YOUR NEUTRAL APOSTROPHES SICKEN ME

Globe columnist and journalist Katrina Onstad has been known to get things seriously wrong, then seriously right, in the past. Here she manages both at once in a single column.

The set of assumptions behind [Ikea’s] Manland doesn’t flatter either sex. Once again, here comes the baby-man meme, wherein men are unable and unwilling to participate in the rote side of domestic life…. Upholding the clichés of masculinity – real men hate shopping and love Space Invaders – doesn’t make men manlier; it makes them seem a little pathetic. […]

I’m not sure what’s less appealing: a man who wants to go to Manland or a woman who wants to “drop off” her husband there. Every baby-man in pop culture has his counterpart in the eye-rolling/arms-across-the-chest bemused female killjoy. Manland perpetuates the myth that ladies love shopping only slightly more than they love demoralizing their husbands.

Well said.

Now, though, Onstad poisons the well.

[I]t’s a touch difficult to see “invisibility” as a male issue. The (small) number of women in senior management positions at Canada’s biggest companies has barely moved in the past decade. And in 2010, fewer than 30% of Canadian MPs were female; our Parliament is behind 25 other nations in terms of makeup of women.

The issue of women CEOs and MPs has nothing to do with retail shopping and amounts to changing the subject. The fact remains that women don’t want to be senior managers and politicians as often as men do. Since women don’t want parity in these two fields, which they find repellent, it shouldn’t be forced on anyone, nor used as a guilt trip. (Sheila Bakshevin makes the same failed argument more troublingly.) And surely “makeup of women” was a distracting double entendre.

Along the way, Onstad incidentally reiterates the myth – a favourite of the Globe and Mail – that Ikea is “Swedish.” It isn’t. At a corporate level, Ikea is a Netherlands holding company masquerading as a charitable foundation to avoid taxes.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2011.10.11 14:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
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