Palin’s self-described feminism turns off some conservative women

Kristi Hunt with daughter Katherine
MinnPost photo by Christina Capecchi
Kristi Hunt with daughter Katherine

While some women wave “Palin Power” signs and applaud her ascent, a less vocal group would like to keep the glass ceiling in place. 

A woman’s place is in the home, not the Oval Office, they say.

Kristi Hunt, 45, of Apple Valley, who home-schools her four daughters, has found it hard to watch Gov. Sarah Palin work the grueling campaign trail.

“It breaks my heart,” Hunt said. “But it’s the country that I think forces women out of the home. To me,
[Palin] should be with her children. They’re the most important. Who is raising the next generation? Their mothers — or hired help?”

If McCain had chosen a male running mate — regardless of his age and the age of his children — Hunt said she’d be more comfortable. “Nothing replaces a mother.”

Hunt is not alone. As anticipation for tonight’s debate mounts, some conservative moms in the Twin Cities are feeling dread. Although they’re longtime Republicans and ardent pro-lifers, they do not identify with the woman who told Katie Couric Tuesday she’s a feminist.

Palin may have cautiously qualified her answer, but still, it was in the affirmative.

“I’m a feminist who believes in equal rights, and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed and to try to do it all, anyway,” Palin said. “And I’m very, very thankful that I’ve been brought up in a family where gender hasn’t been an issue. You know, I’ve been expected to do everything growing up that the boys were doing. We were out chopping wood and you’re out hunting and fishing and filling our freezer with good wild Alaskan game to feed our family. So it kinda started with that.”

 Whereas moms like Hunt are not feminists — make no mistake. And they’ll readily distance themselves from that loaded term.

“I am not a feminist,” said Christine Church, 44, a stay-at-home mom from Otsego. “I don’t want to be aligned with people who are on the far-left wing.”

When pressed, Church expressed her opinion unequivocally: “I don’t believe that a woman should be president. I just believe that the way our country was founded, it needs to be a man. I think it’s how God placed men over women. And there’s a reason for that, so they can protect us, and that’s true at the family level and the national level. I just believe that God has different roles for men and women.”

Different but equal?

No, Church wouldn’t even say that. She paused to consider her word choice, aware of the inherent controversy. She declined to use the word “unequal” but noted that the gender roles are not the same.

Hunt echoed that sentiment. “We’re definitely not feminists,” she said. “Women play a role in government, but it’s a different role than men.”

She took three of her daughters on a field trip last month to observe that role. The Hunts attended CivicFest at the Minneapolis Convention Center. One of the first exhibits they checked out was the gowns worn by first ladies. “They just loved them,” Hunt said.

She said she favors Cindy McCain’s dresses over Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits. “I think dresses are just more feminine. A man doesn’t wear a dress; women do.”

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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Molly Priesmeyer on 10/02/2008 - 05:06 pm.

    Really? Is it time for another story about how there are people who believe the earth is flat, too?

  2. Submitted by John Olson on 10/02/2008 - 07:12 pm.

    All I can say is “Ewwww.”

    If Sarah Palin were a Democrat instead of a Republican, and in the exact same situation, the right-wing would be crucifying her.

    This election has turned into an episode of “American Idiot.” On both sides.

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 10/02/2008 - 11:28 pm.

    Stockholm syndrome? Or just the apostle Paul’s misogyny being handed down as scripture?

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