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Palin & Sexism


As someone who has defended traditional child-rearing and celebrated stay-at-moms, I’m not as quick as some others to attribute questions about how Palin can manage her responsibilities and her family to rank sexism. In most instances, it’s coming from people you’d expect to hail an ambitious working mother–so I’m guessing it’s more partisan than sexist. The fact is that young children need their mothers and institutional day care isn’t great for kids. Now, as for Palin, she appears to have held it together just fine, thanks to having a job where she can bring her infant (she’s governor, so she can do what she wants, including nursing during teleconferences), a tight support network of parents and sisters (“The Palins and Heaths operate as one unit. They are not individuals,” a friend told The Washington Post), a husband willing to pick up child-rearing duties, and her own evidently boundless energy and a super-human ability to multi-task. Good for her. But as Katty Kay and Claire Shipman wrote in the Wall Street Journal the other day, most women have given up the cliched feminist dream of “having it all” and are willing to “trade responsibility, title–even paycheck–for more time and more control.” So this might be another way in which Palin is exceptional.


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