According to NOW and other groups, such harassment deters women from running for office, and sends a message to all women that they are unwelcome in politics.
Asked if O'Donnell's life is open to public scrutiny because she is engaged in politics, O'Neill was quick to say O'Donnell does not deserve to be objectified.
Bennett, of the Women's Campaign Forum, said the best way for candidates to handle sexist attacks is to address them immediately. Congressional candidate Krystal Ball sought Bennett's counsel after Gawker posted photos of her at a past Christmas Party posing with a sex toy. Ball followed Bennet's advice and addressed the issue immediately in the press. She got a huge boost from it and squashed the issue, said Bennett.
"It wasn't about influencing the election, it was: This is something our readers will be interested in reading," said Stern.
Gawker has enjoyed a 20 percent surge in traffic thanks to the story, and it has certainly received a boost in notoriety. Walton, of the Women's Media Center, said the movement which is tracking sexist media attacks will be awarding prizes - dubbed the "Would You Say That to Your Mother Award" – post-election.
"We have a pretty good idea that this [Gawker] incident is a front-runner. Absolutely."