The Great Conservative Double Standard of Krystal Ball

Tue, October 12, 2010

Democrats, Feminism, Republicans, Women in Politics

Krystal Ball (yes that is her real name!), the Democratic candidate in the 1st Congressional District of Virginia, could be the undoing of conservative women who’ve complained for years that they’re the true victims of sexism and that left-leaning women never come to their aid.

There’s a certain group that has taken to attacking us liberal gals pretty regularly because they think we only call out sexist treatment of women when it happens to “one of us.” (Of course, at least one conservative guy thinks it’s not possible for there to be sexist treatment against conservative women, but that’s another story!)

That’s a nice rallying cry, but nothing could be further from the truth. Though I suspect that’s exactly why there has been nary a peep from those same conservative women in calling out whoever released the irrelevant, racy photos (though fully clad) of a 22-year-old Ball taken by her ex-husband. (Her Republican opponent denies he was involved — we’ll see how that one shakes out).

So if these women get so upset when they feel they’re treated in unfair and sexist ways, constantly complaining that the liberal sisterhood refuses to defend them, where are they for Krystal Ball,  not to mention all women and their daughters?

Many of us on the left defended Sarah Palin, even when we didn’t like her politics and had to swallow hard because of her anti-woman positions when the media used its standard sexist language about whether a mother of small children ought to be running for a high political office.  For true feminists, there was no choice — sexism is sexism and if we don’t call it out, even when it happens to women whose political positions we don’t agree with, we’ll never see the end of it.

Given the deafening conservative silence, these normally vocal right-wingers have apparently decided that they don’t really mean it when they claim they’re against sexism.  Interestingly, Fox News seems to be ignoring the story, though Bill O’Reilly found airtime to suggest that Bristol Palin is a patriot on Dancing With the Stars.

Tea Party women are quick to come to the defense of their fellow mama grizzlies, like Nikki Haley, when extramarital affairs are rumored.  They like to take pride in their union of so-called mama grizzlies, yet when liberal mothers are attacked, they’ve got nothin’.

Deafening silence. Crickets chirping. Dead of night kind of quiet.

So I have to ask conservative women — if you’re all that in the world of speaking out for the sisterhood, where are you for Krystal Ball when she’s being portrayed as ?  Because I know you’ll find a way to claim her as a kind of mama grizzly when she takes the oath of office in 2011 as the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress, as she carries her toddler daughter in her arms up the steps of the Capitol.

UPDATE: The day after I wrote this past, to their credit, Fox News invited Krystal Ball on their network and I have to say I was impressed with how fairly she was treated.

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6 Responses to “The Great Conservative Double Standard of Krystal Ball”

  1. Jill Miller Zimon Says:

    Outstanding post, Joanne. You hit all the best notes and I hope that the conservative women out there whom we know do in fact agree on this will come over and set us straight – some were so concerned that when Obama was elected, people on the left would never dissent. We’ve shown over and over that that is not the case. So now they can come and dissent from those on the right who want women to just brush this stuff off, unless of course it’s a Dem doing it to a GOP woman (which you and I and others routinely condemn as well).

    This is NOT hard.

  2. Brekke Says:

    This is a double standard that tends to make my head hurt. I really do not like Sarah Palin, but some of that comes from a very strong dislike of women who use their advancement and power to stomp on the rights of other women. I also think that she far too often says things before she completely thinks them through and that really doesn’t help other women in the long run. However, while I do not like her and have certainly made a disparaging comment or two about the things she believes, I also can swallow my own dislike to say something in a conversation if someone makes a blatantly sexist remark.

    To me, this is symptomatic of a lot of the things that conservative women are doing that really make me angry. For women on “their” side, they will fiercely protect them and even say some pretty outrageous things on their behalf. To women on the “other” side, they speak with disdain, contempt, and seem to seek to belittle them, discredit them, and “get them out of the way.” I don’t by any stretch, think that liberal women are not guilty of doing the same thing, but I do know that I have seen it come much more frequently out of the supposed “moral integrity” crowd.

    I know that mudslinging is theoretically a part of politics; however, as a Mom, I shudder when I see it happening. And in light of what happens in schools on a regular basis where children are -still- using the “us vs. them” mentality to bully each other? It makes me angry. If the adults that they see in the media and the people who are supposed to be examples of success are standing up calling each other names, telling each other that they are wrong because they believe this thing or that thing and all of the other things that politicians have become notorious for doing, they are going to mimic those behaviors.

    Personally, what I would love to see happen is for our politicians to stop treating the political arena as though it is an elementary school playground and instead start to bring intelligence and respect to the offices they hold or wish to hold. It is likely a crazy and idealistic idea, but I truly believe that we would all be much better off if our politicians would begin to behave better than your average eight year old. My eight year old knows that you can have a respectful discussion with someone even if you completely disagree with the other person or the group of people. My eight year old knows that it is poor behavior to call your so-called friends and peers names. If my eight year old can grasp these concepts, why can my politicians not?

    I apologize for the long-winded ramble. This is something that I’ve seen you write about several times and have seen it come up in other places, and well, I’ve had some things on my mind (obviously). Thank you for managing to write things the way that you do. I quite enjoy the way you write!

  3. Chris Liberty Says:

    I am a conservative, and I saw the pix of Krystal Ball, and I’m sickened that it was a conservative blogger who released the pix. First of all, the pix, IMHO, were rather mild, benign, and – shrug – who cares about them. They weren’t nude pix. There was no sex tape. The big deal is that she had a dildo on her husbands nose, and she was sucking it? Really? This might be a shock to some people, but politicians do have sex lives! From those pix, I thought she seemed playful in a private surrounding with a friend and her husband. As I said, who cares about the pix, really? Krystal Ball is new to politics. I probably don’t agree with her, politically, but I am sick to damned death of the politics of trying to destroy one with whom another disagrees. I feel Krystal deserves a fair chance to run for elected office, since she feels quite strongly about it. I saw her on Megyn Kelly’s show on Fox News Channel, and I thought she came across as extremely likeable, humble, and down-to-earth. When the interview was finished, I found myself liking Krystal. Not her politics, but her, as a person. As I said, she deserves a fair chance to run for office, without something from I think 7 years ago getting in the way. Unfortunately, smear tactics are not monopolized by either the libs or conservs. Both sides have crap that backs up on us at times. The conservative blogger who released those pix is proof of that.

  4. Shannon Drury Says:

    Sigh. Another bizarre example of American repression and prudery, not to mention absolutely unbearable sexism. And this morning I had to endure Jerry Brown try to explain that the word “whore” means the same whether it’s applied to a man or a woman. I have a headache.

  5. Adrienne Says:

    As I said in a rebuttal at my blog, Joanne completely misses the boat here. The purported “silence” isn’t because we don’t defend liberal women, but because there aren’t enough conservative women writing about these issues. When there are only a handful of female bloggers covering ALL issues relating to feminism, gender politics, sexism and local and state races, there’s only so much we can do.

    Unfair attack, Joanne. The concept of conservative feminism is extremely new. Don’t expect us to have a sophisticated machine like the left. Many women are still figuring this blogging thing out and realizing they can even use the f-word. We don’t have academic programs and myriads of nonprofits to train and groom us. We’re true grassroots and going at this as individuals.

  6. Whymommy Says:

    While I am not impressed by her past, neither do I think it disqualifies her from elected office. I hope her voice is loud enough to talk about the issues, now that everyone is looking in her direction. We need more women in office, and more feminists, regardless of gender.


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