Monday, September 15, 2008

Webfighting falls under this blog, doesn't it?

I've been a bit quiet due to finally finding a permanent residence, then waiting on Internet access, then losing internet access for a weekend. Yeah, I'm out in the sticks here.  (I did manage to finish a few good books like the last couple Hellboy trades, Small Favor and Livewires -- Good god, why did no one tell me how awesome Livewires was?)

Anyway, during the brief period I had net access last week I wrote a column. Now that I have it again, I went to check the column and found I was being called out by one Mark "My Underwear is Two Sizes Too Tight and That's What's Up My Ass" Engblom, who feels a feminist should be unquestioningly supportive of any female candidate:
Simply this: Lisa’s blog-life revolves around the advancement of women…but now that one’s knocking on the door to the vice presidency…well, I guess that’s not the RIGHT kind of woman for Lisa and the rest of the snarling lefty feminists out there who can’t stand the fact that a conservative women might just beat the “acceptable” feminists to that role. The Palin nomination has cause quite a few masks to fall, one of them being the hypocrisy of so-called feminists who are now rallying to stifle and push down a fellow woman on the verge of making history, yet doesn’t fit their narrow ideological spectrum.
Now, I consider Engblom's assumption that feminists should support a markedly antifeminist candidate just because she's a woman to be sexist so I came up with a long response. Then I decided against posting it on the actual thread of a post, because it's too damned long,Blog@Newsarama's comments were fucking up and it will just encourage the idiot to keep arguing with me in a place that is not my webspace.  I prefer to fight in my own backyard, at my leisure. So I'm giving it to you guys and if Engblom wants to come over and run his mouth in my territory rather than Matt Brady's he can:
Actually, I'd consider it a feminist act to vote against a female candidate who stands against your beliefs, just as it is a feminist act to vote for a female candidate who stands for your beliefs. It breaks down one of the fundamental constraints on women in our society, mainly that we are all considered a single demographic.

Here's an example: I just had a mild disagreement with a coworker who was kind enough to drive me to the store. I promised him it would be quick because I had a list. He laughed and said that no female could stick to a shopping list.

I raised my eyebrow, and--almost forgetting he was doing a nice thing for me--told him he was wrong.

"Look," he said, "I have a sister and a wife--"

"And I have 7 items on my list, and that's all I'm walking out of this store with."

I walked out of that store with 7 items. All on my list, no more, no less. He may think it's just because we argued or he may think I'm simply an oddity but the simple fact of the matter is he was wrong to make an assumption about all women based on just the two he knew. It simply wouldn't have been feminist to let the attitude go unchallenged.

See, one of the points of feminism is making the culture learn that woman are not interchangeable. This goes from the shitty characterization of and the comparison of any and all notable women to Wonder Woman, to the idea that I'm going to shop in the same way my coworker's sister, to the idea that Hillary Clinton's voters are going to be attracted by the addition of Sarah Palin to the ticket.

Sarah Palin is not Hillary Clinton. Sarah Palin never will be Hillary Clinton. The two are the opposite on just about every issue that matters. In fact, I have to say I respect Sarah Palin for not pretending that she is Hillary Clinton.

But anyone who voted for Hillary Clinton would be an idiot to vote for Sarah Palin, just as anyone who wants to vote for Sarah Palin would be an idiot to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Because these women are different.

Because--and say it with me--women are not all the same.

And that's one of the points of feminism, getting rid of these stereotypes. Destroying these assumptions. Making it so women can be judged on their own merits rather than assumptions made about their gender.

And this is what we're doing, judging Clinton and Palin on their merits, not their gender. Which means some people is going to love Palin and hate Clinton, while others going to love Clinton and hate Palin.

That's the way it would be with male candidates. That's the way it should be with female candidates.

This is not bitterness. This is not jealousy. This is taking what's best for you and the country into careful consideration before you pull the lever. This is listening to what the candidate says about the issues that affect rather than looking at their race/gender/religion and seeing how it matches to yours and assuming that their policies will benefit you somehow. This is taking your civic responsibility seriously. This is taking your rights seriously.

This is called thinking, Engblom. You might want to try it sometime.
It all reminds of my mother excitedly telling me that McCain had chosen a female running mate. I grinned, and laughed and informed her this wouldn't get me to vote for McCain unless it was someone really awesome.

"She's a conservative woman," Mom said proudly. (Mom is a conservative woman.)

"Oh, then I definitely won't vote for him. I liked Clinton because she was a liberal woman--well, an acceptably centrist woman. I'm not going to vote for just anyone because their running mate has the same parts as me." And for a few moments, I was happy, because it meant that I wouldn't vote for someone just because she was a woman. I felt rather satisfied with my enlightened viewpoint. And Mom, who I don't give enough credit in political discussions, was smart enough to understand that.

Then I researched Sarah Palin and started to get pissed off at her views, but this isn't really the blog for complaining about that. This is the blog for culture shock chronicles, comic books, and laughing at idiots in the online superhero fan community.

Congratulations, Mr. Sulu

George Takei marries longtime partner Brad Altman