There has been no shortage of inspirational journalism regarding the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21. Along with quality writing, however, there are some insulting and detrimental pieces—specifically “How Vital Are Women? This Town Found Out as They Left to March” in The New York Times.
The Jan. 22 article focuses on Montclair, New Jersey, where women of the town joined the March on Washington. Eventually, residents of Montclair realized how important women were to their daily lives.
The first paragraph of the highly-criticized article points out that on the day of the women’s march many women were absent from Montclair. The article’s author, Filip Bondy, makes references to how empty the town’s Starbucks and yoga studio were—places that are stereotypically labeled as feminine. This opening to the piece is shallow and plays into female stereotypes, which is consistent with the remainder of the article.
Bondy’s piece seems to present irrelevant information and comes off as blatantly ignorant. The article is offensive on many fronts: to the Women’s March, to women in general and lastly to men who are parents.
The media buzz surrounding the women’s rights movement has not only been instrumental to its success but also serves as a tribute to those who have been a constant support. To have an article such as Bondy’s published in The New York Times almost seems to satirize the march and demean its importance.
The headline itself suggests that the only outcome of the women’s march was that these specific men in this town realized that women were somewhat useful. In such a charged political atmosphere, this type of journalism seems wasteful and regressive.
Further, the article basically reduces a woman’s role to being a mother. While motherhood is an honorable and important role to many women, it is impossible that each woman in Montclair that attended the march identifies only as a mother. There were surely female doctors, lawyers, teachers and business owners that attended the march.
The article, however, barely mentions this. Bondy narrowly focuses on the way the women’s husbands were affected by their decision to march, instead of how their decision could affect their own futures as women in the United States.
Lastly, while this article mostly infuriated women, men are also represented poorly. Bondy paints the picture that when the women left to march, the men were stranded to helplessly complete trivial housework tasks. For example, Bondy quotes a Montclair father saying, “Doing everything by myself all day long is not typical.”
The article also outlines the tasks that the fathers had to deal with such as, “children’s birthday parties, dance performances, swimming lessons and lacrosse and indoor soccer practices. Growling stomachs required filling on a regular basis.” Here, Bondy not only insinuates that the men did not formerly appreciate their wives, but are also utterly incapable of parenting alone—thus fulfilling yet another gender stereotype.
The Women’s March was intended to be empowering, and Bondy’s article completely misses the mark. Journalism such as this is sexist, misogynistic mockery and cannot be tolerated during a time when the news can be so instrumental to a cause.
While it is easy to dismiss this article as being undeserving of our time, it is imperative to refute its claim and to use it to fuel the fight against the sexism that pervades our society.