Washington Post editor John Pomfret claims that the article which contained the above quotations, published in yesterday's Outlook section, was "tongue-in-cheek." Yet, as Jessica at Feministing points out, it should be clear to any editors worth their salt that writer Charlotte Allen is anything but an honest broker, since "Any quick search of Allen's past writing shows just how seriously she takes her women-hate." Of course she takes it seriously, it pays her bills - thanks to editors like those who put her on the pages of the Washington Post. Past Allen quotations include:
Frankly, even as a woman, I miss the old sexist days, when stewardesses were stewardesses: pretty young things in cute mini-suits and little heels who oozed attention onto everyone -- because who knew? They might end up marrying one of the passengers...and "Why does feminism have to mean the triumph of the ugly and the surly?"
Allen's article is thinly-veiled hate speech - asserting that women are genetically programed to be stupid, hysterical, shallow, and lazy. So how did this piece make it past the editorial board? Allen cites outdated (1998) statistics about women's driving records, and fails to link to the data she cites so that readers might review the basis for her claims about women's spatial awareness. She uses anecdotal evidence, cherry picks her examples, fails to distinguish correlation from causation, and the evidence that she presents does not support her thesis that women are "dim." To be more succinct, the article is a complete mess and Allen fails every standard to which a journalist should be held. This article should never have been published, even as a fluffy Outlook piece.
That the article is an example of woman-hate is obvious, but it is not Allen who I want punished - sexism is her bread and butter, but she is within her First Amendment rights. Yet, I believe that for the Washington Post to maintain its credibility as a serious publication which maintains journalistic standards in all its sections, a full retraction should be made and the editors responsible for allowing such a fallacious and insulting piece to be published should be fired. If you think that is asking too much, read the article again but replace the word "women" with "blacks" or "Jews." No other disenfranchised community in the United States would allow itself to be so abused, nor should we.
Please write a letter to the editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) or send a complaint to the ombudsman (email@example.com) and tell the WaPo what you think - and don't forget to call for resignations. Please leave a line in the comments section too, letting us know you've contacted them and keeping us posted on any responses you get.
UPDATE: (For more on this, visit: Lawyers, Guns and Money, Broadsheet, Media Matters, Feministe, Feministing - tip of the hat for the ombudsman addy btw, Strollerderby, Jezebel, Shameless and Pandagon.)