The National Organization for Women on Tuesday finally responded to Bill Maher calling Sarah Palin a highly derogatory term for a woman's vagina, but did so without mentioning Maher's name, the program he said it on, or the television network he represents.
NOW Communications Director Lisa Bennett also took the opportunity to bash conservatives (photo courtesy Reuters):
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.
That was the extent of her defense of Palin. Even worse, the offending party and the particulars of his sexist remark weren't even mentioned. As such, folks not aware of this issue still aren't.
But Bennett didn't stop there, for she felt the need to blame this all on conservatives:
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.
So sticking up for America's most powerful women that have been publicly defamed on national television is not a "productive way to fight for women's equal rights?" Wouldn't that actually be the most productive way for it would get the most attention?
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.
Actually, there would be no attempt to discredit NOW if it quickly came to the defense of conservative women that are being sexistly attacked by prominent media figures. The fact that NOW has largely stood by and watched this sexist Palin-bashing for over two and a half years is a part of the problem.
So, too, was NOW's decision to ignore New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd calling Republican women "Mean girls" last October.
If NOW had a better record of admonishing sexism aimed at conservative ladies, this wouldn't be an issue. More importantly, maybe such attacks would stop. NOW's silence after such offenses potentially increases their number.
Consider that in this instance, since Maher, "Real Time," and HBO weren't even mentioned in Bennett's condemnation of this event, there is absolutely no negative consequence for him, his program, or the network that airs it. As such, there's no reason for him to stop what he's doing, and no reason for HBO to ask him to.
But this wasn't the first time NOW incorporated a conservative rant into a pseudo-defense of Palin. When CBS "Late Show" host David Letterman was regularly ridiculing her back in 2009, the women's rights group decided to address the matter by also bashing Rush Limbaugh.
I guess this organization is so uncomfortable defending Palin that it feels the need to go after others on the right when doing so.
This hypocrisy was not lost on members of NOW.org who overwhelmingly condemned Bennett's statement in the comments section:
Comment from: jazcat [Member]
Love #1, don't understand #2. You believe the right-wingers are trying to discredit NOW. Wouldn't it be easy to make a statement whenever some idiotic "entertainer" makes any kind of degrading comment about any woman. I mean, quick, easy, done. @ 16:53
Comment from: notasexistman [Member]
I would agree with #1, not a classy or PC thing to do, very degrading to women, but could you explain # 2? And could you give specific examples?
03/22/11 @ 16:56
After a number of such comments, Bennett responded:
Comment from: Lisa Bennett, NOW Communications Director [Member]
I said all I had to say. If it doesn't make sense to you, it never will.
03/22/11 @ 17:05
This was clearly a mistake:
Comment from: notasexistman [Member]
Really? I'd really like to see your point of view, progress can only be made if people see both sides of the issues. I understand your problem with the traditionally conservative initiative against abortion, but what have right-wingers done to threaten your "freedom, safety, livelihood, etc."? I don't think it's in any political party's agenda to intentionally harm the lives of women.
03/22/11 @ 17:11
Comment from: fallon [Member]
I don't know about you but I spoke up for Paula Jones. She may not be as glamorous to defend as Hillary and Nancy appear to you, but she was an innocent victim of Bill Clinton's sociopathic tendencies, and you threw Ms. Jones under the bus.
The whole of your "Few Thoughts" is complete nonsense. You won't even state what the latest "controversy" is because it shows how selective you are when it comes to defending all women.
I thought I was a NOW brand feminist until I had children and then I realized you were not for women at all, you were very much against them. You are Bill Maher-type misogynists' best friends with your victimization of women through the guise of reproductive rights.
You guilt and shame women into voting Democrat for the rest of their lives out of the fear of being called hypocrites by the bully sisterhood at NOW.
No need to try to discredit you, you discredit yourselves...
03/22/11 @ 17:16
Comment from: cabaret voltaire [Member]
I follow NOW closely and while at times you'll defend republican women, it comes no where near your support for liberal women.
Comment from: allisonb1 [Member]
In the amount of time it took to write this statement defending the time it would consume to address the remark about Sarah Palin, you could have issued a basic statement condemning Bill Mahers derogatory remark against women. Just an observation.
03/22/11 @ 18:43
From there, things got ugly:
Comment from: kreynolds [Member]
I am actually appalled at the unprofessional behavior of your communications director. I cannot believe a person at her level in your agency would talk to people she represents this way. I did not take the article to heart at the media sites who are talking about this and came here first to check for myself and am disappointed that this staff person, not only reinforced the media outlets statements, but has further gone on to show that she does not have the temperament I want standing up for me.
03/22/11 @ 19:12
Comment from: bronxgirl [Member]
I am appalled at this organization… and sad.
I’m an Independent voter and have voted for different parties in the past, but I am a woman who would defend any woman regardless of her political affiliation-so I am stunned at this ridiculous response by your director.
What Bill Maher said was beyond repulsive and dirty street talk of the lowest form. The director’s lack of insight and inability to defend ANY woman from this public, blatantly sexist talk is an indication of how partisan your organization has become and therefore, in my opinion, soon to be irrelevant.
Seriously, I can no longer consider you a champion for ALL women’s causes only liberal women.. Sign me, A Former NOW supporter
03/22/11 @ 19:26
Readers are encouraged to review all of the comments concerning Bennett's statement, for the overwhelming majority were disappointed with NOW's response to this matter.
Although I'm not a NOW member, you can include me on this list.
(H/T Daily Caller)