To the Editor:
Re “Please Stop Apologizing,” by Bill Maher (Op-Ed, March 22):
We’re both women who have worked in Democratic politics and the media for decades and find Bill Maher’s misogynist treatment of women candidates deeply disturbing. Coincidentally we both hail from Alaska — where women are treated as equals — so perhaps our threshold for this kind of behavior is less than here in the Lower 48.
Mr. Maher has implicitly attempted to tie his own demeaning attacks on women to the unrelated issue of partisan-motivated fake outrage, which we agree is tiring. While others have been held to account for their sexism, Mr. Maher remains unrepentant for his attacks on women in public life.
How can we expect women to run for office when they are essentially told to “lighten up about” and accept misogynist attacks? The Women’s Media Center has found that such attacks on women candidates have a measurable negative effect on how voters view them.
Our message to Mr. Maher and his ilk is: Please start apologizing.
Washington, March 23, 2012
Ms. Lee is the former executive director of the Democratic Governors Association. Ms. Powers is a political commentator who worked in the Clinton administration.