The Washington Post: Bitches ain’t shit

stupidwomen.jpgWho knew that all it takes to get published in The Washington Post is penning a piece on how stupid women are?
Charlotte Allen – a professional woman-hating hack from the Independent Women’s Forum who has also oh-so-bravely attacked transgender rights, said that the answer to women’s potential financial woes is marriage, and suggested that Hurricane Katrina might have been “the best thing” to happen to New Orleans which is full of “whiners…chisel[ing] us taxpayers” out of money – has outdone herself in an article that is all about what dumb fucks women are.

I…wonder whether women — I should say, “we women,” of course — aren’t the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. Women “are only children of a larger growth,” wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?

Lest Allen seem like she’s just spouting misogyny for a patriarchal head-pat and a paycheck, she offers super compelling evidence that other women also find women stupid:

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 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.

“Some” feminists! “Other” women! Her reporting skills astound. Though it isn’t hard to believe that when one works at an organization whose sole purpose is to convince women that sexism is actually fabulous, that water-cooler talk would consist of chatter about how vaginas are really just brain cell black holes.
But of course, Allen includes herself in this dumb-off, presumably to garner even more credibility with misogynists.

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 could go on and on, because Allen certainly does provide ample fodder for fisking, but there’s no real point. Professional anti-feminists make too much bank to ever stop writing sexist drivel. The Washington Post, however – who claims to be so concerned about how to appeal to women that it convened a task force on the subject – should know better.
Tell WaPo how you feel about the paper calling half their readership dumb-asses. Write a letter to the editor or complain to the ombudsman.
(On a more personal note, Allen has also written about how much she loves Feministing.org, the Feministing parody site started by men’s rights activists who also own an “Ameriskanks suck” page. It seems Allen is willing to align herself with anyone who hates women. Charming.)
This is for folks who have questions about the post title.

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  • dedf

    You know, if a magazine is touting it wants more female readers…the question that needs to be asked is; why then do they write post these articles?
    What is in it for them.

  • yesjess

    Dear Washington Post,
    I know it’s been awhile since we really had a heart-to-heart, but I have to tell you now that it’s over. This you-publishing, me-reading thing: I just can’t handle it anymore. Your mean streak of mysogyny; your sensationalist pandering to hateful tripe; and your hypocritical and insulting assertions that you’ll do better next time. I tried to make it work, but you broke my heart one too many times and I’m leaving for good. You may call me a “hysterical woman,” but at least I’m sure I can do better than you.
    Good-bye forever,
    Jess

  • T-Monster

    Well, her article proved that at least one woman out there is an idiot. And possibly two if a female editor approved that piece of trash.
    What makes me so angry is her insistence that having emotions makes women inferior. That is her entire argument. I proudly chucked my hair brush at Bill Maher on TV last night in my emotional fury at his criticism of Hillary.
    Why does this woman have to bring women down????

  • gomillis

    I have never written a letter to a newspaper before, but this article pissed me off so much that I was compelled to:
    Dear Deborah Howell,
    I was deeply offended by your recent article: “Why Do Women Act so Dumb?” (formerly “Women Aren’t Very Bright”) by Charlotte Allen. I am astonished that a newspaper of your stature would publish such a hateful, misinformed diatribe against half of your readership, even as an opinion piece. Allen’s claims and supporting “evidence” have been debunked as myths long ago. As a member of the psychological community, I can tell you that no respectable psychologist would regard the “facts” about men’s and women’s brains as evidence that women are less intelligent that men. Her use of evidence not only demonstrates her limited understanding of science, she also selectively ignores both the ample scientific and anecdotal evidence that contradicts her points. I could refute her claims one by one, but others have already done this work for me. Her misogynistic arguments about women have been around for centuries, and they are tired, trite, and unoriginal. Although I am confident that I am a highly intelligent woman, I do admit that I fail to understand why a national publication would publish something so offensive and unoriginal.
    Changing the title of the article did nothing to placate those of us who were offended and incensed by the publication of Allen’s opinion piece. I strongly recommend that the Washington Post issue an apology to its readers and retract the article. Even if you do not value the equality of women, surely you do value the money you will lose if you do to take action to rectify this offense.
    Sincerely,
    [Name removed]

  • rebmarks

    Here’s my letter to Deborah Howell, and I wrote a variation of it to the editors:
    Dear Ms. Howell —
    I’m trying to be as polite as I can, but your newspaper is making it awfully hard. Was this supposed to be a joke? Am I just too dumb to realize I’ve been punked? Because if this had been written about any other group, heads would be rolling right now.
    Ms. Howell — how do YOU feel about this? How do the other women at the Post feel about it? The level of misogyny in the mainstream media these days (which appears to be surfacing because Hillary Clinton is running for President) is absolutely amazing to me. Just because a woman wrote it is no excuse. There have been plenty of self-hating members of other social groups as well, and that does not make screeds like this A-OK. You have problems attracting younger women readers? Try reading your own content, and maybe (if you had a penis) you could figure out why.
    Ok, I’m going to have to go rest now… all this intellectual activity is making me faint. I hope my law firm clients don’t catch on to me! God forbid they realize that I’m missing something under my carefully tailored pantsuits! In the meanwhile, I would appreciate an explanation as to how this column came to be printed in the Post, and what the Post is going to do about it.

  • http://www.vagabondscholar.blogspot.com Batocchio

    I was pretty astounded reading the piece yesterday, but knew I could count on some critiques…

  • Fred

    “A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men’s 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.”
    What’s “even though” about it? It’s per million miles driven.
    Men getting more driving experience than women might explain the whole result.

  • meeneecat

    I just sent a letter to the ombudsman. Basically expressing my outrage and further outrage of them throwing this thing back on women by saying it was tongue in cheek and that we can’t take a joke. It’s BS and I said as much, I also demanded an apology and said I would never be back to read anything on their website, nor will I ever buy one of their papers again. I won’t bother to post my whole letter here, it’s a bit long – I think that the editors have probably been bombarded with letters, which is a very good thing. Maybe they will finally issue an apology, maybe they will finally admit how wrong they were.
    In my letter I also got into the fact that the editors were wrong in approving this op-ed and how disgusting it is that most newspapers have a culture of “white-male-boys-club” in their news rooms. Thus, I’m not surprised that an editorial like this would have gotten past that boys club, they probably even justified it by saying “oh, well it’s written by a women, so it must be okay”. As if being a women somehow makes saying misogynistic and sexist statements okay. I don’t know if that’s exactly what happened but I’m sure having a boys-club, frat-boy culture in the news room probably had something to do with it. Not that’s it’s an excuse at all, because they most definitely need to apologize.

  • AlaraJRogers

    I’ve read that study, Fred. It is indeed a large part of the result.
    See, when you break it out by age cohort, the issue is that young women are much better drivers than men, middle-aged women and men are equal, and elderly women are much worse drivers than men. The study was done in 1998. There are two obvious explanations for the “elderly women can’t drive” phenomenon:
    – Elderly women grew up in an age when men were expected to drive. They simply didn’t learn to drive as young as the men did, or they haven’t clocked nearly as many driving hours. Many may have started driving for the first time in years after their husband died. Which leads to my second point:
    – There are more elderly women than there are elderly men, and elderly *people* are bad drivers. Depending on how they analyzed the data, they may have failed to account for the fact that in the sample of All Women, there are more elderly people than there are in the sample of All Men, and the presence of elderly people will drag down the average.
    Really, I am sickened by the right wing glomming onto this study and passing it around lately. Supposedly they believe in the free market and the skill of corporations, right? So how do they explain, if women are such bad drivers, why men pay up to six times as much in car insurance *just* for being male? Where I grew up in the 80’s in upstate New York, the stereotype of “boys drive girls” was reversed when I was a teen because no parents wanted to pay for a teen boy’s car insurance. Teen boys routinely weren’t allowed to get their licenses until they were 18 because their parents couldn’t pay the outrageous teen boy premiums. By right-winger belief in the infallibility of corporations, how could this possibly square with men being better drivers?
    The truth is, of course, women are better drivers. When you take people who are equally inexperienced, eg, teens, and compare them, male teens are so much worse than female teens they can barely even be compared. Since our culture has this absurd belief that men are better drivers, and we do our best to make women insecure about everything, over time men clock more driving hours than women. This brings them up to *equality*. The people who drive 74% more of the time are *equal* to the people who don’t, until they all get old. I mean, if someone practices a skill 74% more than you but you’re as good at it, doesn’t that mean by definition you have more natural talent? In fact, if someone practices a skill 74% more than you but are only very slightly better at it (difference between 5.1 accidents per million miles and 5.7 accidents per million miles is much less than 74%), doesn’t that *still* say that you have more natural talent?
    Mind you, I don’t believe that female superiority in driving skill is necessarily biological. I believe that male ego and pride, which are artificially pumped up to ridiculous heights by the patriarchy, encourages men to engage in really unsafe driving behaviors and extreme recklessness. However, I *do* think the difference between teen boys and teen girls *is* biological, due to differential maturation rate. Basically, a 16-year-old girl has the brain of an 18-year-old boy. However, the curves would match a lot faster if boys weren’t socially encouraged to be irresponsible and immature — insurance rates are much lower for married young men than unmarried young men, not because there’s some magic about getting married that makes a man good at driving, but because whether he’s willing to make a commitment is the only proxy they can get from the data they have to suggest how mature a young man is. I think that training and effort and a serious attempt to tackle male entitlement and how it manifests in issues like road rage could do a lot to save our boys from thousands of needless deaths on the road, not to mention the people they kill when they go. But it’s gonna be hard to seriously talk about disastrous male driving and what we can do to solve it when we’re *still* on this false bullshit about women being the worse drivers.

  • red87red

    Dear Washington Post Editorial Staff:
    As an intelligent woman, I tried not to let Charlotte Allen’s pathetic opinion piece (“We Scream, We Swoon, How Dumb Can We Get?�) bait me into a response. However, I think it is important that you hear from numerous and diverse voices about how offensive her viewpoint is.
    I support the First Amendment and I believe in engaging with ideas that are not my own. But it is beneath the dignity of a reputable paper to print something that can fairly be characterized as misogynist, degrading, prejudiced, and yes, dim. In my eyes, and many others, the Washington Post is no longer a reputable paper.
    Some readers have no doubt refuted Ms. Allen’s weak justifications line by line. Others probably reminded you how tasteless that shoe looks on the other foot: imagine a similar piece on blacks, Hispanics, or Jews. No matter. I have cancelled my subscription, advised my parents, aunt and uncle to do the same, and will no longer visit your website.

  • http://tacky-thing.blogspot.com/ tacky-thing

    I read this article; and I have to say; I am SOOO sick of bad science “facts” that women are worse than men at spatial tasks. What a load of crap. I am a visual effects artist, and I work with a lot of 3D elements. Not only am I pretty effing great at my job, I often have to fix bad 3D from my male colleagues.
    However, due to these stupid stereotypes that get bandied around over and over and over again; I often come up against the prejudice that I don’t really understand 3D space as well as the men do.

  • Jes

    Gods. I am so sick of this whole boys vs girls, girls vs boys, boys vs boys, girls vs girls bullshit. We are ALL in this together, MEN AND WOMEN to fight ignorance, misogyny, misandry, violence and hate. It mean, nothing saddens me more than one group shit-talking another. Women should love each other. Women should love men. Men should love women. men should love men.

  • alex denipaul

    And yet… it is actually true. Women are good at some things men aren’t, but their brains are just wired differently. And one of those differences is… they’re usually shamelessly petty, cheap hosting vindictive, dense, paranoid, and superficial. Some women aren’t, of course. But that’s certainly no reason to pretend that women are mentally “equal” to men. Try actually working in the “office full of women” – I do – it’s a real eye-opener.