(Regarding the article “Letter From Yemen” by Dexter Filkins, April 11 issue.)
Dexter Filkins writes that men in Yemen were startled and (presumably) not pleased to see a woman grab the microphone at a recent demonstration. I had been waiting impatiently for him to discuss what life in Yemen is like for the half of its population that happens to be female. And what did he finally have to say on the subject? “Even at the gates of its premier university, Yemen is a deeply conservative society.”
“Conservative”? Really? Is that what we’re calling it now? Or was “sexist” just too hard to spell? If Filkins were writing about South Africa at the height of apartheid, would he describe racist whites as “conservative”?
Maybe this issue hits too close to home for The New Yorker. Certainly one would never know from reading the magazine that women make up the majority of the population of America. In the issue in question, only two out of twelve articles were written by women. Weeks can go by without a peep from us on the mail page. Perhaps some editor insisted on Filkins’ word choice for fear of attracting attention to the “S” word?
Editor and Head Screamer, Secular Homeschooling Magazine