Your Source for Feminist Discourse

What Makes or Breaks Feminism?

Do you think having a differing opinion against a majority belief in feminism is a breaking point for one to hold a feminist identity? I am asking you this question because I was reading Nina Power’s short book titled, One Dimensional Woman, which raises a variety of issues on feminism. But one argument in particular that caught my attention was that some argue that women like Sarah Palin are not feminist because they do not believe in abortion. This is very evident when Power’s addresses how feminist, Jessica Valenti, finds Sarah Palin to be an anti-feminist, as she does not support abortion as shown in her article titled “Opinion: the Fake Feminism of Sarah Palin.” I for one agree with Power’s that just because someone does not believe in one element of feminism that does not break his or her feminist identity. There are a variety of levels of feminism just like political ideologies. Power’s states, “Jessica Valenti in The Guardian takes the perhaps more intuitive line that Palin is an ‘anti-feminist’ through and through, because, among other things, she would limit women’s right to choose and abolish sex education” (Power, 2009, p. 7).

palinAlthough I am pro-choice and am very supportive of sex education being taught in public schools not everyone agrees with me, which is perfectly okay. But the reality if Sarah Palin were the vice president or still governor of Alaska is that she could not make abortion illegal. It would be incredibly difficult and nearly impossible to overturn Roe v. Wade. Although states can make it difficult for a woman to get an abortion but the federal level makes it very clear that a woman has every right to get an abortion if she chooses to.

All Palin could do is limit funding for sex education and try to implement laws that would make it harder for a woman to get an abortion. I personally think just because Sarah Palin is pro-life this does not make her an anti-feminist. She is just against abortion for personal religious reasons and that is her opinion. I think Palin is actually great for feminism as she was the first vice presidential women candidate and has made a breakthrough in the world of politics that is dominated by men.

Palin has even shot down republican women who feel that a woman’s place should be in the home according to Powers (Power, 2009, p. 8). Palin has proven that one can be a mother, governor, presidential candidate, and wife, showing that a woman can pursue whatever she wants to, while being a variety of different roles. Love her or hate her I think Sarah Palin is a feminist and although she may not be my favorite person in the world just because she does not believe in abortion or would try to make abortion and sex education harder to obtain does not make her any less of feminist. In addition her pro-life stance does not make her against woman as a whole. Do you think if that a feminist does not believe in abortion or something else like women are not portrayed negatively in the media that then this makes them an anti-feminist or not a feminist at all? Or do you think that there can be different levels of feminism some more liberal or conservative? I for one think that feminism comes in all shapes and sizes. Let me know, I would love to hear what you have to say.

4 Responses to “What Makes or Breaks Feminism?”

  1. tohellwithsugarandspice

    Well thought out, explained, and supported! I struggled deciding where I stood on this issue and you really shed some light. I find it hard to accept someone who has the pro-life view as feminist but you definitely offered up great points that are making me continue to think about it.


  2. SarahStar77

    Tohellwithsugarandspice thank you for the positive feedback. I know it is a tough to decide where you stand on the issue of what makes or breaks feminism. However, I was told that one of the biggest feminists was Mother Teresa and she was pro-life as well. Just more food for thought. I am glad that I am making you think about this topic and no matter where you stand it is your opinion and that is all that matters. Thanks for reading!


  3. imagineherstory

    Very interesting article! Though I can’t really get behind the sentiment of Sarah Palin being a good feminist. I agree that there are various levels of feminism and that it often comes in different shapes and sizes, but personally, I have a hard and fast line of what it means it be a feminist and for me it’s the stance on abortion. Feminism at its basic core is about equality and choice: the choice for women to be in the home or out of it and either way they choose they should expect to receive the same benefits as any man. A part of that choice is reproductive rights in all forms from birth control to abortion. I mean one of the biggest waves of feminism was based on these specific rights so to forgo that premise now is a slap in the face to all the work the predecessors of feminism did in the first place.

    In addition, I always have qualms with those who claim to be pro-life, but don’t support welfare, education reform, and all other programs set in place to help children. I have found that it’s less about pro-life because it if was then one should logically care about not just the fetuses birth but the type of life that child would have in the future and most who hold this stance do not. Especially, Sarah Palin who as a republican wanted numerous cutbacks to these programs.

    Finally, just to let you know Sarah Palin was not the first female vice president candidate that was actually Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.


  4. SarahStar77

    Imagineherstory I am glad you shared your opinion on what defines feminism. It is good that you have a very solid foundation for what makes or breaks feminism for yourself as stated with your pro-choice stance. Also thank you for letting me know Geraldine Ferraro was actually the first vice presidential candidate in 1984 and not Sarah Palin. I was unaware of this. Again thank you for the feedback!



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