I say this as someone who’s unabashedly called herself a feminist (in public and in print) ever since, years ago, I established my own definition of it. In a nutshell, it goes like this: View men and women as equals; see your gender as neither an obstacle to success nor an excuse for failure; laugh at yourself occasionally; get out of bed in the morning; don’t forget to vote.
As you can see, this mission statement applies to men and women, liberals and conservatives, evangelicals and atheists, the freshly shaved and the hairy armpitted. I may have opinions about abortion and other social issues closely associated with women’s rights, but I see them as a separate matter from the question of whether I call myself a feminist. Plenty of others will disagree on that.
But from the looks of things, Palin shares this interpretation with me (likely the only thing we share). And to those Palin haters who are probably at this moment firing up their laptops to tell me I’m a disgrace to the sisterhood, I say this: How often do you, and your supposedly like-minded daughters and sisters and friends, call yourselves feminists?…
Granted, the blandishments of the political spin machine make it hard for Clinton, or just about any liberal female politician, to use the “F-word” a lot because it could tar her as a man-hater. But think hard about who or what is to blame for increasingly narrow definitions of feminism, definitions that often have more to do with armpits and their discontents than with policy, pay rates and other matters of substance. Part of the fault lies with those who believe in gender equality but avoid the word, souring its reputation and undermining principles they actually hold quite dear. In other words, too many people are walking the walk without talking the talk.