The Thought Refuse

A Virtual Repository for the Mind

Sex And Politics: Why Sarah Palin Never Had A Chance

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Politics is ideally a noble pursuit of ideological goals in order to advance the sociological health of a population.  However, more often then not, it is a fallible human pursuit driven and influenced by our primal instincts.  And, in a sense, Sarah Palin fell victim to the most basic of human urges.

Sex is one of the strongest and most empowering of all our primal instincts.  The proliferation of the internet traffic directed towards sex sites and the brick and mortar success of the pornography industry all speak to our attraction for things which play to our penchant for sex.  It pervades almost everything we do, and the presidential election is no different.

Following the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s Vice Presidential candidate, the country was introduced to a relative political unknown.  Naturally, the public turned towards the internet to learn of this newcomer.  Yet, in a Time article tracking internet search data after the Palin nomination speaks less about our ideological curiosity about Palin, but more about our natural, human, and primal reaction to an attractive woman.

Some of the more popular internet searches that included Sarah Palin was for “hot photos.”  The article also lists some of the other popular search queries as:

“Sarah Palin Bikini Photos,” “Sarah Palin Naked,” “Sarah Palin Nude.”

What interested many voters was not her political ideology or her political record, but her femininity.  A Vice Presidential candidate instantly became an objectified, sexually provocative female to a disturbing amount of voters.  it speaks to the power that sex has over our interests.

This put Sarah Palin in an untenable position.  She was not viewed by many as meeting the prototype politician.  It’s rare enough that a women appears on our national political stage, and it’s doubly so that one that’s even relatively attractive makes an entrance onto the scene.  So, she emerged as a curiousity.  Our curiosity and our internet queries solidified her as a sex object.

She would have been hard pressed to escape the pigeon hole she was trapped in immediately following her nomination.  We have an analogous tendency to label sex objects in our mind as being “stupid.”  To a high degree, she reinforced that conception with her media gaffes, her manner of speaking, and her non-complicated life style.  I suspect, even if she had presented any monochrome of sophistication, she would still suffer, albeit to a lesser degree, from our sexual objectification towards her.

A male politician displaying the same lack of experience and unsophisticated articulation would not suffer nearly to the same degree that Palin has.  She has, for many, become a point of contention that makes it impossible to cast a vote for John McCain.  Dan Quayle made as many public gaffes but didn’t cast the kind of shadow over George H. Bush, as Palin is over McCain.  He was the butt of many jokes, but not in equal measure to the constant dismantling of Palin.

Given our elementary nature, our inability to resist our most mammalian tendencies, Palin was born to lose from the outset.  Certainly, she fell into the preconceptions of the “dumb blonde”.  But I don’t believe she was ever afforded a fair examination.  For all our political hubris, we are just apish when it comes to politics.  The ultimate legacy that Palin will leave us with is that, at a time when we weren’t quite ready to send a female into the White House, she, by playing to our stereotypes and combined with our sexual bias, has set back the progress of women in politics.


Written by huxbux

October 8, 2008 at 6:25 pm

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