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In response to charges of sexism against feminist activists from the right-wing media (what alternate universe have we wandered into?), Ann over at feministing writes:

The real sexism against Palin . . . has been the flip-side of the sexism against Hillary Clinton. A sadly perfect illustration of the Catch-22 women face. You’re either a scary, ugly, old, mannish harpy. Or a ditzy, perky, fuckable bimbo. . . The sexist remarks about Clinton and Palin are like our hate mail (“you ugly man-hater!” followed by “gimme a blow job!”) writ large.

Rebecca Hyman, writing at AlterNet, expands on these same themes:

It’s obvious that the caricature of Palin to which we’re being exposed is the inverse of the caricature of Hillary Clinton. Even if you’d missed the first half of the campaign, all you’d have to do is flip the script. If Palin is “better suited to be a calendar model for a local auto body shop than a holder of the second-highest office in the land,” then Clinton is a dumpy, frigid, post-menopausal, castrating bluestocking who only got women’s votes because she was a victim of her husband’s indiscriminate — but hell, with that kind of wife? — sexual transgressions. At least the Right gets the “sexy librarian”; those of us on the other side are stuck with the saccharine Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsuits.

There are many reasons to be against McCain/Palin as the presidential ticket — not the least of which is their own sexist politics — but I’m proud that feminist writers are insisting on a more nuanced understanding of how sexism is playing out in this race, and how all women — Sarah Palin included! — are judged according to narrow, gender-based stereotypes.

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