Sunday, March 13, 2005
An interesting op-ed from Maureen Dowd that essentially offers two premises: (1) women have difficulty strongly arguing or asserting their opinions; and (2) when they do, men see any criticism as "castrating" rather than as sincere criticism if the same point had been made by a man.

I personally think Dowd hangs around with the wrong crowd. Perhaps I simply have different experiences because I am a lawyer, and thus at least professionally, deal primarily with women who are either lawyers or corporate executives. I can assure you the women I know have no problem strongly arguing and asserting their opinions - and they do so with a great deal of intelligence and eloquence. Just as the men I deal with professionally do. Gender is not the attribute that distinguishes any of the people I deal with it - nor should it be.

I find it both interesting and ironic that within Dowd's democrat and liberal dominated circles there is such rank sexism. I thought the democrats were the party of tolerance? (I actually say this in jest - I think it is a generational issue not an ideological one).

But yet look at her examples of sexist remarks - Bill Clinton (well no surprise there), Chris Matthews (same), and Patt Morrison. She couldn't have found a Bill O'Reilly quote or anything?

Personally I find it somewhat offensive to be compared to any of the three men I just mentioned above (well at least the latter two). And I certainly don't think they represent my gender. As I am sure many women feel about Patt Morrison and Maureen Dowd.

I actually think there is a major generational issue at work here. I don't see many (any?) op-ed columnists or writers at major newspapers that are of my generation (almost 30 years old....). No, they are all from the baby-boomer generation -- which despite the way they like to paint themselves (the 60s generation of tolerance) is highly sexist and to a large extent racist as well - although they do a good job of trying to hide the latter. (And yes, I realize that is a broad generalization of an entire generation, but as a group, I think that generation is much less accepting than mine).

So I think as my generation starts to take over the op-ed columns and editorial boards you will find not only more women - but I actually believe men will be in the minority. If you don't believe me, save this post and mark your calendar to read it about 20 years from now. Time will prove me right.

So while I agree with Dowd that there should be more women op-ed writers and columnist, I think this is going to happen - and they don't need to be nurtured (how many men op-ed columnists were "nurtured") - they just need some time and perhaps mentoring from successful women such as Dowd. They are fully capable of getting these jobs and excelling without any extra help. And they will in large numbers soon.

Update: Good response to Dowd by Michelle Malkin here.
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I am an attorney in Chicago. Politically speaking, I am an indepedent that tends to lean conservative on fiscal issues and progressive on social issues. I try to remain as unbiased and open-minded as possible. Please email or post any comments, and especially criticisms. If something I say is wrong, or you disagree - let me know about it!



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