NOW rises from the dead, speaks

Friday, June 12th, 2009 · 35 Comments »

Quelle coïncidence! I was just getting ready to post a link to a lovely essay by MadamaB, wherein she bewails the moribund status of establishment feminism (a stance with which I entirely agree, though I’m not sure about MadamaB’s proposed solution. More on that later.)

Anyhoo, here I was, merrily linking away, when I discover that NOW has staggered forth with a feeble protest on l’affaire Letterman. If you recall (and you should, since it was just yesterday), I have been disheartened by the relative lack of feminist critique on the Late Night Misogynist Asshat situation. Well, wouldn’t you know, the NOW zombies hauled their asses out of the grave and managed to cobble together the following:

The sexualization of girls and women in the media is reaching new lows these days — it is exploitative and has a negative effect on how all women and girls are perceived and how they view themselves. Letterman also joked about what he called Palin’s “slutty flight attendant look” — yet another example of how the media love to focus on a woman politician’s appearance, especially as it relates to her sexual appeal to men.

Damn straight. It’s outrageous how female politicians are relentlessly scrutinized and ridiculed for their appearance. I’m proud of NOW for this, I really am; especially since I know how much courage it took. I’m sure they really struggled with this, worrying that if they said anything, somebody might remember that unfortunate Halloween costume idea on their website last year:

now_palincostume400

True, it’s not “slutty flight attendant” territory, so I guess that’s okay. In the finely parsed feminist sensibilities of our establishment zombies, ridicule involving hairspray and clothes and beauty pageants is cool; it’s just the crack-whore type stuff we have to stay away from. I think.

Oh, one other thing: see that purple linky-dink under the costume that promises to tell you “so much more” about Governor Palin? Go read it. Please. That’s Kim Fucking Gandy lying through her fucking teeth is what that is. That’s Kim Fucking Gandy helping to spread the bogus rape kit story, a smear orchestrated by the Obama campaign — replete with conference calls to reporters and planted stories in the blogosphere — and spread with the aid of complicit establishment zombies like Kim Fucking Gandy. Really, go look. Go see what the president of NOW does with her soapbox. Are you a member of NOW? Have you ever given money? I have. This is what Kim Fucking Gandy does with the money her organization takes in — money that the women of American contribute for the purpose of advancing women’s rights. She uses it to slander a female politician, to enable a misogynistic smear campaign by a sexist politician who never gave two shits about our rights and started selling us out the instant the fucktwit got in the Oval Office.

Okay, whew! Time for a drinky poo! We almost got a little pissed off there. Almost lost our Zen. Time to have a chat with Mr. Mexican Mudslide!

But first, back to MadamaB and her plan for us all to become dykes. No, wait! Not that. I got it wrong. I think I better go read the post again.


P.S. Remember, if you’re a NOW member and you’re going to the national conference, you know what you need to do.

Mr. Mexican Mudslide says hi.

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35 Responses to “NOW rises from the dead, speaks”

  1. myiq2xu says:

    Where was NOW yesterday?

    Talk about being a day late and a dollar short!

  2. Violet says:

    I really am glad they made a statement. I just couldn’t resist pointing out their FLAMING HYPOCRISY. I’m bad that way. Especially with their election coming up.

    Kim Gandy and her crew need to get the hell out of Dodge.

  3. sister of ye says:

    Well, actually, MadamaB mentions considering herself an honorary gay man. Maybe that’s so she can still sleep with men, convenient since she’s married to one.

    Even in gay terminology, “gay” denotes men and you have to tack on “and lesbian.” Though in my small contact with the local community (the yearly film fest), men and women seem equally involved.

    I figured out my sexual identity so late in the game that it’s the least of my angsts. It basically means I now don’t date women instead of men. I do enjoy the brush cut, even if it’s more related to my arthritis. No desire to mess with fixing hair when I wake with my hands half-numb.

    When I was still in my joining stage, NOW and other feminist groups didn’t seem interested in me as a member. In fact, some of the biggest dirt I was dealt was at the hands of self-identified feminists. Fortunately I’ve been able to distinguish a good idea from its abusers.

    Hope I’m not too off-point. It’s the hour and the vodka. To end, David Letterman is a total scuzz who reminds me of my @sshole younger brothers, only not as funny. Sarah Palin can come hang at this liberal’s house, especially if she likes hockey.

  4. AM says:

    Violet, your use of the word dyke here, in the last sentence, is appropriate I think, because it seems to me that the word lesbian evokes erotic sexual notions, while the word dyke evokes tough, saying no, a word men don’t like to hear from women at all. It’s their nightmare.

    In the 50s and 60s and 70s, and maybe today too, a woman could be destroyed in the workplace, especially if she was heterosexual, by being told she was ‘acting like a dyke’. (To say acting like a lesbian has entirely different connotations.)

    What the world needs now? More dykeyness!

  5. SYD says:

    This mealy-mouthed statement is not enough to undo Gandy’s lies from last year.

    But, it’s a start. Maybe now.. that they have awakened from their deathly sleep, the ladies at NOW will get back to the business of protecting and promoting women.

    Wait… I must be dreaming. Let me pinch myself….

  6. gxm17 says:

    So the swooners finally speak. Why am I not impressed. We’ll have to wait and see whether they fully recover from their obamagasmic dementia or if this is just a short reprieve. I hope I’m wrong but something tells me they’ll soon be back to enabling the boys club.

  7. madamab says:

    Thanks for the link, Violet!

    Unfortunately, I cannot change my sexuality. I will have to be a perpetual guest at the LGBT family gathering. ;-) But I do think the LGBT leadership is a lot more together and unified than we are. We should take note!

    Heck, I can’t even get a bunch of online feminists to agree on gender-based voting and pressuring the political parties to adopt gender-based quota systems of at least 30% women candidates for the next election.The more women candidates we have, the more choices we will have among philosophies and ideologies. More women in the pipeline makes it less likely that we will end up voting for an extremist, which I think is what scares a lot of people about this idea.

    But really, issues-based voting has been proven useless when it comes to advancing women’s equality, as Obama’s election so abundantly demonstrated. I am surprised that people don’t see that we have to do something completely different.

    I propose gender-based voting and quotas because it works in other countries. I propose working with the LGBT community to get the ERA passed because civil rights, in America, need to be granted at the federal level – they do not (historically) trickle up from the states.

    I hope the patriarchy isn’t so entrenched that feminists in America keep throwing away every single chance at equality they get. Perhaps NOW is starting to resuscitate itself, but we’ve still got a long, long way to go.

  8. Luckynkl says:

    I’ll post here something similar to what I posted on that other blog.

    Let LGBT lead the way? Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss. 3 out of 4 of those letters in that alphabet soup are predominantly MALE. In the meanwhile, the “L” gets smaller and smaller with each passing day as the female-born and their issues get moved to the back of the bus to take a backseat to the male-born and their issues. What else is new?

    Women (the female-born) supporting men (the male-born), while men deliver nothing in return but lip speak. After men succeed in getting what they want, they then conveniently “forget” their promises to women and their support *poof* disappears. And that’s the way it’s been all through history. What has changed? Nothing, that’s what. Men haven’t changed in 5,000 years.

    That said, we live under patriarchy, silly. Of course whatever the male-born desire and want is validated and supported. Because unlike those born female, the male-born are considered human.

    LGBT lead the way? Replacing one form of patriarchy with another form of patriarchy benefits women how? Oh yeah. The trickle down theory. We all know what really trickles down on us tho.

    Sorry, but that’s not change. What will truly be a change and revolutionary is when women lead the way instead of men. The way it was meant to be in the first place.

    P.S. Feminism never failed. In fact, it’s still alive and well. The only ones who have failed are men. They refuse to change.

  9. propertius says:

    Gee, Violet, I figured that the only reason NOW made a statement at all is because you and MadamaB had stormed their headquarters under cover of darkness and held their Obama memorabilia hostage until they complied (although the notion of a discarnate entity such as yourself staging a midnight guerrilla raid does pose certain logistical difficulties, I suppose). Late may be better than never, but it’s *still* late.

  10. Elise says:

    I, too, am glad that NOW finally showed up; don’t think it makes up for their standing on the sidelines when Palin and Clinton were taking this kind of stuff during the campaigns; and am horrified at their Halloween costume (which I apparently missed). I am also struggling a little with their last paragraph:

    On that point, it’s important to note that when Chelsea Clinton was 13 years old she was the target of numerous insults based on her appearance. Rush Limbaugh even referred to her as the “White House dog.” NOW hopes that all the conservatives who are fired up about sexism in the media lately will join us in calling out sexism when it is directed at women who aren’t professed conservatives.

    I certainly agree that there are too many conservatives – especially bloggers – who are sexist. And I agree wholeheartedly that Limbaugh’s crack about Chelsea Clinton is abhorrent to put it mildly. I’m just not sure that it’s in the same class as the clearly sexual sexist remarks that are common currency about Palin and – now – her daughters or the sorts of clearly sexist nut-cracker, reminds you of your first wife, “periodic” garbage thrown at Hillary. Saying a child is ugly seems to me cruel but not exactly sexist. Am I off-base here?

  11. Violet says:

    Saying a child is ugly seems to me cruel but not exactly sexist. Am I off-base here?

    Have you ever heard a boy called a “dog”?

    The attacks on Chelsea were just the flip side of the same sexualization. The Palin girls are sluts to be fucked. Chelsea was a dog, too ugly to be fucked.

    Don’t forget it was Republicans who spent years ridiculing Hillary Clinton as a dominatrix, ball-breaker, etc.

    And it was the odious Ann Coulter who referred to Democratic women as “hirsute pie wagons.”

  12. songster says:

    The “White House dog” crack is certainly sexist: women, as the sex class, are judged on their looks. It would be rare to insult a boy in those terms.

    Jeez, I missed the Halloween costume. They are so worthless. Thank you Violet for telling the truth.

  13. Violet says:

    I propose working with the LGBT community to get the ERA passed because civil rights, in America, need to be granted at the federal level – they do not (historically) trickle up from the states.

    I wonder, has the LGBT community shown interest in this? And can we be confident that the ERA would translate into legalization of gay marriage?

    Also, I have some concerns about the lack of feminism in the LGBT community. Many gay men are every bit as misogynistic as their straight brethren, and many lesbians are weirdly uninterested in feminism.

  14. T.I. says:

    to sister of ye and luckynki:

    I’m agreeing with you except for one thing: the words and letters LGBT(Q), and most especially G for Gay, are not the property of men, and with the exception of Lesbian, are in fact gender-NEUTRAL terms, despite males continually co-opting them. Yes, that includes Lesbian because when men started to usurp Gay in the 1970s (IIRC), they also ursurped Lesbian.

    Dorothy didn’t surrender and neither should women. Fight back! Don’t give in to the endless alphabet game they’ve made with LGBTQ. Turn their game against them. Generously offer to include them within a Lesbian umbrella as a gender-neutral name. Do the same with Dyke, sure, and see how they like it. Take back the word Gay. They don’t own it. Invite them to go down to any school playground and hear how the words Lesbian and Dyke are used: they’re hurled as slurs with no less viciousness than faggot and sissy-boy.

    I ranted about this in a 2006 commentary, “Opening the Umbrella” in our site’s Heretical-Theoretical area (part of the Ebony Tower, for fans of that entire section, which has taken over the site). I have been meaning to re-read it to see if I still agree with myself, or if I hate it. I guess Violet’s post and your comments have lit a fire under me.

  15. propertius says:

    It seems to me that NOW is really weakening its position by reminding everyone of Limbaugh’s 15 year-old remark. Rush is a thug, but that doesn’t mitigate Letterman’s “jokes” about statutory rape and child prostitution one little bit.

    Do I think the remark about Chelsea was sexist? Actually, yes I do (along with all the similar remarks about Amy Carter before her). Rush would never have said something like that about Clinton’s son (if he had had one). I agree that it doesn’t quite fall to the same Plutonian depths as Letterman’s comment, of course.

  16. thistle says:

    Actually I think that Rush comment about Chelsea does fall to the same depth as the one made by Letterman.

  17. cloaking device says:

    Also, I have some concerns about the lack of feminism in the LGBT community. Many gay men are every bit as misogynistic as their straight brethren, and many lesbians are weirdly uninterested in feminism.

    Longtime lurker here, uncloaking to agree with your statement. As a feminist dyke, I would have to say this is one reason why I have never really had many lesbian or gay friends or considered myself a part of the “community”. When I came out, I was disappointed to find that many gay men I encountered were much more likely to be sexist than their hetero counterparts. (wtf?!!!) Similar disappointment in the dyke community, where cliquishness, back-stabbing, girlfriend stealing, and a general lack of interest in feminist principles reigned supreme, especially in bigger cities like San Francisco. (again, so-called sisters of mine… wtf?!!!) I have found more comraderie over feminism with bisexual and hetero women, and a small smattering of straight men. Hence, I have also never had faith that “the gay community” will unite to overcome our own obstacles, let alone sexism.

    I think I’ve learned, especially since the 2008 primary & GE, that “People are People” and you just never know where your support will come from or that it’s always a given to be able to count on it from certain groups of people who “should” support you.

  18. octogalore says:

    You’re right, it’s good that it’s out there, but it’s feeble.

    There’s a common theme in the way some of the Big Feminist Blogs, even those with much stronger efforts than NOW’s, have been covering this.

    Thanks again for diving in where others fear to tread.

  19. confused says:

    Not sure if this is true, but there are some arguments out there that the “Limbaugh called Chelsea a dog” story is a myth.

    http://purelypolitics.blogspot.com/2009/02/anatomy-of-urban-legend.html

    Ugh, to have to maybe defend Limbaugh…

  20. propertius says:

    While Rush’s remark was despicable, he didn’t suggest that she be publicly raped by a baseball player during a game or that she might be mistaken for a prostitute by a 50 year-old former governor. I think that’s worse. I think it’s a lot worse.

    That Rush’s comments innocuous, of course.

  21. Violet says:

    confused, that link you posted to is absolutely not accurate. Limbaugh unquestionably referred to Chelsea as the White House dog; for chrissake, I remember it. All this revisionist history is ridiculous. He mentioned “the White House dog,” and they flashed a picture of Chelsea. Huge roar of laughter.

  22. thistle says:

    “he be publicly raped by a baseball player”

    I don’t remember hearing the joke state that she should be raped.

  23. Elise says:

    Have you ever heard a boy called a “dog”?

    No, but there are some unpleasant names for unattractive young men. It’s interesting – last night I was trying to remember the last time we had a President with a male child who was a minor and we have to go back to Kennedy. I wonder what that means?

    I take your point about Chelsea’s supposed ugliness being the flip side of the Palin girls – and I certainly take your point about the Republicans and Hillary Clinton. I think that’s part of the reason I was so horrified when she started getting the same thing from “friendly” fire.

    I think the reason NOW’s final paragraph still bothers me is that it sounds like they’re only doing this because the knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers on the Right are making them look bad. That seems sad.

    And I have to retract something I said in an earlier comment – it looks like NOW was taking issue with some of the garbage thrown at Hillary Clinton. I don’t remember hearing abut it from them but it is in their Media Hall of Shame. They even have 2 complaints about Palin’s treatment by the media. Who knew? (No, I’m not saying this makes up for the lies they told about her but CWCID.)

    I don’t remember hearing the joke state that she should be raped.

    In order for a 14-year-old girl to be impregnated by a 30-something year old man, statutory rape would have to be involved.

  24. Kat says:

    octogalore says:
    There’s a common theme in the way some of the Big Feminist Blogs, even those with much stronger efforts than NOW’s, have been covering this.

    Octogalore, I couldn’t post a comment on your blog, so I’ll say here that I appreciated your essay. This has really bothered me. There’s an air of “we can’t allow these conservative trailer trash sluts to be insulted because then they’ll go after the Important Women… ours.” As if misogyny just wasn’t enough.

    The NOW statement comes off as cynical and self-righteous to me. As if they only came out of their Obama swoon to be able to take a stab at conservatives, not to speak out constructively. And the Halloween costume only served to remind me how Roe was used as a cheap-ass blackmail tool… only to have their messiah not even ask (or care, apparently) about the abortion views of his SCOTUS noms.

  25. chezmadame says:

    Nominate NOW’s “Sarah Palin costume idea page” to its own media hall of shame.

    http://www.now.org/issues/election/elections2008/halloween/halloween_palin.html

    http://www.now.org/issues/media/hall-of-shame/suggestion.html

  26. Ali says:

    “I don’t remember hearing the joke state that she should be raped.”

    In the United States, a 33-year-old man fucking a 14-year-old girl is rape.

  27. Sis says:

    I thank you for the opportunity to post this. For you thistle:

    The Rapist Checklist
    http://archiveofthebitingbeaver.wordpress.com/2008/05/31/the-rapist-checklist-repost/

  28. Sis says:

    I read that Leno wants everyone to know he made a similar joke pre-election.

    christonacracker. They’re vying for who is the most depraved asshole. And for this they both earn millions. Could it get any worse?

  29. Sis says:

    I read on that huffing po place that Leno wants everyone to know he made a similar joke pre-election.

    christonacracker. They’re vying for who is the most depraved asshole. And for this they both earn millions.

  30. Sis says:

    Sorry. Blog spit the first one back at me. I thought it didn’t post.

  31. m Andrea says:

    MadameB’s post was most excellent, thank you very much for linking it. She made some extremely incriminating and insightful points.

    But I’m not sure why anyone reading her post interpreted it as meaning that she wanted everyone to become dykes. She was simply making the point (among several other things) that gay&lesbian organizations: (a)hold elected officials accountable and (b)are result-orientated while (c) feminists are off in fairy-land moaning about their fweelings.

    And of course I note the diametrically opposite assertions expressed by various readers. Some folks said that gay men are the most sexist dudes on earth, and others said that of course gay men are not sexist. These can’t both be true at the same time, yanno.

    I personally believe the truth is that two different things can be true at the same time: while some percentage of gay men do realize that homophobia has it’s roots in sexist control-freakiness of females, at the same time gay men are stuck in that patriarchal system and therefore don’t want to relinquish their only source of male privilege when they have so few gay rights. It would be like giving up their only source of “power” when they already feel disadvantaged. And of course some gay men just plain don’t care about women at all while others feel more comfortable with females and “women’s issues”.

    But wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply assume that every human quality existed only in quantities of zero or a hundred percent? Reality is that every human quality exists upon a continuum — which is not so easy to consider…

  32. m Andrea says:

    Another thing. Strategy-wise, feminists are already concerned about gay&lesbian rights. So it’s not as if feminists need to do more. Instead, gay&gay&gay&lesbian orgs need to do more work for feminists — and there is absolutely zero reason to be apologetic about this demand.

    The only way gay men will ever get what they want is if women already have what we want. Once the control-freakiness over women’s autonomy is out of the way, gay rights for men would fall swiftly into place. They cannot ever get gay rights until women get ours first. (And by “rights” I also mean “public acceptance and normalcy” in general.

    Negoitating skills are quite handy tools for getting what you want, I’ve heard…

  33. Violet says:

    But I’m not sure why anyone reading her post interpreted it as meaning that she wanted everyone to become dykes.

    It was a joke.

  34. Reclusive Leftist » Blog Archive » Feminists Against Women strikes again says:

    [...] NOW rises from the dead, speaks [...]

  35. m Andrea says:

    But more than just you mentioned something similar, and not in a jokey manner, which is why I said something. (Mainly at MadameB’s.) Your posts are so fricken’ awesome there is nothing to comment on, which is why I go off on a tangent.