Reason #33: Winks, Twitches, and Straight Communication from a Real Lady

As we all eagerly watched the debate last night, kind of assuming that Sarah Palin would commit some of the blatant blundering she did with Katie Couric (see Reason #34), my husband’s astute commentary on the debate was:

“Did you see how much Palin winked? What the @#$% is wrong with her?

I chuckled at this dear man who takes pride in his knowledge of feminist theory and joined him in irritation over Palin’s demeaning the intelligence of women by relying on her looks and mannerisms to get herself out of answering tough questions. Then, this morning, I found myself thinking about the outright contrast between Palin’s “adorable” comportment and that of another amazing woman often at the center of this election rink: Michelle Obama.

Clifford Geertz, one of the country’s most famous anthropologists, is renowned for his analysis of winks and twitches. While twitches are involuntary bodily acts that communicate nothing (except perhaps the need to switch to a new pair of contact lenses), winks are meant to convey a “we’re together on this” attitude. Winks assume camaraderie. But, guess what?

I’m just not feeling ya, Governor.

Sarah Palin has been winking and skating on thin political ice for five weeks now. Substance is not her strong point.

Where we have seen strong substance in the last week? Actual authentic, substative communication? Right here in Boulder, Colorado from Michelle Obama. And she didn’t even need to rely on eye gestures to get her point across.

She spoke about student debt, community service, and providing education for all. Real stuff. Michelle talked; people listened to words that resonated with their realities. Students smiled, cheered, and pronounced her a “badass” (in the most respectful sense, of course).

Michelle Obama didn’t rely on sexuality and winks. She spoke passionately, clearly, with meaning, and with substance, and that said it all.

–Colleen, mother of three, and not a fan of the wink, Boulder, Colorado

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One Response to “Reason #33: Winks, Twitches, and Straight Communication from a Real Lady”

  1. Alcoff, “is Sarah Palin a Feminist?” Says:

    […] Reason #33: Winks, Twitches, and Straight Communication from a … […]

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