Kate Zernike, “Postfeminism and Other Fairy Tales”

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In the NYT. Below is an excerpt:

… It’s hardly that all women are on the same side : there were plenty of women making the points men were about prostitution after Gov. Eliot Spitzer of New York resigned following the news that he had paid perhaps tens of thousands of dollars for sex. But there seemed to be a starker split between men’s and women’s reactions to the scandal. And women who for a long time felt they were on opposite sides of a generational divide on gender issues were finding things in common.

“It’s a little bit like the Anita Hill moment, when all of a sudden everybody is talking about something that probably always goes on, and there really is a fundamental difference in who the men and the women identify with,”said Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of several books on the ways men and women communicate.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a law professor at Columbia and director of its sexuality and gender law clinic, called the current climate”a perfect storm.”

“Before Spitzer, there had been a great focus on women as presidential candidates and women as voters,”she said.”Now we add to that women as political spouses.”

“I’m not such a Mars-Venus person but this is one of those moments where gender is at least a partial explanation, it affects how people hear campaign rhetoric, how people see political downfalls,”Ms. Goldberg said.”Even people who were unwilling to see it before are more likely to acknowledge the pervasiveness of sex stereotypes.”…

via Reclusive Leftist.

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0 Responses to Kate Zernike, “Postfeminism and Other Fairy Tales”

  1. Susan Faludi in Backlash taught me to be very skeptical of news reports with statements like this: “But there seemed to be a starker split between men’s and women’s reactions to the scandal.”

  2. Ann Bartow says:

    Certainly nothing easily subject to empirical testing. But is this a “news report” or an Op-Ed?

    And how quickly the conversation gets silenced if you can’t voice your observations about gender differences. Which of course is one basis of effective consciousness raising.

    I remember the Clarence confirmation hearings quite vividly, and I remember it being my strong impression that as a general matter, women and men had very different reactions to Anita Hill’s testimony. But I can’t quantify that, I admit.

  3. I definitely don’t doubt it’s possible. I just have no idea. The strongest voice I’ve seen arguing that Spitzer’s actions are not worth the response came from Orly Lobel, a woman. (Admittedly, though, I don’t “get out much” these days in terms of reading analysis other than legal blogs and a couple of op-ed pages.) Whenever authors, from the Times to Newsweek to People, say things like “it seems that,” I just have to wonder if it’s anything more than that author’s friends and acquaintances.

  4. Ann Bartow says:

    Well, blogosphere search tools like Technorati can provide some external picture of how reactions are falling. I guess actual polling can be done too. I read somewhere that Spitzer’s people did some “reaction polling” while he was deciding whether or not to resign. But I don’t think the results were or will be disclosed.