Notwithstanding Amy’s plea, I have a question about one criticism of Palin that I’m not sure sits well with me. So we’ve documented many of the problems with Palin’s candidacy, but one in particular comes loaded with all sorts of women’s right/gender role questions. It boils down to this: Do her five children matter? The refrain is often something like this “how can she raise her five children if she is going to be Vice-President?” The question has two concerns- the first is that her children will suffer as a result of her “ambition” (or dedication to the job), the second is that the country will suffer as a result of her devotion to her children. Now, some may argue that being Vice President and raising five children are not mutually exclusive goals. If that is the case, then the question is moot. What I am concerned about, however, is whether this question is in itself legitimate. Can the question be similarly asked of Barack? Now, traditional gender roles say that the question applies to Sarah more than Barack. But recent developments, especially in the face of ambitious young (or old) mothers, speak to an increased role of fathers in the development of children. So, is it a legitimate question?
My only thought is that it is an empirical question- is Sarah Palin (or Barack Obama) the dominant parent? If so, then perhaps it is a legitimate question since we have reason to fear her (his) involvement in child-rearing. But it is one that applies to all candidates, not just her. Anyway, what do you think?