MISOGYNY….Katha Pollitt, in the course of noting that Charlotte Allen’s “Women Are Dumb!” piece in the Washington Post last weekend was not, in fact, written as a joke, places the blame for publishing it exactly where it belongs:
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.
….Here’s a thought. Maybe there’s another thing women can do besides fluff up their husbands’ pillows: Fill more important jobs at The Washington Post….A male editor with a lot of women colleagues on his level might think twice before proposing a sweeping denunciation, humorous or not, of “women.” Ideally he would have come to respect women as equals from working with them — but if he were just afraid of being seen as a total caveman, that would be okay too. And maybe this kind of editor would have flagged as tired cliches references to Oprah and Celine Dion; would have looked up the studies Allen claims prove women have the I.Q. of a bowl of cereal and found they don’t say anything like that; would have wondered if more women bake doggy treats than subscribe to Scientific American or run marathons, and how does the treat-baker come to stand for all women?
And then, after all this, and seeing that Allen’s piece still didn’t ring even vaguely-kinda-sorta true, our imaginary editor would have asked a question. “You know what I think of this article?” a good editor would have said. “I think it’s really stupid.”
Misogyny really is the last acceptable prejudice — the complaints of the Christian Right and angry white men notwithstanding. And who knows? Maybe the blistering reaction to Allen’s piece will help the Post op-ed staff to finally figure this out. That would at least be a silver lining.