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Ignorance Isn't A Virtue (For Either Sex)

By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter

MarilynMonroe It's Friday, and with Yvonne's (and your) indulgence, I'm doing a bit of a (I hope) think piece...and a bit of a rant.

Maureen Dowd, Making Ignorance Chic

"In the ’50s, Marilyn made it chic to be smart. Now Sarah makes it chic to be ignorant."

I was going to do a riff on Susan Faludi's article in Harper's, American Electra, Feminism's Ritual Matricide. The "old" feminists grump about the youngsters only wanting to sit and blog (about, among other topics, getting drunk and getting laid by guys they just met in the bar). The younger women fume about the patronizing treatment by the old ("Third waver Merria Lisa Johnson casts feminism as 'a strict teacher who just needs to get laid.'")  Gee, those NOW conferences sound like fun and so productive.  Good going, "girls" - y'all keep fighting over sex, skin-tight skirts, stilettos and fishnets. Meanwhile the rest of the (still male-dominated) world rolls their eyes at your cat fights, if they're paying any attention at all.  Both sides have valid points, but...it's supposed to be National Organization FOR Women, not National Organization of petty high school cliques.

However, the article is long, and my post ran the risk of turning into pages (as you can infer from this "short" introduction).  Then, Ms. Dowd's Ignorance column neatly encapsulated my fundamental issue with the female political candidates, the Mama Grizzlies, Dowd's "Mean Girls of the GOP" and much of the so-called "new feminism." 

Aside from a disturbing lack of sense of humor or perspective... 

All - in some form or fashion - promote conflict and blithely encourage ignoring reality (Sorry, but if you "dress for sex" for a presentation to 50+-year-old males - you're going to have work way harder to be taken seriously).  And - in the case of Palin and her like - act as if ignorance is a virtue.  Tee-hee, aren't I cute as I flub that question? (Kudos to Mr. Coons for not beating his forehead on the table during his "debate" with cutey-pie Christine O'Donnell.) 

We've come all this way...so women can take pride in being drunken sluts...and mean-spirited political candidates with neither experience nor insight?  As Ms. Dowd ends her column,

In Marilyn’s America, there were aspirations. The studios tackled literary novels rather than one-liners like “He’s Just Not That Into You” and navel-gazing drivel like “Eat Pray Love.” Walt Disney’s “Fantasia” paired cartoon characters with famous composers. Even Bugs Bunny did Wagner.

But in Sarah’s America, we’ve refudiated all that.

As I've noted in various Facebook comments and posts - I have no problem with other women having different views from liberal/progressive/humanist/Unitarian me.  But, being proud of one's stupidity is very different from having an (informed) point-of-view.

Bona fide conservative Kathleen Parker, responded to Dowd's column with Mean Girls? The GOP women's bad rap.

"It is a testament to feminism that we have so many female candidates. That we may dislike or disagree with some -- or find them foolish -- is as the world turns.

Sisterhood means letting women be just as dumb -- and mean -- as men."

I can (somewhat) agree with (at least see) her point re feminism.  I'm in pretty much violent disagreement with her definition of sisterhood.  We should strive to be better, and help our fellow women do the same.  It's not a "right" to be proud of your stupidity.  It's a very sad, self-limiting failure. 

Ignorance is not a virtue.  And drunken sluts are still drunken sluts, regardless if they're wearing a jock or a thong.


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Mary Schmidt


"Being outspoken does not mean outshouting those with whom you disagree."

I couldn't agree more! Now, go tell that to Palin and the rest of her merry mad band. Maybe tell them to "woman up" (Angle told Harry Reid to "man up." Can you imagine the howls if he'd replied in kind?)

Your intent in this comment is somewhat unclear. If you mean I (or "we") should engage with the people with whom we disagree, I do try, on a regular basis. However, it's funny - when asked for data or a response, I seldom receive either.

Or, if you're "simply" disagreeing with me - have at it, and do say more.


Hmm.. sounds like this is another bunch of "mean old girls" - instead of slinging arrows at those whose superior you think you are, why not try speaking with those who might be your equal. Or are you doing that already? Being outspoken does not mean outshouting those with whom you disagree. Or do I misunderstand what you are saying? Gosh darn, I can see the Thesaurus from my back yard.

Yvonne DiVita

OMG! Mary you hit the nail on the head. I am so sick to death of the "new" woman. I am so appalled by the media focus on young celebs who live to shock us. I am so saddened that otherwise smart, intelligent, talented women allow themselves to be led along the path of "outrageousness" that relies on sexual innuendo and playing the game according to the old boys' club rules.

It's time to stand up and be strong and outspoken and not use the lame excuse that, 'well the guys do it, why can't we?' . Answer, because we're better than they are.

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