Monday, June 27, 2011

Those Who Live in Glass Houses

One of the downsides of NWF is that Jess and I represent a pretty limited demographic. We are both highly educated, highly privileged white American cis women. As a result, there are a lot of topics I'm just not able to write about; for instance, a friend suggested that I post an opinion piece about the hijab, and I had to refuse. It's not my place, you guys. (Though we would be delighted to receive guest posts from readers who do have the perspective we lack on these kinds of issues.)

I also think that critiquing other cultures sometimes serves as a way of ignoring our own issues. Things are not all hunky-dory for women in the U.S. The pay gap sucks, abortion access is continually under fire, and one in six women has been the victim of sexual assault. This is no post-feminist utopia. And when helping our sisters internationally, we need to listen and help them with issues they deem important.

The U.S. is definitely a glass house when it comes to gender inequality; I was reminded of this yet again when a reader posted a link to our Facebook page discussing the preference of American men for sons (49% would prefer a son, 22% a daughter). In a poll of over a thousand individuals, presumably half of which are men, that is a statistically significant difference. I have often heard the Chinese criticized for their valuation of sons, particularly in the context of that country's one-child policy and its claimed effect on the sex-ratio at birth. Yet it seems this is an attitude that we share, to some degree; who knows what our sex-ratio would be under similar circumstances?


  1. And on a related note to the valuation of sons - did you see this? It's horrifying. I'm hoping that it's untrue, but I doubt it.

  2. That does indeed sound like a highly problematic practice. To bring it around to the original point of this post, however, I'd like to point out that here in the United States we, too, perform genital surgery on infants: