Seriously, y’all – how many times does it have to be said? Sarah Palin is not a feminist. I thought we had covered Palin’s gross appropriation of feminism and feminist rhetoric during the election, but media coverage of Palin’s recent speech for the anti-choice PAC the Susan B. Anthony List has reignited the debate. (Incidentally, the whole thing about Anthony being pro-life has been debunked.)
“But putting that aside, I feel a duty (a feminist duty, in fact) to say this about Palin’s declaration: If she has the guts to call herself a feminist, then she’s entitled to be accepted as one.”
So, simply declaring oneself a feminist is all that it takes to be a feminist? Methinks not. Under this standard of feminism anyone – a racist, a misogynist, etc – could be a feminist just because they identify as such. Ridiculous. Daum’s argument also presupposes that it took “guts” for Palin to identify as a feminist, something that’s so often maligned in U.S. culture.
Now, there is no doubt that there is a backlash against feminism and the women who identify with the movement – but that backlash is largely confined to feminists who actually espouse and fight for feminist values. Conservative and anti-feminist women who have appropriated the feminist label – like Palin or organizations like the Independent Women’s Forum – only benefit from using the word. Because, they claim, they’re the “real” feminists. (The “feminists” who want to limit women’s reproductive rights, cut funding to VAWA and claim that pay inequity doesn’t exist.) These self-proclaimed “feminists” are using the word because they know it has power and because they know it resonates with women. But when it comes to actually implementing policy that’s feminist, or fighting for women’s rights…well, not so much.