Sarah Palin terrifies me.
She says crazy things and gets a lot of people all riled up. Whether she is really that crazy or she is just putting on a show, she frightens me. A lot of people idolize her, which, to me is even scarier than she is.
Strangely, I'm glad she's popular with the crazies.
Before Arizona Senator John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 presidential election, powerful and power-seeking women were pretty uniformly slandered with sexist and senseless comments like, "How can she lead us if she's on her period?"
Thankfully, McCain and Palin called foul over and over again until people cooled down on the sexist remarks. Palin continued to call foul on even semi-sexist attacks, like when Newsweek recycled a photo she did for an older fitness article. Sexism became her catch-all response to any criticism of her. At the time of the campaign, I found this overuse obnoxious, but now, in retrospect, I am glad she (seemingly) thoughtlessly threw the word around.
Regardless of her intentions, I have heard much, much less sexism toward female leaders. Unfortunately, more than enough sexism is still with us, but successes, failures, and in-betweens of female leaders seem to be regarded more individually these days. While the Tea-Partiers and Palinites might be wrong about a lot of things, I respect their ability to look at Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, Michelle Obama and Nancy Pelosi as people, not as less-than-men-women. Regardless of whether they will admit it, they are making progress, bringing hope and change.