NOW has lost its direction and is grasping for an enemy. Women have achieved so much, yet NOW focuses on the negative and they find negative almost anywhere. NOW’s biggest achievement, it seems, is that it has taught a generation of women how to find sexism, oppression and misogyny almost anywhere.
So who are these villains in SuperNOWoman’s ring? Misogynist media men were the top contender. At the Conference, it was taken as a given that rampant media sexism against Hillary Clinton was present and left unchecked by the Democratic National Committee during the Democratic primary, eventually causing her defeat. Speakers also highlighted the disparity in the number of female writers on the op-ed pages of newspapers. Jenkins argued that, “…the woman’s mind is not being recognized or valued.” Rather than highlighting her success as a syndicated columnist for the Washington Post Writer’s Group, Marie Cocco described how sexist the world is because she has had a difficult time getting her column syndicated since she is not “another white male.”
The next major villain? The dark lord of negative body image. Leading the charge against him was Nancy Redd, a former Miss Virginia, a Harvard graduate (of course, with a Women’s Studies degree) and author of Body Drama, a straight talk book for teens about women’s bodies. While initially discussing this topic appears like a worthy endeavor, Redd took this adventure way too far to the extreme and opted for the outrageous. Of all the sections of her book she could have talked about, she focused on the “vulva spread,” showcasing multiple candid shots in her powerpoint presentation. In her book, she even included a naked picture of her own backside. She began her talk by proclaiming, “feminism saved my life” and ended by revealing her true agenda behind her book, “…if I can get conservatives in the room, I can brainwash them. It’s like a time share presentation.” The room exploded in laughter.
Attending the NOW Conference was in some ways like jumping into a fantasy comic book—the world is what you make it. These women have chosen to see the world as their enemy. Unfortunately, it is going to take more than superheroes to get these NOW women to drop their unhealthy obsession with the idea that everyone is out to get them. The real villain is their own victim mentality.