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Nina Burleigh Headshot

The Last Allowable Taboo

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Articles in the New York Times today and in the New Yorker this week confirm a fact of life I've suspected for a while. In our PC world, misogyny, unlike racism or gay-bashing, is in fact the last allowable taboo.

The Times piece today, Section A, page 22, for those with the dead-tree Friday issue on hand, on pervasive sexual harassment of college women at Yale, is at least a step in the right direction, because it's being acknowledged. The U.S. Department of Civil Rights is investigating a complaint filed by 16 women and recent graduates, alleging a range of acts against women over seven years. Among the anecdotes, frat boys marching through campus shouting "No means Yes!" and ranking incoming freshman girls with online scales where guys post the number of drinks they would have to consume before they would "do" the girl in the photo.

Oh, those dreamy Yale men!

In the New Yorker, Tad Friend's piece on what Hollywood deems a "funny" woman -- i.e., almost none, unless she's willing to work it like a a 13-year-old boy's dream porn star first -- suggests that while women have made gains in employment and getting men to share childcare in recent decades, our generation has also experienced a serious regression in terms of female roles in pop culture.

Besides Tina Fey, what woman is allowed to make you laugh, without either playing the bimbo getting humiliated sexually, or, more typically, playing the role of the straight, dutiful woman to the funny, transgressive guy?

Oh, and don't forget those female bodies being found on the beaches in the New York and Atlantic City areas, killed and tossed like trash into the bushes by some maniac who really hates women.

All part of the same spectrum, I think.

Neither of these articles are linkable, thanks to their pay-walls. But they are worth a look.

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