Happy Belated International Women’s Day, BU Today!

Dear BU Today,

I had a really bad day yesterday.  I overslept, I was blindsided by my afternoon mid-term, and I broke a nail.  I turned to the internet for a few minutes, looking for a laugh.  After a few minutes of chuckling at “Animals About to Sneeze“, I got a real laugh out of an article you posted.  You know, the interview with Suzanne Venker, the staunch anti-feminist.  The “conservative girl from the Midwest.” PHYLLIS SCHLAFLY’S NIECE AND CO-AUTHOR.

I have to say, her comments had me in stitches, almost as much as did the logic behind them.  But the funniest part of all was that you decided to publish this article on Women’s Day.  International Women’s Day.  I got a real laugh out of this little oversight, but moreso because I was puzzled rather than amused.  Don’t get me wrong, I got a real kick out of Venker’s claim that “feminists don’t focus” on “true human rights issues” such as female genital mutilation.

Dear BUToday: As an online publication, surely you've met your internet neighbor, Google?

Because I believe in choice feminism–that a woman’s beliefs and choices are her domain alone–I have to respect Ms. Venker’s opinion.  It’s not going to stop me from pointing out her laughable logic, or from shaking my head in amused disappointment.  But I’m sure she’s a nice lady; and even if I don’t agree with her, I feel lucky to live somewhere that a woman can express herself in such a public forum.  Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing too; it enriches our human experience.  Maybe I’ll even give her book The Flipside of Feminism a read.

But back to Venker’s opinion about what conservative women know–and men can’t say”.  That’s a loaded subtitle for a book.  I’m going to let the “what conservative women know” part sit for a while.  Let’s have a moment of silence for conservative women: the conservative women out there who don’t agree that feminism is “nuts”, but Venker has elected to speak for anyway.  The conservative women Venker has decided to thus lump into a singular group of pro-life right-wingers who all just hate extramarital sex.  Because we all know that all conservatives are the same.

As for what “men can’t say”… well, there’s a reason men in these here parts don’t run amok justifying partner abuse or unequal pay.  It’s called privilege.  It means that men are of high enough social status that it would be politically incorrect to say something sexist.  Moreover, it is a gross exageration to assume that all men think alike.

Above all, Venker assumes all feminists think alike.  And that we all hate men, to make an original argument.  As a damn proud feminist, I can assure you that I don’t assume every man is a potential rapist, a wife beater, or chauvinist as Venker would have you believe.  I’ve actually been known to be rather fond of them.

What actually offends me about Venker’s views is the fact that she and her co-author Phyllis Shlafly make the basic assumption that all women are the same, that all men are the same, and that all feminists, too, are homogeneous lumps devoid of individual thought.

As it happens, I was just with one of my friends and talking about exactly this. I was telling him (yes, him; he has a beard and yes, I checked) that Venker’s gross generalizations of humankind offended me more than her detrimental sexist views.  To this, my friend answered, “Actually, I was more worried that International Women’s Day would be overshadowed by Mardi Gras.” Oh, bless your heart.

But BUToday did not let Mardi Gras overshadow such an important day.  It did even better! As far as entertainment value goes, BUToday went above and beyond my expectations of its regular humdrum headlines.  Which brings me back to why BUToday gave voice to one woman (who thinks equal pay for all genders harms the economy), and did so at the expense of the 3 billion women’s voices International Women’s Day is dedicated to.  I wasn’t offended, but I know others were.  I was, and still am, just trying to wrap my head around it.

Sooo…  was it meant to be edgy or ironic, or something?  Like am I not getting the message?  Or did the editors just forget that it was Intl. Women’s Day?  I mean, I didn’t remember immediately myself, I’ll admit. But the second I went on Google.com to check my email, Google’s colour banner of the day immediately let me know today was some sort of holiday.  It’s not rocket science. Because, if you really did forget, then…well, that is just damn funny.

So, I’ll ask you one last time before I let this goofiness go to rest:  were you trying to be funny or did you actually make this hilarious oversight, BU Today?  On special occasions, people like to say that it’s the thought that counts. So if it is the thought that counts… what were you thinking?!



About Veronica Glab

Veronica Glab (CAS '11) is the Feministka writer for the Quad. "Feministka" means "feminist" in Veronica Glab's native language, Polish. There are few things Veronica loves more than eating pineapple, taking long walks on the beach, and thinking about Rasputin's beard.

View all posts by Veronica Glab →

3 Comments on “Happy Belated International Women’s Day, BU Today!”

  1. Did Feministka (cute name?) and I read the same article pulished in BUToday, or did she just lump Suzanne Venker in the same camp that she does with all the other “haters”…Bush, Palin, and the devil? By Feministka’s account, Venker supports female genital mutilation, sexism and she assumes “every man is a potential rapist, a wife beater, or chauvinist”. Hmmm. How come I didn’t leave with that impression?
    Feministka is the one doing all the ASSUMING that she continually claims Venker does. Which reminds me of a lesson from a theology teacher in high school here in the good ol’ midwest. The first day of class, my female, African American teacher in a conservative, all girls school said when you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME. Feministka, I think you did just that. Maybe you should actually read the book.

  2. To Katie (content-related comment)

    Ms. Venker is against female genital mutilation, something she made explicit in her interview with BU Today. I did not accuse Ms. Venker of supporting it, because she is quoted as saying otherwise. In my article, I referenced Ms. Venker saying that, in her view, female genital mutilation and other human rights issues get overlooked by feminists.

    Second, my main criticism of Venker is not her conservative view, but that SHE ASSUMES all conservatives think alike. What I am critiquing is her use of assumptions about conservatives, men, and women.

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