November 29, 2008

Rifle and lipstick: Sarah Palin.

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:00 pm by elesurf88


Sarah Palin

Sarah Louise Heath Palin was born in Sandpoint, Idaho, on february 11th, in 1964. Married and mother of five children, she’s governor of Alaska since 2006, president of Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, member of the National Rifle Association (association pro-weapons), fond of outdoor life and elk hamburgers. She’s an outsider, a politician against abortion but in favor of death penalty.

After the election of Barack Obama as the new president of the United States, apart all the possible considerations about the American campaign and the defeat of John McCain, the Palin phenomenon deserves a thorough examination as emblematic figure of our time: the emergence of women active in right-wing politics with a strong populist appeal. In Italy we have people in some way such as Daniela Santanché and Micaela Vittoria Brambilla, which combine some elements similar. Young women, strong language, physically attractive, while expression of femininity extremely conservative and traditional, but also new elements. Dynamic women who work outside the home but do appeal to a set of traditional values that have generally seen the opposition of the women’s movement (as for Palin, no to abortion, yes to the port of weapons and to a bellicose foreign policy). The famous photo of Palin in a brief stars and striped bikini embracing a rifle is emblematic. The Palin expresses a number of qualities that have a fascination for the American voter. She’s from Alaska, which is the last frontier of the United States and evokes a time when the United States was the border. The Alaska is the last refuge of the strong which knows how to handle a rifle to use against wolves and bears and creates united communities, far from centers of power.

On the one hand Sarah Palin is the pioneer past, but is also a woman modern and strong. Earns more than her husband and spends half the week in the capital governing the state of Alaska while her husband takes care of the children at home. Nevertheless, claiming the importance of traditional family. It is very feminine, even sexy, but is also strong and aggressive. Paradoxically, it is easier for right-wing women to manage prejudices about women in politics. Research shows that voters have a range of stereotypes both positive and negative on women in politics. On the one hand, they think they are more honest and brave on social issues, health, education, but also believe that men, being harder, are more reliable in foreign policy and economy. The women of the right, however, can more easily overcome this ambivalence. Representing a number of positions of extreme right, they show to be hard, but are still seen as more compassionate and honest. The right-wing woman can afford to be feminine and sexy, because her policy statements are viewed as “masculine”.

The comment you most hear from supporters of Sarah Palin is that she gived the ‘idea of being real, concrete, the kind of person you can imagine to see at the meeting of parents in school. In pre-television era, parties used to choose candidates from the cultured elite and the voters didn’t expect them to be like them. The trend today is towards a “non-mediated” politics, in which the sense of personal identification has assumed primary importance. The Americans are very uncomfortable in front of candidates who show off their culture causing in voters a sense of inferiority.

Sarah Palin, in her famous speech of acceptance, did almost no reference to politics, talking only of values and her personal identity: “In our small towns grow good people. I grew up with them. They are the ones that make the hardest works of America, they grow what we eat, carry on our factories, fight our wars. They love their country for better and for worse and are  always proud of America.

 To get an identification with Obama is more difficult. He has no roots. His mother was from Kansas, his father was from Kenya. He’s black. He grew up in Hawaii, which are almost a foreign country, and Indonesia. He attended the Faculty of Law at Harvard and has a very sophisticated language. But he’s aware of the problem and has tried to develop a new language in this campaign: not the language of rights and demands, but the common goal of religion and of the traditional American optimism.


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