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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Sarah Palin vs. EMILY’s List and Bear Costumes: Fur Flies

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Get a grip, ladies.

On the 90th anniversary of suffrage, the gauntlet has been thrown between Republican and Democratic women, featuring volleys of nasty words and more wildlife imagery than an issue of Field and Stream.

Susan B. Anthony would not be proud.

This week, EMILY’s List, a national political group dedicated to electing pro-choice progressive women, launched a campaign — “Sarah Doesn’t Speak For Me” — against Sarah Palin to counter the former vice-presidential nominee and her Mama Grizzly candidates. The group encouraged women “to reject Palin’s reactionary candidates and backward-looking agenda.” But the issue that most deeply divides Palin and EMILY’s List is abortion. Palin’s camp is pro-life, and EMILY’s List is pro-choice.


A companion video to the campaign shows women discussing pertinent issues such as health care and abortion, but they are dressed like bears. Yes, essentially Mama Grizzlies fighting Palin. A stream of women wearing fur headgear and black plastic noses growl and snarl at the camera, talking about their baby cubs having the right to choose.

One Mama Grizzly says Palin’s agenda “gets under my skin, and my fur and my nails, my beautiful manicured cub claw nails.”

Palin responded to EMILY’s List via her Twitter account Wednesday: “Who hijacked term:”feminist”?A cackle of rads who want 2 crucify other women w/whom they disagree on a singular issue; it’s ironic (& passé).”

In July, Palin released a video — ” Mama Grizzlies” — promoting female GOP candidates. She added another animal to the political circus when she said in the video, “Look out Washington, because there’s a whole stampede of pink elephants crossing and the e.t.a. for them stampeding through is November 2, 2010.”

After Palin’s tweet Wednesday afternoon, the catfight between political sisters deepened.

In a Facebook post titled “Proud to Support More Women Leaders on the 90th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage,” Palin wrote that Americans should honor the “brave feminist foremothers who struggled and sacrificed . . . to grant future generations of American women a voice.”

The former Alaskan governor also chose to endorse several women in the Facebook note, including congressional candidates in Alabama, North Carolina, Indiana and Missouri, two candidates for attorney general in Florida and Iowa and a secretary of state candidate in Alabama.

Palin then extended her claws in the direction of EMILY’s List, although she didn’t mention the group by name. She offered advice “to our sisters who like to throw stones at those of us who respectfully disagree with them on this issue (and they sometimes refuse to even countenance the fact that some of us can call ourselves feminists and disagree with those who claim the mantle of “real feminists”).

She informed EMILY’s List that it was hard to take “a critic seriously when they lecture you wearing a bear suit.”

Borrowing an image from popular culture, she wrote, “But, really, lying about a sister while wearing an Ewok outfit is no way to honor our foremothers on the eve of the 90th anniversary of their victory.”

Palin confessed she wants to know where EMILY’s List bought the bear “get-ups.”

“Halloween is just around the corner, and Piper and Trig would look adorable as little grizzly bears,” Palin wrote.

EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock responded with her own tweet: “you might’ve watched the video, but you & your allies aren’t listening to women about #HCR, #FinReg, & our families.”

But while Palin and Schriock engaged in online warfare, another battle brewed in Minnesota.

Randy Brown, a Minnesota Republican webmaster, unleashed a video titled “Republican Women vs. Democrat (sic) Women,” insinuating GOP women were sexy babes and Democratic women were disgusting dogs. Brown posted the mash-up video on a Republican website for Minnesota State Senate District 56.

To the crooning of Tom Jones’ “She’s a Lady,” the video, which has been flagged by YouTube as inappropriate, highlighted a bevy of Republican women including Palin, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Ann Coulter and even Bo Dereck, an ardent GOP supporter, in a gleaming gold bikini from her perfect “10” days. Some of the women struck sexy poses, wore fishnets or showed cleavage.

In the middle of the video, the song melds into Baha Men’s “Who Let the Dogs Out” and shows Democratic women and supporters – Hillary Rodham Clinton, Janet Reno, Rosie O’Donnell and Nancy Pelosi – in unflattering and at times, grotesque, poses.

The video was removed from the website Wednesday at the request of statehouse candidate Andrea Kieffer, who called the video “juvenile.”

Another Republican candidate for the district, Kathy Lohmer, has asked for the resignation of the webmaster. State Sen. Kathy Saltzman said the video was a distraction.

The Women’s Media Center in New York demanded an apology for the video.

“This incident is symptomatic of a larger illness: the widespread sexism and objectification of women in politics,” the group said in a press release. “Though the video clearly prefers Republican women over Democratic women, it does a disservice to women across the political spectrum by evaluating them solely based on their appearances rather than on their merits or platforms.”

EMILY’s List also hit back against the video, asking Bachmann and Palin to denounce the video. Could the video be the catalyst for uniting sisters from both parties to a common cause?

So far, neither Bachmann nor Palin have done so.

In her Facebook post, Palin wrote, “So, ladies, let’s lead. In the words of that great American woman, Abigail Adams, ‘We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.’ Let’s get things done.”

She’s right. Hopefully on Thursday, she’ll denounce the Minnesota video that shows her wearing skimpy shorts.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm

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