Friday, November 25, 2011

NYT finally finds Iraqi widows . . . who were better off when the paper ignored them

Andrew E. Kramer of the New York Times probably really cares about the topic of Iraqi women. It's a shame he doesn't know more or have any real perspective.

He does admit "across Iraq women now outnumber men." And that's probably got many Times readers falling out of their chairs in shock since the paper's ignored Iraqi women for the last two years (after doing so for the first year and a half of the war).

And while it's great that the factoid made it into the paper and that an article -- even a bad one -- finally acknowledged that women exist in Iraq, this is the sort of garbage we would have suffered through in the 1950s.

It plays like the 'sensitivity training' film Women in the Workplace 1956 that Peter watches in the Family Guy episode "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar."

And then there are the 'facts':

And the numbers of widows in Iraq, or as American aid programs prefer to call them, "female heads of households," increased substantially after the invasion in 2003 and in the years of violence that followed.

I called friends with aid programs and asked if that's correct. No. Of course not. In addition to widows, "female heads of households" also includes women who have divorced (an issue that the paper has consistently ignored) as well as women whose husbands have made it out of Iraq and are working on getting their families out of Iraq. And it includes working women whose husbands are unable to work (due to Iraq's high employment, wounds or age).

If you leave bits like that out and the nauseating tone that reads like a pat on the head (first paragraphs and last), the articles not a total waste but what a shame that Iraqi women finally get noted and it's widows who get portrayed as giggly girls spending their days dreaming about a man. The reality is that most Iraqi widows don't have the luxury of day dreaming, they're far too busy trying to provide for their families and keep their families together.

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