Does Charlotte get her honorary membership card now?
Shorter Charlotte Allen: I am a paste-eating moron, and so therefore all other women are as shockingly stupid as I am.
Char, we get it: You’re a little stupid. I’m sorry for that, I really am. But you’re at least smart enough to figure out that publicly bashing women is a highly profitable career path — so don’t be so hard on yourself.
Yes, Charlotte Allen runs the Independent Women’s Forum, an anti-feminist organization committed to using feminist language in order to keep women in their place. So I’m actually kind of glad that Allen has shown her true colors and finally just admitted that she thinks women are dumb. She at least proved that she’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed:
Here’s Agence France-Presse reporting on a rally for Sen. Barack Obama at the University of Maryland on Feb. 11: “He did not flinch when women screamed as he was in mid-sentence, and even broke off once to answer a female’s cry of ‘I love you, Obama!’ with a reassuring ‘I love you back.’ ” Women screamed? What was this, the Beatles tour of 1964? And when they weren’t screaming, the fair-sex Obama fans who dominated the rally of 16,000 were saying things like: “Every time I hear him speak, I become more hopeful.” Huh?
“Women ‘Falling for Obama,’ ” the story’s headline read. Elsewhere around the country, women were falling for the presidential candidate literally. Connecticut radio talk show host Jim Vicevich has counted five separate instances in which women fainted at Obama rallies since last September. And I thought such fainting was supposed to be a relic of the sexist past, when patriarchs forced their wives and daughters to lace themselves into corsets that cut off their oxygen.
Has Charlotte Allen ever been to a big political rally? People scream! The Republicans at CPAC practically cream themselves over George Bush and Mitt Romney, but no one calls it “swooning” because we reserve that word for women. Shouting, yelling, jumping up and down and otherwise getting excited at political events is pretty common — it’s not just women, and it’s not just Obama fans.
I can’t help it, but reading about such episodes of screaming, gushing and swooning 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. Women “are only children of a larger growth,” wrote the 18th-century Earl of Chesterfield. Could he have been right?
For someone so self-hating, she must have an awfully big ego. I’m not sure that most people who claim to be as aware of their intellectual inferiority as Charlotte is would also be under the impression that they should write an op/ed for the Washington Post.
And obviously men do dumb things, too, although my husband has perfectly good explanations for why he eats standing up at the stove (when I’m not around) or pulls down all the blinds so the house looks like a cave (also when I’m not around): It has to do with the aggressive male nature and an instinctive fear of danger from other aggressive men. When men do dumb things, though, they tend to be catastrophically dumb, such as blowing the paycheck on booze or much, much worse (think “postal”). Women’s foolishness is usually harmless. But it can be so . . . embarrassing.
Your husband pulls down the blinds out of his caveman instinctive fear of danger from other aggressive men? Really? Perhaps you should be writing an op/ed about how insanely stupid individuals gravitate towards each other and proceed to use evolutionary psychology to explain their remarkable stupidity.
Take Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign. By all measures, she has run one of the worst — and, yes, stupidest — presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex. As far as I’m concerned, she has proved that she can’t debate — viz. her televised one-on-one against Obama last Tuesday, which consisted largely of complaining that she had to answer questions first and putting the audience to sleep with minutiae about her health-coverage mandate. She has whined (via her aides) like the teacher’s pet in grade school that the boys are ganging up on her when she’s bested by male rivals. She has wept on the campaign trail, even though everyone knows that tears are the last refuge of losers. And she is tellingly dependent on her husband.
For someone running one of the worst and stupidest presidential campaigns in recent history, Clinton doesn’t seem to be doing too badly. In fact, one would imagine that if a candidate ran one of the worst and stupidest campaigns ever, that candidate probably would be out of the race — and not a strong contender for the nomination in one of the closest and most contentious primary races in recent history. But hey, details.
What is it about us women? Why do we always fall for the hysterical, the superficial and the gooily sentimental? Take a look at the New York Times bestseller list. At the top of the paperback nonfiction chart and pitched to an exclusively female readership is Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” Here’s the book’s autobiographical plot: Gilbert gets bored with her perfectly okay husband, so she has an affair behind his back. Then, when that doesn’t pan out, she goes to Italy and gains 23 pounds forking pasta so she has to buy a whole new wardrobe, goes to India to meditate (that’s the snooze part), and finally, at an Indonesian beach, finds fulfillment by — get this — picking up a Latin lover!
This is the kind of literature that countless women soak up like biscotti in a latte cup: food, clothes, sex, “relationships” and gummy, feel-good “spirituality.” This female taste for first-person romantic nuttiness, spiced with a soup¿on of soft-core porn, has made for centuries of bestsellers — including Samuel Richardson’s 1740 novel “Pamela,” in which a handsome young lord tries to seduce a virtuous serving maid for hundreds of pages and then proposes, as well as Erica Jong’s 1973 “Fear of Flying.”
Not like the best-sellers that men read, of course. Today, the #1 hardcover fiction best-seller on the Times list is “The Appeal” by John Grisham. And nothing like those serious books that men read, none of which involve first-person romantic nuttiness and soft-core porn.
Then there’s the chick doctor television show “Grey’s Anatomy” (reportedly one of Hillary Clinton’s favorites). Want to be a surgeon? Here’s what your life will be like at the hospital, according to “Grey’s”: sex in the linen-supply room, catfights with your sister in front of the patients, sex in the on-call room, a “prom” in the recovery room so you can wear your strapless evening gown to work, and sex with the married attending physician in an office. Oh, and some surgery. When was the last time you were in a hospital and spotted two doctors going at it in an empty bed?
I’m not sure, but I think I did see it on ER once. I’ve also never seen a cop get it on with a DA, but I’m pretty sure that happened on the Very Serious and Manly show “The Wire” (Barack Obama’s favorite, btw).
Depressing as it is, several of the supposed misogynist myths about female inferiority have been proven true. Women really are worse drivers than men, for example. A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men’s 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women. The only good news was that women tended to take fewer driving risks than men, so their crashes were only a third as likely to be fatal. Those statistics were reinforced by a study released by the University of London in January showing that women and gay men perform more poorly than heterosexual men at tasks involving navigation and spatial awareness, both crucial to good driving.
You know Allen is reaching when the best thing she can come up with to prove female inferiority is “Women are crappy drivers.” And she can’t even prove that very well, since men are more likely to be recklessly bad drivers. Although my favorite line is this one: “A study published in 1998 by the Johns Hopkins schools of medicine and public health revealed that women clocked 5.7 auto accidents per million miles driven, in contrast to men’s 5.1, even though men drive about 74 percent more miles a year than women.” Except that the study evaluated the accident rate by millions of miles, so it doesn’t matter how many more miles per year men drive. And they big, misogynist results? A difference of .6 accidents per million miles. Someone repeal the 19th amendment, stat.
The theory that women are the dumber sex — or at least the sex that gets into more car accidents — is amply supported by neurological and standardized-testing evidence. Men’s and women’s brains not only look different, but men’s brains are bigger than women’s (even adjusting for men’s generally bigger body size). The important difference is in the parietal cortex, which is associated with space perception. Visuospatial skills, the capacity to rotate three-dimensional objects in the mind, at which men tend to excel over women, are in turn related to a capacity for abstract thinking and reasoning, the grounding for mathematics, science and philosophy. While the two sexes seem to have the same IQ on average (although even here, at least one recent study gives males a slight edge), there are proportionally more men than women at the extremes of very, very smart and very, very stupid.
Didn’t brain size comparisons get de-bunked about 100 years ago when they were used not only against women, but against Jews and people of color? Guess Charlotte missed the memo.
I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies. I can’t add 2 and 2 (well, I can, but then what?). I don’t even know how many pairs of shoes I own. I have coasted through life and academia on the basis of an excellent memory and superior verbal skills, two areas where, researchers agree, women consistently outpace men.
Shocking that an excellent memory and superior verbal skills would help you out in academia.
That’s where this logic gets screwy: If women are actually better at remembering things, at reading and at writing, where as men can add numbers together and spear dinosaurs, shouldn’t women be in positions of academic and political power? After all, the president doesn’t really need to know how to add 2 and 2, but she should be able to remember things, she should be able to speak well, and she should know how to deal with other people.
But Allen isn’t making a genuine argument — she’s promoting a very specific agenda, and using crappy science to back it up.
So I don’t understand why more women don’t relax, enjoy the innate abilities most of us possess (as well as the ones fewer of us possess) and revel in the things most important to life at which nearly all of us excel: tenderness toward children and men and the weak and the ability to make a house a home. (Even I, who inherited my interior-decorating skills from my Bronx Irish paternal grandmother, whose idea of upgrading the living-room sofa was to throw a blanket over it, can make a house a home.) Then we could shriek and swoon and gossip and read chick lit to our hearts’ content and not mind the fact that way down deep, we are . . . kind of dim.
If that’s all true, then I don’t understand why Allen doesn’t take her own damn advice and get back to the kitchen. If women are supposed to be at home baking things and raising babies, why is she running a major political organization and writing op/eds for the Post?
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