Where are all the women?

I feel a little nervous, dipping my toe back in the murky, dangerous waters of Slugger O’Toole with a bit of blogging. Mick brought my attention to an article in the Irish Times this week on women bloggers, and I must admit I found it intriguing. When I started to read the article, I cringed a little when I read that the authors found fame through lipstick…… so to speak. But I worked my way through it, I found that the key to success for many of these women was through being themselves and forging ahead with ideas related to their own thoughts and passions.

On the subject of lipstick, in the Sunday Times today there was an excellent piece by Camilla Paglia on Sarah Palin. This particular piece was an interesting focus on post-modern feminism if you like. Less emphasis on the victimology of women and more of the ‘can do’ attitude that is pragmatic and purposeful. Paglia says:
The gun-toting Palin is a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past. She immediately reminded me of the frontier women of the western states, which first granted women the right to vote after the civil war — long before the federal amendment guaranteeing universal suffrage was passed in 1919. Frontier women faced the same harsh challenges and had to tackle the same chores as men, which is why men could regard them as equals — unlike the genteel, corseted ladies of the eastern seaboard.

This is the core of it then, the ability to be equal as a natural consequence of ability, as opposed to a spectacular feat that needs to be nurtured. When I blog on Slugger or indeed on my own site, I am focussed on issues that interest or affect me and those I care for, as opposed to looking at issues that I feel excluded or removed from. I guess it’s very much about a passion related to what makes me or any other woman tick, and blogging will continue to provide a space for the expression of that passion.

The fact that more women are blogging is worth noting, but not worth getting overly excited about. It is a natural progression and one that will most likely continue as more and more people get used to the medium. I have been intrigued at the number of people who will e-mail on my work blog, but will not post a comment. I have had dozens of such contacts and I think it reflects the fact that while some of us got the hang of this pretty quickly, there’s a bigger learning curve for others.

To return to my opening comments- about Slugger being a ‘dangerous’ environment for a woman blogger. I think that stands as a fair comment, and in as much as people need to find comfort zones so too do others need to learn to share space. I guess its a little like the men only clubs that finally had to open their doors to all and sundry- so too will male oriented sites eventually become more agreeable spaces for both genders. In many ways, this is a new frontier, a very exciting one that can bring much light to some pretty dark places.

  • EWI

    The gun-toting Palin is a brash ambassador from America’s pioneer past.

    Yes, also notable as the female mayor whose insistence on making victims pay the costs of their own rape kits forced the Alaska legislature to outlaw such compassionate conservatism. Good luck with your latest careeer as a flunky for the patriarchy, Camille…








  • esmereldavillalobos

    Well, even if people insist on bold and nonsense, I for one am glad to see your gentle and intelligent blogging back here.

  • steve

    Miss Fitz

    I have seen enough of your posts to guess the thrust of your blogging but buck up, men tend to be much more strident then women but stay the course we like strong women.

    Do not let the shites disturb you, for men it really isn’t personal we are just shites

    I will likely disagree with you as much as most I just hope its with more class and dignity then dr. who and umh

  • billie-Joe Remarkable

    “ambassador from America’s pioneer past.”?

    Would that be the murderous land grab and the plundering of natural resources? Well, she certainly seems happy to shoot animals and destroy Alaska for oil and gas. Palin’s a breath of fresh air – but not for long as she acts as cheerleader for big business as they plan the destruction of the state she’s been running for months. “Mrs Ambassador you’re spoiling us.”

    “I feel a little nervous, dipping my toe back in the murky, dangerous waters of Slugger O’Toole” GYAC: It’s the internet. It’s hardly “dangerous”.

    Is English your first language?

  • Jer

    Welcome back Miss Fitz.
    Liked your posts in the past hope to see many more.

    Sarah Palin is indeed post Feminist so post feminist that she did the loop and became pre-feminist. This is the lady who stood four square behind Pat Bucannan the man who said a woman could never lead because well thats the way God made it so. That says alot about where she will stand on women’s rights. Not sure she is the messiah. Hillary would do a good job but Palin in a woman not a feminist. There is a big difference.

  • Jer

    To return to my opening comments- about Slugger being a ‘dangerous’ environment for a woman blogger. I think that stands as a fair comment

    I think its dangerous for the blogger part. I dont necessarily believe (at least from my point of view) that anyone targets a blogger based on gender. I think that might be a bit unfair.

  • 6countyprod

    billie-joe, sometimes you can be the most obnoxious person. How would you like someone to start poring over your syntax?

    You talk about land grabs, and then in the next breath want to deny Alaskans their desire to utilise their own resources, which would entail very minimal interference to the landscape.

    btw, Mrs Palin usually eats what she kills, so, after the election, she will probably be having obambi-joe stew.

  • susan

    Nice to see you back, Miss Fitz. Disheartening you would laud Camille Paglia’s piece as “excellent.” I found it woeful. It falls right into the “pink collar” ghetto of concentrating exclusively on Sarah Palin’s style rather than the substance of her record or the content of her speeches and public statements. Only in the very last paragraph does she even delve into Palin’s record or stand on the issues.

    And why does Paglia want to caricature the generation of feminists — my mother’s generation — that made her career, and Sarah Palin’s career, possible — as “whiny” “pampered” “petulant”?” It makes no sense to me.

    Yes, I am sure American women of the frontier were and are bold, and hardy. So were the vast majority American women of the Eastern cities, working in mills and sweatshops, raising families in tenements and third floor walk ups. “Genteel”? “Corsetted”? Perhaps in the rarefied air of the most sheltered class — but even those women had enough grit to give birth time and again before the invention of the epidural, so I for one am not going to underestimate them.

    Paglia argues that feminism should be about “equal rights and equal opportunity.” For millions of women the world over, it already is, and always has been. They don’t need to shoot a moose to prove they are a real woman, nor would it ever occur to them to pat themselves on the back — as incredibly, Paglia does in this piece — for showing independence of thought by “shopping in the mall.”

    I gather Camille Paglia and Gloria Steinem don’t like each other. Boffo. For voters, female and male, the core issues of the election are the economy, healthcare, creating jobs, getting out of Iraq.

    Sarah Palin argues that she can run the state of Alaska, parent five children, including a pregnant teen and an infant with special needs, and run for national office. That is her choice. However, a pregnant woman, adult or underage, who is a victim of rape or incest — Sarah Palin doesn’t think that woman, or that woman’s mother — should have a choice of deciding what she is physically, emotionally, and mentally capable of bearing, no matter how early in the pregnancy it may be.

    Not everyone has a husband who can take an indefinite leave of absence from work to mind the children while she pursues her dreams and ambitions. There’s a fact all those trumpeting Sarah Palin as a new kind of feminist hero should keep in mind.

  • Dave

    You know, most of the activity on the Internet is downloading porn. That’s all this medium really is: a ‘top shelf’ filled with free porn. And mostly it’s filled with tens of thousands of women making money from their sexuality (although I’d hazard a guess that most of the webmasters are males). Whatever feminism has achieved in the last few decades, it certainly hasn’t prevented the proliferation of whores on the Internet. So much for feminism wasting its time rallying against Playboy – there are more tits on display than ever before. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, mind.

  • BfB

    Miss Fitz

    Stick around, you seem to rankle the socialist ‘left wing feminists’. The ones who insist on support from the government, not their husbands and family, if any of them have stuck around. You know the ones who want to legislate ‘equality’, not earn it. Their beta male, whiny, metrosexual support boys, whine as much, if not more, when a real successful woman shows up. The one who holds people responsible for their actions, not their hair gel and tight jeans. SP has it all over these wankers, and the wailing and gnashing of teeth is only beginning. Pro-life feminism, and do it your own way feminism, the type of millions of women in this country, threatens their holy war, gimme, gimme, gimme, don’t hold me responsible, bullshit. Stick around….

  • Jer

    Susan, I agree good post. I dont believe that feminists should get hung up on the abortin issue as much though ( i recognise you are not saying they are). Its certainly a good battleground when arguing form women’s rights but I think its picking the hardest fight because it arrays the whole cultures war machinery into the fight when really the fight should be about the removal of societally inbuilt disadvantages that women face when giving birth. While the language is inappropriate what you are really looking for is women to be slightly more equal in order to reflect the greater burden put upon them reproductively. I think this ties in with your statement that “Not everyone has a husband who can take an indefinite leave of absence from work to mind the children while she pursues her dreams and ambitions”.
    Its no coincidence that the western countries with the highest birth rates are also countries with the greatest women’s rights.
    Now its harder to push that message in America but one of the great things that Palin’s advent could bring about is a re-politicisation of the feminist movement in a cohesive cohort debating how to take the next step.
    Take it they must but not hand in hand with Palin. She represents a good role model in that she is a very strong, intelligen woman who is able to rise to the top but are the republicans the people who can help women break the glass ceiling.

  • susan

    Bfb, you’re a wee chickenhawk who thinks the only reason you didn’t get into Harvard is because you are white. Knock yourself out.

  • 6countyprod

    but are the republicans the people who can help women break the glass ceiling?

    Maybe I’m wrong, and I don’t know enough about American politics, but I get the distinct impression that democrats talk about breaking glass ceilings, but it is republicans who actually break them.

    Republicans had the first black, female Secretary of State, the first black, male Secretary of State, the first black Supreme court justice, the first hispanic Attorney General.

    Now, for the first time in 24 years, the republicans have nominated a woman for VP.

    Actions always speak louder than words.

  • Jer

    6countyProd, true, they have promoted some heavy hitters. They are a select group though and while they rise its also possible for the lower cohorts to remain disadvantaged.

    I still wouldn’t vote for Sarah Palin in a cold fit and only because she is a Republican. I like the way she enjoys her hobbies and doesn’t give two sh!ts what people think about that. But the party of Goldwater and Regan, Bush and Buccanan are in my books unlikely to change society. ( That being said your list still stands)

  • Why is it important if we know whether you are female or not.It is certainly possible to blog/comment with a neutral name.I suppose it would be interesting to post as female/neutral/male and see if this affected the responses.It takes all kinds which is good for the avoidance of boredom if nothing else.

  • BfB

    I think greenie is a woman…….
    or wants to be….;-)

  • Animus

    6 county prod – Sorry, I think you may be mistaken in some of your assumptions about glass ceilings.
    The democrats nominated a woman as VP in 1984. So the republicans are just a wee bit behind on this.
    Madeleine Albright was the first female Secretary of State, nominated by Clinton. A democrat, not a republican.

    Putting a woman into a high-profile post does not mean she will advocate for women (um, Thatcher?!) any more than Condoleeza Rice advocated for other blacks or women.

    Palin went back to work three days after giving birth. If that is equality, I don’t want it. Equality doesn’t mean we should all be treated exactly the same. Palin opposes choice in terminating pregnancy, but was happy enough getting her own fetus tested (and thereby able to make a choice to keep her baby). Likewise she talks about the choice her daughter had but would choose to deny others. Not really in tune with the sisterhood, is she?

    And Dave, as for tits on the internet – well, you seem to be a good example. Pornography doesn’t make that much money for the participants does it? Just ask all the children whose photos are illegally circulated.

  • Doctor Who


    “I will likely disagree with you as much as most I just hope its with more class and dignity then dr. who and umh”

    Class and dignity are words I wouldn´t attribute to your fine self.

    As for Miss Fitz blogs, if I disagree with them I will treat her exctly the same as other bloggers, the fact that she is a woman is irrelevant. I am quite sure she is big enough and ugly enough to look after herself.

  • 6countyprod

    Thanks, Animus, I stand corrected.

    Your comment thereby able to make a choice to keep her baby, however, is quite disingenuous. I’m sure Palin planned to keep her baby regardless.

  • bfb

    Palin opposes choice in terminating pregnancy
    Likewise she talks about the choice her daughter had but would choose to deny others.

    Both statements are not true. Half assed, ambigous, misleading, shiny object, shite. These lies are driving even the addled lefties away in droves…

    Keep it up.

  • 6countyprod

    bfb, thanks for the new word: addled.

    CBS News has an interesting article you might like (particularly the 3rd to last paragraph).

  • Pounder

    I think it’s hilarious this hype over Palin. When you look at it deep down Palin is really Ronald Reagan in a pencil skirt. Policy wise she’s even more rabid than the average Republican, perhaps if she foams at the mouth more than the average Republican they’ll forget that she should be out back home making dinner like the rest of Republican wives, and we’ll not mention her youngest child or is it grandchild? The jury is still out on that one.

    Between McCain and his “I don’t wanna talk about Nam, not have I told you what the Vietnamese did to me?” rhetoric and Palin’s hidden pointy white hat it’s frankly laughable that any one could think the GOP stand a chance. Palin isn’t even smart enough to realise that the only reason McCain picked her because she is a female.

  • BfB

    pencil skirt
    more rabid
    foams at the mouth
    back home making dinner
    youngest child or is it grandchild?
    I don’t wanna talk about Nam
    hidden pointy white hat it’s frankly laughable
    Palin isn’t even smart enough to realise

    Wow, critical thinking at it’s best.
    I can use addled again :-0

  • BfB

    pretty much describes the Dem youth vote.

    Tsk Tsk..

  • susan

    6countyprod, an amnio is an invasive test, and carries of a risk to the fetus — 1 in 200 to 1 in 400 procedures result in the loss of the pregnancy. That is why most women who would not personally choose to terminate a pregnancy — myself included — turn down the test, even if non-invasive tests like bloodtests and scans show an increased risk of having a handicapped child.

    I don’t fault Sarah Palin for having the test — she had a state to run, and four other children. Given her age, I’m sure she felt it was better to know and be prepared. More power to her.

    In my third pregnancy, a routine bloodtest showed a much higher risk of Downs than there should have been for a pregnant woman the relatively young age I was. Just because I turned down the amnio doesn’t mean I was serene — I was very worried. But I’d already survived a great deal and I knew both me and my child would be loved unconditionally, no matter what. Many women don’t have that assurance. Most horrifically, in cases of rape and/or incest. (By the way, my daughter arrived without any developmental or health problems, we were very lucky)

    Palin is extreme in that she is on record as opposed to abortion even in the case of rape or incest. “I am pro-life,” Palin wrote in response to a 2006 questionnaire from the Eagle Forum. “With the exception of a doctor’s determination that the mother’s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending an ending an innocent’s life.”

    Abortion is an agonising topic, but no matter how sacred you view life, I cannot understand how it is pro-life to subject victims of violence and/or incest to pregnacy and childbirth if it is against their wills. You are talking about someone who has already been violated and undergone deep trauma. They may be depressed, in shock, in the midst of PTSD. A victim of incest would also be under great risk of genetic defects. In theory, a victim of rape and/or incest could have the baby and give the child up for adoption, but what if she isn’t mentally or emotionally strong enough? Pregnancy is nine months. What if she becomes suicidal, or risks her own life or future fertility pursuing an illegal adoption? Then not only the pregnancy is ended, but the life of the mother and any children she might have had in future.

    What if a woman is married, and discovers her husband can no longer live with her if she carries the child of a rapist? Will “society” in general and Sarah Palin in particular stand up to meet her needs?

    I read that a woman is raped in America every six minutes. I don’t know and haven’t the stomach to find out the stats on incest. Is it “pro-life” to subject victims of violence or incest to pregnancy and childbirth against their wills?

    Even Ronald Reagan and George W. supported abortion in cases of rape or incest. Sarah Palin does not.

  • Miss Fitz

    Thanks for all the comments. I think the debate that has been opened by McCain and his choice of VP is an inevitable one for women. One of the core issues of feminism was the attainment of equality.
    That equality and the attack on an androcentric society was never going to mean that all women who benefitted from this ‘freedom’ were neccesarily going to serve the interests of liberal feminism, and that is where the confusion and chaos has been injected.

    Susan: The article by Paglia underscores these points. I never said I agreed with Palin, but having her propelled into the spotlight has opened a fascinating and provoking debate. In many ways the key issue is between women having an equal opportunity at all levels of society or just those women whose ideas we agree with.

    As a mature society, we need to look at Palin and be able to accept or reject her on her policies and ideology, but we should also rejoice that gender is increasingly becoming less of an issue at all levels in this particular society.

  • susan

    Miss Fitz, can you really believe gender was not an issue when John McCain asked Sarah Palin to be his running mate?

  • susan

    I need to clear out of here. I am very glad you are back, Miss Fitz. I never said — or thought — you agreed with Sarah Palin’s stands on the environment, on healthcare, on reproductive issues, etc.

    What I was arguing against was Camille Paglia’s argument — that Palin is a new and improved role model, and not an extremist.

    I disagree. I am also getting tired of the notion that you are more of a “real” woman because you shoot at the odd moose. Whatever next!

    welcome back, S. Good luck!

  • 6countyprod

    Susan, you say that, ‘Palin is extreme‘.

    Would you concede that, even though he says it is above to pay grade, Obama’s stand on abortion is even more extreme on the opposite side of the issue.

    Would you agree with this Washigton Post assessment of Obama’s position?

    …But Obama’s record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion — a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called “too close to infanticide.” Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion. And now Obama has oddly claimed that he would not want his daughters to be “punished with a baby” because of a crisis pregnancy — hardly a welcoming attitude toward new life.

  • 6countyprod

    It seems that abortion is gathering pace as an important issue in the campaign.

    This video has just been released.

  • susan

    Yes, 6countryprod, I do feel Obama’s position on the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act is extreme, and wrong.

    People want answers on abortion that will or wish away either the humanity of the pregnant woman, or the humanity of the fetus. They want it to be a matter of black and white, good and evil. Or they want — and I am not saying you do this 6county, but there is a poster at Slugger who does — to go into morbid clinical detail about extremely rare late-pregnancy abortions, and simultaneously rail against the nanny state and unwed or single mothers who accept financial assistance from the government raising children alone.

    The world women– yes “real” women to use a phrase that seems to be used frequently in these debates over Palin–the world real women, their partners and their healthcare practitioners must make their way in is rarely black and white, often difficult, and sometimes with only a few choices, most or all of them crushingly sad.

    As I understand it, midterm and late abortions are often — no, not always, but often — either because the fetus has a birth defect that would make it’s life either not viable or extremely difficult after birth, or because the mother’s life is at risk due to illness or injury and to continue on with the pregnancy jeopardises her life or health.

    The reality of ANY procedure used to terminate a pregnancy later in the second trimester or in the third trimester are going to be extremely grim. With medical care today, you can visually detect and hear a heartbeat six weeks after conception. Desperately wanted babies born prematurely in the from around twenty weeks gestation on now oftentimes survive — some with grave health complications, some recover to live completely healthy and long lives.

    That is why, for example, in France abortion is illegal after, I believe, ten or twelve weeks, unless there is medical evidence from physicians that the fetus is severely handicapped or the life of the mother is imperiled.

    6countyprod, I don’t know how to reconcile the terrible situations real women can find themselves in, and the reality of what we know — what we know from science, from medical advances — of life in the womb.

    And so, it comes down to the word choice. If you really want to end abortion, it seems to me teaching kids about making moral choices, and sex education, and birth control are necessary. If you want unwed or single mothers to have their children no matter what, there is a moral obligation to see that their needs for housing and healthcare are provided for if they and their partner cannot provide for themselves. If you don’t believe women should have a choice about giving birth to infants with grave mental and physical handicaps you have a moral obligation to provide adequatelly for special needs education, healthcare, and facilities.

    I think Obama’s stance on abortion is extreme. I do not agree with it. But in his entire platform and what he has supported in legislation as an elected official, I see more of what I consider “pro-life” — life not just after conception, but after birth — than I do in Sarah Palin’s.

  • 6countyprod

    Thanks for your thoughts, Susan. Lots to consider, indeed.

  • susan

    6county, I want to thank you. This was a very difficult conversation for me, and you listened to my point of view without trying to make me a caricature. I appreciate it. Sorry if it was a big incoherent, but as it is I’ll spend the rest of the day playing catchup from the lost time I already spent on aul Slugger.

  • Dewi

    Sarah needs to know who she is quoting A very concise and succinct assassination job.

  • 6countyprod

    How dim-witted of you Dewi. Do you not remember that Palin didn’t write her own speech, she just read it it off the teleprompter?

    Which reminds me about a certain person who cannot do without his teleprompter. He even has to bring it into a rodeo ring with him.

  • susan

    Boyz, maybe I am the last person on the planet to see this clip, but I was hiccuping by the end and you both might knock a good laugh out of it:


  • Dewi

    Thanks Susan – very good:

    “And I can see Russia from my house”

    Mind you, I reckon Piper might have a chance one day:

    Piper for Pres

  • Pounder


    pencil skirt
    more rabid
    foams at the mouth
    back home making dinner
    youngest child or is it grandchild?
    I don’t wanna talk about Nam
    hidden pointy white hat it’s frankly laughable
    Palin isn’t even smart enough to realise

    Wow, critical thinking at it’s best.
    I can use addled again :-0
    Posted by BfB on Sep 15, 2008 @ 09:23 PM[/i]

    Why thank you for a shoddy recap of my post, perhaps you might care to actually address where I’m wrong instead of your usual second rate parrot act?

  • susan

    lol, Dewi, those kids are so damn endearing, they really are.

    have you entered your name in the Sarah Palin Baby Name generator? I did, and learned that if Sarah Palin was my mother, my name would now be Missl Blunt Palin


  • Dewi

    “Creation Schwarzkopf Palin” – Deed Poll here I come.

  • BfB

    Why thank you for a shoddy recap of my post, perhaps you might care to actually address where I’m wrong instead of your usual second rate parrot act?

    Eh? Did you feel the ‘WOOOSH’ when the point of my post went right over your (empty) head?