It's fun to watch the Yankee commentators, both R and D, groping around in the dark to find an ideological explanation of Palin. They are nattering about two different sorts of feminists, and trying to slot Palin into one of those types.
Nope, it's not that complicated. She's just a Western woman. That's all. In the states close to the frontier, from Texas to Dakota to Alaska, the idea of a woman running a business or serving as mayor or governor has never been particularly strange.
When I started working in Oklahoma in 1970, my first three bosses were women; one of them had been running the business since 1922. There wasn't any discussion about glass ceilings or ground-breaking or any of that crap. I didn't run into that stuff until I moved to Pennsylvania in 1986. Even in a supposedly 'enlightened' college town, most women stayed at home, didn't work, didn't speak up. It was a strange experience. And the most obvious and open discrimination was within the most 'enlightened' parts of Penn State, such as the English department.
The basic difference: West of the Mississippi, women have always done whatever they needed to do. The frontier left them no choice. East of the river, old European norms are still in place. Women complain a lot, and often channel their complaints into politics, but the verb "do" is a foreign word. Complaining is apparently more fun than doing.
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Technical note: Strictly speaking the East/West division is not the Miss but the Dry Line, marking the edge of the plateau that holds the Rockies. Interstate 35 follows this line fairly well. Least Heat Moon in "Blue Highways" was the first to describe the Dry Line in a literary way, but it's always been instinctively familiar to anyone who grew up in the Plains.