The Independent Women’s Forum is calling Maureen Dowd a “mean girl,” in response to her New York Times column comparing female Republican candidates to characters from a Lindsay Lohan film about high-school cafeteria sniping.

The “Republican mean girls” or “nihilistic cheerleaders for an angry electorate” named by Dowd – Jan Brewer, Michele Bachmann, Sharron Angle, Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina, Christine O’Donnell, Meg Whitman, and Sarah Palin – did not immediately return The Daily Caller’s requests for comment.

But Palin has said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met her, and I don’t think – [Dowd] probably hasn’t met Jan Brewer or some of these other wonderful, pleasant, gracious, nice, hard-working mama grizzlies who are wanting to turn this country around,” Palin told a reporter. “So, Maureen can say whatever she says, I encourage the other mama grizzlies and liberty-loving Americans to just keep smiling.”

Michelle Bernard, president and chief executive of the Independent Women’s Forum, told TheDC, “I really felt that if anyone, it’s Dowd that’s the mean girl, not the women in her article.”

“Coming from self proclaimed progressive [Dowd], it’s interesting to see her refer to them as mean girls when she in a July column complained that Obama’s White House wasn’t black enough, you know, who advised him and such. It was a terrible thing to say and really in the spirit of a mean girl,” Bernard said.

Dowd’s column stated: “We are in the era of Republican Mean Girls, grown-up versions of those teenage tormentors who would steal your boyfriend, spray-paint your locker and, just for good measure, spread rumors that you were pregnant.” She could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bernard said that men who run for political office would not be criticized for the kind of behavior for which the Republican women are being disparaged.

“If a man had told Harry Reid to ‘man up,’ no one would have thought anything of it,” Bernard told TheDC. “Sharron Angle is not a perfect candidate by any stretch of the imagination, but I applaud that she feels comfortable speaking to her opponent the way a male would do. It’s a new world for us and the country needs to catch up.”

Bernard said that there’s been an enormous shift in the type of female candidates and the way women run for office.

“The ‘softer candidate’ is out the door,” Bernard told TheDC. “You don’t see women talking about how important it is to elect a woman for office because she is a woman or hauling out children and grandchildren, and this phenomenon has taken people by surprise, including Dowd.”

Representatives from the National Organization for Women did not return phone calls for comment.