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? 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.
Joanne Bamberger is the author of the forthcoming book, Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America (Bright Sky Press). She also is the founder of the political blog, PunditMom, and can be found at MOMocrats, MomsRising and her weekly column, Speaker of the House.