Sarah Palin partook in some political gender-bending while discussing Arizona’s Gov. Jan Brewer on Fox News Sunday yesterday.
According to Palin, the Republican governor “has the cojones that our president does not have to look out for all Americans — not just Arizonans — but all Americans in this desire of ours to secure our borders.”
No, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating a woman’s “masculine” qualities. In the political realm, however, such statements come with well-endowed subtext, and Palin’s “cojones” comment rams her own platform straight into the ground.
With women wielding more political power than ever before, it’s not surprising that their gender should become a talking point. Hillary Clinton and Palin both faced incredible scrutiny for their respective masculine and feminine qualities: remember when Indiana labor leader Paul Gipson declared Clinton has the “testicular fortitude” to lead our country? Or what about all the hubbub over Palin’s couture wardrobe?
Though some scoff at mentions of a candidate’s gender, Palin has created an entire political culture around her womanhood. Just last month she released an inspirational, campaign-esque video called “Mama Grizzlies,” in which she celebrated the role and power of “common sense” conservative women. “It seems like it’s kind of a mom awakening in the last year and a half where women are rising up and saying ‘no, we’ve had enough already,’” she claimed. “Because moms sort of just know when something is wrong.”
In Palin’s view, the feminine mystique draws its fertility directly from maternity. A woman’s main mission remains reproductive, and, as I’ve said before, amounts to little more than a “conservative ideology veiled in vaguely feminist rhetoric.” Her cojones remark complicates that message.
In a nutshell, Palin’s claiming Brewer has balls. President Obama this becomes a castrated man, a feminized eunuch who can’t get the job done, who can’t fulfill the nation’s “desires.” Brewer’s masculine nerve makes her enviable, while Obama’s delicate handling of immigration counts against him. The femininity here, as opposed to the Mama Grizzly dispatch, becomes a pitfall, while Brewer’s figurative balls are an asset.
Palin’s attempting to have it all: she wants women to get involved in the political game, especially if they have the male qualities, the cojones, she thinks a legislator needs to lead. It’s masculinity, then, that deserves the public’s vote, rather than the fecund femininity Palin allegedly craves.
I understand that gender-bending can get confusing. Palin’s transgender politics, however, breed nothing but confusion, contradiction and, perhaps, crisis for the “mom-as-activist” platform she has worked so hard to craft.
Even if this cojones observation doesn’t hurt the Palin brand, I’m sure Idaho’s Republican party, which hates the Spanish language, disapproves of the politico’s bilingual slang, and poor Palin may soon learn that “cojones” are more potent than she thought.