WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

A word of advice: Don’t marry misogynists (or trust their sloppy news copy) - Part 1

jpozners Icon Posted by Jennifer L Pozner

August 23rd, 2006

Tune in to Uprising Radio tomorrow morning, Aug. 24, 11am Eastern time and 8am Pacific, or log on throughout the day, for an interview between radio host (and WIMN’s Voices blogger Sonali Kolhatkar) and me (if your reading this blog, you probably know that I founded and direct Women In Media & News, the women’s media analysis, education and advocacy group that hosts this group blog) and Roslyn Barnett (senior scientist and director of the Community, Families and Work Program at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University) — we’ll be talking about the latest backlash bugaboo against working women, this time from the business press.

Seems Forbes magazine has the blogosphere and women journalists’ email lists buzzing today about a factually specious, ideologically retrograde tirade about how “career girls” (50’s, much?) are nothing but misery-and-mayhem bearing albatrosses for heterosexual men.

WIMN’s Voices blogger Keely Savoie has already written an initial critique about the Forbes piece, and my guess is that she (and perhaps others) will do more of the same in coming days — but I couldn’t resist throwing my .77-cents-per-man’s-dollar into the ring.

Titled “Don’t Marry Career Women,” a Forbes editor Michael Noer marshalls a slew of factually questionable, sometimes conservative-authored, other times widely-debunked statistics and dubious social science studies to make his case that men should get over the idea of partnering up with “women with similar goals and aspirations,” because a marriage which involves any man and a “well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged” is doomed to unhappieness and, most likely, divorce.

It’s not that Noer has a problem with women working at all — wage slave jobs that are personally unfulfilling and financially unstable are just fine with Forbes, one of the country’s leading business magazines:

“To be clear, we’re not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a ‘career girl’ has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.”

Take note, guys: you’ll be as happy as pigs in mud (at least according to this pig in print) if you land finacially dependant chicks who are more likely to put up with lazy, inconsiderate husbands who treat their wives more like maids than partners.

If this were an editorial, it would be problematic — but this is not presented as commentary, it’s packaged as a news story, complete with an error-and-stock-photo filled slideshow in which the URL contains the words “destined misery” and the subtitles that proclaim “Your house will be dirtier” and “You’ll be unhappy if she makes more than you.”

The flaws in Forbes’ manipulative hit-piece are multiple, and require serious unpacking. Watch this space for more on this — including an action alert, a more in-depth post in this blog, and possibly a full length, well-researched media critique piece — coming soon.

In the meantime, let Forbes know what you think of the shoddy journalism practiced in this piece by emailing readers@forbes.com (for tips on writing effective letters to the editor, see WIMN’s Action Center).

… and check out the following sites for more reading:

Remember to tune in to Thursday’s Uprising Radio — I promise snarkiness galore and, more importantly, critical background exposing the flaws in the studies, statistics and leaps of logic that prove the Forbes piece to be little more than hostile, pathetic attempt from a male leader of the business press to punish women who he views as infringing on his economic turf.

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