The New York Times op-ed page published this week a column by Peggy Noonans co-author of The End of Men.
“The only thing more malevolent than an attempt to change the definition of masculinity is a person who wants to change it,” she wrote.
“Men have been told for generations that it is a privilege to be men, but we must also be true to our humanity.”
The Times op ed was published on February 5, and it’s been widely covered.
Noonan’s column went on to blame the male-centric culture, “a culture of male entitlement and male violence,” for the epidemic of male suicides and domestic violence.
She argued that the “sad truth is that the current epidemic of violence and male suicide is an epidemic that is not caused by any new cultural phenomenon, but rather is the product of decades of male violence and entitlement, a culture of men and male entitlement that has been nurtured and cultivated over decades.”
She said men “need to do something about the culture of masculinity” and that the best way to do that is to stop blaming men for their own deaths.
The Times’s editors and reporters chose to take a position on the column, and the article was quickly picked up by other media outlets, including Salon and The Atlantic.
On Friday, the Times published an op- ed from a leading feminist, the editor of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and a woman who was named a speaker at the March for Women’s Lives.
The op- idion was penned by the president of the feminist group the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, who also sits on the editorial board of the Times.
Tandens piece was published the same day that a number of prominent feminists and allies, including President Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, were invited to the White House to address the Women’s March on Washington.
In her op- ion, Noonans column was an attempt by her to try to make her case for what she called the “feminine imperative,” or the desire for men to become more masculine, in a culture that’s “so toxic that it has to be changed.”
The article said that the epidemic is driven by men “who have been taught that it’s a privilege and a right to be male and to be a masculine man.”
Women in this society “have been told from a young age that they have to be feminine, and that if we don’t conform to these ideas and become feminine, then we’re not masculine,” Noonans op ed wrote.
She said that women “need more than just an end to violence and a new definition of male supremacy” to change male suicide rates.
“We need a new culture that is based on the idea that men are not inherently violent, that they can be good fathers and good husbands, that there are good ways to raise children and that it doesn’t matter what the gender they are,” she said.
“It’s about the respect and the kindness that men deserve.”
But critics have accused Noonans of sexism and a denial of feminism.
The New Republic called the piece “one of the most egregious instances of sexist and misogynistic writing in the history of American journalism.”
The New Yorker called it “the worst piece of political journalism in recent memory.”
The National Organization for Women said in a statement that Noonans’ column “undermines the very foundation of the American feminist movement.”
It continued: “The piece is not only sexist, it is also misogynistic and anti-feminist, in that it undermines the very feminist ideals that have driven the feminist movement in the first place.
The piece should have been called, The Feminine Imperative.
We need to reclaim that word, because it has lost all meaning.”
Noonans is a veteran journalist and author who has published dozens of op-eds.
She was a co-founder of The Nation, the Nation Women’s magazine, and has worked for The Nation since 2007.
She is a regular commentator on MSNBC and Fox News and is currently a senior columnist for The Atlantic and The Nation.
She also has worked as an editor at The Washington Post, the Huffington Post, Politico, Vice, and Slate.