A friend pointed me toward this Salon article comparing Sarah Palin’s simpering simulacrum of feminism with the powerful (and for some unpalatable) personal and professional presence of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
We began this history-making election with one kind of woman and have ended up being asked to accept her polar opposite. Clinton’s brand of femininity is the kind that remains slightly unpalatable in America. It is based on competence, political confidence and an assumption of authority that upends comfortable roles for men and women. It’s a kind of power that has nothing to do with the flirtatious or the girly, nothing to do with the traditionally feminine. It is authority that is threatening because it so closely and calmly resembles the kind of power that the rest of the guys on a presidential stage never question their right to wield.
I don’t think this article even begins to uncover the gender politics that have been lurking, half-submerged, in the rhetoric of this political season, but it’s a starting point.