…doth protest too much. Background here (NSFW): short version, Bill Maher was channeling his inner tough-guy-misogynist again and used a fairly crude sexual crudity in the process of lying about THAT WOMAN’s response to the disaster in Japan (because, well, Bill Maher). After that happened, people started asking why it is that groups like NOW didn’t immediately start pounding the tables and shouting about the way that a male chauvinist pig had publicly tried to reduce a woman to her sexual organs – well, that’s not true: we all know that the reason is that the leadership of NOW doesn’t really like to admit that conservative women are, well, human beings. We’re just obliged to politely ignore that minor little detail as part of the entire “conflict resolution that doesn’t involve automatic weapons fire” thing that is the hallmark of civilized society.
Anyway, eventually NOW got sufficiently embarrassed to live up to its own standards and issue a condemnation. Very, very ungraciously:
In addition to chastising men (and women) like Maher who use their position as progressives as a shield against charges of sexism, NOW made it clear that their denouncement Maher’s sexist remark toward Palin is in no way an endorsement of her or conservative policies.
“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,” wrote [NOW Communications Director Lisa] Bennett. “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.”
There is quite a bit of defensiveness, guilty-conscience syndrome, and/or projection to be mined from Bennett’s/NOW’s rather upset statement, so by all means: read the whole thing. I’ll just note two things, though: first, if you don’t like it when people call you on your own rhetoric and beliefs, well, either start living up to it, or stop using it. Second: “friend?” Don’t you think that that is a rather dismissive and trivializing way to describe a former governor and Vice Presidential candidate who, by all accounts, is a potent and empowered figure in conservative/Republican circles? Who told NOW that they could make Sarah Palin into the Other on our “behalf,” in other words? What gives them the right to define our associations?