I think we are learning, right now, how we really feel about women in power.
Through the nomination of a woman for the vice-presidency, I believed that I would bear witness to a keen cultural shift, a shift that would move our contemporary society to a more generous acceptance of a woman with great power. As both a student and teacher of history, that is incredibly fascinating.
I also believed, last Friday, that there was great hope for girls. As a director of a rather large student ministry, with a rather numerous group of girls, and having girls in my own family, I really believed that the world in which they are growing would give them respect and equal footing. I thought times were changing.
But how wrong I was.
I still may be sitting on the front row of an historical moment for women. But those who are first in great movements bear the greatest amount of stress, and Governor Palin is no exception. All things aside, when looking at this moment in perspective, it makes a little more sense. She placed herself on the altar of criticism, and she knew full well what was coming. And she did it, anyway. She did it, perhaps for several reasons, but also knowing that if this election resulted in victory, she would be the first, perhaps of many.
And, for better or worse, she is partnered in this journey with her daughter, who is soon to be a mother herself. If anything, the current situation shows the real humanity of both mother and daughter, but by no means does it speak of vulnerability or senselessness. This young mother-to-be is, in many ways, similar to the girl whose life intersected with Jesus, a girl who was discovered and brought to face a soon and sudden death because of her adultery, until those who would deliver the blows were confronted with their own selfish greed and morality. And those very accusers have spawned their own ancestry.
All of that being said, then, these two ladies are in a unique situation to do things on behalf of women that need to be done.
Because yesterday, Australia held it’s first-ever Stiletto Sprint, encouraging women to join in a race, wearing stiletto heels, also breaking a world record for the greatest amount of people to enter such a race. There was a monetary prize, along with a golden pair of high heels.
And I, for one, have seen, and been part, of meaningless games and activities, all in the name of good fun and fellowship. But I also think that, in the context of Sarah Palin, the timing of this race in Australia seems a bit ironic. We, in a modern society, should be lauding the accomplishments of a renaissance woman, for once, who can have a family, run a government, and gain tremendous respect throughout. But, instead, we ask women to run a race wearing high heels.
Maybe I am reading too much into this. And maybe I’ll be proven to be a bit off-center. But I am offended, not because of the Australian race, and not even because of the explicit criticism of Sarah Palin, but because we have not entirely come to expect, deserve, and appreciate more.
And that is what is most disappointing.