Anyway, if you live somewhere that doesn't have the NY Times (which is probably a lot of places, to be honest), Dowd and Collins are incredible op-ed reporters for the NY Times - a left-leaning newspaper based in New York that reports on domestic and foreign issues alike. It's my life source. Digression: the little alerts from the iPhone app about stories that might interest you are literally bananas amazing. Anyway, in my routine perusing of the op-ed section, I have noticed 1) there is a huge gender disparity in the writers and 2) of the women op-ed contributors, both write in humorous tones. The men write in more serious, matter-of-fact manners.
Let me address #1 first. If one goes to the NY Times website (which one should, often) and clicks on the "Sections" tab and then continues to the "Opinions" sub-section and then clicks on "Op-Ed Columnists", it can be observed that there are 11 contributors. Of those 11 names, 2 are women. Now, I know that I'm being reductive in terms of gender identity, but come on.
Charles. David. Frank. Roger. Ross. Thomas. Nicholas. Paul. Joe.
Women make up approximately 18.2% of the NY Times op-ed staff. That is literally ridiculous. If I were younger and unaware of the sexist ways of this world, I would be heartbroken, as I probably wouldn't believe that I could be a journalist in this section. (I've basically always wanted to be an op-ed reporter for the NY Times. Or a rabbit. But that's another story.)
How will there ever be an accurate representation of women's opinions on current events in the NY Times if there's such a disparity in the genders? The dominant opinion here is one of a man! Current events and issues affect the genders differently, so there should be equal coverage of either gender's opinions.
On to #2. Gail Collins and Maureen Dowd are both known for their humorous takes on serious events (though some events are difficult to take seriously - *cough* the RNC *cough*). Because they're the only two women in the op-ed section, they are the designated New York Times representatives of women's opinions. They also seem to be the comic relief of the whole section. This is weird to me, as women's opinions should be taken 100% seriously. I fully appreciate their humor (honestly, they're hilarious and also super smart), but it's important for women's opinions to be expressed as seriously as the men's opinions are. Through my research, I have not seen humor in the op-ed columns of Nicholas Kristof, Ross Douthat, or David Brooks. Gail Collins is almost invariably funny:
[Middle-aged women who loved Hillary Clinton] were the ones who remembered what it was like when the newspapers had separate “help wanted” columns for men and women, who needed a male co-signer when they got their first car loans. I suspected that a lot of them, like me, still had credit cards in their husbands’ names because that was just the way things worked when they first began to charge stuff at Macy’s or use American Express.
IT wasn’t easy for Barack Obama, a skinny newcomer to national politics with an exotic name and scant résumé, to overthrow the voracious Clinton machine.
Women don't have to downplay their opinions with humor (or anything, for that matter). If a woman feels that her opinions are made better with humor, good for her. She can do whatever she feels is right.
However, humor cannot be the sole representation of women's opinions in a major newspaper.