No doubt many of you have had a hundred or so of your friends and colleagues pass along the stunningly inane article written by Charlotte Allen in today's Washington Post, in which she drags out each and every one of her own gender-identity insecurities like Hummel figurines and proceeds to use them as an audience for an embarrassing session of strenuous self-lovemaking. The resulting piece is a nauseous bag, unflinching in it's cliched ridiculousness, that reads like a bad prank. As Matt Yglesias puts it, "it's a long argument...in favor of the proposition that women are dumb." Women are said to like Grey's Anatomy, and so it follows that they cannot stand on their two legs or make an adult decision. Honestly, that is this piece in twenty-five words of less, and you hardly need that many words to quantify its stupidity. The five neccessary to write: "Kathryn Jean Lopez likes it" should be sufficient.
I hate to be gooey, or sentimental, or superficial, but, reading Charlotte Allen's attempt reminded me of an episode of the late and, perhaps, lamented, The West Wing, in which Sam Seaborn, evaluating a bit of copy, ridden with the hoariest and most cloying of liberal cliches, dismisses it thusly:
First of all, it's bad writing.
What's wrong with it? [sits]
It sounds like it was written by a high school girl.
Is there something wrong with the way a woman writes?
There usually is when she's in high school.
A few minutes later, aware that the faintest whiff of misogyny might be lingering in the room, Sam offers this important clarification:
SAM: I know plenty of women who can write, Helen. I know women who can blow the walls of brick buildings. This sounds like a girl.
With this distinction in mind, I'll only offer: Charlotte Allen, you write like a girl.