Politics

NOW defends Palin against Maher attack, but says ‘We are on to you, right-wingers’

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

In the wake of Bill Maher’s tasteless slur against Sarah Palin Friday night, in which he called the former Alaska governor a “twat,” the National Organization for Woman (NOW) has not only denounced the use of such sexist words, but also issued a warning to conservatives who they believe are attempting to use the issue to discredit their organization: “We are on to you, right-wingers.”

“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,” Lisa Bennett, NOW communications director wrote on NOW’s “Say it Sister” blog.

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 of 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 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.”

The organization contends that the calls for NOW to speak out against every sexist comment leveled against conservative women is an attempt by conservatives to make the organization appear hypocritical. NOW insists, however, that they have come to the defense of Palin and that their work benefits all women, liberal and conservative.

NOW further wants to make it clear that it is duplicitous for the right to now be interested in sexism after, what they say, has been years of absenteeism on the matter.

“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?” wrote Bennett. “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.”

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