A Few Thoughts on Media Sexism and Conservative Women

By Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director

I’ve got a few things to say on the latest “controversy” getting everyone all fired up:

1. Listen, supposedly progressive men (ok, and women, too): Cut the crap! Stop degrading women with whom you disagree and/or don’t like by using female body terms or other gender-associated slurs. OK? Can you do that, please? If you think someone’s an idiot or a danger to the country, feel free to say so, but try to keep their sex out of it. Sexist insults have an impact on all women.

2. We’re on to you, right-wingers:

a. You’re trying to take up our time getting us to defend your friend Sarah Palin. If you keep us busy defending her, we have less time to defend women’s bodies from the onslaught of reproductive rights attacks and other threats to our freedom, safety, livelihood, etc. Sorry, but we can’t defend Palin or even Hillary Clinton from every sexist insult hurled at them in the media. That task would be impossible, and it would consume us. You know this would not be a productive way to fight for women’s equal rights, which is why you want us stuck in this morass.

b. As usual, you’re looking for any way to discredit NOW. You claim we care and work only for liberal woman, but that’s a LIE. We have defended Sarah Palin and other conservative women from sexist attacks. Maybe not on your schedule, but we’ve done so. And by the way, all those laws we advocate for — we don’t ask that they include a clause saying only certified liberal women can benefit from them. Conservative women benefit from them, too! Just because we don’t open up a Palin wing on the NOW website doesn’t mean we don’t think that every single woman — right, left and in-between — deserves equal pay, full reproductive rights, justice in the courts, etc. So knock off the facetious whining that right-wing women are not represented by NOW’s work.

c. Prior to the emergence of Palin on the national scene: Where the heck were you when Hillary and Nancy Pelosi and other women were being demeaned in sexist ways? Did you speak up once on behalf of a woman politician before you learned the name Sarah Palin? Did you work toward equality for women in any way prior to August 2008? It would be nice to think that you’ve suddenly discovered sexism and are interested in joining us in the struggle for full equality. But this really smacks of the worst kind of hypocrisy: Folks with no history of working on an issue trying to discredit those who have been working for decades on the issue. Ridiculous.

That’s all I have to say on the matter. Now, back to business.

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