This analysis from the Wall Street Journal nails it. (H/T ECM)
For many liberal women, Palin threatens their sexual identity, which is bound up with their politics in a way that it is not for any other group (possibly excepting gays, though that is unrelated to today’s topic).
An important strand of contemporary liberalism is feminism. As a label, “feminist” is passé; outside the academic fever swamps, you will find few women below Social Security age who embrace it.
That is because what used to be called feminism–the proposition that women deserve equality before the law and protection from discrimination–is almost universally accepted today. Politically speaking, a woman is the equal of a man. No woman in public life better symbolizes this than Sarah Palin–especially not Hillary Clinton, the left’s favorite icon. No one can deny Mrs. Clinton’s accomplishments, but neither can one escape crediting them in substantial part to her role as the wife of a powerful man.
But there is more to feminism than political and legal equality. Men and women are intrinsically unequal in ways that are ultimately beyond the power of government to remediate. That is because nature is unfair. Sexual reproduction is far more demanding, both physically and temporally, for women than for men. Men simply do not face the sort of children-or-career conundrums that vex women in an era of workplace equality.
Except for the small minority of women with no interest in having children, this is an inescapable problem, one that cannot be obviated by political means. Aspects of it can, however, be ameliorated by technology–most notably contraception, which at least gives women considerable control over the timing of reproduction.
As a political matter, contraception is essentially uncontroversial today, which is to say that any suggestion that adult women be legally prevented from using birth control is outside the realm of serious debate. The same cannot be said of abortion, and that is at the root of Palinoia.
To the extent that “feminism” remains controversial, it is because of the position it takes on abortion: not just that a woman should have the “right to choose,” but that this is a matter over which reasonable people cannot disagree–that to favor any limitations on the right to abortion, or even to acknowledge that abortion is morally problematic, is to deny the basic dignity of women.
To a woman who has internalized this point of view, Sarah Palin’s opposition to abortion rights is a personal affront, and a deep one. It doesn’t help that Palin lives by her beliefs. To the contrary, it intensifies the offense.
It used to be a trope for liberal interviewers to try to unmask hypocrisy by asking antiabortion politicians–male ones, of course–what they would do if their single teen daughters got pregnant. It’s a rude question, but Palin, whose 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy coincided with Mom’s introduction to the nation, answered it in real life.
Let me explain what I think the problem is in plain English. Feminists want to blame their failures on the men. They have invested everything in the belief that the world is inhospitable to women. The only way for women to succeed according to feminism, is to whine and complain and be a victim, and to make yourself into a man and deny your femininity and kill your own offspring. Sarah Palin didn’t do any of that. Yet she was very nearly Vice President. She doesn’t hate men, and she doesn’t kill babies. Her success is the counter-example that shows that all of feminism is just self-serving lies that feminists invent in order to blame men for their own failure to succeed, marry and have children. THAT is why they hate Sarah Palin. They hated Bush because he was a Christian, and they hate Palin because she is pro-male, pro-marriage, and pro-life.
And as you all know, I do not want Palin to be President in 2012. I want Michele Bachmann to President in 2012, who, as a homeschooling mother, is the stronger purer form of what Sarah Palin represents. She’s 100% feminity wedded to 100% conservatism. She is a walking refutation of feminist griveance-mongering. You don’t have to be a feminist in order to succeed as a woman. You don’t have to hate men. You don’t have to hate marriage. And you don’t have to kill children. You can love men, love marriage, and love children, and you can still go straight to the top.
UPDATE: Robert McCain has more.
Taranto is very close to something here, and I wonder if he doesn’t push the argument to its logical conclusion because he is afraid that he would be denounced by hysterical women — yes, even Republican women, even some “conservative” women — if he spoke the blunt truth.
One of the necessary consequences of the Modern Professional Feminist Career Woman Lifestyle is that it tends to limit women’s procreative capacity. It isn’t merely that feminism’s embrace of the Culture of Death elevates abortion to sacramental status. Rather, it is that feminist notions of Progress require that women foresake (or at least postpone) the love-marriage-motherhood model of happiness in pursuit of careerist equality. Even if a woman does not actually go all-out in following the anti-phallocratic ideology — “Feminism is the theory; lesbianism is the practice,” to quote Ti-Grace Atkinson — her pursuit of the career woman lifestyle inevitably restricts her reproductive opportunities.
By the time she finishes college and grad school and establishes herself firmly en route to an upper-middle-class socioeconomic future, the the Modern Professional Feminist Career Woman is 30 or older. Even if she could meet Mister Right, she’s not going to abandon her career — for she has been taught to consider life meaningless without a professional career — in favor of domesticity. Ergo, even if she marries and decides she can afford a baby, she’ll have to hire someone to raise it for her while she returns to the job from which she derives her sense of purpose and identity.
He’s one of the few bloggers who gets deep into these moral issues. All my Christian readers should bookmark his blog.