The Age of Entitlement: America Since the Sixties

Christopher Caldwell writes in this 2020 book:

Men took feminism as a straightforward indictment of their own attitudes. They were right to. Sexism as Bird defined it was everywhere. The succinct explanation that New York Times war correspondent David Halberstam gave in 1972 for the high-quality work he and his fellow journalists had done in Vietnam was that there had been no women in their lives to mess things up. “
Because only one of them was married,” he wrote of his colleagues, “there was no wifely pull to become part of the Saigon social whirl, to get along with the Noltings or the Harkinses, the kind of insidious pressure which works against journalistic excellence in Washington.”
Women meant compromise and intellectual mediocrity.
If you asked women to name the quality they most admired in women, “intelligence” ranked tops, at 57 percent. If you asked men, the best thing about women was “gentleness,” at 38 percent; only 1 percent of them cited intelligence. It is obvious what the consequences of such attitudes would be in any man-run workplace. Look at the TV commercial and marketing campaign that Eastern Air Lines ran in the summer of 1967. Entitled “
Presenting the Losers,” it announced that the company had hiring standards so rigorous that only one in twenty applicants for a job as stewardess was hired. Rather than describe those standards, it paraded a dozen young women across the screen and invited the viewer to check them out, accompanied by a narrator’s contemptuous assessments: “She’s awkward. . . . Not very friendly. . . . She bites her nails. . . . She wears glasses. . . . Oh! . . . Aww, she’s married.” One is too tall, one too short, another chews gum. Eastern’s standards were wholly physical. Sexual.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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