Monday, September 22, 2008

bye for now!

I'm leaving early tomorrow morning for Charleston, South Carolina. My friend is getting married on Saturday (and then deploying to Iraq 8 days later). I may have time to blog, but I can only promise that I'll take loads of pictures. Otherwise, see you next Monday!


good day!

Two of my favorite ladies (Ivana XL and Maura Davis of Denali) have two new youtube videos of themselves performing live. I had never seen Ivana perform adorable is she?

pepsi clear!

Remember when I wrote about that article by moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt called "What Makes People Vote Republican?" His thesis in it is that liberals have a hard time empathizing with conservatives (and getting them to vote Democrat) because of the way we frame our positions on economic and social issues. Basically, he says conservatives have a broader criteria as to what constitutes morality. In arguing our beliefs, us liberals rarely use appeals to authority or purity, which are things conservatives value strongly. We instead focus mostly on preventing harm and making things fair. Though conservatives like those things too, they need all their moral needs met.

While I agree with most of Haidt's points (and from personal experience, I think purity is a social construct and only value deferring to authority when it has garnered one's respect), the whole thing left me feeling fuzzy. So I asked my super-smart graduated-from-UVA-with-a-philosophy-major friend Clara for her insight. Here's what she said:

i'm fairly moderate, so i have an advantage in being able to empathize with both parties. i think ultimately it's not so much identifying with one party so much as the parties reacting to each other. we spend so much time framing political issues as "ourselves as not the other" (if that makes sense). for example, in this election even the republicans are advertising themselves as "bucking the republicans in washington". capitalism/globalism/blogism has distanced us from any sort of national identity, yet we're trying to fix the nation's collective issues through the individual (mavericks anyone?).

i see myself as a red-blooded democrat - the conservative part of me feels the need for a strong national identity, the practical democrat in me says that greater government involvement is essential for organizing a shit ton of people. my political convictions should make me want to vote democrat, yet so often i don't. haidt's assertion that democrats don't know how to appeal to republican voters rang particularly true for me.

i don't have an entirely clear moral identification, but i would say it most closely resembles virtue ethics. which, in a kind of roundabout (and not entirely congruent) way is the basis for christian ethics. in both systems there is the appeal of a higher moral order, something the republicans have effectively captured (despite not acting in accordance with :( ). i often find the democratic party unappealing, and writing about it just now has clarified my sentiment a bit : their political and moral reasoning is utilitarian and isolating. why should abortion be legal? because in most cases it is best. why should gays be able to get married? because in most cases (all!) it has no effect on anyone else. to me, and i'd hazard a guess and say most other republicans, these reasons do not suffice for political action. which is not to say that i think abortion and gay marriage should be illegal, but that "best for most" should not be the reason it is legal.

so perhaps haidt is correct in that the real disagreement isn't so much the issues themselves but how we address them, and each other. i can sympathize a bit with republicans calling liberals "elitist". democrats so often frame political discussion of change as "you SHOULD want this". this is needlessly patronizing and creates these horrible partisan rifts, which i think makes people identify more powerfully with a party or ideology than a nation as a whole. nobody wants to be told that their beliefs are wrong. in this sense i think people are reacting more assertively against a party than for their own beliefs - a simple example is levi johnston proudly calling himself a "fuckin redneck". it is probably not so much that he wants to be a redneck, but that so many people look down on his lifestyle that his pride necessitates swinging more wildly to the right. similar to gays having drag parades or jezebel commenters talk about their casual abortions followed by binge drinking. the more abrasive we are with our own beliefs, the less likely it is we'll ever have an effective national discussion.

all that being said, i think that obama has done an excellent job in presenting democratic ideals in a conservative package. yet i'm still worried about the election, mostly because of the media and liberal backlash. negative campaigning will not work for the democrats, and as much as i hate this saying, we have to "kill them with kindness". i think the key is removing republican "righteous anger" and really trying to appeal to them on the issues in their terms. there is a strong christian archetype that persecution is a necessity on the path to salvation - the more liberals taunt them, the more "right" they are. this is not to say we should agree with all their solutions, but to understand that it is not just a lack of education or gross greed that leads them to be a conservative. i may be naive, but i feel like we're all (okay, most) talking about the same things in different moral languages.
Thanks, Clara!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the divisive feminist.

There's a feminist blog out there called the Reclusive Leftist that I found via a link from another feminist blog, either Feministing or Feminist Law Professors or maybe Feministe. I always love finding new feminist blogs, but the views expressed on it are so troubling to me, from both the blogger and commenters alike, that it makes me want to disassociate myself from feminism in general.

I don't want to be narrow-minded, because I realize not every self-proclaimed feminist has to agree with me on everything, but the point at which I got really turned off from the website was after reading a post titled, "Why the attacks on Sarah Palin are the best argument for voting for her." I'm a HUGE defender of Palin against sexism, even though I disagree with almost all her policies. When someone calls her a "whore" or a "slut" or even a "gilf", or questions her maternal instincts in accepting the VP nom, I come to her defense. That kind of rhetoric doesn't do liberals any favors (or conservatives, but they're on their own).

On the other hand, attacking the Republicans for picking her SOLELY because of her gender or the hypocrisy in framing her daughters' pregnancy as a matter of "choice" is fair game as far as I'm concerned. And her policies and lack of knowledge are even more legitimate reasons to criticize her.

But the author of this post, Violet, makes such overarching statements as, "That the lynching is being conducted primarily by Obama supporters who consider themselves 'progressives' isn’t completely surprising...", which, as far as I'm concerned, is complete bullshit. (The use of the word lynching here is a whole 'nother issue.)

But um, Violet? A good share of the sexist comments (as I've written about before) are coming from Republicans themselves. And though I agree Hillary faced all kinds of awful sexism from liberals and conservatives alike, I don't think women are going to "flock to" vote for Palin because of the repeat offenses. And I think a lot of the attacks on Palin are actually NOT sexist in and of themselves, but are instead trying to reveal the sexism of the Republican party in choosing Palin.

I'm not saying there aren't Obama-supporting sexists. But there are also a ton of McCain-supporting sexists as well (obviously). And the mainstream liberal community has treated Palin with more respect than I expected.

My friend's mom tried to tell me that most of the sexism towards Hillary was coming from "the black community", which, I'm sure, constituted part of it, but misogyny (and racism) is exhibited by every type of person imaginable: black, white, asian, hispanic, male, female, transgender, Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green Party, etc. And assuming that all misogynistic statements about Hillary during the primaries came from black men is ridiculously racist. When it comes to making prejudiced statements, pot, meet kettle.

Anyway, that wasn't even the worst part. The comments made me nauseous. Here's one:

"For many women, the last eight months was the worst sexism they experienced in their lives. Under any Presidency Republican or Democrat. And that was just the primary! Imagine what life would be like under an Obama Presidency. He was just getting started. To me, it’s worse than losing Roe v Wade."

And from another post,

"Palin’s representation of women already had an effect. Republicans are opposing sexism!!!!!! If Palin is VP, Republicans will oppose sexism and that, my friends, is half the battle. I was never beaten or raped in my life but the last eight months is the first time I felt beaten or raped. Fuck Roe v. Wade. How many abortions will I need anyway? Basic respect for women is the first step in feminism. Maybe policies will follow."

So I was livid about these comments, and tried to argue why voting for a woman just BECAUSE she's a woman is antithetical to feminism. They responded by saying they were bigger feminists than me. Even worse, Blogger Violet ignored the persuasive articles that I posted by making ad hominem attacks against the authors. Okay, I admit I wasn't the nicest. I said some strong things, like "Who are you people? Your views sound neither liberal nor feminist." But they made themselves look just as hostile by making assumptions about me and saying that *I* was the one who wasn't a real feminist.

And here's another baseless comment. These are all from the same commenter, "donna darko". Maybe I just have a problem with her:

"How Obama treats women is worse than losing Roe v Wade."

"The last eight months was the worst sexism many women have experienced in their lives. I was never beaten or raped in my life but the last eight months was the first time I felt beaten or raped."

I know that the way Hillary was treated was hard on a lot of women, including me. The amount of sexism displayed by liberal and conservative men and women alike was heartbreaking. But comparing it to rape, something this woman has never experienced, is insensitive and hyperbolic. So then, a presumably male commenter named Brian responded by saying:

"This rhetoric is so over the top it is difficult to know how to respond. Your preferred candidate did not win and you equate that with being raped!! Isn’t that just slightly insulting to women who were in fact raped, including women of color who supported Obama over Clinton?"

And you know how these women responded? They called him a RAPIST. They said: "Don’t you just love it when the rapists tell women what is and isn’t rape." and "Any man who would make a post like that is a rapist. He has the mind of a rapist."

What the fuck?

So Brian responded again, and said "I am sorry but this is really offensive. I am certainly not denying that Clinton’s campaign revealed quite a bit of mysogyny. Quite frankly, I almost voted for Clinton because of this but ultimately leaned toward Obama–I am not an Obamabot, as I am rather lukewarm on him. All I said was I thought it was somewhat over the top to compare to being raped. What is even more over the top is to say this is equated with being a rapist."

And he was again met with no respect. The last comment posted proclaims that "Men have no justification in telling women what they should or should not say or feel about rape because men cannot be raped", only sodomized. I know that sodomy is used in legal terms for nonconsensual anal or oral sex, but isn't this just semantics? Isn't forcing sex on someone, regardless of their gender, RAPE? Men can be raped by other men, and the fact that children are raped (male and female) is vile. Would these women think sexual abusing a little boy is somehow less traumatizing than a little girl?

These women who frequent the "Reclusive Leftist" seem to be of an older variety, and I know there's a lot of conflict between second and third wave feminists (or, old guard vs. new wave), but I just can't understand their sentiments. I'm trying not to be judgey, but when I ask for clarification, they get hostile and overly defensive.

What's MOST ironic and hilarious is that the author of the Reclusive Leftist, Violet, is one of the founders of something called the "New Agenda". Here's their explanation of what it is:

"Imagine a big lawn party with lots of little booths and kiosks staffed by different groups. This lawn party is Feminism. Over in one rather large booth we have the liberal feminists; they’re wearing power suits and carrying Blackberries. In another part of the lawn the cultural feminists are holding court in their Earth Mother skirts, with some womyn-only music playing on the speakers. A group of radical lesbians have set up a kiosk and are selling Hothead Paisan books and T-shirts. There are Christian feminists and Jewish feminists and Muslim feminists and Buddhist feminists, all with their own booths piled high with literature. The stay-at-home moms have a booth, of course, and they’re graciously sharing their brownies with everyone. The NARAL crowd is out in force, while at the opposite side of the lawn some pro-life feminists have set up a kiosk of their own.

What we’re talking about, of course, is a coalition. It’s a concept that is unfamiliar to many Americans, particularly young Americans (including young feminists) who seem to believe that they can only cooperate with people who resemble themselves in every respect. A coalition, on the other hand, necessarily involves people who disagree on certain issues, but have chosen to ally themselves on the causes they share."

Sounds nice and friendly, doesn't it? So why did one of the founders (Violet), say to me, after I tried to respectfully disagree with her point,

"As for who I am: probably more leftist and feminist than you’ve ever dreamed of being. And old."

Isn't the point of the New Agenda not to COMPARE or RATE brands of feminism? A phrase like "I'm more feminist than you!" should not be coming from one of the New Agenda's founders. And one of the key commenters there tells me (or Brian...she didn't say who she was addressing),

"You might want to start on another blog. Try Feminism 101 at Echidne of the Snakes."

Just a bit condescending, no? Every point I make, they say I "haven't done my research". Fuck that. No, I haven't read a transcript of every interview Sarah Palin has ever given, but I fact check everything I read and write about her. That's why you don't see me re-posting every little rumor on the Daily Kos. I guess I'm oversensitive, but I find them rude, and I don't understand all their hostility towards younger feminists.

This is what Violet says about my generation of feminists:

"I hate to break it to the Third Wavers out there, and really this topic deserves a post or twenty of its own, but for me, as an Old Bat, the most stunning thing about the Third Wave of feminism has always been how unfeminist it is. There are some wonderful feminists in the Third Wave, but they are the exceptions. For the most part, it’s been a return to the pre-feminist, patriarchal snakepit: women tear each other down, accuse each other of being jealous schemers, stab each other in the back. It’s more like the 1950s than the 1970s. Young women of the backlash — and that’s what the Third Wave is, basically — have internalized the misogyny of the age. Other women aren’t sisters to be embraced, but threats to be feared and despised."

It's true that there's an anti-woman sentiment from some women today, but not from feminists I've seen, and to call it the NORM is ridiculous. Again: pot, kettle? By making unfounded statements about younger feminists, isn't Violet exposing herself as a huge hypocrite?

All in all, it's left me feeling pretty shitty about feminism.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

again and again.

Ivana XL can do no wrong. I fucking love her new song. Yesterday I was listening to her and Justin said, "You know how you can set some alarm clocks to play a certain song as the alarm, and eventually you inevitably wind up hating it because it reminds you of waking up unwittingly? I don't think I could ever grow to hate these songs."

Ivana XL - Room with a View

UPDATE: Kenley responds!

So, you know how I emailed Kenley about her feather fascinators? She responded -- and fast! Here's what she said:

"Thanks I make them. Hopefully they will be available to buy in a couple of months off my website."

OMGz, I had an interaction with someone who's met Tim Gunn! I am thisclose to greatness.

the most gorgeous confection.

Christopher Kane Spring 09 Ready to Wear

I know, I know. Confection is a lame word. It's what people use when they've said "dress" or "frock" too many times in a fashion report. But this candy-colored dress is so lovely, the term just seems to fit.

It's also worlds more interesting than anything I saw last week in New York. London Fashion Week FTW!

{via unruly things}

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Okay, I know Kenley is the girl everyone loves to hate on this oh-so-disappointing season of Project Runway, and I admit she's annoying, but the girl has got talent. Even if she IS a one-trick pony, at least it's a good trick, right?

More importantly, the more I watch her, the more I want to wear feather fascinators on a daily basis. I already own a bunch of darling headbands (more on those later) and some feather headbands, but I've been too chicken to wear them out.

Right now I'm looking on etsy for good ones (I specifically want one like the middle picture), but there's a lot of fug to wade through. I got so desperate, I found Kenley's personal website and e-mailed her asking where she gets hers. Hopefully she doesn't find this blog and blacklist me forever. Sorry, girl, but you dug your own grave! She is the spitting image of an ex-friend of mine who finds her own brattiness charming.

Anyway, here are the ones I like best:

sweetsnlo (both)



{picture credit}

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I've got nothing today. So, look at these pretty clothes and pretend I've said something of interest:

Natalie Encarnita dress, $159 at pixie market

Quail varsity top, $136 at pixie market

Lorick cherwell dress, $382 at buydefinition

Quail frenchie dress in violet, $193 at buydefinition

VPL harness skirt, $275 at acrimony boutique

Quail ten skirt, $144 at acrimony boutique

Nuj Novakhett sailor dress, $484 at acrimony boutique

Sretsis rosy raindrop dress, $181 at acrimony boutique (originally $361)

Heimstone zelda dress, $326 at acrimony boutique (originally $652)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Okay, I need to stop with the Palin stuff.

But I really liked this piece from The Nation:

"Lipstick on a Wing Nut"

Here's the first paragraph:

John McCain chose the supremely under-qualified Sarah Palin as his running mate partly because she is a woman. If you have a problem with that, you're a sexist. She talks incessantly about being a mother of five and uses her newborn, Trig, who has Down syndrome, as a campaign prop. If you wonder how she'll handle all those kids and the Veep job too, you're a super-sexist. "When do they ever ask a man that question?" charges that fiery feminist Rudy Giuliani. Indeed, Palin, who went back to work when Trig was three days old, gets nothing but praise from Phyllis Schlafly, James Dobson and the folks at National Review, who usually blame all the ills of modern America on those neurotic, harried, selfish, frustrated, child-neglecting, husband-castrating working mothers. Even stranger, her five-months-pregnant 17-year-old, Bristol, gets nothing but compassion and respect from Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and others who have spent their careers slut-shaming teens for having sex--and blaming their parents for letting it happen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

crushed velvet. seriously.

Is it disgusting that I love this skirt by Sretsis? It takes me back to a school field trip to the Kennedy Center, where I wore a huge poofy black dress with purple and green tulle and velvet. It was hideous. It was GORGEOUS.

opus 23.

I love this piano piece by Dustin O'Halloran. You might remember it from Marie Antoinette.

hard to swallow.

Yesterday my friend's mom, the one who isn't voting, sent me this article from the New York Times. The article, by Judith Warner, is pretty depressing. Warner anecdotally suggests that the reason Conservatives have been winning elections is that they can empathize with Liberals, know how to get under our skin, in a way that Liberals can't. They can identify with why we vote the way we do and tap into that, to their success, while Liberals have a harder time understanding Conservative reasoning. Or something like that.

Anyway, she links to an interesting article by Jonathan Haidt, a moral psychologist at UVA. He and his colleagues developed web surveys that calculated how strongly a person endorsed statements related to various types of morality (whether something is pure, whether something is fair, etc.) What he found is that liberals feel more strongly about a narrower definition of morality (involving preventing harm and being fair), while conservatives adhered to more "types" of morality pretty evenly. These remaining types are ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity.

This all makes sense, but it's not encouraging. Haidt, a self-professed liberal, acknowledges the fact that we Liberals like to consider ourselves more nuanced in our understanding of issues, while Conservatives put things into black and white boxes. We like to say that many Conservatives vote that way out of ignorance, because why else would deeply religious people vote for the party that mainly represents big business? But he finds that they understand their party quite well. It's not a matter of needing to be educated. They just don't agree with us.

Two points remain. It's hard to wrap my brain around Haidt's exact points, as I'm not an expert on either psychology or morality. But in his alternative definition of morality, he rejects a universal system in favor of "what works best for that particular society". I could be wrong, but that's what I gathered after reading the article several times. If that's true, it will be hard for Liberals to accept. Because there is a difference between what is best for people as individuals and what is best for a society in a specific context. Socially liberal people strongly value granting individual rights without discrimination, such as gay marriage. If gay marriage is best for gay couples, which I think it is, isn't it also true that legalizing it might cause more friction in our society between the Religious Right and the rest of us? If all the policies I (and many liberals like me) wanted, such as full abortion rights and comprehensive sex education, were suddenly put into effect, there would probably be even more tension between party lines than there is now.

But why should we have to sacrifice what we believe in? Why should we settle for civil unions? I don't know, I could be way off base, but that point makes the task at hand (convincing more people to vote Democrat) seem even more daunting.

The second point is that Haidt suggests we re-frame our issues in more encompassing moral rhetoric. Obviously we emphasize care and reducing harm against things like the environment, but he says that appeals to care AND the elements of purity and sanctity would be more effective. I think this is compelling and hopefully true. I just wonder if Liberals will have trouble using that language. Many of us like to think of ourselves as social constructionists, so what IS purity, exactly? Why should authority remain unquestioned? Re-framing our issues in these new ways might feel like we're sacrificing our beliefs. I just wonder how easy that will be.

desperate measures.

Why is it okay for the conservatives to criticize liberals for being "elitists", but when we suggest that someone's a country bumpkin, we're being "TOO MEAN"?

They can call us the party of arugula-eating elitists (though all those McCain/Palin stickers in my local Whole Foods parking lot suggest otherwise), but once we say that someone who has barely left the country and lives closer to Canada than the Mainland might be out of touch with the rest of Americans/international relations, we're suddenly being unnecessarily vicious?

Yesterday on Bill Maher, Janeane Garofalo was being vocal about her disgust with the Republican party and she was reprimanded by both the Republican guest and Bill Maher. "You're asking for it", they said, as if her disparaging remarks would cost the Democrats the election.

But um, if being mean and resorting to ad hominem attacks is bad for a party, wouldn't the Republicans have been voted out of power ages ago?

So I'm going to stop being so nice to the Republicans and start rubbing it in their face that John McCain is known to be an asshole. An asshole who forgets his policies on, say, whether birth control should be covered by insurance.

On Facebook, this girl I was marginally friends with in high school posted a picture of her next to a big McCain/Palin sign, smiling. She commented on the picture, saying "My favorite quote from the rally was 'A Vote A Day Keeps Obama Away!'" (First of all, what does that even mean? A vote a DAY?)

So I responded with, "My favorite quote is, 'At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.' From McCain to his wife! What a guy!" How do people even defend that? They can't. He sounds like the biggest douchebag in the world with that quote. So that pissed her off, which makes my little heart skip a beat, and she replied by saying, "Allison that's really not cool and very disrespectful."

The poor thing didn't realize how easily she was baiting me to respond with, "Yeah, seriously. He treats his wife with no respect."

What we need to do is get the focus off Palin. She's a decoy. The Republicans want us to talk about her so that we don't focus on McCain's terrible record, similarity with Bush, and awful policies. We need to focus on how nonsensical it would be for this country to elect Bush 2.0. He has the worst approval rating of any president and has put this country in ruins, so why would we want to elect more of the same?

This is what we need to emphasize. And the fact that McCain is a dick can't hurt, either. I know it's hard, us liberals are so forgiving. But fuck it. We need to ruin this man.

(UPDATE: Arianna Huffington agrees! I hadn't even seen that article before I posted this.)

Friday, September 12, 2008



{via the Facehunter}

children of the 80s:

We were all hipsters at one point or another. Don't you love looking at old pictures, especially from the 70s on upward? We all looked so silly. Those perennially stylish kids will miss out on these moments. And yep, that's me. (Click to enlarge!)


The chairman of the Macomb County (Michigan) Republican Party wants to deny people the right to vote if they are homeless due to foreclosure. The move would disproportionately affect African-American voters, as "more than 60 percent of all sub-prime loans -- the most likely kind of loan to go into default -- were made to African-Americans in Michigan."

The McCain headquarters in Michigan is actually located inside the offices of Trott and Trott, a law firm specializing in mortgage foreclosure. This guy, Trott, has -- big surprise! -- raised tons of money for McCain.

Sign the petition against this HERE.

{via Feministing, The Michigan Messenger}

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Who wants to buy me these tea towels for my birthday/Christmas/just cause? They're ADORABLE.

Current Cravings

Brown Boots

Leather, Lace, Studs and Zippers

Romance (a.k.a. my feeble attempt at unifying my miscellaneous section)

rachel maddow, rebecca traister: THESE are my feminist role models.

Rebecca Traister has a great article on today about Sarah Palin, reproduced below. My sentiments exactly. (But with better wording.)

Zombie Feminists of the RNC

How did Sarah Palin become a symbol of women's empowerment? And how did I, a die-hard feminist, end up terrified at the idea of a woman in the White House?

By Rebecca Traister

Sept. 11, 2008 | I have been dreaming about Sarah Palin. (Apparently, I'm not alone.) I wish I could say that I'd been conjuring witty, politically sophisticated nightmares in which she leads troops into Vancouver or kindergartners in the recitation of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." But, alas, mine have been nonsensical, kiddie-style doozies in which she kidnaps my cats, or enjoys a meal with my girlfriends while I bang on the restaurant window. There's also a chilling one, in which a scary witch stands on a wind-swept hill and leers at me.

What troubles me most -- aside from the fact that there is suddenly a Republican candidate potent enough to so ensnare my psyche -- is my sense that these are dreams in which it matters very much that Palin is a woman.

I have been writing about feminism for more than five years; I have been covering the gender politics of the 2008 presidential election for more than two. And I am absolutely gobsmacked by the intensity of my feelings about Sarah Palin. I am stunned not only by the way in which her candidacy has changed the rules in the gender debate, or how it is twisting and garbling the fight for women's progress. But I'm also startled by how Palin herself is testing my own beliefs about how I react to women in power.

My feelings about Palin have everything to do with her gender -- a factor that I have always believed, as a matter of course, should neither amplify nor diminish impressions of a person's goodness or badness, smartness or dumbness, gravitas or inconsequence. Why are my rules changing?

I am still perfectly capable of picking out the sexism being leveled against the Alaska governor by the press, her detractors and her own party. Every time someone doubts Palin's ability to lead and mother simultaneously, or considers her physical appeal as a professional attribute, or calls her a "maverette," I bristle.

But that's the easy stuff. The clear-cut stuff. I'm far more torn about the more subtle, complicated ways in which Palin's gender has me tied in knots.

Perhaps it's because the ground has shifted so quickly under my feet, leaving me with only a slippery grasp of what the basic vocabulary of my beat -- feminism, women's rights -- even means anymore. Some days, it feels like I'm watching the civics filmstrip about how much progress women made on the presidential stage in 2008 burst into flames, acutely aware that in the back of the room, a substitute teacher is threading a new reel into the projector. It has the same message and some of the same signifiers -- Glass ceilings broken! Girl Power! -- but its meaning has been distorted. Suddenly it's Rudy Giuliani and Rick Santorum schooling us about pervasive sexism; Hillary Clinton's 18 million cracks have weakened not only the White House's glass ceiling, but the wall protecting Roe v. Wade; the potential first female vice president in America's 200-year history describes her early career as "your average hockey mom" who "never really set out to be involved in public affairs"; and teen pregnancy is no longer an illustrative example for sex educators and contraception distributors but for those who seek to eliminate sex education and contraception.

In this strange new pro-woman tableau, feminism -- a word that is being used all over the country with regard to Palin's potential power -- means voting for someone who would limit reproductive control, access to healthcare and funding for places like Covenant House Alaska, an organization that helps unwed teen mothers. It means cheering someone who allowed women to be charged for their rape kits while she was mayor of Wasilla, who supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, who has inquired locally about the possibility of using her position to ban children's books from the public library, who does not support the teaching of sex education.

In this "Handmaid's Tale"-inflected universe, in which femininity is worshipped but females will be denied rights, CNBC pundit Donny Deutsch tells us that we're witnessing "a new creation ... of the feminist ideal," the feminism being so ideal because instead of being voiced by hairy old bats with unattractive ideas about intellect and economy and politics and power, it's now embodied by a woman who, according to Deutsch, does what Hillary Clinton did not: "put a skirt on." "I want her watching my kids," says Deutsch. "I want her laying next to me in bed."

Welcome to 2008, the year a tough, wonky woman won a primary (lots of them, actually), an inspiring black man secured his party's nomination for the presidency, and a television talking head felt free to opine that a woman is qualified for executive office because he wants to bed her and have her watch his kids! Stop the election; I want to get off.

What Palin so seductively represents, not only to Donny Deutsch but to the general populace, is a form of feminine power that is utterly digestible to those who have no intellectual or political use for actual women. It's like some dystopian future ... feminism without any feminists.

Palin's femininity is one that is recognizable to most women: She's the kind of broad who speaks on behalf of other broads but appears not to like them very much. The kind of woman who, as Jessica Grose at Jezebel has eloquently noted, achieves her power by doing everything modern women believed they did not have to do: presenting herself as maternal and sexual, sucking up to men, evincing an absolute lack of native ambition, instead emphasizing her luck as the recipient of strong male support and approval. It works because these stances do not upset antiquated gender norms. So when the moment comes, when tolerance for and interest in female power have been forcibly expanded by Clinton, a woman more willing to throw elbows and defy gender expectations but who falls short of the goal, Palin is there, tapped as a supposedly perfect substitute by powerful men who appreciate her charms.

But while the Republicans would have us believe that Palin can simply stand in for Hillary Clinton, there is nothing interchangeable about these politicians. We began this history-making election with one kind of woman and have ended up being asked to accept her polar opposite. Clinton's brand of femininity is the kind that remains slightly unpalatable in America. It is based on competence, political confidence and an assumption of authority that upends comfortable roles for men and women. It's a kind of power that has nothing to do with the flirtatious or the girly, nothing to do with the traditionally feminine. It is authority that is threatening because it so closely and calmly resembles the kind of power that the rest of the guys on a presidential stage never question their right to wield.

The pro-woman rhetoric surrounding Sarah Palin's nomination is a grotesque bastardization of everything feminism has stood for, and in my mind, more than any of the intergenerational pro- or anti-Hillary crap that people wrung their hands over during the primaries, Palin's candidacy and the faux-feminism in which it has been wrapped are the first development that I fear will actually imperil feminism. Because if adopted as a narrative by this nation and its women, it could not only subvert but erase the meaning of what real progress for women means, what real gender bias consists of, what real discrimination looks like.

Perhaps that's why my reaction to Palin is so bone-deep, and why she is shaking some of my convictions about how to approach gender. When, last Sunday, I picked up the New York Post, with its front-page headline "Ladykiller: Hillary to Check Hockey Mom" next to photos of Palin in porno librarian mode and Clinton with her teeth bared, I didn't roll my eyes in disgust at the imagined cage match. Instead, I envisioned it. And I enjoyed it. I was overcome by the desire to see Clinton take on Palin, not only checking her but fouling her, smushing her, absolutely crushing her. Get her, Hillary! Don't let her channel all the energy generated by you and your Democratic supporters into anti-woman, pro-God government! You are the only one who can stop her.

It's true that the last time I had this kind of visceral yearning for a politician to save the day was on the evening of Sept. 11, when the only person whose face I wanted to see on my television was Bill Clinton's. Perhaps when the Clintons took office in my 18th year, they became imprinted on my brain as my presidential parent-figures, my ur-protectors. But it's hard not to notice that if that's the case, it's Bill I want to nurture and soothe me, and Hillary I want to show up, guns blazing Ripley-style, to surprise the mother alien just as she is about to feast on independent voters, protectively shouting, "Get away from them, you bitch!"

There I go again with the hyper-feminized anxieties. I think it's mostly that I want Hillary Clinton -- the imperfect history maker whose major selling points for "First Woman..." status, in retrospect, included the fact that she was not a Republican, not pro-life, did not believe in teaching creationism alongside evolution, had never inquired about the feasibility of banning books, understood the American economy, supported universal healthcare and did not kill wolves from planes -- to make Sarah Palin go away and stop threatening to make history I don't want to see made.

It is infuriating that Clinton, her supporters and, yes, also those Obama supporters who voiced their displeasure at the sexist treatment Clinton sometimes received, and also female voters, and also females full stop, are being implicated in feminism's bastardization.

But if we inadvertently paved the way for this, then the Democratic Party mixed the concrete, painted lanes on the road, put up streetlights and called it an interstate. The role of the left in this travesty is almost too painful to contemplate just yet.

For while it may chafe to hear Rudy Giuliani and John McCain hold forth on the injustice of gender bias, what really burns is that we never heard a peep or squawk or gurgle of this nature from anyone in the Democratic Party during the entire 100 years Hillary Clinton was running for president, while she was being talked about as a pantsuited, wrinkly old crone and a harpy ex-wife and a sexless fat-thighed monster and an emasculating nag out for Tucker Carlson's balls. Only after she was good and gone did Howard Dean come out of his cave to squeak about the amount of sexist media bias Clinton faced. That may not be pretty to recall, especially in light of the Grand Old Party's Grand Old Celebration of Estrogen. But it's true. And it's also true that if there hadn't been so much stone-cold silence, so much shoulder-shrugging "What, me sexist?" inertia from the left, if there had been a little more respect (there was plenty of attention, of the derisive and annoyed sort) paid to the unsubtle clues being transmitted by 18 million voters that maybe they were interested in this whole woman-in-the-White-House thing, then the right would not have had the fuel to power this particular weapon.

Which leads us to my greatest nightmare: that because my own party has not cared enough, or was too scared, to lay its rightful claim to the language of women's rights, that Sarah Palin will reach historic heights of power, under the most egregious of auspices, by plying feminine wiles, and conforming to every outdated notion of what it means to be a woman. That she will hit her marks by clambering over the backs, the bodies, the rights of the women on whose behalf she claims to be working, and that she will do it all under the banner of feminism. How can anybody sleep?

(All I can respond with is this: Pictures like the following are not helping, people. And it's "hos".)

Vain and Vapid

Vain and Vapid is the label of Germany-based Julie Khort. Everything she makes is positively GORGEOUS. I was especially smitten by her Cecilia Lisbon dress (above) and e-mailed her incessantly for weeks asking if she'd make me one in my size. Lucky me, she did! And for so cheap, too. I got it today in the mail and it is so so amazing. I love it to death.

This is the version I have, in navy. If she ever makes one in the original color again, it's mine!

Visit her etsy, read her blog, and keep tabs on this one!

the best thing ever.

leeloo dallas multipass.

How Fifth Element are these Herve Leger bathing suits? I love it.