NYT ‘Gender Letter’ Promotes Women … By Ordering Them Around

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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The New York Times’ “Gender Newsletter” may only be a few months old, but it has quickly begun to establish a pattern. The weekly letter appears to approach most issues that affect women by telling women what to do.

The most recent letter is titled “Women, Stop Volunteering For Office Housework!” and cautions women that volunteering to perform “non-promotable” tasks like planning office events and parties or serving on “low level committees” could “shift their careers into reverse.

Another from a few weeks earlier titled “Stop Being Grateful!” offered advice to graduating young women, saying, “To me, ‘gratefulness’ suggests ‘luck’ — which is a thing that, as a number of psychological studies have shown, women tend to attribute their success to (along with “help from others”). Men chalk up their accomplishments to hard work.” The author instead told women that they should claim what they had earned rather than being thankful for the opportunities they had been given.

One letter from early June, telling Britain to put more women in corporate boardrooms, is at least inclusive enough to order everyone around.

Female candidates, in this piece shared by NYT gender editor Jessica Bennett, are told to “Forget suits” and “show the tattoo” on the campaign trail.

The publication’s Instagram feed got in on the action as well, telling women why they shouldn’t accept the sexist requirements of professional cheerleading.

This weekend, hundreds of women will try out for N.F.L. cheerleading squads across the country. They will show up in mandated crop tops and hot pants with “hair and makeup complete,” told that “a lean figure is demanded by our uniform,” as the Dallas Cowboys put it. If they’re lucky, they’ll join teams with names like Ben-gals, Raiderettes, Falconettes and Saintsations, and be issued a rule book that forbids fraternizing with players, or at times being too opinionated or chewing gum. It’s undoubtedly retro. As the N.F.L. struggles with an ongoing crisis over domestic violence and sexual harassment, and legions of women proclaim #metoo, @jessicabennett asks, is it time to rethink the rules of professional cheer? Read more at the link in bio. Andy Cross/@gettyimages

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Another post regarding “how to raise a feminist son” was full of directives.

  • Give him role models.
  • Teach him to take care of himself.
  • Never use “girl” as an insult.
  • Let him cry.
  • Celebrate boyhood.

What will they tell us to do next?