Frida Ghitis, a columnist for the Miami Herald and World Politics Review, has recently weighed in on the John Edwards trial for CNN.
Because John Edwards is not the first powerful man to get caught with his pants down, Ghitis wonders whether dudes are just dumb, writing: “Are men stupid? How else can we explain the endless parade of otherwise successful individuals, who by all appearances seem intelligent and competent, and yet risk destroying their careers and their personal lives over the chance to have a sexual escapade?”
Before we hit our head against the keyboard out of frustration — apparently, we are still not beyond genital-based generalizations in America — let’s clear up a few things.
Obviously, the answer to Ghitis’s question is “no.” As made very apparent by the op-ed’s authorship, it’s clear that men and women can suffer from lapses in judgment.
And, to her credit, Ghitis doesn’t actually argue that men are stupid.
She simply starts with a troll-friendly tone to suck you in to a laundry list of famous philanderers and vague conjectures about adultery. So no, she’s not criticizing men per se.
What troubles, though, is that she would think that this type of rhetorical approach is appropriate in a serious setting. It’s not. (It very rarely even works well with humor.)
If a man were to begin an essay with the question “are women stupid?” many women would be pissed — as they should be.
Even if the answer is a resounding “of course not!”, this kind of “reasoning” suggests that it’s OK to weigh issues based on outdated biases, when it simply is not and never will be.