Feminism has rich and disputable history and ground philosophy. It deals with the key issues of women’s rights, or rather the female’s liberation from patriarchy. However, nowadays the biggest problem in terms of women’s rights is the balance between career and family. This issue becomes the starting point for the discussion inside feministic circles as it is considered quite controversial whether those who maintain the women’s responsibility of reproduction can be accepted as the representatives of the feministic movement. The article “Depoliticizing Feminism: Frontier Mythology and Sarah Palin’s ‘The Rise of The Mama Grizzlies’” by Katie L. Gibson and Amy L. Heyse examines the main consequences of representation of the feministic philosophy from the perspective of masculine myth (particularly the American frontier myth) in Sarah Palin’s conservative feminism rhetoric in order to define its role in undermining the basic principles of the given movement.
At the beginning of the article, the authors identify the notion of conservative feminism stating that this movement has nothing in common with the essential feminism movements and can be considered as the oxymoron. The primary principle taken as the basis of analysis is the rhetoric of choice. The main idea discussed is the accuracy of the usage of the word “feminism” in terms of Sarah Palin’s exhortation to the maintain the Mama Grizzly’s image as the initial and the only right point of the development of a real feministic movement. With the personal nostalgia and memories Palin introduces the audience to the myth of American frontier that represents the picture of strong woman capable of bearing any life struggles without the need of any protection. Authors of the article criticize such attitude as it nullifies the feministic challenge to patriarchy. They show how Palin represents mainstream feministic movement as un-American fraud thing that unites weak and unconfident women. By analyzing the main ideas of Palin’s conservative philosophy authors reveal its accordance with masculine script that pts women’s mission in the limits of motherhood. In the end of the article, the authors identify Plin’s biological essentialism as destructive notion that tends to ruin the principles of real feministic movement as well as deprive Palin’s philosophy of the right to be considered as the feministic issue.
One of the most controversial ideas presented in the article is the Palin’s attitude to the gender oppression issue. In my opinion, it is the most significant problem in terms of which Palin’s philosophy cannot be considered as feministic because she denies an essential postulate of feminism – the victimization of women. I agree with authors’ attempt to reveal the ignorance and cruelty regarding the victims of gender violence in Alaska. As Brantin Mock indicates, “the protection of women’s rights was not in priority for her” due to the fact that the woman, being the mayor of Wasilla City, submitted the bill to raped women for forensic-medical examination (Gibson & Heyse, 2014, p.107).
It is obvious that Palin underestimates the violence against women when speaking about the masculine idea of the frontier framework. To my mind, such ideology has totally materialistic basis. Thus, public support for motherhood – from nurseries to maternity leave – are important to those who have financial problems and necessity to return to work. Regarding the “rich and successful women” (like Palin), tax cuts for the top category will give a woman more money than any subsidy. Even the story with accounts of rape becomes apparent in this logic. Indeed, for the “women of the right circle” rape is less frequent event than for others. Still, even if that happens, fifteen hundred dollars is not so much money for them. However, a tax cut by saving on the victims of violence contributes to it favorably. Thus, “Sarah Palin’s ideology” is a convenient system for Palin’s and many other women, whose interests differ from those of traditional feminists.
In general, I agree with the author’s proof against the feministic nature of Palin’s rhetoric. Althoughh Palin considers herself a feminist and appears in Katie Couric CBS Roubric, she has nothing in common with it. The authors provide Jessica Valenti’s opinion that feminism is not anything except the movement that aims at female’s benefit as the primary goal in all spheres of social life (Gibson & Heyse, 2014, p.113). That is why the usage of this term in order to signify any movement connected with the women issue has to be examined on the basis of its relevance to the initial feministic concepts. Apparently, Palin’s philosophy can be considered more as the pseudo feminism determined to undermine the movement in general. It is important to remember that those who call themselves “feminists” should promote the rights of women to ensure their safety in priority. However, Palin perverts the meaning of the word “feminist” in her political interests to obtain the support of the wide audience.
I disagree with the authors’ position about the dismissing of motherhood as the possible feature of the potential feminist and do not support the statement that motherhood “reduces women to their wombs” (Gibson & Heyse, 2014, p.111). The image of Mama Grizzlie in terms of bearing of children does involve positive meaning. In my opinion, the denial of the value of motherhood and marriage can lead to devastating consequences for the woman who has natural desire to raise a child, but is forced to work because she is artificially convinced that labor is the only way “to find herself”. Diana Berth in her article describes the bright example of such career-motherhood contradiction that put a woman in the stressful situation, which could possibly be solved with the help of support from the side of the husband and the job administration (Barth, 2012).
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The article “Depoliticizing Feminism: Frontier Mythology and Sarah Palin’s “The Rise of The Mama Grizzlies”” by Katie L. Gibson and Amy L. Heyse reveals the pseudo feministic ideology of Sarah Palin. Authors analyze Palin’s philosophy in the context of gender oppression, motherhood and choice rhetoric.
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