The Internet is freaking out over an article published on the website of The Times of India on Monday. According to the Huffington Post, Biben Laikhuram's list of “Weird, funny facts about women" is “basically [the] worst thing ever.” BuzzFeed asks if Laikhuram is "the world's stupidest journalist." Wall Street Journal reporter Margherita Stancati and Reuters editor Robert MacMillan are added to the fray on Twitter:
The Times of India has responded by removing the article. Let’s take a look at some of Laikhuram's more outrageous “facts”:
- “Women don’t bathe everyday [sic]”
- “Women don’t like another woman to wear the same dress”
- “Women can spend a whole day before the mirror”
- “After sex, women still love to be kissed: Men always feel tired and prefer to sleep after sex, but women don't. They like to talk, fool around, and kiss each other. For a great relationship, men should take note of this.”
- “Women don’t need sex as often as men do. Sex is more about emotions for women.”
These are not very nice. But to me, the reaction against Laikhuram calls attention to a double standard that permits women to be just as reductive towards men as TOI is towards women — in publications from Cosmopolitan to the Wall Street Journal.
Hey, Margherita Stancati: Remember the WSJ story from April, “How often should married couples have sex?” Here's a representative excerpt:
“Men tend to express feelings with actions, not words. Unlike a lot of women, they probably don't have heart-to-heart chats with everyone from their best friend to the bus driver, and they often limit hugs and physical affection to their immediate family.”
Cosmopolitan is an easy target, but with a higher circulation than TOI, it should hardly be exempt. See the popular women’s mag do...
- Gender stereotyping: “If you hand a guy a piece of ass on a silver platter, he’s going to take it”
- Outrageous generalization: “Most men will stop at nothing to wow the pants off you during your first date, which includes lying through their teeth” and “As a rule, men tend to be much more territorial about their partners”
Thanks to Glamour, we know that "Men are bad multitaskers."
And from The Daily Mail, we learn that they're "bad at communicating."
I’m not defending Lakhuram. But if we want to criticize his sexist stereotyping (which is a valid thing to want to do), we should take an honest look at some of the stuff we say about men.