Misogyny Mishap: Update

We remarked on Charlette Allen’s mysogynistic indulgence, and the remarkable fact that the  WaPo printed it, here.  Thanks to a comment on that post by Roger, we can call your attention to a reply, which the WaPo has printed here.  And since it’s by Katha Pollitt, you know it is good! The article’s title and subtitle:

Dumb and Dumber: An Essay and Its Editors
The question is not why Charlotte Allen wrote her silly piece — it’s why The Post published it.

A sample just in case the author’s name isn’t enough to send you straight there:

The upshot: we ladies should focus on what we’re really good at — interior decoration and taking care of men and children.

Oh, gag me with a spoon. Sure, girly culture can be silly — but what does that prove? It’s not as though men spend their evenings leafing through the plays of Moliere. Susie whips up doggy treats, Mike surfs porn sites; she curls up with the Friday Night Knitting Club, he watches football. Or maybe the two of them watch “Grey’s Anatomy” together — surprise, surprise, about half the show’s audience is male. If you go by cultural preferences, actually, you could just as well claim that women are obviously smarter than men — look around you at the museum, the theater, the opera house, the ballet, the concert hall. Women read more than men, too, especially fiction, which men tend to avoid. (A story about things that didn’t happen? How does that work?) Women even read fiction by men and about men, further evidence of their imaginative powers — while men, if they do pick up a novel, make sure it’s estrogen-free. Who’s really the dim bulb, the woman who doesn’t see the beauty of “Grand Theft Auto,” or the man who thinks Tom Clancy is a great writer?

And now for an important qualification: In a passage copied below, Katha Pollitt endorses a view close to a problematic one of Gloria Steinem’s; namely, that sexism in the USA is worse than racism. We’ve discussed this claim before; it should be rejected. It does seem to me true that the WaPo would not write a comparably demeaning article about Blacks or Asians, but that does not show that, as KP puts it, sexism is the last acceptable prejudice. There are too many ways in which racism is also treated as acceptable, and arguably more than sexism is. So how do we capture what lies behind the fact that respectable newspapers and journalists are printing and uttering offensively mysogynistic pieces, while the awful racism directed toward Obama does not seem to make the op-ed pages yet? Women are the last joke?

Readers are invited to share their answers/observations.

From KP:

A far more important question is this: Why did The Post publish this nonsense? I can’t imagine a great newspaper airing comparable trash talk about any other group. “Asians Really Do Just Copy.” “No Wonder Africa’s Such a Mess: It’s Full of Black People!” Misogyny is the last acceptable prejudice, and nowhere more so than in our nation’s clueless and overwhelmingly white-male-controlled media.

Take Back the Tech

This site is about reclaiming ICT (information and communication technologies) to end violence against women.    TBTT has  an international audience, and on March 8,  International Women’s Day, the site invited its visitors to tell their stories.  The result adds to the rich amount of information already on the site.

You can see some of the narratives collected here.

 (Despite the efforts  of Kathy,** our notice about International Women’s Day is coming to you a day late.  “Philosophers don’t do efficiency,” I say probably too frequently; I’m going to add “or dates.”  Apologies and thanks to you, Kathy, for the wonderful link.)

From TBTT you can go to genderIT.org, which promotes the use of ICT  to “contribute to the economic, political and social empowerment of women, and the promotion of gender equality.”  This is another important site that rewards visits.


**To see Kathy’s blog, go to our blogroll and click “bideshi blue”.  The link “Bangladesh from our view” takes you to an important project Kathy is administering.