How Many Female Politicians Does It Take To Make A Sorority?


Like Bridget Jones is used as the thermometer to measure one’s level of loneliness, the word “sorority” is tossed around as an indicator of solidarity amongst women in groups numbering greater than one. Romy and Michelle, meet Sarah and Michele.

In the New York Times‘s “Noticed” column, Liesl Schillinger has noticed that during a Minnesota rally, the wingnut “Wonder Twins” Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann “adopted a tone that any woman who has ever endured a sorority rush will recognize: aggressive, cheerful, empowered conformity, hostile to idiosyncrasy.”

And Schillinger is right — there is something about those women on the dais, something that’s weirdly akin to life in the Greek system. In this version, Palin and Bachmann, shiny brunettes with sparkly teeth, are rush chairs conducting aggressive in-house promotion, such that the Tea Party sisterhood is ready to face the rest of America and sell their organization to a country full of potential rushees: Rush the Tea Party! The Tea Party girls are the coolest girls on campus! The Tea Party gets invited to the best parties with the cutest boys! Pledge the Tea Party, and have an everlasting bond with Tea Partiers everywhere!

Another thing Schillinger notices is that Palin and Bachmann, along with Nancy Pelosi, are part of another exclusive sorority: The Sisterhood of Lady Politicians Who Have Birthed Five Children. She writes, “Whatever forces may be at play, taking a look at present dynamics, any American woman with long-range political ambitions might do well to also look to her nursery.” This is a comment that has rubbed some folks the wrong way, though I’m pretty sure Schillinger is being playful here (it is a “Noticed” column, after all, a space in the paper that tends to be reserved for noticing random stuff and coincidences like, hey, these three powerful women all have five kids, which is not to say that it’s even more remarkable that other powerful women don’t have five kids). Either way, it’s one hell of a hazing before anyone gets into that sorority.

A Sorority Of Three, And Counting [NYT]
For Political Success, Women Need 5 Kids? [Strollerderby]

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