Is Levi Johnston's Vanity Fair Story a Sexist Rap on Sarah Palin?

For feminists, the public figure named Sarah Palin has never been an easy one to contend with. Palin's nutty right-wing -- and often anti-woman -- politics combine with her personal message of female empowerment for a confounding brew. And that's before we even get to the knee-jerk sexism from some self-described progressives who think it's okay to go after Palin for her looks, gender or sexuality, just because her politics are so awful.

This all leaves the feminist contingent of the progressive coalition in the position of having to defend Palin.

When, earlier this year, I called on progressives to stop the sexist rants on Palin, the comments on my Huffington Post blog were telling. Several claimed that Palin's personal achievements rested solely on her sex appeal, so she was fair game for all manner of misogynist claims, including calling her a whore. Others more generically simply wrote that Palin deserved whatever manner of ire, in whatever form it took.

Now Levi Johnston, the father of Palin's grandchild, has "written" a tell-all for Vanity Fair, detailing the goings-on in the Palin household.  Jessica Wakeman of The Frisky finds a subtext of sexism throughout the piece -- in Johnston's painting of Palin as a bad mother who doesn't sleep with her husband:

Sure, Levi is shedding light on what is apparently a lot of smoke and mirrors from the McCain/Palin campaign about how perfect and “family values”-oriented the Palin family is. But it’s mostly Sarah’s bad mothering and neglect of wifely duties that are hung out like dirty laundry (that Sarah hasn’t washed). Take, for instance, this tidbit:

  • “The Palin home was much different from what many people expect of a normal family, even before she was nominated for vice president. There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook. Todd doesn’t cook—the kids do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school.”

Aren’t the Palin daughters (the son, Track, is in the military and Trig is a baby) about 18, 15, and 11 years old? Like, old enough to do that stuff?

You know, it's not as if there's not enough to keep us all busy just watching Palin's Facebook page.

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