Wente Watch

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Who beats who?

One of Margaret Wente's favorite themes is to equate women's rights with white ethnocentrism. In her mind, white culture is the only one that respects women's rights. All others - aboriginal, black, Muslim, and now South Asian are patriarchal and abuse women.

She is able to get away with this because of the stereotypes that these cultures are backward and retrograde compared to white Western culture. It may seem an alien concept to Wente, but how about discarding stereotypes for a moment and looking at actual facts?

  • 51% of Canadian women have been victims of at least one act of physical or sexual violence since age 16;
  • Nearly 30,000 Canadian women report spousal violence each year. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - nobody knows how many cases go unreported.
  • In Wente's favorite country, the United States, 22 percent of women report being a victim of domestic violence. Fully 60% of the population knows someone who is a victim.

Canada is 87 percent white, the United States 75 percent.

For all Wente's pontificating, she has never presented any hard data showing a correlation between ethnicity and domestic violence. An intellectually honest journalist would try to ascertain the facts before casually stereotyping a community, but Wente is neither intellectual, nor honest, nor a journalist. Her agenda is ethnocentrism, and she uses women's rights as a club to bash nonwhites.

When it comes to white women, Wente's feminism disappears. Another of her regular themes is the so-called excesses of Western feminism. She loves quoting anti-feminists, from Anne Cools to Christina Hoff Sommers. She repeatedly claims that Western culture makes fun of men and masculine virtues.

On Google, Wente's most highly ranked article jeers at Naomi Wolf's claim that she was sexually harassed as an undergraduate. And yet, Wente accuses South Asians of being the ones who minimize the problems of women, or ostracize women who report abuse.

Across Canada today, there are thousands of women being beaten. They come in all ages, sizes, and colours. But Wente has no real sympathy for them. They are not people to her, not human beings each with a unique story. If they are dark-skinned, they are political fodder, weapons to use in her campaign to divide ethnic groups against each other, to set fear and suspicion between the nation's many cultures. If they are white-skinned, they mean nothing to her.

This is not journalism. It is not commentary. It is hackery, and both she and the newspaper that employs her should be ashamed of themselves.


  • Excellent post. Yes, the Globe should be ashamed, but that would require some self-awareness. They are the voice of the Canadian elite, they got their jobs through their contacts in the elite, they give plum jobs to their elite buddies (e. g., Peggy Wente), they can't admit that anything is wrong with the way the elite wants the country run. And of course because they got their jobs because of who they knew rather than what they know, they're not very bright. So they end up doing things like confuisng bashing women with feminism. Of course they're no worse than the rest of the Canadian mainstream media.

    By Anonymous sid, at November 03, 2006 4:29 p.m.  

  • She is such a complete racist! I came here hoping you'd already blogged about her interview with Laura Kipnis in today's Focus section but alas, you have not, so I shall comment in a related post. I am a Canadian-born brown woman and EVERY week she finds a way to insult me. Last week it was the whole thing about how her Ipod is as mysterious to her as the natives must have found "the white man's Thundersticks" but this week she really take the cake. When discussing falling birth rates among educated Western women she says "maybe we'll give every working woman a Filipina nanny." My. God. I cannot wait until the day when a successful, smart, educated and justifiably angry Filipina woman has the opportunity to tell Margaret Wente to her face what a stupid, arrogant, racist, ethnocentric, outdated, BORING piece of garbage she is. Til then, I will do it myself.

    By Anonymous denise, at November 04, 2006 10:10 a.m.  

  • Denise, it is important to write letters to the editor to protest racist comments. That comment about Fliipina nannies (as if they aren't working women - and very often mums themselves!) is extremely offensive and dehumanising.

    Perhaps you are familiar with a Filipina women's group or a Domestic workers' association where you live; if so it might be worth contacting them so they can write a rebuttal. If the Globe doesn't publish it there are no doubt women's, labour or alternative media that will.

    By Anonymous lagatta à Montréal, at November 05, 2006 7:16 a.m.  

  • Hello Tyrone,

    'Great post. Wente is a real piece of work. The comments above by sid are right on the money too. G&M is for the elites by the elites.

    I couldn't find an email address for you so I'll just write it here:

    I love your blog and I have proudly added you to my blogroll over at my site Undertow

    Keep up the good work!

    By Anonymous Brian, at November 05, 2006 7:36 p.m.  

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