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Full Frontal Stalinism: Deciding Who Counts as a Feminist

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Posted on June 26 2010 12:15 pm
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by Michael C. Moynihan

I haven’t seen it in years, but it was on every second car when I lived in Northampton, Massachusetts, back in the mid-1990s. The slogans one found on the backs of Volvos and pasted on community message boards throughout the Pioneer Valley, those chalked on the pavement at Smith College, were always reductionist—I’ve visualized world peace, now what?—but none bothered me more than the ubiquitous sticker proclaiming that “feminism is the radical notion the women are people.” It came to mind today when reading Kathleen Parker’s column in today’s Washington Post, in which she weighs the pointless question of whether women like Sarah Palin—pro-life and right-wing—can be considered feminists.

Jessica Valenti, founder of the website Feministing, is baffled, having recently “seen articles desperate to paint anti-choice policies as somehow pro-woman.” To suggest that those on the right, those with a more skeptical view of government’s ability to level playing fields or those not entirely convinced that sexism is the greatest problem facing civilization, are people “who makes their career trying to roll back women’s rights” and to suggest otherwise is “fucking insulting.”

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