If you failed to pick up a copy of Sunday's Washington Post, you missed out on this original and compelling argument: Women are stupid. That isn't hyperbole, that is the actual thesis of Charlotte Allen's piece headlined "We Scream, We Swoon. How Dumb Can We Get?" It includes gems like this: "I am perfectly willing to admit that I myself am a classic case of female mental deficiencies." Oh, and this: "Way down deep, we are ... kind of dim."
But lest we be too harsh on Allen, she does present some evidence to support her thesis. Exhibit A: Women have fainted at Barack Obama rallies. Exhibit B: Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is "by all measures one of the worst -- and, yes, stupidest -- presidential races in recent history, marred by every stereotypical flaw of the female sex." Exhibit C: Women watch "The Oprah Winfrey Show," buy Celine Dion CDs and watch "Grey's Anatomy." Case closed!
Allen doesn't stop there, though. It isn't enough to vividly illustrate women's stupidity through their proclivity for baking cookies for their dog, diagnosing themselves with imaginary diseases or playing hooky just to stay in bed with "The Friday Night Knitting Club." She notes that her theory is also "amply supported by neurological and standardized-testing evidence"; for instance, men's brains are bigger (never mind that men and women have the same IQ on average, she says, because there are more men at either extreme!) and women are worse at driving and reading maps.
Now, maybe Allen is just playing dumb to support her thesis, but any decent Psych 101 class touches on the size and structural differences between male and female brains and concludes that, yeah fellas, size doesn't matter. (For more on how a larger brain doesn't translate to a greater intellect, check out this piece on Albert Einstein's average-size brain.) We've also written plenty about these dubious "watch out, women are on the road" findings.
The kicker is that after the piece stirred up a blogospheric firestorm, the piece's editor said it was all "tongue-in-cheek" -- because joking about women's stupidity and then framing it with scientific "evidence" is hil-arious! If the piece was truly satirical, it sure was poorly executed. But more important, what was the point? To shame women out of reading chick lit, watching "Grey's Anatomy" or fainting at Obama rallies? Or was the point to make fun of those who make fun of women for doing those things by, um, making fun of women for doing those things?