Sunday, March 30, 2008

Slim, Hot Women Need Not Race

I simply must tackle the "Danica Rule". Now, I know that the Indy Racing League (IRL) is hoping that the Danica Rule label does not stick, but good luck on that as far as I'm concerned.

The short version of the Danica Rule is this: the IRL has instituted a new rule designed to equalize the weights of the car. There was already weight limit in racing as far as the car itself goes, but the IRL has added in the rule that takes the driver's weight into account. The IRL is playing with the idea of establishing several weight categories that will either add or subtract weight from the total amount of the car/person. The reasoning here is apparently, "10 pounds equals one-tenth of a second, so if you're 100 pounds heavier than somebody it's a second a lap you're giving away."

I can obviously not debate the physics behind that fact. What I do find intriguing is the timing of this rule. Danica Patrick began her IRL career in 2005. She has never won a race. What she has done is garner more attention to the sport than it has received in a very long time, save for the Indy 500, which I was forced to watch with my father each year. Now, Danica weighs 100 pounds. Apparently, the heaviest man weighs 165 and the lightest man weighs 125. I have not heard much moaning and groaning about that 40 pound difference between the men. No weight adjustment had been called for them. Oh, but put an incredibly hot woman in a car who manages to race well (but remember...still she has never won) and *now* there is a problem.

I like the following sums up my frustration here, "...I began to wonder whether sports, which typically has been a stage for change in America, is lurching backward just as the rest of the nation slowly – and almost historically – moves ahead."

Allow me a short summation here. I have no problem with including a driver's weight in the total car weight to equalize the driving field. I get it. However, it took until 2008 for the IRL to decide upon such a rule? Please. The rule is the Danica Rule...I can see no way around that conclusion.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Star Wars Cliff Notes

Yeah, Star Wars was my favorite movie when I was three also. In my telling, I would have focused more on Princess Leia repeatedly saving the day and not being shy with a blaster, but this kid does pretty well too. I know it is a little late for Friday Feminist Cute, and a little early for Sunday Feminist Funnies, but I just can't resist:

I'm not made of stone, you guys.


Friday, March 28, 2008

You Are a Feminist? But Where Are Your Horns?

Wow, with all the slanderous falsehoods floating around about evil feminism, this really needed to be said:

Happy Friday!

(via Feministe)

New Feminist Blog Title Needed

Our little blog's title confuses Google. Really, if someone puts "feminist" or "feminism" in a search with some other word, we only come up if the combination of those two words are used in a post - hence the large number of hits for "feminist poem." So, were you to put "feminist single-sex education" into a Google search, you wouldn't be lead to our post on this subject. Yet, since we have the word "innocence" in the title, well - I think a quarter of our traffic comes from people searching for tips on how to have "innocent sex." I kid not. (Two consenting, sober adults, guys, that's all that's needed. A good safety word can't hurt either.)

So, I am looking for a title that will have the word feminist front and center. Yes, this might increase the number of trolls we attract, but we'll deal with that later. Any good blog title ideas?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This American DREAM (Act)

I've been listening to episodes of This American Life as part of my morning routine recently: turn on the coffee pot, start an episode, and listen to little excerpts of other people's lives while drinking my coffee and brushing my teeth. It was today's choice of episodes, entitled Nice Work if You Can Get It (first aired on March 21st), that I learned of the DREAM Act through the sad story of Martha. Martha (not her real name) is a young woman who seems to be what every parent hopes their children might become - smart, hard-working, dedicated to helping others, and motivated. She wants to become a doctor - an OBGYN. She has earned excellent grades at UCLA, even though it meant sleeping at the library and showering in the locker room for weeks at a time (she could not afford housing near the campus). She also has an unpaid internship in medical research and all the community service activities that would make her an ideal med school candidate. Yet, since Martha was not born in the States, but was brought here from Mexico by her parents when she was a child, there is no path to legal status for her. She cannot apply for grants, student loans, work study, or scholarships. Even were she to find a way to pay for medical school, she could never be employed as a doctor in this country. She lives in a perpetual state of limbo - the United States being the only country she has known since early childhood, but without any way to truly participate in or contribute to the society that has raised her.

Martha's story sounded familiar to me since I have known several young people in her position - kids that work hard despite being fairly sure that they will never be able to attain the types of jobs that their intellects would earn them, had they the proper paperwork. Yet, there might be a possible solution, if we had the political will to make things better for these kids. We could pass the DREAM Act.

The DREM Act (aka. The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act) is the latest incarnation of a series of bills that seek to give some legal status to "young people who were brought to the U.S. years ago as undocumented immigrant children who have since grown up here, stayed in school, and kept out of trouble" and wish to attend college or join the U.S. Armed Forces. As Wikipedia explains:
Currently, children who immigrate to the United States from another country can only obtain legal status through their parents; there is no independent method to accomplish this. Through many quirks in immigration law many individuals brought here as children remain without permanent status, despite having parents or spouses who are naturalized citizens or legal permanent residents. If a child is brought into the country illegally there is no method of becoming a legal resident. Returning to their country would not guarantee a path to legal status. Attempts to come back legally are often difficult, with roadblocks such as ten year bans on re-entering the U.S.
The complete lack of any path to citizenship for these children poses a problem for both them and for the United States, since they are blocked from becoming full contributors to the community in which they live. The DREAM Act would provide a path to long-term legal status for those young people. Although the legislation's detractors assert that the DREAM Act's passage would provide a sweeping "amnesty," the bill would not provide a path to legal status for all undocumented children, for:
To qualify for immigration relief under the DREAM Act, a student must have been brought to the U.S. more than 5 years ago when he or she was 15 years old or younger and must be able to demonstrate good moral character.... Under the DREAM Act, once such a student graduates from high school, he or she would be permitted to apply for conditional status, which would authorize up to 6 years of legal residence. During the 6-year period, the student would be required to graduate from a 2-year college,complete at least 2 years toward a 4-year degree, or serve in the U.S. military for at least 2 years. Permanent residence would be granted at the end of the 6-year period if the student has met these requirements and has continued to maintain good moral character.
The bill has been introduced in various forms in both the House and the Senate, but has faced strong opposition each time. Most recently, it was brought up for debate on the floor of the Senate in October of 2007, yet "...though it was able to gain a majority vote it failed to gain cloture by a 52-44 vote, 8 votes short of overcoming a filibuster." Both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama voted in favor of the DREAM Act, Sen. McCain abstained from voting. The White House issued a statement against the DREAM Act before the 2007 vote.

The future of this legislation is uncertain, the Democratic leadership having stated that:
..the DREAM Act is unlikely to be considered until 2009. However, the Democratic leadership has also stated their refusal to consider H1B visa reform (a high-skill temporary visa program)unless the DREAM Act is first passed, leaving an opening for the issue to be addressed sooner.
In the meantime, kids like Martha will continue to study hard and work towards goals that they have been told they can never attain, hoping for the chance to give back to the country that they consider their home.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Quick Hit: Op-Eds are Stupid.

Yeah, from NewsCat comes more support for my argument that op-eds should either be held to the same journalistic standards as any other article or be scrapped altogether:
This seems to be the pattern. Run some terrible outrageous column that discusses some aspect of femaleness or women’s sexuality, and then, as the outraged letters appear, run a response column. Presto! Now you have balance. Something shitty said about women and something said to refute it. Great. I guess as long as you run a response column everything is okay.

It wasn’t until I started counting the day’s columns for the number of women authors (which many days there weren’t any, and many days the only woman printed wrote something derogatory about women’s behavior) that I started to get really angry at the LA Times and what they think their Op-Ed pages are for. What kind of debates and ideas do they want discussed on them and frankly, who qualifies to talk about what subjects.
Perhaps, though, the op-eds are following the same journalistic standards as the rest of the LA Times et. al. It seems like this sort of woman-basing is the new status quo.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Again with Kansas?

I am having such a hard time wrapping my head around this one that I must enlist some help. Is this a true story? "Woman Sat on Toilet for 2 Years" I'm baffled enough with that one as it is, although I certainly understand the overwhelming power of phobia. However, I am having even more trouble with why there is even any consideration as to whether charges will be filed. I should think, even if the boyfriend brought her food and whatnot, that it would still be criminal negligence. Honestly, what person in their right mind would have allowed this to go for two years. I suppose the easy answer is another person not in their right mind.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

With Friends Like These...

The Clinton campaign is the latest to suffer from "friendly fire," with former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro's assertion that:
If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
Of course, any suggestion that Barrak Obama is only being seriously considered as a candidate because of his race is stupid and bigoted, and Ferraro's words risk tainting the whole Clinton campaign by association. So, Ferraro is stepping down, as she should, but she isn't apologizing for what she said. In fact, not content with insulting the African American community, she managed to disparage herself - and women- on her way out the door by asserting:
" 1984 if my name was Gerard Ferraro instead of Geraldine Ferraro, I would have never been chosen as a vice presidential candidate," Ferraro said on ABC's "Good Morning America. "It had nothing to do with my qualification."
How was she any less qualified to be vice president than any other candidate for that position? By insulting herself and Obama with this similar logic of 'it was just our minority status,' Ferraro suggests that any woman or minority who is nominated for a position of power is lucky to have the chance to run, rather than deserving and equal.

Why? Eliot, why?

Cara of Curvature has posted an open letter to Governor Eliot Spitzer that pretty much sums up how many of us are feeling right now. Her whole post is worth reading, but for the lazy I'll quote a few of the best bits here:
Between drafting your own bill to protect a woman’s right to an abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned, attempting to enshrine the right to also refuse both contraception and abortion, rejecting federal abstinence-only money, and working to increase funding for family planning, I’d say you’ve done a pretty good job by women up until this point. You’ve even shown dedication to lesbians and bisexual women by supporting same-sex marriage...

Beyond my sentiments about men who purchase sex — let’s place all of that aside — I’m angry and sorely disappointed as a voter and a citizen... Even if you didn’t think that it was wrong to cheat on your wife (hey, for all I know you have an open marriage), or to hire a woman for sex, you knew it was wrong to take a risk that would jeopardize far more than your own personal career. It bears repeating that you were Attorney General, for Christ’s sake. You knew what was at stake....

In an election year when the presidency is the Democrats’ to lose, and Republicans have been praying to that misogynist, gay-hating god they’ve invented for a high-profile Dem to do something this ridiculously moronic and easy to manipulate. In an election year when we had a decent shot at taking control of the State Senate — for the first time in over forty years — so that we could actually get some progressive legislation passed.
Eliot - what were you thinking?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Blatant Misogyny: A Hot Trend for 2008?

Argh. Really, is there a reason for this year's rampant outbreak of misogynistic vitriol? First the LA Times tells us that rape doesn't happen to nice girls (wow, that one still makes me mad), then the Washington Post asserts that we're all too stupid and frivolous to participate in the democratic process. Now Mark of Denialism introduces us to two new woman-hating turds, Vox Day of the World Net Daily and Mike Adams of Townhall. Both have recently published hysterical rants against those nefarious women brazen enough to openly exercise their intellect. According to Day, "a genuine threat today...comes from the same force that is the primary threat to the survival of Western civilization: female equalitarianism." Adams reports that:
when they aren't attending masturbation workshops and orgasm awareness festivals on unc campuses, our feminist "scholars" are usually thinking of new words to ban in order to make womyn feel more comfortable in the workplace.
Charming blokes, these two. Mark H. puts it susinctly when he writes, "Women make great scientists, and I'm tired of these creationist idiots lecturing us on what is needed in the field they don't even believe in."

Really, though, what is at the bottom of all this hate speech? Could it be that having a serious female contender for the presidency is sparking fears that this might be the beginning of the end for white male privilege? Is misogyny just an easy way to establish one's conservative street cred?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Movie Review: Persepolis

The Academy made a mistake when it awarded the "Best Animated Film" Oscar to Ratatouille. While Pixar's film about a Parisian rat with an enthusiasm for fine dining is charming enough, it is simply a children's cartoon. The film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis, however, is art.

Persepolis is author and animator Marjane Satrapi's autobiographical account of her girlhood in Iran during the Islamic Revolution, of her exile to Austria, and of her return to an Iran which proves to be as foreign to her as the European society she has just left. Yet, those who have read the books and already know the story well will not be bored. There is new material in the movie adaptation, and the story and images borrowed from the books are so beautifully rendered on film that they strike with a new impact. The narrative is funny, compelling, and occasionally devastating - I sobbed as I watched young Marjane turning back for a last glance of her parents before boarding the plane to Austria. Most importantly, the narrative is humanizing, as we identify so intimately with a girl whose society seems so different from our own.

The one criticism of Persepolis I've heard was voiced by my friend Stephan, who complained that too much time was dedicated to Marjane's time in Austria- where she falls in love, smokes her first joint, and has her heart broken. "Everyone I know has done those things," he complained, "so more time should have been spent describing life in Iran, which is more interesting." As much as I respect Stephan, his criticism is misplaced. It is by focusing on the details that have actually been important in Satrapi's life, things with which most human beings can relate, rather than ignoring all elements that will fail to strike a western audience as exotic, that Persepolis avoids falling back on the voyeuristic appeal of orientalism and manages to create a sense of what life is like for everyday people living in a society in crisis.

Persepolis is one of those rare films that expands its audience's humanity. It is a film that will increase your knowledge of the world, and your compassion for the other beings in it. If Persepolis is showing in your town, you should see it. If not, watch the trailer read the books until the film comes to a DVD player near you.

Tomorrow is International Women's Day

I couldn't resist posting this beautiful photograph:

As the BBC explains, the image depicts "...a traditional Punjabi dance as part of celebrations in Delhi ahead of International Women's Day on Saturday."

How will you be celebrating International Women's Day? My plan is to attend a goodbye party for a friend who will be returning to Mexico after completing her post-doc at Emory, and then we will be attending an (ever-controversial) Atlanta Roller Derby bout. If I get any good pictures, I'll post them. If anyone else has some quality photographs appropriate to International Women's Day, send them along and we'll have a photo competition!

Iraqi Women Facing Crisis

The BBC reports that life has become significantly grimmer for Iraqi women since the start of the U.S. led invasion. A survey of 1,500 Iraqi women published by the group Women for Women International indicates that women now face a greater threat of violence and have fewer opportunities:
...63.9% or those questioned said violence against women was increasing. "When asked why, respondents most commonly said that there is less respect for women's rights than before, that women are thought of as possessions, and that the economy has gotten worse," [the study] said.

Some 76.2% said girls in their families were forbidden from attending school, while 68.3% described the availability of jobs for women as "bad".

More than 40% of did not think that the circumstances of women were being considered by those making decisions about Iraq's future.

As Women for Women International notes, fears that women's needs are not being considered are well-founded since, in its present form, the Iraqi constitution "... states that no law that contradicts Islam will be established. However, the interpretation of the text and laws at the local level can lead to further corrosion of women’s rights." You can learn more about the challenges facing Iraqi women and make a donation at the WFWI site.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Jump Around, Jump Around

The Center for Disease Control has published a study that directly contradicts the "girls just need to move around less" theory promoted by some gender-based education advocates, most recently in the New York Times. According to a recent report by the CDC:
Using public data, researchers tracked the reading and math skills of more than 5,000 students between kindergarten and fifth grade as shown on a series of standardized tests. They discovered that girls who received the highest levels of physical education, or 70 to 300 minutes a week, scored consistently higher on the tests than those who spent less than 35 minutes a week.
This flies in the face of claims like those made by David Chadwell in the Times:
For boys, he said: “You need to get them up and moving. That’s based on the nervous system, that’s based on eyes, that’s based upon volume and the use of volume with the boys.”...For the girls, Chadwell prescribes a focus on “the connections girls have (a) with the content, (b) with each other and (c) with the teacher.
Perhaps, just perhaps, both genders would do best to have movement and connections with the content, each other, and the teacher. Clearly, though, the "girls can (and should) just keep still, but boys should be allowed to squirm and move" theory is bunk.

UPDATE: To be fair, it is possible that the data from the CDC study is correlative, but not causative. Since "specials" like music, art, and gym are cut from students' schedules in under-preforming elementary schools, girls attending schools with the most time for gym and recess are most likely attending high-preforming schools. Still, though, I think that girls should be encouraged to get exercise during the day.

(Image via Victor Friedman Photography)

Obama to Evangelicals: You Aren't Reading Your Bibles

Apparently Obama already knows a thing or two about fighting Biblical verses with Biblical verses, asking questions like these:
Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading their bibles.
I wish he'd gone a bit farther in his defense of gay rights, but I'm glad that he's not being cowed.

Fighting Fire (and Brimstone) with Fire (and Brimstone)

Today's Christian Science Monitor tells the story of Wazhma Frogh, an advocate for women's rights in Afghanistan who has learned how to persuade her oppressors with arguments they'll understand - religious arguments. Walking past a mosque in the northeastern Afganistan, for example, Frogh once overheard the local mullah preaching to his congregation that she should be killed, since she was "meddling with their women with her plan to start a literacy program." Rather than fleeing the region or laying-low:
...she marched straight into the mosque. In a flowing black chador that left her face uncovered, she strode past the male worshipers and faced the mullah. Trembling inside, she challenged him.

"Mullah, give me five minutes," she recalls saying. "I will tell you something, and after that if you want to say I am an infidel and I am a threat to you, just kill me."

She then rattled off five Koranic verses – in both Arabic and the local Dari language – that extol the virtues of education, tolerance, and not harming others. She criticized local practices of allowing men to use Islam to justify beating their wives, betrothing young girls, and denying women an education.

The room was silent. All eyes were on Frogh and the mullah. Then the mullah rested his hand on her head.

"God bless you, my daughter," he said.

With that, Frogh won permission to start the literacy program that later helped women from Badakhshan Province participate in local government and run for the national assembly.

Of course, the above story shows her willingness to force others into publicly owning the consequences of the ideas they preach, as well as her theological knowledge. Yet, according to Frogh, the only way to convince religious men in power is through religious arguments. She knows she puts herself at risk through her boldness, but asserts, "...I may lose my life during this process, but if I am able to open a door for rights for one woman, then it is worth it."

If Frogh is right when she asserts her power lies in the ability to combat misogyny couched in religious terms with arguments for compassion and equality from the same source, then I should learn some Bible verses to defend women's rights from their religious attackers here. Anyone know any good ones?

Jokes and Cleavage

This month's Vanity Fair features an Annie Leibovitz shoot of some of today's top female comedians, like Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Tina Fey (shown above). The photographs are often sexy-silly, while the accompanying article explores, if somewhat superficially, some of the challenges that face women in comedy and the ways in which the playing field has changed for funny women over the last few decades. I guess Vanity Fair feels like it owes us, and it does, for having published that Christopher Hitchens tripe about women not being as funny as men.

Shameless Baby-Blogging

Anyone who has heard me threaten to boycott any political / science / feminist/ issue-based blog that randomly publishes pictures of the blogger's beloved cat can now call me as a hypocrite. Not that I'm going to make you look at a cat - I still don't have one and, quite frankly, don't really get the appeal in most cases. Yet, I will now forgive all issue-bloggers for their "cat I love" posting since I am here to post pictures of:

Ty! The newest - and best looking - member of our little community was born early Monday morning.

If I have any say, he'll be chewing on the edges of Judith Butler's Gender Trouble in no time. I wonder if there is a picture-book edition....

Congratulations Andrea and Keith!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

WaPo Tries Some Spin

The Washington Post is publishing some letters which criticize, in very mild terms, Sunday's misogynistic piece "We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?" Yet, they are trying to spin the piece as having been about "Barack Obama and the Female Vote." Now to the list of reasons WaPo editors should be fired, we can add that they can't identify the topic of a two-page article - even one which mentions Obama only in the first two paragraphs, but abuses women as being "stupid" in every sentence and ends with the very clear:
So I don't understand why more women don't relax... and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home.... Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts' content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.
Merely expressing displeasure is not going to get us far. Please let the WaPo know, when you write, that you expect some action on their part - oh, and that you'll never click on another of their ads or that you'd like to cancel your subscription.

UPDATE: No, the WaPo still hasn't fired the editors in charge of publishing this garbage, but it has published two articles bashing Allen's - to be found here and here. Don't think I'm appeased, WaPo. My complaint about linking to studies will likely fall on deaf ears, though, since it seem like the Washington Post's ombudsman just discovered the internet last month.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Language Log Linguist Defends Feminists' Honor

David Gelernter of Yale University claims that feminists have killed all that was beautiful in the English language, writing in The Weekly Standard:
Our language used to belong to all its speakers and readers and writers. But in the 1970s and '80s, arrogant ideologues began recasting English into heavy artillery to defend the borders of the New Feminist state.
Gelernter, a distinguished member of Yale's computer science department, claims that feminists (in cahoots with the "Academic-Industrial Complex") are "style-smashers" and "language rapists."

Yet, Geoffrey K. Pullum of Language Log has come to feminists' defense. Pullum asks (and answers) the obvious question:

What, then, is the terrible thing that the style-smashers have done? The following is (and I stress this) a complete list of all the facts about English usage [Gelernter] cites:

  • Some writers now use either he or she, or singular they, or purportedly sex-neutral she, instead of purportedly sex-neutral he, to refer back to generic or quantified human antecedents that are not specifically marked as masculine.
  • Some people recommend the words chairperson, humankind, and firefighter over chairman, mankind, and fireman.
  • Some try to avoid using the phrases great man when speaking of a great person, or using brotherhood when making reference to fellow-feeling between human beings.

That's it; we're done. That is the totality of the carnage to which he directs our attention, the sum of all his evidence that we have "allowed ideologues to wreck the English language".

Yet, Pullum is not content just to call-out the hysteria. No, indeed. Pullum knows his English Language History, and is well positioned to call BS. For example, he recognizes that Gelernter's claim that feminists are responsible for the singular they that supposedly mars the once beautiful language is hooey:

...ignorance of the history of English literature on this point is breathtaking. It is quite clear that he has no idea Shakespeare used they with singular antecedents (I discussed a couple of examples here).

Gelernter also specifically singles out Austen for praise: "The young Jane Austen is praised by her descendants for having written "pure simple English." He obviously is not aware that Jane Austen is famous for her high frequency of use of of singular-anteceded they (Henry Churchyard has a list of examples here).

Gelernter thinks singular they was invented by post-1970 feminist "ideologues", rather than a use of pronouns having a continuous history going back as far as a thousand years. One might think it remarkable that someone this ignorant of the history and structure of English would nonetheless presume to pontificate, without having checked anything.
What, someone out there is defending us from slanderous falsehoods using logic and facts? Well, it's about time! (Language Log, we love you!)

The Washington Post: Selling Misogyny

What should be the role of op-ed section of a major newspaper like the Washington Post? Should the writers of opinion articles be held to any journalistic standards, or might they publish claims like "...several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true" and that women are "...kind of dim" without any responsibility to substantiate such claims?

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 ( or send a complaint to the ombudsman ( 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.)