Topco has released a Sarah Palin sex doll. When I saw it, my first reaction was to laugh excitedly. Then I remembered that I was reading Feministing. Shit, I thought. I’m a horrible feminist.
For some reason, I’m struggling with feeling outrage over this product. Undoubtedly, the objectification of and sexism toward Sarah Palin throughout this campaign has been repulsive. I have watched in horror as the media picks her apart, criticizing and applauding her appearance, dismembering her and sexualizing her. Not to mention the way a female VP pick has caused the media to paint female voters as petty and dumb.
Yet, when I look at the box for this sex doll, I don’t burn with rage over how sexist it is. I just find it funny. Why?
Well, the easy answer is that I spend a lot of time with sex toys, so for me, there is nothing surprising or revolting about sex dolls. But turning a politician into a sex doll isn’t something that happens everyday. In fact, has it ever happened? (Please, let me know if it has.) There’s a difference between turning a pornstar into a sex doll and turning a female politician into a sex doll… and thus, into a sex object. Certainly, this is indicative of our society’s obsession with objectifying women.
I guess I just have so little respect for Sarah Palin’s views and policies that it’s hard for me to toot my feminist horn in her defense. She’s against women’s rights, after all. To put it cynically: if she won’t respect women’s rights, why should we respect her (enough to not make an absurd sex doll of her)? This is not to say that the sex doll should exist, but simply that I don’t respect Palin enough to fight this form of sexism.
Granted, I’m still pissed with the mere pick of Sarah Palin as VP, the assumption that women will melt into puddles of mindless jelly (or, I suppose, are already mindless to begin with) and vote for Sarah Palin based on her vagina. Maybe this sex doll is a “so there!” type of gesture to the GOP, as in: oh, you’re going to blatantly use your VP candidate’s gender to your advantage? Well then, you asked for a sex doll to be created in her likeness. One of the bulletpoints on the product page is, interestingly, “Sarah Palin makes sexism sexy.” Is Topco being satirical? Are they pointing a critical eye at the insanity of the media coverage of Palin — or better yet, the McCain campaign’s blind choice of a female running mate?
I’m probably over-thinking it. After all, is the Barack Obama dildo sexist? It never even crossed my mind. Both products are equally ridiculous and equally unrealistic (I can’t wait until a photo of the actual Sarah Palin doll surfaces, since we all know sex dolls look nothing like humans). Both products are “functional,” but are clearly meant more as jokes and gags than anything else.
Let’s leave it at that, and I’ll try to be a better feminist next time.