Sexism and the Huffington Post

You’ve probably seen this image in the last couple of days – it’s setting the internet on fire

The feature of the editing board that editor Liz Heron is no doubt referring to is the fact that it is composed entirely of women. This photograph, and the fact that Heron found the situation not only unobjectionable, but positive enough to upload onto Twitter (presumably, with the expectation that her heroic hiring policies would be lauded universally) are very telling on the nature of diversity and perceptions of it in Western society.

Diversity, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is defined as the state of being diverse; that is ‘showing a great deal of variety; very different’. Cultural or ethnic diversity can therefore be described as the state of having a wide variety of cultural or ethnic groups; sexual diversity is having a healthy distribution of men and women; presumably there would also be a form of orientational diversity to measure a healthy level of LGBT individuals across a group. It seems, though, that the HuffPost is ignorant of what the word actually means, because they misuse it like this:

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I’m sure the definition we just saw excludes ‘a group consisting solely of black women’

Given this rampant misuse of the word at the HuffPost, it is little surprise that Heron would consider a board made up entirely of people from only one gender, and of which approximately 80% of identifiable figures are white to be diverse. It may be because they adhere to a neologistic definition of diversity under which ‘the less white men in a given group, the more diverse it is’. Based on the way the word diversity is used, one could be forgiven for thinking that this was in the OED.

What conclusion would one draw upon seeing a board like this other than that there is rampant institutional sexism? While a board wholly composed of women isn’t necessarily evidence of preferential treatment or sexist promotion policies, the fact that the members of the editorial board grinningly and proudly display their lack of a single male member as if it represents some sort of step forward or progression in the great march towards social justice is worrying. And it is indicative of a sentiment that is profoundly harmful.

The Huffington Post is an outlet that promotes the pseudoscientific Critical Race Theory non-definition of racism and the Feminist non-definition of sexism – mainly that both racism and sexism are uni-directional, and that they are propagated by ethereal and omnipresent structures of power and oppression. In other words – non-whites can’t be racist, women can’t be sexist.

In 2014, when studying abroad in Shanghai I was attacked and beaten to a pulp by four local men who jumped on me for no reason outside the bathrooms of a nightclub. If the bouncers hadn’t have come at the critical moment, I might have been murdered. I’m fairly sure that the attack was racially motivated, because the people behind it were screaming racial slurs at me in Chinese during the assault. My girlfriend and I managed to get to the elevator to leave under the cover of a bouncer, but three of the men followed us into the elevator. They laughed at my bloodied face and threatened to stab me to death and rape her.

I don’t think this incident, which was one of the worst experiences of my life, gives me any more say on the topic of racism over any other person, black or white. But I can confirm, based on this experience and others, that anyone can become the victim of racism. This does includes white people and this point must be unequivocally recognized and acknowledged.

While I can think of countless minor incidences of sexism throughout my life, this picture by Huffpost represents some of the most brazen institutional sexist attitudes I have ever seen an organization uphold. Consider, for instance, a young leftie who unwittingly made the rather unfortuitous decision to be born as a man – a man whose dream was to work his way up the ranks of a news network like the Huffington Post. What would he think upon seeing this? How would he feel to have it essentially confirmed that he would hit a glass ceiling and become the victim of job discrimination based upon his gender?

It isn’t ‘sexy’ to talk about sexism against men. But the ideologically pernicious definitions of racism and sexism that the HuffPost espouses makes it utterly necessary. Sexism in the ‘other’ direction is not a solution to sexism. If we want a society of equality and participation, then that equality must be extended to all of its members – no matter what they were born as.

Will TG Miller

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