A lot of people have said "I don't know if it's fair to look at Sarah Palin's sexuality the way people are — I just don't know if it's sexist or appropriate. Why can't we just treat her like a human being?" Okay, I'm going to tell you why it's appropriate for us to gloat and delve into every detail.
#1. Sexual politics is important. It matters.
#2. Palin has made priggery, prudery and sexual hypocrisy a centerpiece of her law enforcement and public policy directives, as both the mayor of the beautiful Wasilla, Alaska, and the governor of the state.
She ran on a sex-is-icky platform. People who lived in Wasilla remember when being mayor was almost considered a thankless job, like being the town plumber. ("Who wants to deal with all the bullshit down at the city dump and the electrical wiring?") And then Sarah came along, with her Pentecostal church program behind her, saying "I'm not going to talk about issues like whose dog is pooping on whose lawn. I'm going to talk about stopping abortion now." That's the kind of stuff she ran on, and she got a bunch of people who'd never voted before to march down from her little church and put her into office.
And then Mayor Palin cut funding for rape test kits. It's like, "If you want to complain about being raped, sweetheart, well, you can just get out your checkbook." Because the city of Wasilla, no matter how much money they had in revenue from their oil, wasn't going to spend it on you. So Sarah has made sex a topic by her legislation and her lobbying and her speeches.
But here's the most controversial part, and it's just as rich as any other aspect of her candidacy: we finally have an image of a powerful, fertile, virile woman on the national stage. And it's a female image that's been almost entirely absent from America's pop culture. When you think of women who've been in the news, two kinds come to mind. One we'll call the Paris Hilton model — or Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears — this illiterate, anorexic, or drug-addicted pop tart. "She's so rich. Everybody wants to fuck her. She's so special." This, as many mothers wring their hands saying "This is the role model for our daughters? This is who they see as someone they should look up to?" It's been a travesty.
The other kind of strong woman on a national stage has been an older woman like Hillary Clinton. In some ways, you can say that's how sexism worked against her. Every time she got a little ballsy, a little rip-roaring — every time she showed her fierceness and her strength — she was bound to be called a Wellesley lesbian, that somehow she wasn't enough for Bill Clinton, that all those girls she went to college with she was secretly fucking. Now all of this has just been a big pile of right-wing baloney, but it's what happened to Hillary Clinton. She has never allowed herself, or been encouraged to show her sexual side, because it's been considered something that would get her in trouble — like there was no positive way to show it. She had to refrain from being a ball-buster for fear of being dyke-baited.
So here comes Sarah Palin, who apparently is not in menopause at all. She just had a baby a few months ago, so her heterosexuality is just bleeding out all over the place. She's just rolled out of bed! That's the impression we get from this woman. They can't get her on the dyke thing. She's up in Alaska, shooting guns and taking names! So she's gotten a pass on this. And she is irresistible!
We simply haven't had an overtly fecund, butch, straight-woman sex symbol in so long. She's like Annie Oakley with her six-shooters and her polar bears, her caribou dressing and her moose stew. She's got five kids hanging off of her, and you're like "Hells bells, that woman can fuck in the morning, go out for a long hike on the Arctic tundra, take down a polar bear or two, and be back in time to pass some new creationist legislation." She just kicks ass. I mean, she's just so — mmm. So like a powerful woman.
It's exciting, isn't it?
I think for every woman who's been appalled at her politics and the platform she's been running on — and this certainly includes me — well, there's this little part of me that's thinking "Oh, If only she was on my side. If only I could kidnap Sarah Palin and just lick her pussy for a few hours, I think we could just work this whole thing out." Do you know how many lesbians are discussing this? My friend Marga Gomez, who's a fantastic dyke comedian, has this line where she says "Sarah Palin? She's having my baby. And we've already named her Drill." If only we could move her political viewpoint around just a little.
I was talking to my good friend Christina the other night, and when I told her my kidnapping/cunnilingus fantasy about brainwashing Sarah Palin, she said "I don't think it'd really be that hard. I think she really does like us. I think she's ready for anything. She just wants to be a winner. That's all this girl cares about." When she was Sarah Barracuda on the high school basketball team, when she was in the beauty contest — you can just imagine how mad she was that she didn't win Miss Alaska and only won Miss Congeniality.
I don't think she's very congenial. She wants to win. And in Alaska, that meant siding with a certain kind of fundamentalist church. At first, it meant bucking the Republican establishment without leaving the Republican party entirely. It was the same thing with her church. If you go onto YouTube and look at that Wasilla Pentecostal church she belonged to — I mean, they make Ted Haggard look like a sober Lutheran Minister. And when she ran for governor, all of a sudden she stopped going there every Sunday, because it was just a little too wacky. You know, she had a private talk with them and said, "I really love you guys, but it's a little too theatrical for my political career."
What have we learned about Sarah Palin's sex life so far? The most important thing is that, like every other single person in Alaska, she seems to have had premarital sex. You can look at the elopement date, and then you look at when their first son, Track, was born less than 8 months later. All of her children seem to have had premarital sex — all the ones who've gone through puberty, at least. This is not unusual in America, and especially not in Alaska, where you have all these long, long months, a very narrow economy, and not the biggest educational system in the world. There's not a lot to do except fuck, drink, hunt, and fish. In fact, I don't really know how this Wasilla Pentecostal church really works with their abstinence program, because it goes against the Alaska way!
This kind of hurts me, because you know how I hate slut-baiting, but people at Bristol's high school say she got around, according to the National Enquirer. It's easy to imagine this, because when you see all the photos that are floating around MySpace, there's lots of supposed pictures of Bristol, her sister, and her cousins with gigantic tankards of Jack Daniels, tossing them back — jello shots, party, party, party. The kids have apparently been in a lot of hijinx.
I mean, on one level, I'm sympathetic to Sarah Palin having her life torn apart like this, because every other candidate has all kinds of skeletons in their closet, too. The kind of problems this family is dealing with aren't unusual for any American family. But we never found out what was going on with the Bushes, because they were from a ruling class elite that has a shroud of secrecy around their personal lives, and no one in those circles talks. You're never going to find out what they did at Walmart. You're never going to find out if they pulled their pants down and mooned somebody out a car window — because nobody talks among the crowd they've grown up with.
Sarah, on the other hand, in this working class/middle class community in Alaska? Everyone's got a story. There's no veneer of nobility or discretion. It's all up for grabs.
I know the GOP makes it their practice to select candidates — and this very much includes John McCain — not based on whether these people have intelligence or leadership qualities, or experience or character. They pick them the way a modeling agency picks a spokesmodel — they pick them like it's a casting call. Somebody like Richard Nixon would never be picked for a presidential nominee in a million years now, because he's not good television. Ronald Reagan changed everything. Now the GOP believes that government should be handled by professionals whose names you will never know. And they just want the little puppets on the outside to do the song and dance.
"Do you think she's pretty? Do you think she's cute? Great! Vote for her!" And they don't have any respect for her. When they start screaming about how she isn't shown enough deference by the media, I'm thinking "But you don't respect her. You think she's a useful idiot!" If she's really like Annie Oakley, she wouldn't put up with that. If she's really a tough woman who can stand up to a grizzly bear — can she stand up to the GOP?
That would impress me. If she's not going to do that, then she's totally under their thumb — under her husband's thumb, under the GOP's thumb. She's sold out for the money, like so many others, and she doesn't have the barracuda qualities of survival and dignity that we'd hope that she'd have.
I realize some other unbelievable surprise may be unleashed, but until then, all we can do is just turn the pages of the National Enquirer.
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