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The Post’s Melinda Henneberger—-the woman launching the yet-to-be-renamed Post ladyblog—-flogs the new site in an Style essay about how pervasive sexual harassment can be:
I asked some of the writers for the women’s blog that The Post is soon launching to ask the first few women they happened to run into one morning this week — at the gym, on the street or in line for coffee — whether they’d ever been sexually harassed at work. Of 23 women in eight cities, 16 said yes and seven no. Those who said yes included a 76-year-old Iowan who told Suzi Parker she used to work for a doctor “who petted my behind” and a 50-year-old Californian fired from her first part-time high school job because she refused to kiss her “greasy-haired” boss at the local movie theater.
Henneberger concludes that the wide range of behavior that some women find problematic may not even be on the radars of the men doing the harassing.
In my 30s, did my editor who talked about cunnilingus every other time I was alone in his office see what he was doing as actionable? Or know that it was humiliating when he’d hand me those scraps of paper guessing my weight (with scary accuracy) as I was dieting?
“No,” “non” and “yeah, right,” is my guess. Just like the guy who precedes all racially iffy comments with, “I’m not a racist, but . . . ,” denial is part of the disease. And if this isn’t the right time to talk about it, then when?
The problem with a ladyblog—-articulated so well by editor Ann Friedman a couple of years ago—-is that it is a sign that a publication wants to serve more diverse readers, but doesn’t “want that coverage mucking up its main product.” The same goes for black blogs. There often ends up being a lot of choir-preaching and little else.
But I’m willing to admit that the upside of being attached to a print publication is that some of that specialized content makes it into the paper. If, like The Root D.C., the Post’s women’s blog gets some ink, perhaps it will actually be a worthwhile addition to the crowded field of women’s blogs.