A couple of weeks ago, the New York Times ran a special magazine issue entitled “Saving the World’s Women.”
Overall, the articles I read were okay…not good, not great, but okay.
However, I do have a real beef with the title. “SAVING.” Yes, as usual, let’s place women into this passive role in which we have no agency. Yes, women in all parts of the world are in despair and need SOMEONE ELSE to help them up. NO! WRONG!
The NYT was on the right track and shot itself in the foot, balls, back, head, and everywhere else with this silly, demeaning, and off-point title. At the end of the day, social justice and progress of ANY kind (social, political, financial, moral, whatever) is always achieved WITHIN ONE’S SELF, whether that one is a person, nation, state, or company. Sure, it’s great to have other peoples’ help, but no matter how much help you get, you’re still the one deciding to change.
The NYT, most unfortunately, just tapped into centuries of fairy tales and their Disney updates by proclaiming that white, rich, educated, Western people have the responsibility and sole power to “save” non-white, developing-country women. It’s “The White Man’s Burden” all over again.
P.S. Just because Kristof writes an article with his wife, and just because she’s from China, doesn’t mean that suddenly an article represents a non-Western, non-male POV. Come the fuck on.