Well I argued a bit about it with Mark, slept on it, thought about the women I respect who defended us, thought about the (more numerous!) women I respect who criticized us and did a gut check. “Inside City Hall: The claws come out” didn’t feel good to me.
So I’m changing it and apologizing.
Mark didn’t actually use the term “catfight” but the implication was clear. He intended it as humor but I think there’s a hurtful side that he just couldn’t see . I shouldn’t have signed off on it.
What it reminded me of was the “Powderpuff Football” games they used to have at my high school in the 1970′s. The male football players dressed in drag as “cheerleaders” and the female cheerleaders suited up and played “ football.”
The whole point was for the play on the field to devolve into a kicking, scratching, hair-pulling, rolling-on-the-ground fight – the crowd wasn’t satisfied until they got to witness the proverbial catfight. It was disgusting. At a time when real women’s high school and college sports were getting no money or respect , this dumb stereotype-promoting event was sanctioned.
The person who umpteen years ago led a (very small!) group of chanting protesters at those games (“Powderpuff Degrades Women!”) just can’t stand behind that headline today.
It really bothers me when people dismiss these concerns as “political correctness.” I got into quite a few arguments, when I worked at The Washington Post, over the Redskins team name. (A story we wrote about it in the KidsPost section, quoting local Native American kids who said the name bothered them, triggered a complaint from Tony Kornheiser and a rare talking-to by top management.)
Our ill-chosen Brew headline reminds me of that, as well. ‘Why don’t you get that these Indian mascots are meant to be humorous or a tribute?’ people said back then.
My reply was “Why don’t you err on the side of not hurting peoples’ feelings and perpetuating a noxious stereotype and – even if you just don’t “get” it, just aren’t capable of getting it – come up with something else!”
Anyway, I get it and I’m changing the wording, lest I have to make a hand-scrawled protest sign and go out in front of Brew World Headquarters and picket myself!