So the Washington Post printed an opinion piece that had as its central theme the notion that women are idiots. No, really:
“I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can’t add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?). I don’t even know how many pairs of shoes I own. I have coasted through life and academia on the basis of an excellent memory and superior verbal skills, two areas where, researchers agree, women consistently outpace men. (An evolutionary just-so story explains this facility of ours: Back in hunter-gatherer days, men were the hunters and needed to calculate spear trajectories, while women were the gatherers and needed to remember where the berries were.) I don’t mind recognizing and accepting that the women in history I admire most — Sappho, Hildegard of Bingen, Elizabeth I, George Eliot, Margaret Thatcher — were brilliant outliers.
The same goes for female fighter pilots, architects, tax accountants, chemical engineers, Supreme Court justices and brain surgeons. Yes, they can do their jobs and do them well, and I don’t think anyone should put obstacles in their paths. I predict that over the long run, however, even with all the special mentoring and role-modeling the 21st century can provide, the number of women in these fields will always lag behind the number of men, for good reason.
So I don’t understand why more women don’t relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home. (Even I, who inherited my interior-decorating skills from my Bronx Irish paternal grandmother, whose idea of upgrading the living-room sofa was to throw a blanket over it, can make a house a home.) Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts’ content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.”
This was an edited piece. And editor either solicited this piece or read it on spec and decided that it fit within the pages of the Washington Post. He or she read it, edited it, and ordered it placed into the paper. No other editor or superior stopped it and no other editor or superior has removed it or apologized for it. And it does need to be apologized for. Labeling an entire group of people as “dim”, pretending that a writer’s own insufficiencies and prejudices are somehow the same as research and insight: neither is acceptable for an actual newspaper engage din actual journalism. This is nothing more than a milder version of the old National Journal resistance that segregation was required to save White culture. Save America form the dim-witted women is this piece’s not so under undertone.
Now ask yourself this: at a paper that saw fit to print this dreck, do you think the editors can be trusted to evaluate the work of female reporters and writers fairly? Do you think those editors are going to want stories that touch on issues that have traditionally considered women’s issues? Do you think those editors are going to be fair and honest towards female executives and politicians? Do you think those editors are going to be interested in stories about women’s health or work issues, especially those told from a woman’s point of view? Do you being to understand why feminism is necessary?
That article is still on the front page of the Washington Post’s website as of this morning. We do not live in a post sexism society.