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Kidnapping, Cooking and Eating? It’s hard to be a woman!

Monday, November 5, 2012
posted by Rita Handrich

I don’t understand why this story didn’t get more press. According to the Associated Press, a NYPD officer was arrested before he could “kidnap, cook and eat women”. Seriously. The details are on Scribd and it’s nasty stuff. Tammy Wynette was obviously right–”it’s hard to be a woman” and you should probably turn the volume all the way up because this is just ridiculous.

And then, to add insult to injury, the venerable New York Times decides to give women dating advice which boils down to “lower your standards”. Even CNN got into the game with a story on some new research on women and their wayward hormones in the voting booth. The CNN piece originally said, among other things:

“New research suggests that hormones may influence female voting choices differently, depending on whether a woman is single or in a committed relationship.” [The full text of the original article is published here as a public service of the Daily Kos.]

After fast and furious derision across the internet, CNN removed the story and replaced it with this editorial comment:

“A post previously published in this space regarding a study about hormones and voting choices has been removed. After further review it was determined that some elements of the story did not meet the editorial standards of CNN. We thank you for your comments and feedback.”

However, it’s worth noting that the post in question did not channel through the standard internal process and it was not reviewed by senior editorial staff before appearing on CNN.com. As recognized by our leadership, audience and critics, the piece did not meet the journalistic standards of CNN and should not have appeared on our site. We had an obligation to remove it.”

CNN evidently wanted to make absolutely sure we knew that “the most trusted source for news and information” doesn’t fact check their news before publishing it.  In fact, their editors don’t even bother reading it. They leave that up to….readers.

And then, we see more about the politicians coming for the women’s vote! Everything in the waning days of the campaign will be all about the women!!! But it isn’t really a compliment since “they won’t be treating women like they’re smart”. Nope. Women are not so smart according to the political wizards.

“The portrait of the available woman voter is actually pretty depressing: polls say undecided voters are more likely to be women and less likely to know stuff about politics. The key to winning this group isn’t talking about policies that will help women, the logic goes, it’s about making an emotional appeal…”

Reading this, one might think we haven’t really come that far from a 1944 management training video titled Supervising Women Workers that circulated recently courtesy of The Atlantic. The “boss” on the video has a nice line at the end though:

“Look Brad, you’ve got a new bearings inspector who happens to be a woman. You need someone, and there isn’t a man available. It seems to me that whether the gal adds up to trouble or not is pretty much up to you.”

These posts about gender discrimination are discouraging, if you had hopes that as a society we were moving past such pointless bias. Just like those who believe the 2008 election of Barack Obama meant we were in a post-racial world, many think discrimination against women is a thing of the past. Many women (and minorities, and other groups) would beg to differ.

To be an effective advocate, you have to listen to what you hear. And sometimes, you will hear things you really would rather not hear, but in hearing it you can plan how to most effectively deal with it. It’s like having a secret weapon.

When you can hear the bias, you can figure out how to modify your story so the bias is neutralized or minimized.

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