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MLive reporter dismissive of women’s voices

August 8, 2012

About a week ago, MLive announced it was going to run a new “interactive” feature on ethics.

The reactions from the comment section were mixed and people were expressing frustration on the process because the group of “experts” MLive put together was all clergy and all men. It is the later point I wish to address.

In the follow up MLive piece on their ethics forum, posted yesterday, the reporter acknowledges that one of the main critiques received so far was that the, “panel includes six male clergy.”

The ethics panel, according to MLive, was created by Rabbi Krishef, who is with Congregation Ahavas Israel in Grand Rapids. Krishef says he hopes to add a Catholic clergy person and a woman at some point, but no timeline was given for those additions.

The Mlive piece also states that a woman would be added, “to address the current gender disparity.” Really, having a 7 to 1 ratio, with seven men and one woman would address the gender disparity. I assume that the Rabbi and the MLive reporter’s math are not that bad, which means they don’t think too highly of women nor the importance of gender equity.

Imagine if there was an MLive created panel on race relations and they had all White people and then decided they would add one Black person, you know, to address racial equity.

The MLive reporter adds insult to injury by then stating, “So, for the moment, if you want a Catholic perspective, share one. A women’s intuition? Let us hear it.” So, not only does MLive not care about gender equity, the male reporter makes light of the issue and dismisses women by calling what they have to contribute as intuition. The level of insensitivity to women and lack of respect is not just the fault of the reporter here, but of the MLive editorial staff, which seems to be demonstrating a form of institutional sexism and unrecognized male privilege by even allowing the ethics panel to move forward with no women included as experts.

The e-mail for the MLive reporter is mvandebu@mlive.com.

In case you were wondering what critical, ethical question was first posed to the panel of men, here it is:

I have been invited to a coworker’s home for dinner, but I really don’t like spending time with him. However, I need to work with him every day, so I don’t want to insult him by turning down the invitation. Is it OK to lie and tell him that I am busy that night?

WTF?

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Christopher Reader permalink
    August 8, 2012 12:28 pm

    I really have no interest in being informed about what is ethical by clergy, male or not.

    • August 8, 2012 12:31 pm

      I can certainly understand that point Chris, but I was really addressing the utter contempt demonstrated towards women in the MLive story.

      • Christopher Reader permalink
        August 8, 2012 12:45 pm

        I agree with your point. I think it may go hand-in-hand with the arrogance of mlive creating a column consisting of self-selected ethical arbiters, and those only from clergy.

        But hey, a token female, if they are able to locate one, should fix everything, right?

  2. Peter permalink
    August 8, 2012 12:58 pm

    That “woman’s intuition” comment was an amazing insult-added-to-injury for a situation that was already bad enough. I agree that the editorial staff should not have let this go forward without women’s representation in the first place, but they they also made a second grave error in not strategizing how to respond appropriately and effectively to the criticism. Apparently the response was to just let the reporter handle it, and hence the one-off, glib comment about intuition and the overall trivializing of the concern.

  3. maryalice338 permalink
    August 8, 2012 1:00 pm

    Fascinating take on ethics as only realm of organized religion. How about a discussion by these guys of the ethics involved in excluding women from full participation in their respective branches of what passes for organized religion.

    • August 8, 2012 1:12 pm

      Mary Alice, you might be asking for more than MLive is capable of giving or even comprehending.

    • Christopher Reader permalink
      August 8, 2012 1:18 pm

      But what a great idea!

  4. Dani Vilella permalink
    August 9, 2012 4:17 am

    Mary Alice, I think you should pose exactly that “ethical question.” Dear Mlive- I am putting together a panel on ethics and I have only male religious figures? Is this acceptable? Do I need more diversity? Do I have to include women?
    :)

    • Peter permalink
      August 9, 2012 2:22 pm

      Or…create an alternative ethics panel that is more diverse and representative; is made up of community leaders, academics, philanthropists and social justice and environmental advocates; and takes a rational, humanist approach to ethical questions–hopefully more substantive than the one about lying to one’s co-worker.

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