Sunday, April 08, 2007

Women and "balance"

There was an op-ed in the Washington Post on Saturday that really got to me--by Kathleen Parker. She begins by castigating the president of Iran, and then begins to talk about how he has a point about women in the Western armed services. She then contorts her pathetic little brain into loop-de-loops about women, the military, and rape, arguing that women don't belong in the armed services because they will be raped by enemy soldiers (let alone the fact that the only people U.S. servicewomen say have raped them are fellow U.S. male soldiers), and concludes that the idea of women in the armed forces is aiding and abetting the enemy. Because the president of Iran has a hang up about this?

The "argument" is of course unsubstantiated by either example or fact. She brings up familiar canards, like Western women needing/wanting to act like men. Like women being the most important nurturers of small children and belong in the home. The retrograde ferocity is staggering. The language bombastic and meant to provoke. Shock-jock. An Ann Coulter wannabe. How like a man these women are, who purposefully try to provoke and antagonize--if they behaved like the ladies they advocated as role models for women, well, then, I suppose they wouldn't be in the paper.

The Washington Post then "balanced" this op-ed with its ridiculous Republican stereotype of the raving anti-feminist with another op-ed by a female caricature, this time one whose panties were in a bunch about sixth grade homework. Oh, the travails of the stay-at-home mom!

I canceled my subscription to the Post. I've just had it with their inability to grasp that women are more than stereotypes, we're actually people. I contrast the Post to Slate, on which women figure prominently as journalists and editorialists, in equal number and capacity to men, writing thoughtful, well-argued and reasoned pieces that encompass a broad worldview and a female perspective without limiting themselves to stereotype or by subject matter. How hard is this for a major newspaper to grasp?

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