It's not the bikini that bothers me. It's not even the gun. It's not the apparent can of malt liquor held in the hand of the smoking man. It's more than that. Maybe it's all of it. Or maybe it's just that I can't think of an occasion where a bikini and a rifle are required. Is this how the Palin family goes fishing? I mean, there's shooting fish and a barrel, but come on... [UPDATE: Okay, I was duped. I'm told the photo was Photoshopped (and the person who did it should get a job at Vogue). I suppose I should have known better but it sort of seemed to be Palin's style, don't you think?]
As a feminist, I don't have a problem with this photo. As a feminist, I do have a problem with Palin's gender being used as a deflector for her ineptitude. Some women are playing the uterus card in her defense, and that's driving me bonkers. It's kind of embarrassing. As a woman, I want and expect equal treatment, not something "special".
I caught Congresswoman Michele Bachmann on CNN last night (I accidentally watched Larry King) and this broad said that Palin's two years in office gave her more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined. Why? Because it's in girl years? WTF?!? Palin is completely inexperienced. There is no arguing that. She might be popular. She might know how to sell a plane on eBay, but that does not mean she should be in the running for one of the highest offices in the nation and a potential heartbeat away from the Presidency. She is not the best candidate for the job. And, if she is, the GOP is truly in trouble.
Less than a week into her nomination, there has been skeleton after skeleton stumbling out of her closet. She announced her daughter's pregnancy not when she accepted the VP nom, but under the cloud of Gustav. That's just shady. I don't want her 17 year-old daughter dragged through the mud. Nor should she be thrust in the political spotlight. The brouhaha has nothing to do with her daughter, their family values or Palin's parenting; it has to do with Palin's ethics. Something her uterus can't hide. With TrooperGate coming to light right after her accepting the nomination, one would think she would be more forthcoming about anything else that might be deemed controversial. (Do they not have a PR team and media training in the GOP budget?) The announcement of her daughter's pregnancy was supposed to diffuse BabyGate. Now, I'm really not one for internet rumor or conspiracy theories, but there is a bit of hink to this story. And, if Palin's story is true, it does kind of question her decisions as a mother whose water had broken and chose to risk infection and the baby's health to hop a plane home. But I'm just a single gal with no kids. What do I know? (Um, enough to head to the hospital once I leak amniotic fluid, especially with a pre-term, high-risk pregnancy. But that's just me.)
Some are saying this just isn't fair; if Palin were a man she wouldn't have her parenting skills or morals challenged in such a way. And why isn't Biden under such VP scrutiny? Well, his daughter is twenty-seven for one thing. But, imagine if Barack's daughters were older and one of them were withchild. You think everyone would go easy on him and his family? Please. McCan't's corner is even trying to blame Obama for the backlash. Did you see Obama's response? Well, look here. Off limits. I agree. Which is why I'm not using the daughter's name in this post.
What bothers me is that safer sex is not mentioned in this story. Last I heard, HIV and STDs were still rampant. What is Palin's stand on sexual education? Abstinence or death/disease...or, if you are lucky, you'll just get knocked up and go into an ill-fated, teenage-shotgun marriage and parenthood? That's not the kind of pro-female politics I look for. That's not hope. That's not change. That's just sad.
Gender can't help but play a role here because that's the card McCan't played, but it shouldn't be used to shield questionable ethics. Palin shouldn't be able to avoid the hard questions because she is a "lady", or a mom or a grandmother. I didn't burn my training bra for that. But we need to take the privates and private matters out of this and focus on the politics. Trust me, there are sure to be a few more issues she'll want to skirt. Oh, come on. You had to see that one coming.
[UPDATE: Funny or Die spoofs the bikini photo in their Gina Gershon spoof. Enjoy.]
See more Gina Gershon videos at Funny or Die