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Sexism And Sarah Palin--It Exists, But It's Overblown

I agree with my colleague Michael Barone that Sarah Palin gave a great speech--she's not quite at Sen. Barack Obama's level as a rhetorician, but certainly highly skilled and with an uncanny ability to charm while being combative. She will be a much tougher debate opponent than anyone has given her credit for to this point.

She's also fomented arguments about sexist treatment in the media, prompting a liberal pro-Clinton group to issue a statement that media discussion about Palin's capabilities as a mother are sexist:

A women's group that hosted Hillary Rodham Clinton during an event at the Democratic convention last week is expressing outrage 'against misogynist smears' directed at Sarah Palin. WomenCount, a nonprofit organization focused on women's issues, released a statement on Tuesday titled 'Sexism and Sarah Palin.' 'We will defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we like her or support her, but because that's how feminism works,' the group's statement reads."

Has Palin been smeared by sexism? Of course, but not yet to the degree Clinton endured (to my knowledge, no one has called her a "*itch," nor a "she-goat.") But I disagree with WomenCount about whether discussion of Palin's parenting abilities and whether someone can be a good parent while running for or being vice president while raising four children (one is out of the house) including a special needs infant, is necessarily sexist. It all depends on how it's handled. As long as her husband's included in the equation, and if the topic is handled from the perspective of how it might impact her position on public policies, it's fair game.

What is decidedly sexist is an image making its way around the Internet showing Palin in a red, white, and blue bikini sporting a rifle. It's a fabricated image, from which the real model's head has been excised and Gov. Palin's face pasted in. Now that's inexcusable sexism!

By Bonnie Erbe

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