous, even superior, by any standard. That she's a woman, a mom, from provincial Alaska, and was elevated to national player status less than a week ago, all make her showing on the campaign trail thus far all that more impressive.

The bar is now set so high that Palin faces an incredible challenge for the remainder of the campaign and her career: continue meeting the elevated expectations.

Yet, I'm confident Palin will do just fine. As long as she holds on tight to her integrity - staying true to her values, her personality, her womanhood ... as long as she emphasizes her strengths while acknowledging her weaknesses.

In the primaries, American voters rejected candidates who appeared to "play" leader, rather than act like one — hiding their true selves and letting the media bait them into running from their supposed flaws.

Palin brings the authenticity to politics that Americans demand more so in a YouTube, people-powered media environment, where everyone is the media and regular people become celebrities in an instant.

Almost every child dreams of being a star at some point, and the Internet makes that possible for more of us. If you have what it takes, you don't need to be part of an elite club or have required connections. Be confident, set goals, reach your potential, stay true to yourself, take care of your community and there's no limit to what you can do. Read: Vice President, United States, Alaska Governor, Mom.

Sarah Palin. A new hero for women, and men, across America.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.


Sent by David Child | 7:29 PM | 9-4-2008

I find it hard to believe that a woman who has consistently voted against women's rights and slashed funding for teen mother programs (especially since her daughter is, ironically, soon to be one)in her home state can be hailed a "feminist hero."

As Merriam-Webster defines "feminism" as the following:

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

Explain to me how Governor Sarah Palin fits the bill of "feminist." I'm all ears. And keep in mind - that definition isn't mine. Here's a wonderful article from NOW about women supporting women's rights: http://www.now.org/press/08-08/08-29.html

Sent by Erika Napoletano | 7:49 PM | 9-4-2008

This is possibly the more moronic of articles written I've read lately. Someone needs to understand feminism from a historical and personal understanding, not from a contrived position. My favorite is the summing up of feminism in the 60's and 70's. Did you make that up on your own?

Sent by Adele Edmund | 10:20 PM | 9-4-2008

good post Erika.

Sent by Sean Kinshella | 1:05 PM | 9-5-2008

For many voters, women will not reach the summit of equality 'til one gets elected president.

Sent by ScoreOneForTheGirls | 1:53 PM | 9-7-2008

Sarah Palin's speech was not all that people are making it out to be. Hillary Clinton could outspeak Palin any day. I saw no compassion in Palin's speach. I was giving her a chance originally, but all I saw was a spiteful person putting down people who help other people. I heard nothing about the issues and about real change. I honestly was not impressed.

Does it really make women equal if we elect a pawn for the party they are a part of? The thought of having a woman in the white house is exciting to me, but I would hope that it would be the right woman who will take a stand for all Americans.

All Sarah Palin did for me, was prove that the Republican party continues to lie to the American public to get what they want. It gave me even more of a reason to vote for Obama/Biden.

Check out the facts about her speech at factcheck.org.

Sent by Kristen | 7:47 PM | 9-7-2008

Fellow Voters,

Blink now! Pause a moment and make sure that your clear vision isn't clouded. Nothing has confirmed my support for Barack Obama and Joe Biden more urgently than the fear I experienced after hearing Sarah Palin say, in her interview with Charles Gibson on ABC:

..you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink."

The idea of an under-experienced candidate, an elder heartbeat away from the presidency, pledging to act quickly, impulsively, without pausing to gather the wisdom of her advisors, makes me fear for the safety of our families. It chills me to hear her vow (in an echo of the process that brought us the Bush Doctrine, with which she clearly isn't familiar) not to consider a range of divergent views from which a true leader could select the best course of action.

By choosing Sarah Palin as his potential Vice-President and as our potential future President, John McCain is proposing an inexcusable endangerment to the country he claims to put first.

Please, fellow voters, let's reject the idea that our leaders should make decisions quickly, rashly, according to narrow personal beliefs rather than according to thoughtful consideration of a plurality of expert views and public cries.

Sarah Palin is--to many--an appealing persona, she could break a barrier all women want to see disassembled, and she's benefitting right now from her seat atop a cyclone of sudden celebrity.

But let's spend more time and thought choosing our leaders than John McCain spent interviewing his ticket-mate. Let's blink before we vote against our own economic interests, against the judgment required to avoid unwarranted war, against the hope of undoing the damage of the past eight years.

Blink, Baby, Blink!

Sent by Jen Cardillo | 4:13 PM | 9-12-2008

Great post Jen...

I guess I'm not the only one who thinks Ms Finn's article is delusional, not to mention totally unbelievable!

Sent by Kate | 12:30 PM | 9-14-2008