Last week, the New York Times' first female executive editor Jill Abramson was unceremoniously fired; it was rumored that a salary dispute was the cause (the New Yorker reports that her starting salary was $84,000 less than that of her male predecessor, which the Times denies).
This, plus the language used by her colleagues to describe her management style — "mercurial and brusque" in the Times article about her ouster, since changed to "mercurial and polarizing," "pushy," etc. — has led many to believe that sexism had a hand in her termination. But now one brave soul has emerged out of the shadows to say what no one has yet dared: it wasn't because of sexism, guys. It's because misandry.
At Page Six, Richard Johnson (nickname, probably: Dick Johnson) has concocted a Misandrist Conspiracy that would make any MRA forum-dweller wring his fedora in consternation: Abramson was fired, Johnson ventures, because "she was systematically getting rid of male editors and replacing them with women." Just like the Feminazis have been deviously plotting to do on a worldwide scale ever since that female shark got pregnant on her own.
Back in the good old days, says Johnson, but one name out of eight on the newsroom masthead belonged to a woman. Sigh. By January, he reported in a panic, four of the then-nine positions were female!!!! AND: "By the time Abramson was fired last week, that number had increased to five, and Abramson had been trying to hire another woman, Janine Gibson, as co-managing editor for digital." So, um, had Gibson accepted, the masthead would have would have been 6 women out of 10 (since Gibson wasn't replacing anyone), which would have brought us to... one away from 50/50. MISANDRY IS REAL.
"Abramson went too far in some eyes," whimpers Johnson resentfully. (Whose eyes, exactly? That's never really made clear.) "The victims were the talented, hardworking male editors who were forced out, or passed over, in Abramson's campaign of affirmative action." Uhhhhh, okay. What evidence, exactly, does he have that the men were "forced out" or "passed over"? None, just the angry fire roiling within his belly and a festering sense of entitlement masquerading as a desire for Man Justice.
By far the saddest part of this lil' shit stain of a piece, though, is the one "expert" quoted: Mel Feit of the National Center for Men. Quoth Mel, "The New York Times has a point of view: 'Women are victims, we need to remedy that, we need to promote them preferentially.'" Yes, if the rumored salary dispute and characterizations of Abramson as "pushy" and "bitchy" prove anything, it's that.
In Johnson's previous man-panic article, penned in January about the fact that four of nine masthead positions had become occupied by women, he also turned to National Center For Men Mel for some sage wisdom. And sage wisdom he received: "Men are being pushed out of decision-making positions," Mel told the Post. "There's a sexual caste system where women do the thinking, and men do the dirty, dangerous jobs." LOLOLOL. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING, MRA MEL? (For the record, all three Times editors whose positions were taken over by women still work at the Times; one was tapped to oversee his own column, one was tapped to oversee a celebrated digital-immersion feature; one is now a writer-at large. DIRTY, DANGEROUS STUFF. REAL PERILOUS PEASANT WORK. SEXUAL CASTE SYSTEM INDEED.)
This is, obviously, patently ridiculous. Workplace sexism — against women, sry Mel — is both ubiquitous and insidious. It's insane that some buffoon could argue that women in media are in the process of setting up a victimizing, man-hating matriarchy when we're still so far from basic gender equity, still struggling to negotiate within systems of entrenched sexism. As Ann Friedman so eloquently put it at The Cut:
Women never know whether they're being met with a hostile reaction because of their performance — something that they can address and change — or because of both male and female colleagues' internalized notions of how women should behave... I've asked these questions about my own career: Am I struggling because I'm not playing the game well enough, or because the game is rigged against me?
In the workforce, women have to constantly expend emotional labor navigating a system that's automatically suspicious of all they do: they can't be too weak, lest they're taken as "feminine" and incompetent, but they also can't be too strong, lest they're taken as pushy bitches.
But, sure, guys, try and convince yourself that career women are capable of creating a "sexual caste system" if that helps you depressturbate yourself to sleep at night.
Image via Getty.