Please, Ladies, Lighten Up!

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 08, 2008 11:59 AM
Remember the old joke? Q: How many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: That's not funny!!!

Today, it certainly comes to mind.  The Washington Post ombudsman has criticized the paper for running a satiric op/ed by Charlotte Allen, which read, in part:

"I can't help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning [about Obama] makes me wonder whether women -- I should say 'we women,' of course -- aren't the weaker sex after all. Or even the stupid sex, our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial. . . . Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true." 

Apparently, the piece has elicited a firestorm of outrage from women.

It's time to lose the grievance mentality, ladies.  Most reasonable, conservative women would confess to the occasional twinge of impatience with the female contingent of Katie Couric-worshipping, Bill Clinton-supporting, Obama-swooning voters who aren't making political decisions based on policy, but because of their infatuation with Clinton's bad-boy charm or Barack's charisma.  If these women don't want to be ridiculed, please stop the press from writing about how they're supposedly influenced by phenomena like the wearing of an argyle sweater or earth tones, or whether one should appeal to women by being a "good father" archetype, or an "alpha male."  It would also help if the people who peddle this nonsense are neither defined nor treated like women's "leaders" -- because they make all of us look far more ridiculous (and pathetic) than any op/ed ever could.

Women cannot have it both ways.  They can't claim that they're ready and able to "play with the big boys" and then melt down over an opinion piece (even if they did believe it was insulting -- how often, after all, are "pale males" rountinely belittled and demeaned?).  And this sort of hysterical outrage does nothing to dispel the stereotypes about women's emotional fragility, and the like, that the complaining women are deploring; they simply validate them, and then drive them underground where they flourish in the shade.

Would it be "sexist" for me respectfully to ask these ladies overcome by Allen's piece to lighten up?

Update:  And one more thing:  Why is it all right for women to dish it out -- Hillary Clinton saw fit to characterize an entire state as sexist, for example -- but then lose it when they're criticized?