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Writers Reveal Newsweek's Continued - If Subtle - Sexism

March 22, 2010

[caption id="attachment_4834" align="alignright" width="217" caption="Source: Newsweek"]Source: Newsweek[/caption] Forty years after female employees of Newsweek sued the magazine for employment discrimination based on gender, three young reporters detail how working there has changed for women, and how it hasn't. The piece provides an honest, nuanced, and thoroughly researched illustration of the working world today's women face – even after all the significant gains that we have made over the past half-century. Along with some bleak statistics – including the fact that men wrote all but six of Newsweek's 49 cover stories last year – the writers deftly articulate what women of my generation find increasingly difficult to voice: the fact that sexism may be less explicit than it was 40 years ago does not lessen its power.  In fact, subtle bias can be the hardest kind to fight: "In countless small ways, each of us has felt frustrated over the years, as if something was amiss. But as products of a system in which we learned that the fight for equality had been won, we didn't identify those feelings as gender-related. It seemed like a cop-out, a weakness, to suggest that the problem was anybody's fault but our own...When we marched into the workforce and the fog of subtle gender discrimination, it was baffling and alien. Without a movement behind us, we had neither the language to describe it nor the confidence to call it what it was." "We've got the entire weight of human history behind us, making us feel like we're kind of lucky to have jobs," writer Ariel Levy is quoted in the article, "It takes a lot of fearlessness to think, 'F--k it, go ahead and yell at me, I'm going to fight for what I deserve.'" Unveiling a national magazine's sexism – on its own pages, particularly – serves as an audacious and powerful weapon in a struggle that's far from over.