Sarah Palin at the RNC (I feel so horribly betrayed)

At first I was skeptical about Sarah Palin. I even wrote a post called Can a stay-at-home mom be Pro-Palin? And then I watched her speech last week.

Why didn’t anyone tell me that a woman can have it all?

I feel like everything I’ve ever known about what a woman can be and should be, what she can have and should want to have, has been turned on its head.

Remember paradigm shifts? Remember when it seemed your paradigm shifted every week (puberty)? Remember when you grew up and your paradigm seemed to never shift past the next diaper change and yesterday’s batch of macaroni and cheese?

Sarah Palin seems to be the embodiment of post-feminism. As a tomboy/beauty queen/college graduate/wife/mother/mayor/establishment-taker-on-er/governor/vice-presidential candidate, she rocks!

I think we just saw Rosa Parks sitting in the front of the bus.

Did you see Piper (the 7 year-old daughter) licking her hand and smoothing down baby Trig’s hair?

Did you hear Palin introduce her “man” and her parents?

Did you wish you could be adopted and play under her desk while she made important phone calls?

I did.

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Did You Hear the One About the Sworn Virgins in Albania?

ingrid bergman bells of st maryOnce upon a time in northern Albania, there was a custom of women becoming men. They dressed like men, moved about in society as men, and were content to relinquish traditional female experiences like pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and childrearing, and simple, normal human experiences like sex and the companionship of marriage, with its soaring joys, petty resentments, and sometimes-tragic disappointments.

The alternative was to watch their large extended families wither without male leadership in a society that recognized women as worth only 6 oxen to a man’s 12. Sworn Virgins were worth 12. In exchange for their sexuality, they gained freedom from the severe restrictions women faced.

By taking an oath of virginity, women could take on the role of men as head of the family, carry a weapon, own property and move freely.

Both Muslims and Christians adhered to this 500-year old oral code of conduct. The last of the Sworn Virgins (about 40 of them) are in their 80s.

I know, I know, one doesn’t have to experience pregnancy or childbirth or breastfeed or raise children or have sex to be a woman, but CAN YOU IMAGINE?

I don’t know which would be worse — being a woman and thus unable to do anything but keep hearth and home (as sublime as that is), or to become a man in everything but biology and have every opportunity but those which are most instinctual. Except you would still be denied the human experience of sex and marriage, which, last time I checked, most men are interested in.

I’m not one to think that any of us are totally free from cultural absurdities or insane religious, ethnic, or traditional practices, but I just cannot even fathom having to make a choice like that. Give me the modern Mommy Wars any day!

Nowadays women in Albania have more freedom, more choices. They can “go out half naked to the disco” if they want. One Albania man said that “Women and men are now almost the same,” and that it’s “no longer a stigma not to have a man of the house.”

I think it’s a bit ironic that women no longer have to become men to get the freedoms that men enjoy, because “Women and men are now almost the same.” Only now those women can bear children, which, you know, is just one more way those uppity women want to be like the men.


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This weekend’s Things That Must Go Giveaway is for a $50 gift certificate to a cool online store.

Visit Fussypants for more reasons to be glad we’re not living in Albania 100 years ago.

A Good Day’s Steele

remington-steele.jpgBefore there was Moonlighting and Scarecrow and Mrs. King, there was Remington Steele.

When the show was pitched, Pierce Brosnan’s character was supposed to be a figurehead in the show as well as in the detective agency, but fiction mimicked TV plotting, and Remington Steele became a major character and a major headache for Laura Holt.

I feel like my feminist instincts (admittedly lazy and often dormant) should be offended that a woman (Stephanie Zimbalist) alone could not only not front a detective agency, she couldn’t carry a TV show.

But I just love it: the corny romantic elements, the (unintentional?) double entendres, and the hokey murder investigations with early-80s special effects and dramatic red herrings.

The music is great and sometimes the suspense is almost Hitchcockian. And, oh! The dialogue is some of the best ever. Witty repartee? Zinging one-liners? Fun bantering? Love it.

Here are a few lines from just one episode (Season 1 Episode 13, A Good Night’s Steele):

(reasons for suspecting a doctor/salesman of murder)
“Well, for one thing, I hate people who are abusively nice.”

(while infiltrating and investigating a Sleep Clinic)
“I’d say good night, but honesty prevents me.”

(picking a lock, unsuccessfully)
“Patience, Ivan. Fatigue has blurred my natural gifts.”

I think I can work all those lines, with minimal modification, into my daily speech. Do you have a favorite classic TV show?

Drive to the library: seven minutes with surprisingly quiet kids (maybe they hit the Benadryl?)

One library card: free with proof of residence and one nation’s tax dollars

Remington Steele Seasons 1-5: priceless.

Here’s a classic clip that reminds me of that other great classic, Murder By Death.