The Washington Post’s Op-Ed section is not such a friendly place for women these days. This past Friday conservative columnist George Will published an opinion piece that claimed that rape victims now have a “coveted status” on college campuses. Will essentially says that being a sexual assault survivor allows women to occupy a position of privilege.
Now this week, The Washington Post’s “PostEverything” presents an editorial chock full with misogynist WTF-ery. This piece was originally entitled “One Way To End Violence Against Women: Stop Taking Lovers And Get Married” with the subtitle reading “The data shows that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their babydaddies.” Wow, victim-blaming, slut-shaming, undercutting the #YesAllWomen movement, and doing their damnedest to set the feminist movement back a hundred years all in one headline.
The headline was eventually tweaked. Unfortunately, the content of the piece remains the same. Writers W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson use studies that investigated violence against women to try to prove their point that a woman is better off if she is legally bound to her male protector. Except here’s the problem, these writers misused the studies they were working on, twisting these stats for their own purposes and making these studies prove points they were never designed to prove. There are a ton of variables unaccounted (like the age, socioeconomic status, and education level of the women studied) for in these studies that would need to be accounted for in order for this Washington Post piece and its backwards theories to hold water. Even the author of the study used, statistician Shannon Catalano, has gone on record stating that this op-ed piece used her study without sufficient context.
PostEverything editor Adam B. Kushner took to Twitter to defend this last piece, stating “…we’ve said from the beginning that [PostEverything] is dedicated to publishing a wide range of perspectives about issues in politics and culture.”
Yes, of course, the old “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, it’s a free country, first amendment for everyone!” defense. Except here’s the thing. The Washington Post would never publish an Op-Ed by a member of the KKK calling for the reinstitution of slavery, or a piece by a neo-Nazi praising the Holocaust. This would never happen. Yet somehow the Washington Post is not only publishing these deeply ignorant and blatantly misogynistic pieces, they’re also one hundred percent supporting the backwards men writing this garbage.
The Washington Post’s apparent problem with women is so grimly funny it’s inspired the Twitter hashtag #wapoheadlines. Fake headline highlights include “Women Can Become Leaders In The WorkPlace If They Just Quit Acting So Bossy And Stuff” (@advodude), “Six Questions About Women You Were Too Afraid To Ask (Including “Are They Human?”) (@JShahryar), “Are You A Woman? Stop Doing That” (@KailiJoy).
The hashtag is hilarious. That is, until you realize just how well these headlines would fit in with the Washington Post’s current agenda. Then all of a sudden, everything stops being funny.