September 1st, 2008

breaking bad

Palin's dilemma

I don't know whether you have heard, but there is a theory that Sarah Palin - McCain's presidential running mate - has misrepresented a baby actually born to her teenage daughter as her own youngest child. Such secret adoption is a very common strategy among women in oppressive male dominated cultures, one of the many secret things they have to do to survive. It's rare in this country nowadays, but I am sure it is still widespread in Bible and Koran belts around the world.

I am by no means convinced that this has actually happened, and I think the way the story has been handled (see the daily Kos here) is misogynist and creepy. In particular the photos gloating on her teenage daughter's rounded belly are unacceptable. The left should not resort to these tactics, ever.

Not to say it happened, but I think this type of thing is understandable. Women are expected to shoulder the burdens of impossible sexual standards, which men simply don't have to worry about because women will have the secret abortions, the secret adoptions, all these things women have done for centuries to allow families to survive in patriarchy. Almost every woman in a religious society is complicit in sinning against the rules of the community, whether by earning money, or going on the pill or whatever. In fact religions like that are based on shame and fear associated with normal human coping activities. If Palin didn't do it, we can be sure that other respectable women have done such things, and will continue to do so for ever.

So I do not condemn Palin for flying while in labour (if that's what she did) or pretending to be in labour (if that's what she did). Left wing, liberal and humanist values extend to everyone, or what? What is the alternative?

Anyway, I even feel a bit dodgy about reporting and linking to the controversy, but I don't know how to make the point without doing that.