The brutal criticism of Sarah Palin—which will only increase when her memoir comes out—is yet another example of the double standard and cruel treatment of women in politics. Sarah has been attacked for everything from her hair to her clothes to the number of children she gave birth to. Maureen Dowd even nicknamed her “Caribou Barbie.” I can’t even begin to think of what that kind of judgment—criticizing parts of your life that have nothing to do with what you stand for or want to accomplish politically—feels like.

Through it all, the example both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin set is so admirable. I respect any woman who will go out there and run for office. Maybe it’s a cliché, but no matter how many differences I may have with a woman politically, there is still a sense of kinship I feel for a woman in politics.

But having seen female candidates attacked on the right and the left, why would any woman my age ever feel inspired to run for office? What kind of example has the media set for my generation of women? I struggle with this. I don’t have ambitions to run for office—I have already done enough campaigning for one lifetime—but I already have a pretty good idea of what it would feel like. I have often wondered how the media would react if it were my brother writing these columns and speaking out on behalf of moderate Republicans. I can pretty much bet that his weight wouldn’t have been an issue.