Palin Pick Puts Many Women on the Verge By JOSH GERSTEIN, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 19, 2008 Senator McCain's selection of Governor Palin of Alaska as his running mate, which was hailed in some quarters and met with skepticism in others, is sparking intense reactions from some New Yorkers, who report being driven to fits of rage and even all-consuming panic. "All of my women friends, a week ago Monday, were on the verge of throwing themselves out windows," an author and political activist, Nancy Kricorian of Manhattan, said yesterday. "People were flipping out. ... Every woman I know was in high hysteria over this. Everyone was just beside themselves with terror that this woman could be our president — our potential next president." Ms. Kricorian allowed that she was among those driven to distraction, upon occasion, by Mrs. Palin's nomination. "My Facebook status last Monday was, 'Nancy is freaking out about Sarah Palin yet again,'" the writer said. A posting on a New York-based Web site for women, Jezebel.com, spoke of unbridled anger. "What I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay, murderous, rage," an associate editor at Jezebel, Jessica Grose, wrote just after the Republican convention wrapped up. "When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull." Ms. Grose was not alone. More than 700 comments poured in, many from women who said they were experiencing a visceral hostility to Mrs. Palin that they were struggling to explain. "When I see people crowing about her 'acceptable' speech last Wednesday ... I literally want to vomit with rage," a comment from Anibundel said. "I am shocked by the depths of my hatred for this woman," another commenter, CJWeimar, wrote. "It is impossible for me not to read about her in the newspaper in the subway every morning on my way to work and not come into the office angry and wanting to kick things," a commenter using the name ChampagneofBeers wrote. "My boxing class definitely helps." Even some prominent figures admitted to being overcome by anti-Palin feelings. "I am having Sarah Palin nightmares," an acclaimed playwright and writer, Eve Ensler, wrote on the Huffington Post. She said she was disturbed by the chants about oil and gas drilling during Mrs. Palin's speech to the Republican convention. "I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination," Ms. Ensler wrote. Experts and the women themselves offered differing explanations for the extreme reactions. "I think a lot of women felt insulted by the idea you could just take any woman," a longtime editor of women's magazines, Bonnie Fuller, told The New York Sun. "A lot of women feel it was a very cynical decision. ... What got some women's backs up was the idea she didn't earn her stripes. It's been so hard for so many women to get ahead both in business and in the political worlds and she just seemingly slips in." Ms. Fuller also said she and other women were troubled by Mrs. Palin's decision to have her daughter, Bristol, 17, on stage at the Republican convention, despite news reports about her pregnancy. "She was putting tremendous pressure on her 17-year-old daughter by putting her front and center at a time that has got to be very traumatic," the editor said. Ms. Kricorian said some of the agitation was because women felt Mr. McCain was pulling off a political trick, using the novelty of selecting a woman to hide her conservative social and religious views. "The women thing is a ruse. ... She was chosen because of the evangelical thing," the writer said. "It's weirdly stealthy that she's not talking about it." Ms. Grose posited that some of the anger was because Mrs. Palin, a former beauty pageant winner, resembled a high school homecoming queen. "She has always embodied that perfectly pleasing female archetype, playing by the boys' game with her big guns and moose murdering, and that she keeps being rewarded for it," Ms. Grose wrote. A psychiatrist and conservative blogger, Patricia Santy, said the strong emotional reactions are driven by Mrs. Palin's differing with the left-leaning political agenda of many feminists. "Their entire image of themselves is based on the fact that they are paving the way for women. What do they see? Women getting ahead, women being empowered who don't agree with them," Dr. Santy said. A Manhattan psychoanalyst, Michael Adams, said the surprise entry of Mrs. Palin on the national stage and the ensuing concern that the Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Obama of Illinois, was in danger of losing, explains the intensity of some people's reactions. "It's not just anger. It's high anxiety ... maybe her 15 minutes of fame will last just long enough for her to get elected," Dr. Adams said. "Any time somebody's ego is faced with an unknown surprise, there's a subconscious effect in a number of different ways. It takes a little while to process this stuff." A psychiatrist who wrote a book remotely psychoanalyzing President Bush, Justin Frank, said some women felt Mr. McCain was mocking them by naming an unqualified but attractive woman to the ticket. "You're put in the position of attacking her and going against your own gender. ... What makes it even worse is so many people are actually taken with her," Dr. Frank said. "It makes you speechless, almost apoplectic, if you're a feminist." In recent days, some of those deeply troubled at Mrs. Palin's selection have been circulating an e-mail message urging women to give to Planned Parenthood in the Alaska governor's name, sending a thank-you card to the McCain campaign. On the Jezebel site, a few voices did express concern about the tone of the discussion. "I disagree 100%," Eaml7 wrote. "I think your message is counter-productive and ridiculous. Hatred for Palin should be focused on her policies and, at most, her focus on herself as 'average' somehow qualifying her for national office. ... I know I am in the minority, but I believe the only feminist way to attack Palin is on her credentials, as I would any other (male) politician." If the selection of Mrs. Palin was a gambit aimed at winning over women, its novelty seems to be wearing off. In a CBS News/New York Times poll released this week, Mr. Obama led Mr. McCain among white women, 47% to 45%. Just after the Republican convention and Mrs. Palin's speech there, Mr. McCain jumped to 53% support in that demographic, while Mr. Obama slumped to 34%. Ms. Kricorian, who is a coordinator for the anti-war group CodePink, but stressed that she was not speaking for the group, said the level of anxiety among her friends is beginning to subside. "Since her poll numbers went down, people have calmed down," the activist said. http://www.nysun.com/national/palin-pick-puts-many-women-on-the-verge/86241/ ***************************************** I think many of those wildly upset women who have previously had abortions are worried that, if Sarah Palin's influence grows (even without any direct governmental action as a result), abortion may again be culturally and widely considered murder -- an act they have already committed. The mere idea of overturning of Roe v. Wade, by itself, shouldn't cause that much anguish because the states would still be able to adopt statutes allowing it. There has to be something more involved. Self worth?