Yesterday afternoon I was relaxing on my couch with my dog and my RSS when I came across a Washington Post Oped linked to on Feministing called "Women Aren’t Very Bright" — the perfect Sunday read! It is an actual piece that ran in the Outlook section and was featured prominently on the homepage. By the time I got to the WaPost’s page the headline had been changed to to read: "Why Do Women Act So Dumb?" (I took a screenshot for posterity.) See the improvement? Act dumb, not are dumb.
If you’re thinking it’s just another brilliant piece by Laura Sessions Stepp, it’s not. The Washington Post is tapping into a new source for its women-hating-by-women pieces, Charlotte Allen. Here’s the gist of Allen’s article: Hillary Clinton ran a terrible campaign and, in general, women are dumb and not as good as men. Here’s my favorite part:
I’m not the only woman who’s dumbfounded (as it were) by our sex, or rather, as we prefer to put it, by other members of our sex besides us. It’s a frequent topic of lunch, phone and water-cooler conversations; even some feminists can’t believe that there’s this thing called "The Oprah Winfrey Show" or that [Celine Dion](/celine-dion-health/) actually sells CDs. A female friend of mine plans to write a horror novel titled "Office of Women," in which nothing ever gets done and everyone spends the day talking about Botox.
Ok, I like this too:
The theory that women are the dumber sex — or at least the sex that gets into more car accidents — is amply supported by neurological and standardized-testing evidence. Men’s and women’s brains not only look different, but men’s brains are bigger than women’s (even adjusting for men’s generally bigger body size).
I was almost sold with that argument, especially when Allen conceded that there are some "brilliant outliers" who she admires, like Margarent Thatcher. I’ll be sure to compliment all my accomplished female friends that way from now on, you "brilliant outliers."
How do you even begin to respond to a piece like this? How do you argue with someone who still says women are the inferior sex, and that argument appears in the Sunday edition of a prominent newspaper. Do you link to studies showing that women aren’t in fact, as Allen suggests, "only children of a larger growth"? Do you point out that, despite our pea brains, women are outpacing men in college attendance? Do we point to the fact that we have more women governors holding office right now that at any other point in American history? Doesn’t that all just lower the bar on feminist discussions? It’s a sad moment for feminism when, at the same moment we have a woman running president, we have to step back and even think there is still an argument to be had.
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