That question is the subject of a growing discussion given that Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann both claim to be feminists. Except their feminism differs from the days of Gloria Steinem. Lisa Miller, a religion writer for Washington Post.com and On Faith, describes Bachmann's feminism this way.
There are about 12 panelists in Dallas Morning News’ Texas Faith’s weekly column and all opinions including mine are at: http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2011/08/texas-faith-what-does-feminism.html
MIKE GHOUSE, PRESIDENT, FOUNDATION FOR PLURALISM
The Palin-Bachman feminism is a new phenomenon; indeed they are setting a new assertive standard for feminism, where the deferential role for a woman in public square may become extinct like the dinosaurs. Palin-Bachman may not be the right role models, but they are the first most visible ones.
Way back in the movie Disclosure, Demi Moore played a challenging role of an aggressive female boss which at that time was labeled as manly woman’s role, it went to the other end of the spectrum of feminism. During the last Presidential election campaign Hilary Clinton was firm and assertive but not an aggressive, gun-toting attacking tigress like the Palin-Bachman duo, she applied logic and reason and rightfully the media was not deferential to her because she was a female.
In case of Palin-Bachman the media is at a loss in handling their aggressiveness and not sure if they would cross the line of feminism and get attacked for seeking substantiated answers. They need to treat the duo like they would any candidate male or female, and on their part the duo needs to substantiate their responses to set the new standards of feminism and not chase the media out with incomplete brash answers as it will be injustice to the emerging healthy feminism. NPR had a great story on Bachman on Tuesday which addresses the media shyness.
Yet, the three candidates accepted the traditional role of a deferential female to the husband within the family setting believing it to be a religious duty. This is the new public standard for the role of a woman until the deference gets replaced with equal partnership, yet maintains the family harmony and cohesion; there is room for us to grow up.
We may have to modify the Virginia slims slogan to “You have come a long way woman (baby no more)” in establishing and defining the new feminism; genderless in the public square where no one dares to have an upper hand in any endeavor of life and yet and play feminine traditional role in the family setting. Helen Reddy’s song “I am woman” is playing in my ears now.
It has a lot of winning appeal to women; it authenticates their own vision of womanhood and offers a role model for them to emulate. Be yourselves, do what is right irrespective of the opinions out there, eventually that will become the standard and the norm of the society where you are viewed as an individual contributor for the wellbeing of the family and the society. I welcome this new benchmark, it was long overdue.
Mike Ghouse is a speaker committed to a cohesive America and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day – all his work is indexed at www.MikeGhouse.net