February 3, 2014

"Female journalists... can get away with explicitly sexist attacks on their male colleagues."

"Last August, after getting into an on-air spat about U.S.–Russian relations with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, New Republic senior editor Julia Ioffe penned an article titled 'Dear Lawrence O’Donnell, Don’t Mansplain to Me About Russia.' In January, Marjorie Ingalls, a columnist for the online Jewish magazine Tablet, derided male reviewers who were insufficiently impressed by Disney’s latest animated feature 'Frozen' as 'boys' who miss the film’s girl-power message because they are 'writing with their penises.'"

So writes Cathy Young... with her... computer...  in Reason, in a piece called "Is There a Cyber War on Women?" 

Wouldn't it be fun to use such casually absurd and unfair literary fillips when writing about women? But you'd get in trouble. The feminists would be on your case. I'd say about that: 1. Mockery of the group that's been, traditionally, subordinated feels different and is going to be disapproved of long after many or most people are ready to say we've reached the condition of equality, 2. Mockery of the traditionally up group — males, white people, etc. — acknowledges their power and doesn't feel subordinating, so it actually does seem like fun, 3. Men (and white people) can put their efforts into claiming victimhood and insisting that we respect their dignity by refraining from sexist tropes like "writing with their penises," but 4. When all the writers submit to the calls for civility and treating everyone — including the powerful — with respect and gender-and-color neutrality, we will all be less free and more bored.

There's a lot more at Cathy Young's article, including this paragraph that mentions me:
While the political blogosphere, like punditry in more traditional media venues, skews male for many complicated reasons, the female presence in the new media is strong and thriving. Currently, the top-rated blog according to Technorati is the female-headed Huffington Post and the most popular independent, one-person blog belongs to University of Wisconsin law professor Ann Althouse. Althouse’s take on the issue of woman abuse online can be summed up as “report serious threats to the cops; otherwise, grow a tough skin.”

18 comments:

Paco Wové said...

5. On the other hand, women who write like whiny offended teenagers aren't doing women any favors, either.

RecChief said...

reading this, I got the impression that these people are stuck in their teenage years.

rhhardin said...

Beat your penises into ploughshares.

I think A.D.Hope did that in fact. hmmm...

yes

The sun doth shine
The world is mine
My bones are full or marrow
Oh for a wench
That has a trench
Where I may push my barrow!

rhhardin said...

It is part of women's inclination to send men on quests.

The working form is

1. Send man on quest.

2. Man screws up or not.

3. Regardless the woman shows the man she's satisfied with him.

That can repeat forever.

If the woman omits (3), it's nagging.

If the woman addresses it to all men rather than her man, it's feminism.

It's the nagging instinct but directed at no particular man.

Of course showing satisfaction isn't even possible.

Men shrug and look for something on TV.

Larry J said...

RecChief said...
reading this, I got the impression that these people are stuck in their teenage years.


Specifically, their junior high/middle school years where puberty hits girls at different times and with different results, leading to constant comparisons and general bitchiness. My granddaughter is 9. Those years are coming fast.

Fernandinande said...

Don’t Mansplain

"Stop Making Sense".

1 + 2 + 3 = shallow excuses for obvious self-serving hypocrisy.

Illuninati said...

The pecking order in the matriarchy must be maintained. If women don't attack men periodically the men might forget their place.

Pogo is Dead said...

Fish mocking the bicycles.

Anonymous said...

(1) is a very Madison way of looking at it; I think Young is more convincing in putting it down to chivalry.

Either way, it's well and good to observe that people do in fact feel that women are entitled to more protection-- but isn't the main issue whether they should be encouraged to feel that way?

Ann Althouse said...

"Either way, it's well and good to observe that people do in fact feel that women are entitled to more protection-- but isn't the main issue whether they should be encouraged to feel that way?"

Well, did you read the whole article and the post of mine that was linked? There's plenty about that issue too.

I chose to highlight another issue.

There's no rule in blogging that what you've selected to talk about is by virtue of that selection what you are asserting is the most important issue.

Your question represents an assumption that I have found annoying for 10 years (i.e., the whole time I've been blogging).

I'm talking about what I find interesting right now, which often is the thing that other people are not talking about. Since people are usually talking about the "main issue," the chances that I'll pick up on another issue are high.

Commenters who think it's a good idea to re-track the conversation to the more-talked-about-issue are undercutting what I'm trying to do with the current post.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think there is an unstated theme [to the Althouse blog]: saying what isn't said. Let's look at what people are saying. Let's stop and think about what they're notably not saying out loud. And let's take it upon ourselves to say it out loud. That's what I call "saying what isn't said," and that's what has always distinguished the Althouse blog from other blogs that are merely effective at saying the right things to please their audience. It's easy to look at what others are saying, pick the statements that appeal to us, and repeat them. We all do that sometimes. But those who do only that are missing something."

James said...

Ah, casual and explicit sexism because otherwise we'd be "bored".

Mockery is one thing, and it has to involve mocking. Dismissing a criticism because an Other said it isn't "mockery". Accusing someone of talking down to in a sexist manner isn't "mockery".

But of course Althouse is aware of the distinction. The question is, why pretend to ignore it?

n.n said...

Generational prejudice sponsored by unjustified generalizations. The "woman" is competing with the "man". All conflicts are fair in the "type-A" world. The collateral damage will be for the "greater good".

It's amazing how little positive progress there has been in the modern era. The greatest achievement of the "best and brightest" has been to recycle old themes presented in new packages.

Anonymous said...

Of course you have the right to write about whatever you like. I raised the ought-versus-is question not out of some conviction that Althouse Must Always Stick to the Main Issue, but because your list of four points seemed to add up to "that's just the way it is, so you men should just accept it. [While we women keep demanding changes to those bits of the status quo that work to our detriment.]" If that's not what you meant, then I have no complaint.

Roger Sweeny said...

Eugene Volokh picked up the Cathy Young column and excerpted the part that mentions you. He ends, "As you might gather, 'report serious threats to the cops; otherwise, grow a tough skin' is advice that both Cathy and I would offer to online speakers regardless of sex."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2014/02/03/is-there-a-cyber-war-on-women/

EMD said...

Zrimsek-

There's a reason the blog is called Althouse, you know.

Sam L. said...

well, if the blogger can't take criticism, she or he will never get better.

Anonymous said...

"I'd say about that: 1. Mockery of the group that's been, traditionally, subordinated feels different and is going to be disapproved of long after many or most people are ready to say we've reached the condition of equality, 2. Mockery of the traditionally up group — males, white people, etc. — acknowledges their power and doesn't feel subordinating, so it actually does seem like fun, 3. Men (and white people) can put their efforts into claiming victimhood and insisting that we respect their dignity by refraining from sexist tropes like "writing with their penises," but 4. When all the writers submit to the calls for civility and treating everyone — including the powerful — with respect and gender-and-color neutrality, we will all be less free and more bored."

Tough shit. "Wha wha wha, someone was mean to my mother 50 years ago so I get to demand better treatment than you get!"

Bullshit.

Legitimate rules are the same for everybody. No "aristocrats", no "privileged." You want to enter the public sphere, you are bound by the exact same rules, and you get the exact same benefits, as everyone else. i don't care what color your skin is. If you do, you're a racist pig, and can bugger off. I don't care what your sex is, I'm not going to date you, so it just doesn't matter. You face the same rules as everyone else.

Anyone who disagrees is a special pleading, whining, hypocrite who should be ruthlessly mocked whenever they try to speak out in public.

Because if it was wrong to treat women, or blacks, poorly in the past because of their sex or skin color then it is equally wrong to treat young whites, and / or males, poorly because of their sex or skin color.

And if you're ok with the "wrong", so long as it's aimed at someone else, then it wasn't wrong when it was aimed at those you care about.

Everybody. Nobody.

Pick one.