Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shallow Stereotypes R Us

I wrote this post back in September. I'm not sure now why I didn't post it then, but I didn't. When going back through my drafts though I found it, read it, and thought it ought to be published because I like what it says. I wrote this fairly soon after McCain selected Palin as his VP candidate. I didn't know as much about her then as I learned later. This was pretty much my "initial reaction" to her after her first week or so on the campaign trail. And I'm posting this because I'm tired of all the stuff I've been talking about lately and wanted a change of pace, a different focus. This post is certainly that.

The whole thing about Sarah Palin is disturbing to me. I want to like her. I want to be proud that a woman is in her position. I want to be able to say “Yay! A woman might make it to the White House!” But I can’t. I just can’t.

It has nothing to do with whether or not she tried to ban books. It has nothing to do with her continuing to tout the claim that she pulled the plug on the bridge to nowhere while failing to mention that she only did that after the federal government pulled some of the funding away. No, it has nothing to do with any of that.

Here, for me, is what it does have to do with. I do not trust Sarah Palin. I may be an oddball, but I never trust a woman who wears enough makeup to make me notice that she wears makeup. In my experience, most women who wear a goodly amount of makeup are, in many ways, more style than substance. They worry more about the packaging than the contents. Sorry, but I want someone with true intelligence and leadership skills and less polish and style. (Yes, I realize that Obama has a lot of polish and style. I never said he was perfect, nor did I ever say that I totally trust him either. At least he has been able to show me some of his intelligence to help me get over it.) The women I have known in my lifetime with the most intelligence and the most wisdom and the ones I would trust most to have the power to start nuclear war generally don’t give a crap about what they look like.

I definitely stereotype women right from the get go. Do I see your lipstick before I can clearly see your face? I pretty much write you off as having little sense, and you’re still a half block away. As you get closer do I notice that you have on eye shadow, eyebrow penciled in eyebrows, a little too much blush, so much mascara and eye liner that you’re scaring small children? I roll my eyes and wonder just who you think might be impressed by that. As we meet face to face, can I clearly see that you are wearing foundation and/or powder? If it is obvious then I chalk you up as one of those women, the ones who are all about looks and spend more time reading Redbook or Cosmo than Time or Newsweek. Now I'm not saying Palin's makeup is garish, not at all. Most women, those who wear makeup, would probably think Palin's is well done. I don't. I don't want to notice that you have makeup on at all, and with Palin it is obvious to me that she does.

Is it right for me to stereotype women this way? Probably not. Yet I do. I do, and then you have to prove yourself to me that you are better than what your makeup and perfectly coiffed hair says to me. So far Palin has not proven herself to me. She has failed to make me see beyond the dolled up librarian look that she seems to have all the time. She looks way too Republican and probably appeals to Republicans because of her look.

I think of the women I see in my church whom I admire most. They are neat, well groomed, but down to earth. They wear little if any makeup. Their hair is neat, but in an easy wash and wear kind of style. Their clothing looks comfy but nice, and they wear nice comfortable-looking sensible shoes. These women in no way look dowdy, just comfortable. They project that they are comfortable in their own skin and have no need for pretension. They are self-confident and more concerned with substance than style.

Hmm, no wonder I was such a Hillary supporter.

1 comment:

Therese in Heaven said...

The really sad irony of all of this is that by judging a woman purely on her looks or for having a different way of presenting herself than you do, you are being very similar to what you accuse them of: superficial. This isn't to say that you're a superficial person, but this approach to other women IS. I'm not trying to be mean, but can't you see how wrong it is to judge anyone on their appearance alone? It is sad commentary on women that we - as a group - mentally tear each other down before ever giving someone a fair chance to prove herself to us.

There were things that I didn't care for about Sarah Palin, but she is NOT stuffy and pretentious at all. On the campaign trail she always looked immaculate, but if you look at pictures of her back home living her real day to day life, she was completely ordinary and down to earth, like someone I'd meet on a playdate with my kids (and I'd frankly like to see Hillary Clinton working on a fishing boat!). I can only image how she would've been criticized as being a dowdy hick were she to appear in public without make-up or wearing casual clothing. She was in a complete no-win situation, and I was frankly appalled by how women in particular were completely hateful in their spiteful, catty remarks about her. I think Camilla Paglia, a most definite liberal and Obama supporter, gave about the only
fair and unbiased treatment from the Left that Palin ever got.