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I Don't Care If You Like It
July 17, 2014 9:43 AM   Subscribe

Rebecca Traister writes at the New Republic on being tired of women's choices, accomplishments, and existence being measured by barometers which are "calibrated to dude," as exemplified by a recent Esquire piece.

"Of course most women, those who bear the brunt of these assessments, aren’t Beyoncé or Amy Poehler—who, not coincidentally, was on Junod’s list of newly un-tragic 42-year-olds. Instead, they are women who may not be able to pay for Pilates, let alone for day care or contraceptives, who may need but not be able to afford drug treatment, who Esquire would likely still rate as not-hot or more likely not rate at all, but whose fates nonetheless rest in the hands of empowered committees on the general value and status of womanhood in America."
posted by Stacey (58 comments total) 67 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was so disappointed by the Junod piece. I've loved his writing so much in the past. It's like...I spent so much time valuing your mind and your skill, but to you all my value is exterior. Ugh.
posted by sallybrown at 9:50 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


The Bossypants anecdote referred to in the article is, indeed, a great little tidbit that, when I read it, made me love Amy Poehler even more.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:50 AM on July 17 [17 favorites]


I just read this article, and loved it. Fuck yeah: I don't CARE if you like it.

I stopped coloring my hair (I'm very grey, although not yet 50) several years ago, and then last year, when I lost my job, I colored it again for about 9 months.

What I learned is that I am invisible to a lot of people when I am grey. Some good: I don't get harrassed by men on the street, or chatted up in lines at coffee shops. Some bad: I am waited on last by the bartender in a crowded bar.

But going grey has apparently removed me from the category of "women subject to judgment by men in public", and for me, that's more than worth the down side.
posted by suelac at 9:51 AM on July 17 [15 favorites]


(Also I should add: FUCK YES to this whole article, which is great)
posted by shakespeherian at 9:53 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Fuck esquire and their fucking shitty dudebro politics. Fuck the late era neoliberalism globalist assumptions that underpin those politics. Fuck the neo Christian BS that begat it, and fuck the irrational scientism that promotes higher order BS like evopysch to explain away the privilege it supports.

So, yes. Share this article widely. If you are a man, shut the fuck up and accept it when a woman doesn't notice your sensitive feminist self. Unless you are the other kind of man, in which case bro, fuck you too.

It's time to tell all the dudebro children to shut the fuck up because the adults are talking.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:08 AM on July 17 [31 favorites]




The linked piece about songs praising women ignorant of their own beauty put into words something I've been trying to explain since that fucking One Direction song was on a constant loop two years ago. The fetishization of low self esteem, that subtle screening for women who are insecure. That the endless work of looking effortlessly beautiful isn't enough on its own--I have to act as if I believe I have failed at it. That the one quality men REALLY find attractive is craving their approval. It's gross, it's not romantic, and it's irresponsible.

One Direction's song is particularly terrible considering their primary fanbase. If there is a problem that literally zero teenage girls have, it is that they think too highly of their own appearance. That they should radiate humility so that men will find them attractive is some hilariously bullshit damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't nonsense.
posted by almostmanda at 10:11 AM on July 17 [101 favorites]


Nancy Friday, in The Power of Beauty, has an interesting perspective on Women Past a Certain Age (or however one tactfully refers to women who are in the space that suelac is referring to), and the idea of social invisibility.

It's that women aren't socially worthless when the bloom falls off the rose and their looks cease to be the first thing that people value about them, it's just that they become socially equivalent, in some ways at least, to men. I don't have more to say about that because I myself am a dude, but I did find it to be an interesting read.
posted by Poppa Bear at 10:12 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Hey, why did you change the Poehler quote? It's "I don't fucking care if you like it!"

The image of an enraged Poehler bending over a cowering Jimmy Fallon and roaring this is just the Best Thing.
posted by emjaybee at 10:12 AM on July 17 [26 favorites]


Wait everyone here has read Bossypants right?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Hey, why did you change the Poehler quote? It's "I don't fucking care if you like it!"

The image of an enraged Poehler bending over a cowering Jimmy Fallon and roaring this is just the Best Thing.


This is the best gift that my thirties have given me: the power to just turn to any random dude* who wants to offer his opinion on my appearance or suitability as a woman, whether it's positive or negative, and just say "I don't fucking care what you think." It's wonderful.

*Although TBH, this often means I'm just saying it to him in my head, gendered power dynamics still being a thing that exists in our society. And of course, I still do fucking care sometimes, because I'm not a robot. But being even internally freed from giving a fuck most of the time is a wonderful thing.
posted by lunasol at 10:19 AM on July 17 [15 favorites]


Not only is this a great piece, I absolutely *love* her straight-up honesty here:
The truth is, had Chait been correct about it being a thoughtful piece laying into the entrenched short-sightedness and sexist cruelty of male-controlled media, I might have hated it more. Then I would have felt obligated to feel grateful for it, grateful in the same way I'm supposed to feel grateful toward, say, Marvel Comics for making Thor a woman, or toward Harry Reid for challenging Mitch McConnell on some typically boorish and inane statement how women have achieved workforce equality. In its actual form, I didn't have to consider thinking Yay, thanks for some crumbs of enlightened thinking, for some slightly nuanced improvements in the daily, punishing business of publicly evaluating and then reevaluating women’s worth.
OMG, this. So much this! The gratitude for the crumbs (and the feeling resentful for the obligation to be grateful, and the feeling guilty over the resentment b/c it's at least a little something nice, etc.) is exhausting. Seriously, shit's bad enough that it's pretty easy to do something a little bit enlightened & woman-friendly... but then we're supposed to fall all over the place for that tiny step, praise it to the skies for its awesomeness, that little thing that you should do anyway, without praise, without expecting anything back for it, simply because it's the right thing to do. That little thing - oh, for once we're thinking about women as people here, isn't that great? Aren't we great?

It brings immediately to mind the person who never thinks to do the dishes finally doing the dishes that one time and then they can't stop going on about how great it was that they did the dishes without even being asked and the praise the one who usually does them is expected to provide over this! It's like that Chris Rock routine - credit for things you're supposed to be doing - "what, you want a cookie for that?!"
posted by flex at 10:40 AM on July 17 [44 favorites]


Oh, hey, there's Jonathan Chait again taking the other side of a *-ism issue against someone who's directly affected by that *-ism. It's like he can't go more than a month or two without sticking his goddamn foot in his mouth.
posted by tonycpsu at 10:44 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


I was using the article title, not directly quoting Poehler. I wish the article title had included the "fucking", though! I love that anecodote so much.

Yay, I'm glad people are liking this.
posted by Stacey at 10:54 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


It's like that Chris Rock routine - credit for things you're supposed to be doing - "what, you want a cookie for that?!"

I would start a heresyourcookie tumblr to point out these calls for recognition if it wouldn't be so depressing. Also depressing - that said CR routine and this brilliant criticism is part of a problematic bit (which IIRC Rock (rightly) won't perform anymore).
posted by phearlez at 10:57 AM on July 17


I love the image of Poehler going "black in the eyes", like she's about to go Ardat-Yakshi on his ass.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:57 AM on July 17 [9 favorites]


I hate to interrupt the amen chorus, but can someone explain to me what "every barometer by which female worth is measured—from the superficial to the life-altering, the appreciative to the punitive—has long been calibrated to 'dude,' whether or not those measurements are actually being taken by dudes" actually means?

I take this to be the central point of the article, since it attempts to connect Junod's cack-handed appreciation of the beauty of "older" women to abortion clinic protestors and contraception coverage and rape and everything. But, like, isn't "people tend to evaluate other people based on criteria they find personally relevant" almost a tautology? Are even the criteria by which women evaluate other women, say, on whether they ought to breastfeed or on whether they're the right kind of feminist, ultimately calibrated to 'dude'?

I guess I'm having trouble reading this article as saying anything other than, "Uggh, I'm just so tired of men having opinions!" Which is fine, as far as it goes, and I'm all for telling people "I don’t fucking care if you like it." when appropriate, but I'm not sure that it's a good organizing principle for a society, or even a particularly good career strategy for a celebrity.

(already had one comment deleted - are questions or dissenting comments about the reasoning and argumentation of the article under discussion off topic?)
posted by tew at 10:58 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Are even the criteria by which women evaluate other women, say, on whether they ought to breastfeed or on whether they're the right kind of feminist, ultimately calibrated to 'dude'?

Um, yes.
posted by jfwlucy at 11:02 AM on July 17 [28 favorites]


I guess I'm having trouble reading this article as saying anything other than, "Uggh, I'm just so tired of men having opinions!"

I see the problem: you just didn't finish that sentence. It should read: "Uggh, I"m just so tired of men having opinions that inherently outrank my opinions, that structure the entirety of the society that I live in, and that circumscribe my every choice!"
posted by dialetheia at 11:07 AM on July 17 [92 favorites]


(already had one comment deleted - are questions or dissenting comments about the reasoning and argumentation of the article under discussion off topic?)

Probably ought to take that kind of query to Meta, or PM a mod, 'cause it'll cause a righteous train wreck here on a delicate stretch of track.
posted by notyou at 11:08 AM on July 17


[If you want to discuss site policy, MetaTalk's your venue. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 11:09 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm having trouble reading this article as saying anything other than, "Uggh, I'm just so tired of men having opinions!"

If that was what you took from this article, perhaps you missed this excellent paragraph at the center of it:
But at its heart, it was a story about how women are assessed: by disciplinary committees, police departments, their friends, the public, and by the people they identify as their assailants. It was about how female availability and consent and intoxication are appraised based on how women look, dance, dress, and act, even when those appraisals are at odds with medical evidence, eyewitness accounts, inconsistent stories from accused parties, and certainly with the woman’s own interpretation of her experience or intentions.

Men having opinions is not a problem. When those opinions frequently trump the actual skills and experiences of women, when they become codified in workplace rules and unspoken barriers ("Don't you think she looks tired?"), when they become the law and the judge-- that's a problem.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:10 AM on July 17 [38 favorites]


But, like, isn't "people tend to evaluate other people based on criteria they find personally relevant" almost a tautology?

What she is talking about is the unique way in which we treat women, specifically the appearance and use of their bodies, as the subjects of constant surveillance, judgement, and censure. We behave as though the bodies of women were common property in which all other people have an interest and a right to comment on. We do not treat men as a group in the same way. We do not unilaterally demand that they please our eye, or satisfy us sexually on demand, or use their reproductive organs only in a way that we approve of. Because we do not see them as property upon which we have a claim.

She is not saying "Don't have opinions." She is saying "Don't use a stupid and insulting metric for women that you don't use for men, when forming your opinions."
posted by emjaybee at 11:11 AM on July 17 [47 favorites]


("Don't you think she looks tired?")

ISWYDT.

(Dammit, I liked Harriet Jones.)
posted by suelac at 11:11 AM on July 17 [14 favorites]


Are even the criteria by which women evaluate other women, say, on whether they ought to breastfeed or on whether they're the right kind of feminist, ultimately calibrated to 'dude'?

Um, yes.


All the time. Not validated until the Big Boys pat you on the head, acknowledge you in some patronizingly token way with a paper crown, and then basically say run along, girls, and go away.

And the reason I do not chase for anyone's approval -- or expect anyone to chase after mine...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 11:12 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


And not coincidentally, a lot of the behaviors that women are supposed to adopt to indicate their ideal womanliness: constant smiling, eating like a bird, wearing inconvenient clothing and long hot heavy hair, not being argumentative or demanding, (specially when it comes to getting paid) etc., are things that indicate weakness and subservience.
posted by xigxag at 11:16 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


To continue discussing what almostmanda pulled out of the article, something that I find quite disturbing from that genre of song-writing is the symbolic violence that it enacts. The song argues that by not knowing one is beautiful that is the fact that allows beauty. However, as the song is written in second-person, the song itself, through imparting that knowledge, and claiming the subject as beautiful, destroys the beauty based on not knowing.

After listening to the song, the previously described beauty must be no more due to the teachings of the song itself: every one of those songs is about the destruction of a woman's beauty and a chilling reminder of men's ability to do so.
posted by wyndham at 11:27 AM on July 17 [4 favorites]


I guess I'm having trouble reading this article as saying anything other than, "Uggh, I'm just so tired of men having opinions!"

Even if that were the only point of the article, so what? I am also tired of men having opinions, and I'm a men. I'm even sick of my own menly opinion.
posted by maxsparber at 11:28 AM on July 17 [24 favorites]


That part in Bossypants is what made me want to force Amy Poehler to divorce Will Arnett and marry me immediately. ONE DOWN, ONE TO GO, because I, too, do not fucking care if you like it.

p.s. my husband might take issue with the polygamy thing but I think we can bring him around to it if she'll introduce him to Ron Swanson.

p.p.s. I cut my hair STUPID short this summer because it's hot and dumb and I have way better things to do than worry about how it looks all the time. I got a few "what's your husband going to say?!" comments on top of the near-universal "damn, that looks kickass!" ones, and it was all I could do to not go black in the eyes myself. He cut his beard off for the summer which made me sad, but turnabout is fair play, I guess.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:43 AM on July 17 [12 favorites]


I guess I'm having trouble reading this article as saying anything other than, "Uggh, I'm just so tired of men having opinions!"

Then you aren't trying very hard?

I'm honestly not sure how to take something like this. A reading so patently wrong can't really be worth much. Why offer something is ill-formed in a thread like this? Did you stop to wonder why "the amen chorus" was so unanimous? Did you think you were that much smarter than the choir?
posted by OmieWise at 11:46 AM on July 17 [23 favorites]


I said this in an earlier thread this week as well, but I'm tired of being judged. Full stop. I'm especially tired of being judged through the filer of "what will boys think?"

I don't want to see any more 'journalism' of the ilk of a man rating women--of any sort. I don't want to see anymore columns about the bravery of a woman who doesn't conform to current beauty standards (and how much did I HATE typing that sentence) and not giving a rip about it, except to document it so everyone knows she doesn't give a rip. I don't want to see any more women writing about their own self-worth having been defined by Foo until they went through Bah, and now they see the light.

I also don't want to hear blather when these threads get started from the blow back. #notallmen, #butfatpeopledie, #iLIKEwearingmakeup....so what?

Genug already with all of it!

How about I live my life in a way that makes me happy, and you do the same with yours and I'll decide if you're my kind of person when we have a conversation.


Anyone else want the soapbox now?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:54 AM on July 17 [24 favorites]


Did you think you were that much smarter than the choir?
posted by OmieWise at 2:46 PM


If you think this statement is a valid sentiment in your movement - any movement, then you need to reevaluate your own mindset toward it/your method of advancing it. Publicly browbeating people for attempting to think for themselves - no matter how ineptly - is precisely how our current situation got so bad.

If you can't allow people the space in which to develop their thoughts through engagement, then you're working for the other team no matter how good your intent.
posted by Ryvar at 12:28 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


This is a great article, thanks for posting, Stacey. I especially like the mention of Rebolini's piece about the John Legend video; she expresses a problem I've felt about various music/movies/ads and not been able to put into words nearly so well.
posted by ferret branca at 12:32 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Ryvar: If you can't allow people the space in which to develop their thoughts through engagement

I feel like if he was seriously trying to "develop [his] thoughts through engagement", he would have started off with something other than "I hate to interrupt the amen chorus", especially given that, by his own admission, he'd already had a comment deleted. That kind of opening is going to put anyone who's part of that chorus on the defensive, and lead to, well, pretty much what we saw above.

Yes, it's not helpful for members of the choir to take the bait and hit back, but let's not pretend the original comment didn't have its own issues.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:42 PM on July 17 [12 favorites]


Publicly browbeating people for attempting to think for themselves - no matter how ineptly - is precisely how our current situation got so bad.

I'm not sure I agree with that, but I do think that the inverse is true: publicly encouraging people to attempt to think for themselves - no matter how ineptly - is an important part of how our current situation got so much better than it was.
posted by tew at 12:42 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


but let's not pretend the original comment didn't have its own issues.

It totally had issues, sure. That doesn't change that Metafilter (blessedly) does not reflect the rest of the world at large, else we wouldn't have these sorts of stories. For as long as that's the case, we're going to have people from every point on the gradient show up, and when they do so in good faith then we need to not slam the door in their faces simply for not being all the way caught up right out of the gate.

I do think that the inverse is true: publicly encouraging people to attempt to think for themselves - no matter how ineptly - is an important part of how our current situation got so much better than it was.

On reflection I might want to amend that to "is precisely how our current situation stayed so bad for so many centuries," but I really like your formulation regardless.
posted by Ryvar at 12:57 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I got a few "what's your husband going to say?!" comments

Uuuuughhhhhh. OMG does our society have a shitty outlook on personal autonomy and marriage. Obviously it's a billion times worse for women, but this sometimes gets done at men as well (or at least at me) about appearance things like hair or clothing. Somewhat ironically, given your husband beard removal sadness, most of the time I have encountered it has been about growing facial hair and even more shittily phrased.

"Your wife is going to let you grow/wear that?"
"In the sense that I am an adult with the right to make choices about my own body and she respects me as a person? Uh, yeah."

Why do we ever talk about people as if they're property to be controlled? I thought we had some amendment about that somewhere.
posted by phearlez at 1:03 PM on July 17 [8 favorites]


"...long hot heavy hair..."

:D I like this phrasing and will use it in my anti-long hair diatribes.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 1:06 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


Ryvar: For as long as that's the case, we're going to have people from every point on the gradient show up, and when they do so in good faith then we need to not slam the door in their faces simply for not being all the way caught up right out of the gate.

Yes, and the way that comment opened puts a serious strain on any community's strategic WP:AGF reserve. We ought to do the better angels of our nature thing and look past it, but don't be surprised when not everyone can.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:06 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Yes, some of us have had our fill of what appears to be concern trolling whenever one of these subjects comes up.

And that is exactly how I saw the "amen chorus" remark: concern trolling. Someone obvs gave the dude a light caress with the mallet of loving correction. More than once.

That's pretty reasonable, considering.
posted by clvrmnky at 1:39 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Meta
posted by winna at 1:41 PM on July 17


I just need to get this off my chest:

Rebecca Traister is one of the most embarrassing writers working today.

Her work is always first person, and she frequently writes about her home life in her political articles. If she had her own blog to immortalize her issues as a housewife who writes, that would be one thing, but I for one am not reading her political op-eds to learn more about her kids.

For all her first person writing, all the I, I, I, I, I, she refuses to acknowledge anything outside the middle-class boomer female perspective. She presents her experiences as universal when her privilege blinds her to the experiences of non-white women, disabled women, those a generation younger than her, the working class, etc. On those occasions when she has attempted to address intersectional feminism she has come off as condescending in her light disapproval, but she seems to not want to own her life experience as a rich white woman. And for someone to call herself a feminist but refuse to engage with intersectionality is disingenuous.

As much as I loved that Amy Poehler quote, this article is just going to make my blood pressure rise and my eyes roll back in my head.
posted by pxe2000 at 1:55 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]


since that fucking One Direction song was on a constant loop two years ago

Aha, so they are the perpetrators. There are a couple of restaurants we otherwise like that would not stop playing that travesty, and it always made me wish I could set off an EMP blast with my brain.
posted by Foosnark at 2:10 PM on July 17


It looks like nobody has linked In Praise of 56-year-old Men. I know, it's Slate, but I still thought it was funny. I read that, and though I hadn't read the Junod piece, when I was done I knew I'd never need to, so there's that.
posted by hap_hazard at 2:32 PM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Just read the Rebecca Traister piece, then the Slate response to the original, then the original. Reading the others before the original is helping my pulse not skyrocket, but...

"Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable."

Seriously, man, I don't care if you think I'm more or less attractive because I'm a feminist. Or for any reason.
posted by RainyJay at 3:32 PM on July 17 [11 favorites]


I just read the Esquire article, and then decided to look at the reader comments on their site. I was expecting the worst. Instead, there are some satisfyingly scathing take-downs of Junod.
posted by nacho fries at 4:43 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


To continue discussing what almostmanda pulled out of the article, something that I find quite disturbing from that genre of song-writing is the symbolic violence that it enacts. The song argues that by not knowing one is beautiful that is the fact that allows beauty. However, as the song is written in second-person, the song itself, through imparting that knowledge, and claiming the subject as beautiful, destroys the beauty based on not knowing.

I made exactly this point to my seven-year-old daughter, who loves this song. She responded "Mom, you're wrong. The song is about a girl who thinks she messed up her makeup, but the boy thinks she looks great."

I said ". . . OK! Yeah, honey, I missed that. Thanks for pointing it out."

"I mean really, what kind of sense would it make if he only thought she was pretty because she didn't think she was pretty? that would be dumb."

". . . yes. yes it would."
posted by KathrynT at 5:01 PM on July 17 [37 favorites]


I was so disappointed by the Junod piece. I've loved his writing so much in the past. It's like...I spent so much time valuing your mind and your skill, but to you all my value is exterior. Ugh.

I've had a love/hate relationship with Esquire for decades. The writing is so consistently good and Tom is one of my favorites - his piece on Mr. Rogers is unforgettable - but I get tired of seeing barely-dressed, barely-legal ladies in their underwear in the magazine and on their Facebook feed every day. It's a thin line they skate between appreciation and objectification, and I worry that I am tacitly supporting it in order to access the good stuff.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:39 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


"I mean really, what kind of sense would it make if he only thought she was pretty because she didn't think she was pretty? that would be dumb."

". . . yes. yes it would."


This made me smile wide. And reminds that even though sexist bullshit springs eternal, you've got to be heartened by all the smart girls who aren't buying it even at 7. Gives me optimism.
posted by clockzero at 5:14 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


She is not saying "Don't have opinions." She is saying "Don't use a stupid and insulting metric for women that you don't use for men, when forming your opinions."

This strikes me as truly excellent advice regardless of the gender of the advisee.
posted by flabdablet at 6:04 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


pxe2000: If she had her own blog to immortalize her issues as a housewife who writes, that would be one thing, but I for one am not reading her political op-eds to learn more about her kids.

Yo, this is a particularly gross way of insulting a woman. Putting aside the issue that it appears to be factually incorrect (she seems to be a pretty steadily working writer), dismissing someone as a "housewife" -- like that's something disgusting -- and one who has kids -- the horror! -- is really very misogynistic.
posted by purpleclover at 1:07 PM on July 18 [7 favorites]


I love the Amy Poehler story so much. I have that voice in my head a lot.

Reading about the Tom Junod piece reminded me of a piece of writing that, quite a while ago now, gave me one of those flashbulb moments of enlightenment/personal development.

I was part of a group of super-smart funny posters on a internet board back in the mid-1990s, and there was a blogger named gwen, I think, who wrote a lot about her experiences living in Texas.

I wish I had this particular post saved somewhere so I could be accurate about the details, but as I remember it, she was walking somewhere and a truck went by and the man driving yelled out something, I can't even remember if it was insulting (about her weight) or lascivious, but anyway, she screamed back, "I'M NOT HERE FOR YOU!"

And I kinda gasped reading that and realized how much I had internalized piles of beliefs about what my purpose and duties were in relation to the male gaze. To be able to read something like the Junod article and think, "Who the fuck cares what you think? I'm not here for you. None of those women are here for you," is pretty delightful.
posted by Squeak Attack at 1:21 PM on July 18 [5 favorites]


Yo, this is a particularly gross way of insulting a woman. Putting aside the issue that it appears to be factually incorrect (she seems to be a pretty steadily working writer), dismissing someone as a "housewife" -- like that's something disgusting -- and one who has kids -- the horror! -- is really very misogynistic.
I wasn't dismissing her because she has a family. I was dismissing her because she writes about her family in places where it's inappropriate, and she does this with some frequency. Have a blog for your family life and don't drag it into your political and social writing unless you have a really good reason.
posted by pxe2000 at 2:36 PM on July 19


Have a blog for your family life and don't drag it into your political and social writing unless you have a really good reason.

Why can't that reason be "my life as a member of my family substantially informs my political and social ideas"?
posted by KathrynT at 4:08 PM on July 19 [4 favorites]


She's reporting the news, though, and her discussions of her family have a tenuous connection with the news she's reporting. If she was writing about issues that had a direct, concrete impact on her family -- for example, if one of her children was autistic -- and she wrote about those issues from that perspective, that would be one thing.

Just to use another example -- I know Glenn Greenwald is a controversial news figure, and a lot of people strongly disagree with what he writes or how he writes about it. I also know that he writes about his dogs a lot. If he wrote about his dogs in his political writing with some frequency, people would take issue with that. He at least has the good sense to write about pet ownership issues for outlets that specifically deal with animal rights, and he doesn't get into these when he's reporting on (say) Edward Snowden.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:41 PM on July 19


pxe2000, can you link to a few examples of her writing that you feel are problematic in terms of how she includes her family?
posted by nacho fries at 12:59 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]


> I was dismissing her because she writes about her family in places where it's inappropriate, and she does this with some frequency

Because of how we do gender in this country, women are more likely to be the ones concerned with household management and child rearing. Saying it's inappropriate to raise domestic topics is not a gender-neutral statement.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:36 PM on July 21 [5 favorites]


I think equating Glenn Greenwald and his pet stewardship to Rebecca Traister's motherhood is a peculiar comparison. A parent's duty to her child is inextricably woven into her daily life. Her feminism is a boots-on-the-ground one, reporting from HER particular battlegrounds. It's not her duty to speak for all women, or to sieve her experience through a fine-mesh of intersectionality. Her race and economic status and marital status and motherhood are who SHE is. It's a fucking triumph that she has even been able to carve out a place to speak her mind publicly in those particular male bastions of journalism, and reach such a wide audience.

She's doing just fine. I'm not super-thrilled with her writing style, and I disagree with some of her opinions and analyses, but that doesn't make her one of the "most embarrassing" writers out there. Are you saying she should be *ashamed* for putting her opinion out there, just because it doesn't jibe with yours, or your idealized notions of what feminism is and isn't? That's just cold, and frankly, philosophically bereft.

Cut a sister some slack. You don't know what sort of editorial constrictions she is operating under. You don't know what words of hers got hit with the DELETE button by those in power at those journals. Maybe she tried to say it, and was silenced, and held her tongue to keep her job. Wouldn't be the first woman put in that tough spot.
posted by nacho fries at 3:25 PM on July 21 [3 favorites]


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