Suzanne Fields

Women have come a long way, Miss Baby, since Betty Friedan railed against "the feminine mystique" of the suburban woman locked in a "comfortable concentration camp" and since Gloria Steinem mocked the attentions of men at the Playboy Club who were seduced by her pink bunny costume with its tall floppy ears and saucy cotton tail.

Women with nothing better to do argue whether a woman earning $525,000 a year (plus bonuses) as executive editor of The New York Times was getting as much as her male predecessor. Some of these women similarly complain that Hillary Clinton -- having moved from first lady to the U.S. Senate to secretary of state to twice being the "inevitable" Democratic nominee for president -- was abused by Karl Rove by putting her on the receiving end of politics as usual.

"Where you stand depends on where you're sitting," a wise man told me, and for all the unfair treatment of women elsewhere in the world, the bored American housewife has catapulted to the top, where she's sitting pretty. She enjoys choice in abundance. Girls learn early to compete with boys, no longer assigned to sewing aprons and baking pies in home economics, but studying advanced business economics with the boys -- and beating them at it. Women outnumber men in both law and medical schools and make up more than 60 percent of the accountants and auditors.

So why such an outburst of feminist fury at Jill Abramson's getting sacked for displeasing the man who owns the place? Men have been similarly sacked for not measuring up to a publisher's expectations. That's the way the world works. Why the feminist attack on Mr. Rove for conducting political business as usual? Can't a woman in the arena take it just like a man?

It's hard to believe that Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the man in charge at The New York Times, would put the reputation of his newspaper, particularly with the feminists at the core of the paper's constituency, on the line. He hired Ms. Abramson because she was a tough cookie, and she presided over the newspaper as it won eight Pulitzer Prizes. When she was dismissed, there were as many women in senior positions at the newspaper as men. Mr. Sulzberger is unlikely a male chauvinist pig.

The arguments of feminists are weakened when the sisterhood confronts personal problems, particularly in highly public jobs with everyone watching, with lame excuses recalled from the bad old days of the prevailing patriarchy.

Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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