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Sunday, March 18, 2012

PARKER: News flash: It's not OK to denigrate women

Warning: This column is not suitable for children and its content may be offensive to some.

In the wake of “Slutgate,” the operative argument seems to have devolved into a barnyard taunt: “My pig isn’t as bad as your pig.”

This pithy summation comes from Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, who has been leading the charge against vile language used to describe women in the public square. Among other things, Van Susteren, deserves credit for single-handedly shaming the Radio and Television Correspondents’ Association into parting ways with its headliner for this year’s dinner, comedian Louis C.K.

Like most women in the media, I’ve grown accustomed to vile and vicious attacks. It’s part of the marinade in which we swim now. I’ve always figured, well, that’s the game. Get tough. Hit delete. Deal. But my feelings, raw as they may be at times, are not what matters. What does matter is that our children are growing up in a world that believes it’s OK to denigrate women. They are witnesses to adults laughing at jokes about women being sluts, whores and worse. When the object of derision is aimed at Sarah Palin, “jokes” are even made about her Down syndrome child.

Which brings us back to Louis C.K., whose “jokes” are so beyond anything we should find funny that it’s hard to comprehend how he was selected to amuse a gathering of journalists. Of Palin, he says: “her f------ retard-making c---” and “the baby that just came out of her f------ disgusting c---.”

If you’re not disgusted, please leave now. Similarly, though not nearly as graphically, comedian Bill Maher has called Palin a “dumb t---.” Palin supporters and others concerned with decency have wondered where the outrage was then. Fair question.

Many also wonder why President Obama, who found time to call Fluke out of concern for his own daughters, never raised his voice for Palin. Or why he’s accepting a $1 million contribution from Maher to his super PAC. Like any candidate, Obama doesn’t control his super PAC, but he does control his voice, and it has been notably silent about certain women. (Full story)

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