Most people have seen the opening sketch of the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live — the one featuring Tina Fey’s dead-on impersonation of Sarah Palin. (Video here.)
Now, Fey’s Palin is a bit empty-headed. She’s portrayed as a superficial and illegitimate usurper of the role Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler in the sketch) ought to rightfully play.
It would be pretty hard to label a sketch as sexist if it portrays one woman as intelligent and capable and another as shallow and untested. In fact, comparing two people on their merits, with no regard to their sex, would appear to be the opposite of sexism. Right?
Not during an election year. Everything is a potential talking point. Here is John McCain’s favorite CEO and sexism-crier-in-chief, Carly Fiorina, trying her best to attack the sketch on MSNBC:
“I think that [the sketch] continues the line of argument [against Palin] that is disrespectful in the extreme and, yes, I would say, sexist. In the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance. She has a lot of substance.”
WTF does that even mean? Criticizing a woman for having less substance than another woman is sexist? Criticizing a woman for having different views than another woman is sexist? Disagreeing with a woman’s views and thus portraying her as having less substance as another woman is sexist?
Or is the correct answer that anything that attacks Sarah Palin effectively is sexist?