Short response: No, she’s not.
This topic comes up because of a couple of talk-show hosts recycling the usual myths of feminists being evil, man-hating, child-hating, family-hating, selfish narcissists who want free birth control for their orgies and worship the nanny state (because big government is all the fault of women!) in contrast to “the Sarah Palin kind of feminism that wants to have a husband” and of course, look hot doing it in contrast to the ugly liberal feminists.
It’s not original with these guys. The idea that right-wing women are hotter than feminists and that this somehow proves something (or that feminists don’t laugh enough when they’re sexually harassed) goes back a long way. Kathleen Parker invokes it, for example, in a column which compares a hot right-wing, rather Palinish female image to the sad losers who follow feminism.
As I note at the link, Palin’s no feminist. It’s not because of she’s right-wing per se: You can obviously have conservative views on a lot of points and still believe women should be treated equally with men.
But in Palin’s case, there’s the fact when she was mayor of Wasilla, rape victims had to pay for their own rape-test kits says a lot (though FactCheck says it may not have been Palin’s fault). And she doesn’t seem to do more than lip service the idea of equal pay: Yes, of course women should get equal pay, but making it easier to sue if they don’t? Terrible idea!
And, of course, she dismissed Hilary Clinton’s talk of sexism in the 2008 campaign by asserting that undercuts all women. Palin did not, however, bat an eye when people screamed sexism at anyone who criticized herself.
So until I see solid proof otherwise, i count her as less a feminist than a typical right-wing antifeminist in the vein of Phyliss Schaffly, Kathleen Parker, Charlotte Allen, Ann Coulter, Beverly LaHaye and Michelle Bachmann. All of them professional women with high-powered careers (Schaffly came to fame opposing the ERA on the ground women should stay home with the babies. She did it while traveling all over the country as a political activist), all of them despising feminists who advocate for this option for women in general.
In other sexist matters:
•In the wake of the backlash against the Republican war on women and the Republicans’ “legitimate rape” bullshit, political consultants have a simple solution: Repubs shouldn’t discuss rape, period. If that doesn’t work, just explain how you feel the victim’s pain.
•Of course, some Repubs won’t keep their mouth shut: Miss. Governor Phil Bryant has openly admitted regulations on abortion clinics are intended to shut them down, not keep women safe.
•Harassing women on the street: For some guys, it’s a measure of their manhood.
•A WaPo pundit on a football-related rape at Notre Dame: “How many predators would have to be on the team before you’d no longer feel like cheering?”
•A Catholic blogger suggests the recurring issue is whether women’s bodies belong to them or to their community.
•Ah, the brilliant insight of Tucker Carlson, who thinks he’s being smart in saying that if Obama opposes domestic abuse, he can’t also support sending women into combat (which I find a variation of “Well if women go out looking for sex, why should they object if they get raped?”). More right-wing gibberish on lifting the combat ban from George Will. However, it looks like the massive wave of outrage is not materializing outside the usual suspects.
•Echidne discusses Concerned Women for America and its opposition to the US ratifying a treaty on the rights of women: My god, the treaty people actually called on Libya to reinterpret its sexist reading of the Koran! Not for the first time, American conservatives sound a lot like Islamic extremists.
Short response: No, she’s not.