"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Will Working Women Embrace Sarah?

Typically, I choose to watch events like Sarah Palin's convention speech on C-Span, in virtual isolation without the filter of the media's chatter. Last night I was only able to catch partial snippets of Palin's speech live and out in public. This provided the opportunity to gauge the reaction of average citizens.

As the Palin selection has been viewed as a play for women voters, the reactions of the women during the speech were quite interesting, if only anectdotal. Most were saying such "un-PC" things like, "How can she do that to her 17-year-old daughter? Putting her on a national stage like that?" Or, "How can she talk about a special needs child needing more attention and then go out on the road campaigning for the next two months?" The consensus emerged, "No mother I know would make these choices."

This morning, Mika Brzezinski over at MSNBC's Morning Joe is gushing over how Palin spoke to her as a professional woman. She berated Lawrence O'Donnell for saying, "There are lots of middle class families wondering, 'who's taking care of all those kids?'" She was completely offended and described the question as unfair and sexist.

This may indeed be true. However, I think there are LOTS of Americans - male and female - looking at this family and trying to imagine if they would have made the same decisions. Polling this accurately is probably impossible because the questions regarding family are personal and complex.

Despite decades of striving forward, women still bear the brunt of our society's expectations when it comes to parenting. This is why some professional women are going to be offended by questions they believe (perhaps rightly) shouldn't be asked of a female candidate. At the same time, other working women are likely to ask the questions I heard last night.

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