Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Equality Myth

This Newsweek story about women journalists filing a class-action lawsuit against, yes, Newsweek, for gender discrimination has enthralled this ladybrain all morning. They hooked me by featuring an amazing picture of the women's lawyer--D.C.'s own Eleanor Holmes Norton.

In the feature, three young Newsweek writers explore what has changed for women in the workplace since 1970, and what has stayed the same. They do a great job capturing the subtlety of sexism in the workplace--suffocated by legal ramifications, the sexism we deal with is more insidious and harder to punish.

The authors have set up their own blog. I'm especially interested to read an essay from one of the authors about her parents' "failed experiment in gender neutrality."

Also, I have no idea why I now receive Newsweek. It started showing up in my mailbox last month, with my married name on it. Thank you mystery magazine-sponsor.


  1. After reading Jesse Ellison's "My Parents' Failed Experiment in Gender Neutrality," I feel the need to comment that, although her parents tried their damndest to encourage neutrality, Ellison wasn't raised in a total vaccum. Even in rural Maine, surely she had friends, books, television or some other influences that told her what society expected of her.

    I agree that women and men can have fundamental differences in communication and thinking, but I also believe that the vast majority of those differences are socially constructed. How else would you account for tomboys, and to some extent, people who identify as trans-gender? Clearly, people find themselves in situations where fitting into just one of two categories is not only stiffling, but unnatural.

    Of the differences that are biological, anything associated with maleness is valued and those associated with femaleness vilified. If we valued womanhood as much as manhood, the differences between the sexes wouldn't matter nearly as much.

  2. Wow. I just got entrenched in this article, and the lawsuit, and all the surrounding articles and blogs. It's great that this article is in Newsweek. The modern woman's feminist struggle is really difficult to define sometimes, and I applaud these women for addressing it in this very public publication.