March 7, 2008

Katha Pollitt rips Charlotte Allen's "women are dumb" essay

And it is worth reading. Several great lines, but here are couple:
"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 this:
But I suspect that Allen, who works for the right-wing anti-feminist Independent Women's Forum, is just annoyed that so many educated middle-class women are cultural, social and political moderates and liberals. Democrats, in other words.

. . . Hillary Clinton running for president instead of spending the rest of her life apologizing for her marriage -- it does indeed make a picture. But it isn't one of women's unique "stupidity" -- raise your hand if you think Hillary Clinton has a lower I.Q. than George W. Bush. What bothers Allen about this picture is that these women reject, with every fiber of their latte-loving beings, the abstinence-only, father-knows-best, slut-shaming crabbed misogyny of the Republican right.


1 comment:

Vita Lusty said...

To the Editor and to Ms. Allen:

I would like to know what about this article shown so big and bright that it deserved publication. I see that Allen is well aware of, what appears to me, outdated stereotypes. She is also still attributing quite a lot to some basic and inconclusive science about the relation of the size of one's brain to their intelligence. In Allen's world, our worth is based on how we drive a car and marginal IQ tests without addressing very dramatic studies on teachers' bias toward one gender over another, not to mention the confidence of parents, employers and the press still rubbing their eyes and shaking their heads at the idea of a female American president when the rest of the world is already way ahead of us.

She has ignored studies on how women are more effective as managers, more communicative . . . she has neglected studies on child-rearing and education. Then again, what is the world outside of Allen's TIVO but romance novels, snacking and the theatrical release of 'Sex in the City.' This exercise of self-loathing and undermining one's peers is simply a symptom of laziness and fear. Women who cower in the face of competition . . . what would Allen do if women grew in leadership roles, becoming more prominent public figures and speakers and scientists, my God, she would have to put down the Lady Fingers, get off her fat ass and do something.

I will admit, as a woman there is less pressure to succeed. When you make a mistake, it is often forgiven if not anticipated by a supervisor. However, when you reinvent yourself, when you discover something new, when you really contribute- that feeling trumps all comfort that comes with acceptance in the face of failure.

Allen feels what a number of women feel, anxiety from what this means about them. They will be asked to participate when all they have been expected to do, up to this point, is look pretty and purr under the touch of their male counter-part. How will they handle this?

I am very excited to see how they will. Succeed or die Ms. Allen.