Once a respected publication full of integrity, the New York Times has become blinded in the time of Trump.
What can only be described as a pitiful attempt to appeal to a wider audience, the NYT has ended up publishing op-ed after op-ed that are directly insulting and demeaning to women. They have published at least three in the last six months that have each caused an uproar and yet they don’t seem to care one bit.
The most recent of which (“Why Yoga Pants Are Bad for Women“) unnecessarily attacks yoga pants, claiming that women only wear them to work out because they are sexy, not comfortable. The author insists that we as women won’t fully be liberated until we find a more practical article of clothing to work out in.
Not only is this absolutely ridiculous, but it’s just plain false. In college, I wore yoga pants nearly every single day (and worked out zero of those days). I didn’t wear them to look sexy but rather because they were ridiculously comfortable and (at the time) seemed to go with everything. If I weren’t trying hard to dress like a passable adult in my post-grad years, I would continue wearing yoga pants and ugg boots until the day I die.
The article is ignorant at best, but certainly not the worst that the NY Times has published as of late.
Prior to the yoga pants story, they published an extremely offensive article about the #MeToo movement in which they claimed that women who were sexually assaulted at work simply weren’t using their agency to say no. The author of the piece (“Publicly, We Say #MeToo. Privately, We Have Misgivings.“) insisted that many of her so-called “feminist” friends (no doubt, white, middle-upper class women), were rolling their eyes at the movement, calling it a witch hunt in disguise. No true feminist I’ve ever known or read about has ever questioned the validity of a sexual assault victim’s story. More importantly, a truly intersectional feminist would realize that perhaps not every woman has the same agency and privilege they were born into. Not every woman has the luck to be able to say “no” in a situation. And worse, the article discourages survivors from coming forward for the reason they fear the most — they won’t be believed.
Like I said, this was the third article to blatantly come after women in this matter. The first of which, written by celeb guest writer Mayim Bialik, claimed that she had never been sexually harassed because she wasn’t a traditional beauty. She wrote,
“Those of us in Hollywood who don’t represent an impossible standard of beauty have the ‘luxury’ of being overlooked and, in many cases, ignored by men in power unless we can make them money.”
Oh, but it gets worse. She then credits her continued success in avoiding men’s advances because she dresses conservatively.
“I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”
Where have we heard that idea before? That women who wear provocative clothing and act flirtatious are “asking for it?” It’s what every man, every jury, every society has argued when a woman comes forward with her story of assault.
The worst part when reflecting on these three articles is realizing how many editors had to sign off before the pieces were published. In addition to the original author, there was most likely a top editor, a copy editor, a layout editor, and perhaps even the editor-in-chief who saw the article prior to press. And yet all of these people said nothing, did nothing. The publication continues to put out these insulting articles asserting that women are not to be believed, that women are to be blamed for any harassment that happens to them.
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Photo by Alexa Mazzarello
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.