By Jenn Q. Public
Cross-posted at http://www.jennqpublic.com/
David Letterman feels entitled.
Maybe you saw it on one of the highlight reels, one awkward moment for Sarah Palin at the Yankee game. During the seventh inning, her daughter was knocked up by Alex Rodriguez.
The hardest part of her visit [to New York] was keeping Eliot Spitzer away from her daughter
He’s entitled to use a class and gender based slur to demean the most popular sitting governor in the United States.
[Sarah Palin] bought makeup from Bloomingdale’s to update her “slutty flight attendant” look
And he’s entitled to smugly repeat his rank insults while delivering a non-apology to Sarah Palin in painstakingly choreographed deadpan, milking each sexist remark one more time to the delight of a fawning audience.
Didn’t you realize? He can’t be sexist, he’s a liberal. He’s no misogynist – he votes Democrat. Like all liberals, Dave will tell you he loves women. He respects them. Isn’t he pro-choice? Isn’t he sufficiently appalled by breast cancer? Doesn’t he joke all the time about those brutish southerners who beat their wives with Confederate flags? Haven’t you heard? He’s a card carrying liberal. Liberal, I tell you. Liberal!
Among his liberal buddies, Letterman can get away with pretending that he intended to insult Sarah Palin’s 18-year-old daughter Bristol, not her younger child Willow. But Willow was at the ballgame, Bristol was thousands of miles away, and Letterman is the skeevy guy in dress shoes and a tan trench coat who bares it all to a 14-year-old girl on the subway, then swears to the cops, “But I thought she was 18,” as he’s being hauled off to jail.
“Look at my record,” Dave told his audience as he clarified his remarks about Willow. What he means is he’s on record as being liberal. He knows the secret handshake and everything! And as we all know, liberal men are inherently sensitive to sexism in our society.
You see, liberal identity is a bubble that protects those inside from accusations of sexism, racism, and other forms of bigotry. It’s considered a nearly unassailable defense against the indefensible. It’s a free pass, a blind eye, and a Get Out of Jail Free card all rolled into one.
Racially and sexually charged jabs are still acceptable in liberal circles because it’s mutually acknowledged that they know better. It’s not like they’re conservatives – you know, the real sexists – so they can say and do as they please without inviting the same consequences a conservative would incur.
And if the target is a conservative woman, well, even better because there’s no chance those pesky feminists will get their panties in a collective bunch. Melissa Clouthier explains why:
Women on the Right, are not considered women. Period. They are considered gender traitors. There simply can be no honest disagreement. This is thought policing and fascistic thinking at it’s worst.
David Letterman is also no stranger to bigoted, elitist one-liners about the Palin family’s middle class roots, and by extension, all people of average means. In addition to the “slutty flight attendant” slur, Michelle Malkin dug up the following examples of Letterman’s oh so enlightened commentary about Sarah Palin:
“You know, she reminds me, she looks like the flight attendant who won’t give you a second can of Pepsi. No, you’ve had enough. We’re landing. Looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check. Have a nice day.”
“She looks like the dip sample lady at Safeway. She looks like the nurse who weighs you and then makes you sit alone in your underwear for 20 minutes. She looks like the Olive Garden hostess who says, ‘I’m sorry, your table isn’t ready yet.” She looks like infomercial lady who says she made $64,000 a month flipping condos.”“[S]he looks like the lady at the bakery who yells out ‘44! 45!’ She looks like a real estate agent whose picture you see on the bus stop bench. That’s who she looks like. She looks like the lady who has a chain of cupcake stores…”
But don’t forget, liberalism absolves Dave from responsibility for the classism he perpetuates when he derides Sarah Palin by comparing her to working class people. Everyone knows liberals are sensitive and open-minded, and that entitles him to say what he wants without ever expecting to be raked over the coals.
As many writers have observed, the feminist silence on Letterman’s sexually inappropriate remarks about Sarah and Willow Palin is predictably deafening. The unwritten rule is that feminism stands for liberal women – authentic women – not conservative women who are, by virtue of their conservatism, anti-woman.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) and Ms. Magazine both declined to send representatives to be interviewed for an On The Record segment about Letterman’s sexually derogatory treatment of the governor and her daughter. Instead, NOW opted to release a statement as critical of conservatives as it was of Dave Letterman.
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.”
NOW also managed to miss the real thrust of Letterman’s remarks about Sarah Palin:
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.
Yes, the media focus on Sarah Palin’s appearance often delves into sexist territory. But what about the use of the word “slutty,” NOW? Slutty doesn’t speak to “her sexual appeal to men.” It reinforces the belief that by being attractive and fertile, Sarah Palin invites attacks on her virtue as a woman. It says, you can’t be a beautiful woman, a good wife, a loving mother, and a career politician. Pick one.
The response that NOW should have given was instead delivered by a fledgling feminist organization called The New Agenda.
“Letterman’s apology talk last night was cheap,” said The New Agenda co-founder and President Amy Siskind. “True contrition would not invite the Palin’s on his show after publicly humiliating them and their 14-year old daughter. If Letterman’s apology is authentic, he should show it by devoting part of his show to address the national crisis of the sexualization of our teenage daughters.”
The New Agenda was also happy to publish my recent piece on Playboy’s conservative rape fantasy article.
Feminists, that is how it’s done.
Amy Siskind, founder of The New Agenda, took her message to The Huffington Post yesterday in a piece called, “Sexism Against Conservative Women Is Still Sexism.” Think it would be hard to argue with that simple concept? You’d be wrong. Here’s a tiny selection of what the HuffPo commenters had to say about Sarah Palin and sexism:
propitiousmoment: ” She wants to use her sexuality to advance her agenda … might I say, the classic definition of a bimbo.”
andyboy: “To defend a woman from a sexist attack simply because she is a woman is actually the essence of sexism.”
voltaireinexile: “She played the pretty-sexy-mama card all along, undermining what many women have fought so hard against –the objectification of women”
arnray: “Palin and the rest use their sexuality to numb the senses of the dullards and then cry foul when someone throws it back at them.”
Gainsbourg69: “When a woman wants to be considered more than just a sex object she should take steps necessary to avoid being labeled a sex object. Simple.”
Wilson201: “Palin marginalizes her own opinions by dressing the way she does just as Prejeans opinion is by posing barely clothed. If they wish to be taken seriously, then they should dress and behave properly.
Amy’s piece also attracted a host of comments insisting there’s nothing sexist about calling Palin a “slutty flight attendant” if the shoe fits. Right. Palin was practically begging for Dave’s insults just like Michelle Malkin invited the Playboy rape fantasy. Is it any wonder where conservative writers like Kathleen Parker, trying to curry favor with the media elite, pick up ideas like this:
I also think it’s out of line for a woman to sexualize her candidacy, which Palin did. Just ask Rich Lowry, who wrote that he had to sit up a little straighter when she winked during the vp debate. So, maybe when you play the flirt and invite males to see starbursts bouncing off the walls (Lowry again), then maybe you invite the sexual punchline.
It’s clear that sexually demeaning the women with whom we disagree is more mainstream than ever. It’s a cancer that’s metastasized throughout media, politics, and entertainment, rubber stamped by the liberal sentiment that calling oneself a feminist makes it so. And conservative women aren’t the only targets. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who discovered liberal-approved sexism firsthand during her campaign for the Democratic nomination.
Sexism, racism, and all the other -isms aren’t any more acceptable if you happen to dislike or disagree with the target. This shouldn’t need to be said. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a comedian or a liberal. Sexism always matters. And no political affiliation gives you license to hurl sexually inappropriate insults at women and girls without fear of consequences.
Autographed Letter Signed,
JENN Q. PUBLIC
*Jenn Q. Public is a frequent ALS guest commentator. She describes herself as “a reluctant republican and recovered democrat who has struggled for years to reconcile my liberal upbringing with a reality that inspires right-of-center beliefs”.
Please visit her blog “Jenn Q. Public“