Kathleen Parker’s latest is all cultural, gender essentialism

Kathleen Parker, who called President Obama a woman because he wasn’t aggressive enough, blamed military women for their own rapes, and thinks Sarah Palin is a feminist, has a new piece of crap at The Daily Beast titled Why Women Make Lousy Men. You just know this is going to be special.

Parker’s latest argument is based in cultural essentialism that’s particularly indefensible in this current political moment — the idea that women in the “enlightened West” have lost our femininity in attempting to succeed in a man’s world. We have something to learn about how to stay women from our counterparts in the Middle East, presented as a monolith of backwards thinking. In the US, where Parker continues to argue women are outperforming men (despite seeming to not even buy her own argument any more), she claims women have lost their femininity by trying to succeed on men’s terms in a male dominated workplace. Apparently men are controlling and women considerate. There’s also something about neckties. Meanwhile, women in the Middle East are fighting legitimate sexism unlike their counterparts in the US, and they’ve managed to hold on to their femininity while doing it. It’s unclear, but I think this means they can’t get jobs.

As usual, she inserts grains of truth to attempt to legitimize her racist, sexist ramblings. She mentions that working women are also responsible for raising children, but she also doesn’t want men to take on that responsibility. But her argument is still based on the notion that traits associated with masculinity and femininity are actually essential difference between men and women, except this time she’s using the equally disturbing notion of essential differences between “the West” and “the Middle East” to somehow support her argument, saying we’ve lost the essential womanhood our backwards sisters still have. In the end Parker’s article is an offensive, illogical, jumbled mess. Just like always.

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4 Comments

  1. Posted March 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    “Why One Socially Constructed Gender Role Makes Lousy Version Of Other, Oppositionally Constructed Gender Role”

    It could be an Onion article!

  2. Posted March 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, love her invocation of the abaya as the extreme of anti-feminism. So culturally deaf.

    I agree that women actively trying to grab at all the negative masculine in the name of equality and to even the playing field is ill-advised, but this article is the wrong way to do it.

    Also, finally, many parliaments with large numbers of women have REQUIREMENTS for a minimum representation of women.

  3. Posted March 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    And someone gave her a book contract with a title like “Save the Males”? Is there really panic over the fact that the U.S. Senate is 83% male? I must be forgetting that book publishing is something like 99% male….

  4. Posted March 7, 2011 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

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