Friday, September 26, 2008

Sarah Palin Is No Elle Woods.. There IS no Elle Woods.. Yet

Ever since Sarah Palin was named McCain's vice presidential pick, I've been perplexed [and frantic], wondering how any woman could support the nomination of a person so obviously uncomplex, uninformed, unsophisticated, and untested. Writing in The New York Times this morning, Judith Warner gave me the insight I've been searching for. It's the Elle Woods syndrome. Palin supporters see in this former beauty queen the notion that feminine [and by feminine, here I mean girly] can trump masculine -- that girly is as smart, as strong, as dominant (or more so).

This is a state of mind that lurks in the dark corners of every woman's psyche -- from the strongest and most accomplished among us, to the weakest and most vulnerable. All of us harbor the fantasy that girly can win. Hear me out, my sisters ...

Who is Elle Woods? She's that truly girly gal who beat all the men at Harvard -- and, notably, all the non-girly women --at their own game. In the end, she even saddled the guy and his white horse. Meanwhile, no, Elle didn't have to give up pretty pink stuff, or the feathery, sparkly, soft accoutrements of a cozy nest. She didn't have to leave her loyal dog behind [note: in this case, dog stands-in for baby]. Elle Woods suceeded while looking gorgeous and wearing high heels. And, best of all, she remained friends with all her Delta Nu sorority sisters. In short, she succeeded in a girly woman's world. Wow.

Think about it for a moment. Here we are, Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile and Carly Fiona, all succeeding. But where? Sadly, in a man's world, on men's terms, and with men's rules (don't wail; you know it's true). And, though we almost never admit it to ourselves -- and certainly not to each other or, heaven forbid, men -- oh truly, how we do yearn to be Elle, doing our achievement thing in ways that make us feel comfortable. No compromises. Just all of us, all "getting along," all the time. Happy happy, back in the cave, with our sisters and our babies, cooking scrumptious T-Rex, cutsey-ing up the stone walls, watching out for each other's kids, sharing, bonding, giggling, and talking ... [admit it: we love to talk].

That's the Elle Woods fantasy ... and that fantasy is what makes the "girly" women among us easily fall victim to the mirage of Palin Power. We can't deny that these girly girls are, primarily, Republican women -- homemakers, and evangelical church goers, and "wives" of "men" -- all believing that Sarah Palin is Elle Woods come to life. I'm not talking about those accomplished women among us who, for thoughtful reasons and/or by instinct, believe in making homes for kids. I'm talking about those women who just want to be cave girls forever, even when they live in McMansions built by men.

Sadly, this election isn't about Elle Woods, folks. And when the neo-cons get their teeth into Palin, all she'll be is a Stepford VP anyway. That's the reality show.

So, girly girls, a vote for Sarah Palin is -- in truth -- a vote for Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld (c'mon, you know you don't really like them; these are the guys who drag cave women by their hair and sacrifice their babies, when "necessary").

Listen up, baby: We've come a long way ... but we've got a long, long way to go. And we're not getting there in high heels.

No comments: