WaPo Editorial Page Goes Neanderthal For Second Time In A Week

**FILE** In this Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, The Washington Post sign is seen on its building in Washington. The Washington Post says it booked a second-quarter loss, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, after taking a charge to cov... **FILE** In this Feb. 27, 2008 file photo, The Washington Post sign is seen on its building in Washington. The Washington Post says it booked a second-quarter loss, Friday, Aug. 1, 2008, after taking a charge to cover buyouts at its flagship newspaper, corporate office and Newsweek magazine. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, file) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

On Tuesday, the Washington Post published a piece by two academics arguing that women would be safer from sexual assaults if they themselves were married or had married fathers.

The Post originally published the piece in its “PostEverything” section with the headline, “One way to end violence against women? Stop taking lovers and get married” and the sub-headline, “The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer hitched to their baby daddies.”

In their article, W. Bradford Wilcox and Robin Fretwell Wilson, assert that marriage can lead to reduced sexual violence.

“This social media outpouring makes it clear that some men pose a real threat to the physical and psychic welfare of women and girls. But obscured in the public conversation about the violence against women is the fact that some other men are more likely to protect women, directly and indirectly, from the threat of male violence: married biological fathers,” they wrote (emphasis theirs).

Wilcox and Wilson present the data on sexual abuse and families, noting that girls are more likely to be abused if they don’t live in a home with a married father and that women who are married aren’t victimized by intimate partners as often.

“For girls, the research tells us that marriage provides a measure of stability and commitment to the adults’ relationship, that married biological fathers are more likely to be attentive and engaged with their children because they expect the relationship to be enduring,” they concluded.

“But marriage also seems to cause men to behave better. That’s because men tend to settle down after they marry, to be more attentive to the expectations of friends and kin, to be more faithful, and to be more committed to their partners—factors that minimize the risk of violence,” they continued, analyzing the effects of marriage on women.

Predictably, the piece drew a lot of criticism once it was published, and the Washington Post quickly tried to try to tone down the headline.

The new headline and sub-headline on the piece read: “One way to end violence against women? Married dads. The data show that #yesallwomen would be safer with fewer boyfriends around their kids.”

While the Post chose to change the way it framed the piece, the article, which tells women that marriage will solve their problems, is still up on its website.

PostEverything editor Adam Kushner said he changed the headline since the original one “distracted” from the data discussed in the piece.

The Washington Post caused a stir just a few days ago with another controversial piece on sexual assault. On Friday, the newspaper published a column by conservative commentator George Will, in which he wrote that all of the focus on rape by universities has made “victimhood a coveted status.”

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. Who purchased that newspaper?

  2. Well, to some extent they are right. But in a better world, they would be completely wrong. Perhaps instead of lecturing women, though, they should be lecturing men about THEIR/OUR responsibilities.

  3. Avatar for jmw jmw says:

    The original headline seems rightly worthy of being panned, but are you calling the substance of the piece “Neanderthal”? Why? Unless the article (which I admittedly have not read in detail) somehow blames women (as opposed to noting the societal trend) for the decline of marriage in our country, it seems to me like a fair and reasonable contribution to the discussion.

  4. And by “wide range,” they, of course, mean everything from the extreme leftist positions of John McCain to the moderately conservative positions of Jim DeMint.

  5. Avatar for jw1 jw1 says:

    Perhaps so.
    But timing is an important factor in marketing.
    Rolling this out with a combustible headline (when aren’t they nowadays?)-- in the aftermath of George Will’s RWNJ-horsesh^t piece opens the WaPo to some justifiable criticism.

    Ergo the headline edit.


Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

57 more replies


Avatar for jmw Avatar for littlegirlblue Avatar for pac Avatar for brooklynmichael Avatar for meri Avatar for weezer Avatar for chammy Avatar for theod Avatar for arrrrrj Avatar for rudesan Avatar for voreason Avatar for fourlegsgood Avatar for sylhines Avatar for bonnie Avatar for orthostice Avatar for sparrowhawk Avatar for jjrothery Avatar for norma Avatar for neal_anderthal Avatar for arcmor Avatar for unreadable Avatar for jlapidus Avatar for woodwoman2 Avatar for emchitty

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: