Saturday, March 24, 2012
Two fellow Alaskan women, Kirsten Powers and Penny Lee, penned a letter to the New York Times calling out misogynist attacks on women in public life.
They included this interesting aside: “Coincidentally we both hail from Alaska — where women are treated as equals — so perhaps our threshold for this kind of behavior is less than here in the Lower 48.”
As an Alaskan woman, I completely agree. Women up here do not tolerate the sexist stereotyping and behavior.
Up here, I’m constantly around commercial fishermen who curse like sailors, oil field workers with hardcore blue collar work ethics, tattooed-up soldiers serving on our military bases, long-haul truck drivers, motorheads, hunters and sport fishermen; and yet I don’t know anyone who talks about women the way these misogynists on TV do with their degrading comments, which includes comments mocking those with special needs.
I grew up hunting, fishing, playing sports, plowing snow, and chopping wood just like the guys. My parents raised my sisters and me to never consider gender an unequal element in anything. (In fact, today is my Dad’s birthday, and I want to give him a shout out because as a science teacher and track coach, he treated all of his students and athletes equally with respect and encouragement.) My daughters have participated on football, hockey, and wrestling teams just like the guys. We even dress like the guys at times (or they, like us) in warm camo hoodies and Carharts. It’s accepted up here because the environment is rugged and real, and our Alaskan elements are a great equalizer.
Women and men are equals in every way in the Last Frontier, and real men are not threatened by strong women. Real men don’t insult women with gross sexist comments meant to demean and objectify them.
These misogynists wouldn’t know how real men behave. I cannot imagine them working on my commercial fishing skiff in Bristol Bay, or driving our trucks to haul gear out to a remote cabin, or fueling up the float plane, or even having a tinge of grease under their fingernails which symbolizes the hard work needed to fuel the nation’s economy. And yet these are all things average Alaskan women do everyday. If these misogynists said one of their disgusting comments up here in person to an “Alaskan chick,” they would have to replace their veneered teeth.
I personally do not seek an apology from these narrow-minded men. With a full family and productive “to-do” list everyday, I just don’t have time for them. But I do feel sorry for them and for their obvious need to compensate for something that’s missing in their own lives, which compels them to belittle others in order to feel big. And I feel sorry for our culture for having to listen to them. America deserves better. I applaud Kirsten and Penny for taking a stand when too many feminists don’t speak up when the attacks are directed at their conservative sisters. And unfortunately too many men, like our president, will only defend certain women, not all women.
- Sarah Palin