The other three web letters published in response to this article are from men. I'm not blaming The Nation, or the men who wrote in, for this, but I think it's relevant to the discussion.
I would be willing to bet that thousands of women like me look forward to every single one of Katha Pollitt's columns, because she so often validates our observations. Why aren't they writing in? I don't think it's because they are collectively doing the dishes--there are hundreds of comments by women to the posts on the feminist blogs. I think it's because all of the general interest magazines, including The Nation, with Katrina vanden Heuvel as publisher, are dominated by men. Count up the writers. Read the blog comments. In an environment dominated by men, women often feel that their every response has to be impeccable, because they will get shredded if it's not, and everyone will think they are stupid because they are female. Research supports this.
Pollitt points out that often (not always, of course) even liberal men tend to overlook other men's views on women's issues, or even their blatant sexism, when evaluating men's contributions. This is certainly my observation. And it's true because the men have nothing to lose, because women are silencing themselves. I would like to recommend Rebecca Solnit's article "The Archipelago of Arrogance" from tomdispatch to anyone who doesn't understand the dynamics of this.
Apr 2 2009 - 8:05am