Wednesday, September 3, 2008
The same media – television, cable news, the newspapers, you name it – that has gone out of its way to encourage discussion of Sarah Palin’s family life has, at the same time, demonstrated the self-serving audacity of also pointing out that many women find the nature of these questions inherently prejudicial and offensive. Many women do. All women should. The assumption that these questions are somehow more relevant, even just more interesting for female candidates than for their male counterparts is blatantly sexist. That they “suck” – my apologies for the vulgar language, but I wanted to write this in terms the media might understand – on the grounds of invasion of privacy and irrelevance is perhaps subject matter for future postings, but not this one. This piece is all about me.
Yes, you hear anger in my prose. I’m a male and the father two children. They’re adults now, but they’re still my kids, and not a day goes by that I don’t wonder and worry about them, that I don’t look for excuses to help them, and for them to include me in their lives.
On behalf of my wife, my daughter, my mother and sister, I resent this particular reaction of the media to Sarah Palin’s candidacy. More to the point, I’m personally insulted by the inference that men like myself are somehow less concerned, less involved in all stages of their children’s lives, than their mothers. True, the character of our involvement may be different. Maybe I had to work outside the house for long hours, and often on the road, while my wife worked in-house taking care of them in so many respects that I could only envy. But then that was my loss, my sacrifice, to help raise my children. And when there were significant problems, thankfully nothing so profound as those confronting Sarah Palin and her husband, my wife and I handled them together.
Men, the ones I know anyway, are no less distracted by our children than our counterparts who are working mothers. That many in the media would think otherwise, that they would be so blatantly oblivious or recklessly carefree in their pursuit of Sarah Palin’s personal life without regard to the implications of their questions, has got to make you wonder about the quality of their reporting and intelligence of their analysis. Their bias confirms their lack of professionalism. Their unwillingness or inability to set reasonable, sympathetic, common sense limits on what they’re willing to cover tells us something not so nice about their character and what these news organizations are willing to do for ratings.