Liesl Schillinger’s review of Big Girls Don’t Cry in Sunday’s NY Times is yet another example of the attention this book have received in recent weeks from various media outlets. I suspect that much of this interest may be due to its somewhat provocative subtitle: The Election That Changed Everything For American Women. Traister uses the 2008 election, and its run-up, as a back-drop for an analysis of two influential (for better or worse) and often controversial women: Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Despite the subtitle Traister seems to conclude that, while much has changed or improved for women in the public/political sphere over the last several decades the tensions and anxieties that have always existed still remain, though they may be subtly disguised by “coded” speech.
On the morning of Aug. 29, 2008, Denver was swarming with journalists covering the Democratic National Convention. Awaking giddy from the euphoria of Barack Obama’s acceptance of his party’s nomination the night before, I turned on CNN to find John McCain announcing he had chosen a woman — an unknown Alaska governor and mother of five — as his running mate: Sarah Palin. “Obama’s just won the election,” I called to my still-slumbering companion. Five minutes later, having taken in Palin’s cocky moxie and Wonder Woman veneer, I shouted: “Get up! You’ve got to see this woman. Maybe McCain will win!” Continue reading