Chatter Boxes: What Women Op Ed Writers Are Saying This Week

Ever glanced at an op ed page and noticed that it’s bit of a boy’s club? Us, too. In fact, The Op Ed Project, which teaches women how to write and submit opinion pieces to newspapers, reports that 85 percent of op eds are written by men. While we do love us some guys, we want to show our support for female columnists, too. In Chatter Boxes, we’ll point you towards a few of the most thought-provoking. This week, Maureen Dowd tackles the meaty subject of Obama’s cheeseburgers, Kathleen Parker hopes women’s rights will get their due in Iran, and Meghan Daum begs the president to smoke a cigarette.

  • Maureen Dowd wrote about how Obama likes himself a big, juicy deadcowburger :

    “Even as he grows arugula in the White House vegetable garden, Barack Obama never again wants to be seen as the hoity-toity guy fretting over the price of arugula at Whole Foods. That is why the president ends up sending mixed signals on food….When Brian Williams did his day-at-the-White House special two weeks ago, the president took the anchor to a Five Guys burger joint. He ordered himself a cheeseburger and fries and, in an extravagant attempt to prove his meaty regular guydom, brought back $80 worth of burgers and fries in a greasy bag for White House staffers.” [New York Times]

    Wait a second. This week, Obama extended benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees, the Supreme Court ruled inmates do not have a right to DNA testing, there’s civil unrest in Iran, and Maureen Dowd is writing about Obama’s love of burgers?

  • Anne Applebaum wrote about what democracy means in a place like Iran:

    “[Iran's election] was a highly managed, deeply illiberal election, and it didn’t even change the composition of the Iranian government: After all that, Ahmadinejad is still president. But the voting process did open a crack where none had existed, the possibility of choice did inspire what had seemed a passive society to protest, the campaign rallies allowed people to shout political slogans in front of the police without the police reacting…One could argue — and many Iranians do — that the poll was farcical. But Iran goes to show that a bad election is better than none at all.” [Washington Post]

    Oh, thank God, someone is writing about Iran. We’re not entirely sure that her characterization of Iran as a “passive society” is accurate, though. Just because it wasn’t getting mainstream press coverage doesn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

  • Kathleen Parker wrote about women’s rights in Iran:

    “Beneath the surface of news blasts covering Iran’s tainted elections, riots, protester deaths and government crackdowns, a subtext of women’s rights is emerging. It is a subtext only to the extent that women’s oppression isn’t often acknowledged directly — not even by the leader of the free world. But human rights are at the core of what is occurring now.” [Washington Post]

    Again, just because Iranian women’s rights haven’t been receiving mainstream press coverage in America doesn’t mean it has not been an issue for decades for actual Persian women. But we’re pleased Parker has written about the subject and also how she encourages readers to see the film, “The Stoning Of Soraya M.,” which is about the stoning of an Iranian woman who is accused of adultery.

  • Meghan Daum wants Obama to show he’s human by smoking a cigarette. Because we know he wants one:

    “Dear Mr. President: Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a bit too superhuman for your own good. The history-making speechifying, the unfailing gym workouts, the date nights reminiscent of the season finale of “The Bachelor”: It’s getting to be a bit much. You’re making the rest of us feel bad….Show us you’re real. Light up just once and let a photographer catch you. Don’t look at the camera, just appear to be deep in thought, as if you’re solving the Middle East crisis right then and there. Just once, why not let us see you being less than perfect.” [L.A. Times]

    Meghan, you’re just funny.

  • Did you read any of these (or other) op eds this week? What did you think? Tell us in the comments section!

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