"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shorter Gloria Steinem:

Systems of oppression involving gender and race can only be uprooted together, but gender is way more important than race.

Early on in her latest op-ed piece, she says:
Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House.

And then a bit later:
I’m not advocating a competition for who has it toughest. The caste systems of sex and race are interdependent and can only be uprooted together.
Um, yeah, you know, you sort of are advocating a competition, what with claims of what is the most restricting force in American life. And then you offer 'evidence' for this view by noting that black men got the vote before any woman did, ignoring (just off the top of my head) lots of other facts, like the fact that white women weren't literally slaves as black men and women were. Just as a for-instance. Sheesh.

I'm disappointed in the extreme with Steinem's writing here, which feels for all the world to me like Steinem hasn't heard a word that has been said in the past three or so decades from those who have been rightly critical of feminism for being stupid about race.

1 comment:

AMM said...

As far as I'm concerned, the fact that this piece appeared on the New York Times (NYT) Op-Ed page already suggested that it was going to be arrogant and clueless, because that's what the NYT seems to look for. (They also go for pretentiousness, but the quotes I've seen so far haven't been long enough to confirm that diagnosis.)

I've pretty much given up on reading the NYT. For a while, I would look at a copy if I found an unclaimed one on the train, but it's gotten so I hardly bother any more. Even the "news" is mostly fluff, hot air, and endless repetition, to the point that I can get 90 % of the same content from 5 minutes of NPR plus my local (Westchester County, NY) newspaper.

I can't help wondering, though: did the NYT editorial staff play a role in how the piece came out? I'm not saying that they would rewrite it without her knowledge, but they might have requested rewrites along with subtle encouragement to give them the sort of tripe they want.