The New York Times has a new executive editor. Dean Banquet has replaced Jill Abramson in this top position at one of the nation's largest media outlets. Normally, this would be just another headline to me. Until I saw this:
"Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. 'She confronted the top brass,' one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was 'pushy,' a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect."
This is my current reality as a young woman who has writing listed as a possible career choice. It is not surprising to me in the least.
I've only been in the blogosphere for almost a year now. In that year, I've run up against comments and situations, both publicly and behind the scenes, that I wouldn't face if I were a man.
Some people have problems with the direct tone I take in some of my posts. Some have issues with my sarcasm. I recently had another blogger refer to me as an "abortion advocate" in his discussion of a piece that has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. I've been called pushy, snotty, and I can't count how many times I've been called some version of a bitch or slut. I can't count how many times I've been contacted with messages from the general public that contain comments about things other than my writing, including one person's reaction to my Schaffly piece hoping the Easter Bunny would bring me chocolates and a sexy bra. I've been told I should be "ashamed of myself" for discussing the issue of teen sexuality even though this is an issue of utmost relevance to my peers.
I'm not alone here. Many other female writers face the same reactions I do. We blow it off in backchat and sometimes resolve to push the envelope even further in firing back at messages the product of a patriarchal society so often send. We empower and encourage each other.
It's going to take time and a great deal of effort to move our society forward to a point where female writers get less of these misogynistic reactions. I'm hopeful based on how far we've come, the power in the voices out there now, and the fact more and more voices are joining in our song all the time, that we will continue to move forward.
One issue that we do not and should not have to wait for, however, is the idea that women should have equal pay and benefits. The best way to achieve this is to grant women full Constitutional equality. Not only will this protect women in the workplace, but in the court system, the doctor's office, and the classroom.
On September 13th 2014, women and men will gather in our nation's capital to speak out to raise awareness and rally support for the Equal Rights Amendment. I'll be there with them, speaking about how the women of the past have helped me become the woman I am today and the vision I have for my future and the future of my peers.
Even if you cannot be there personally, you can donate to help make our rally a success or purchase T shirts and a variety of other products, some featuring my picture and quotes, to show your support.
The story of Jill Abramson is an all too familiar headline. It's time for a new news cycle.