Sexism occurs when an individual is prejudiced, discriminated or vilified simply because of their gender and sex. It is meant to show the balance of power between men and women. According to Finlay (98), misogyny is the hatred of women or girls and is manifest through sexual discrimination, taking women as sex symbols, defamation, and violence against women.
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Sarah Louise Heath Palin is a conservative republican who was the governor of Alaska from 2006 until 2009, when she tendered her resignation from the post. She holds the record as both the youngest and first woman to serve the state of Alaska as governor.
In the year 2008, the then Republican Party presidential candidate announced her as his vice presidential running mate (Hess Article 1). She became the first woman to be a vice presidential running mate within the republican party, and only the second female vice presidential running mate in the history of US polities.
Remarkably, some people in the media found it unkind and used some extremely disparaging remarks on her candidature. However, she was not alone on this front as the Democratic Presidential hopeful; Hillary Clinton was subjected to the same onslaught by the media and political opponents (Finlay 201). A few hours after her announcement as John McCain’s running mate, some media houses were already labeling Sarah a beauty queen, although fully aware, there was more to her than her body.
The Newsweek, a leading weekly magazine, went further and put a photo of Palin in athletic attire as the cover of their magazine. David Letterman even joked that Palin’s underage daughter had canal knowledge with Alex Rodriguez. Washington city paper was quoted saying that John Mccain chose governor Palin as his running mate because she was attractive, and he would use her sexual appeal to deflect people’s mind from his disqualifications (Hess 8).
Russel Brand, a British comedian even remarked that people were not interested in whatever stuff she was saying, but just wanted to sleep with her. John Ego, from ‘Don’t Start Me Off’ blog, also confessed that an anonymous friend of his admitted to him that he finds Sarah Palin to be sexy. Tracey Morgan, an actor of 30 Rock, also had some unkind words for the former governor indicating that she was an opportune masturbation material (Finlay 71).
Tina Fey’s impersonification of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live, where she seemed to be dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, also contributed to the assassination of the former Governor’s character. Moreover, it watered down her leadership credentials with Fiorina, the former economic advisor to senator John Mccain, terming it as sexist and disrespectful.
The effect of the misogyny and sexism, in the destruction of Governor Sarah Palin and her vice presidential bid by the media, was enormous, and it undoubtedly contributed to her failed shot on the position (Hess Article1). Messages such as “how do you solve a problem like Sarah”, which was on the Newsweek magazine were obviously out of context, and portrayed her in a different light. It also made the electorate not to focus on what she would offer as the vice-president.
Was Palin not qualified to be Vice President in 2008 according to Fiorina
According to Fiorina, the former chief executive officer at Hewlett Packard, Sarah Palin had all the experience and know how to become the vice president of the United States. While appearing in a radio talk show, Fiorina was asked whether Sarah Palin had enough experience to run a substantial company like Hewlett Packard.
In a swift rejoinder, Fiorina categorically stated that she did not, but retorted that Sarah Palin was not running for that position. She further claimed that though Palin may lack the necessary skills to run the multi-billion IT Company, she was better placed and even had more governing experience than Democratic presidential nominee, Barrack Obama (Jacques 20).
Those sentiments initially generated a heated debate, and even led to the cancellation of Fiorina’s campaign speeches (Jacques 54). However, she later explained what she meant was that none of the presidential candidates and their running mates had the required experience to run a substantial corporation like HP. In addition, she stressed that they were not running for the same. In essence, Fiorina endorsed the candidature of Governor Sarah Palin.
Finlay, Anita. Dirty Words on Clean Skin. London: Golden Middleway Books, 2012. Print.
Hess, Amanda. Sarah Palin’s Entire Existence Is Sexist. Web, Nov. 17, 2009. Accessed from <https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/columns/the-sexist/blog/13118516/sarah-palins-entire-existence-is-sexist>
Jacques, Barbara. Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future. Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books, 2009. Print.