September 12, 2008, 0:00 a.m.
By Jonah Goldberg
Whether or not Sarah Palin helps John McCain win the election, her greatest work may already be behind her. She’s exposed the feminist con job.
Don’t take my word for it. Feminists have been screaming like stuck pigs 24/7 since Palin was announced as McCain’s running mate. (Are pig metaphors completely verboten now?)
Feminist author Cintra Wilson writes in Salon (a house organ of the angry left) that the notion of Palin as vice president is “akin to ideological brain rape.” Presumably just before the nurse upped the dosage on her medication, Wilson continued, “Sarah Palin and her virtual burqa have me and my friends retching into our handbags. She’s such a power-mad, backwater beauty-pageant casualty, it’s easy to write her off and make fun of her. But in reality I feel as horrified as a ghetto Jew watching the rise of National Socialism.”
And that’s one of the nicer things she had to say. Really.
On Tuesday, Salon ran one article calling Palin a dominatrix (“a whip-wielding mistress”) and another labeling her a sexually repressed fundamentalist no different from the Muslim fanatics and terrorists of Hamas. Make up your minds, folks. Is she a seductress or a sex-a-phobe?
But this any-weapon-near-to-hand approach is an obvious sign of how scared the Palin-o-phobes are.
Gloria Steinem, the grand mufti of feminism, issued a fatwa anathematizing Palin. A National Organization for Women spokeswoman proclaimed Palin more of a man than a woman. Wendy Doniger, a feminist academic at the University of Chicago, writes of Palin in Newsweek: “Her greatest hypocrisy is in her pretense that she is a woman.”
It’s funny. The left has been whining about having their patriotism questioned for so long it feels like they started griping in the Mesozoic era. Feminists have argued for decades that womanhood is an existential and metaphysical state of enlightenment. But they have no problem questioning whether women they hate are really women at all.
Since we know from basic science that Palin is a woman — she’s had five kids, for starters — it’s clear that these ideological thugs aren’t talking about actual, you know, facts. They’re doing what people of totalitarian mind-sets always do: bully heretics, demonize enemies, whip the troops into line.
The academic feminist left has scared the dickens out of mainstream men and women for so long, the liberal establishment is terrified to contradict feminists’ nigh-upon-theological conviction that female authenticity is measured by one’s blind loyalty to left-wing talking points. This is a version of the Marxist doctrine of “false consciousness,” which holds that you aren’t an authentic member of the proletariat unless you agree with Marxism.
It works like this: If you don’t agree with feminist scolds, you’re not a real woman, even if you’re a very feminine working mom. But even if you’re an actual man — never mind a childless feminist who looks like a Bulgarian weightlifter in drag — you’re a “real woman” solely because you nod your head like a windup clapping monkey every time you read the latest editorial in Ms. Recall how they christened Bill Clinton the “first female president,” too.
But here’s the fun part. Feminists are hooked on their own Kool-Aid; they actually believe the stuff they say. The shrill, angry women you see on MSNBC claiming to speak for all women actually think they do. But they don’t. They speak for a few left-leaning women in faculty lounges, editorial boardrooms and that’s about it.
Mainstream liberals have been in captivity for so long, eagerly accepting their ritual beatings, that they’ve gotten Stockholm Syndrome and convinced themselves that Gloria Steinem and Co. are the authentic voices of women everywhere.
The reality is that there is an actual reality out there, and it doesn’t look anything like what feminists see beyond the rims of their ideological blinders.
For instance, immediately after the Palin announcement, the priestesses not only ruled it “sexist” for McCain to pick a woman but also said it was strategically dumb — “insulting to women!” — to think any real women would switch support from the beatified Obama to that old devil McCain.
Well, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, there’s been a 20-point swing among white women from Obama-Biden to McCain-Palin. Did this “ideological brain rape” suddenly induce an epidemic of false consciousness?
Of course not. Nor are women mindlessly switching loyalties because there’s a woman on the ticket. What the Palin pick has demonstrated, however, is that the Feminist-Industrial Complex is a fraud. Disagreeing with self-described feminists doesn’t mean you’re anti-woman. Usually it just means you’re sensible.
And for that lesson alone, we should all be grateful.
— Jonah Goldberg is the author of Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning.
© 2008 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
— Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online.