Monday, April 4, 2011

Anti-Feminists Condemn Feminists For Condemning Maher's Sexism

Grab your barf bags everyone, a Concerned Woman For America is telling her FoxNews audience that The Feminists do not adequately defend Sarah Palin from sexism. Penny Young Nance, CEO of the rightwing anti-feminist Concerned Women For America (CWA), writes:

"It takes a really weak, insecure, and spineless man to attack a woman on television. It takes an even weaker 'feminist' movement to play down such attacks.
In a recent episode of 'Somebody, Please Notice Me,' also known as 'Real Time with Bill Maher' on HBO, the show’s host may have hit rock bottom with his latest rhetorical bomb by referring to Sarah Palin with a vulgarity exceedingly offensive to women. Far more noticeable, and certainly more noteworthy, was the backhanded 'defense' of Palin from radical feminists and their clearly misnamed organizations.

National Organization for Women communications director Lisa Bennett, after days of silence, sounded more as if she didn’t want to be bothered: 'Sorry, but we can’t defend Palin or even Hillary Clinton from every sexist insult hurled at them in the media.'”

Two things.

First, Nance frames this alleged feminist failure to counter sexism as being worse ("far more noticeable, and certainly more noteworthy") than actual sexism. Maher calls a woman a "twat" on his show, and that's bad. But what's worse big is that feminists have apparently not adequately responded, which then provides cover for the rightwing woman-haters' club to use Maher's slur to further their smear campaign against feminism.

Two, on that point, Nance selectively includes only a very small portion of Lisa Bennett's response which can easily be found at the NOW Blog, a portion that conveniently omits Bennett's condemnation of misogynistic slurs. Bennett writes:

"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."

Not that this easily-found post stops Nance from tossing ping-pong balls into the Making Shit Up Bucket of Bozo the Clown's Grand Prize Game. In her zeal to undercut feminism, she goes on to claim that this alleged "silence" from the "radical feminists" is part of some sort of trend, a double-standard, that makes feminists "delusional," "clueless," and "irrelevant." Thus, she advises:

"All women, regardless of their political persuasions need to speak out against these kinds of attacks because they harm everyone who is female from age 2 – 92..."

No shit, Sherlock.

Also, what NOW said. Although, why does Nance say it's only up to women to speak out against these slurs? Oh right, let's not upset Daddy by holding men to the same basic standard of civility that we hold women to, eh Nance?

For, look who else likes to jump on the anti-feminist anti-woman bandwagon: A male FoxNews ignoramus/ignorer of feminism, who wrote in his column that of course it's too much to expect NOW to "man up" and denounce Maher.

Get it? Get. It? An organization of women can't "man up" and be expected to Do The Right Thing.

Hmmm, do you think Nance is going to call her anti-feminist bro out for that sexism? To borrow that nifty soundbite from Nance's anti-feminist screed: Let's cue the proverbial crickets.

See, the thing about Nance is that while I agree with her on the point about how we must denounce sexist attacks on all women, in the very next clause of her sentence she's either being a mendacious liar or an ignorant fool with a large platform. Acting like the ego-centric 3-year-old who closes her eyes and thinks that just because she can't see anyone else then no one else can see her, she claims:

"...[T]he prevailing view among radical feminists seems to be that conservative women either don’t exist or are merely female impersonators. They don’t deserve to be defended when attacked because, after all, real women don’t hold conservative views.

So if you’re a woman leader with conservative positions on the issues, and you’re active in your church and speak out about matters of faith, and you get demeaned, demonized, slurred, or smeared, the radical feminist attitude toward you is, 'You get what you deserve, because we, frankly, have the same opinion of you.'”


In the real world governed by real things that really happen, it is an observable and demonstrated fact that feminists regularly call for all people to speak out against sexist attacks against all women. But, even demonstrated instances of condemnation are not enough to those determined to denounce feminists as hyprocrites. Inevitably, feminist condemnations of sexism directed at conservative women are framed as too slow, too insincere, or not loud enough.

And so here I wonder if Nance actually reads feminist work or feminist blogs. Because, in my humble experience of actually reading many feminist blogs on a daily basis, I cannot think of one that even remotely has the attitude that it's acceptable to call conservative women "cunts" and "twats." I wonder too, if that little fact even matters to people like Nance.

Yet, feminists regularly condemn sexist attacks on women even if when it's not politically expedient to do so and even when doing so turns us into the BonerBuzzKills of liberal and progressive movements. The thing is, unlike Nance, we don't usually get a platform on FoxNews or Bill Maher's show to do so.

And on that point, do a find and replace and look at the serious projection that's revealed:

"If you're a feminist and you get demeaned, demonized, slurred, or smeared, the mainstream, liberal, and conservative attitude toward you is 'You get what you deserve, because we, frankly, have the same opinion of you."

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