[Though this post isn't explicitly about overt sexism being used against Sarah Palin, there is, in my estimation, a strong undercurrent of "shitty mother with the pregnant daughter" running through this "joke," so I'm filing it in this series nonetheless.—MM.]
A friend sent me a link to this picture earlier*—a manip of the Juno movie poster with the faces of Bristol Palin and her significant other Photoshopped on, along with Gov. Sarah Palin's comment, "Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support." Cue up another post for the We're Not Rush Limbaugh Palin Watch.
[Click to embiggen.]
Yes, Gov. Palin's abstinence-only sex "education" position is reprehensible. Yes, it keeps minors uninformed and results in higher rates of STIs and teen pregnancies. Yes, it actively foments ignorance. However, these are all reasons to criticize Sarah Palin's positions and question whether or not McCain-Palin is the duo you want to see in the White House. These are not reasons to drag two minors into the fray as a means of slamming Bristol Palin and her mother. What's the difference between this manip and Rush Limbaugh's harassment of Chelsea Clinton? Slut-shaming Bristol Palin and hurling classist insults at her family doesn't actually attack the candidates on the issues; it just attacks the people.
The fauxgressives engaging in these tactics are falling into the trap of a Pyrrhic victory. They think they've caught out the hypocrisies and failings of the abstinence-only position and so there's a nice dose of self-righteousness in their taunting. They get to enjoy tearing Bristol Palin apart and justify it as being liberal and defending comprehensive sex ed. Sexism, moral superiority, and ostensibly standing up for liberal policies—they get to have their cake and eat it, too! (How many of these fauxgressives-turned-pro-choice-champions were recently wielding the BUT ROE! stick, I wonder?) But at what personal cost?
I understand the allure of engaging in these attacks; there's a sick glee in being able to cast off one's principles and indulge in the sexist and classist slurs that should be verboten. It doesn't hurt that the attack dogs on the Right wouldn't refrain from just these kinds of manips if the situation were reversed. However, as Misty says, "[P]rinciples aren't reserved just for people we like, agree with, and would 'do for us' in kind." Being anti-sexist and pro-choice means being anti-sexist and pro-choice for all people, whether or not we like them, whether or not it's convenient, whether or not they'd return the favor. There are better, more pertinent ways to criticize the McCain-Palin ticket.
And y'know? Framing Ms. Palin's pregnancy as a "comedy" and "bumps along [the campaign's] way" is just wrong.
*It was a tinypic URL, so I'm not sure where the manip was originally posted. I'm not sure that it matters, though, since half the manip's utility is viral spread, as people forward the links and revel in the, "Hah! Got those hypocritical Republicans! Muaha!" without questioning that they're jumping up and down on the bodies of minors.
[Sarah Palin Sexism Watch: Parts One, Two., Three, Four, Five, Six. We defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we endorse her or her politics, but because that's how feminism works.]