Wednesday, August 31, 2011

WTF Wednesday: Nana Scores One For Feminists

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

Our local newspaper is the East Oregonian. Last Friday they published an article on the front page about a "Pendleton girl" who is one of the few helicopter pilots in the army.  She will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.  This "girl" is 26 years old.

WTF????  Is that sexist language I see on the front page of the East Oregonian?

Yep, see for yourself below:

The headline is "Pendleton girl flies the big birds" and the article is titled "Adventure in Afghanistan."  Like flying a Medivac helicopter in a war zone is a ride at Disneyland!

WTF???  Where do they get off patronizing a highly trained professional woman?  So I wrote a letter to the editor.

To the editor:
In 2006 when the East Oregonian reported the death of Army Spc. Ryan D. Walker in Operation Iraqi Freedom, he was not referred to as a boy. Yet Ryan Walker was 25 when he died for his country, a full year younger than Amanda Charlton, who the East Oregonian refers to as a "Pendleton girl" on the cover of the August 26th paper.  Amanda Charlton is, according to the article, "one of the Army's few female helicopter pilots."   Amanda Charlton is not a "girl." She is a highly trained professional woman and to refer to her as a girl and not even list her military rank demeans her achievements. She is putting her life on the line just like all the military men who are deployed overseas. She deserves to be addressed by the rank she has earned and she deserves to not be patronized.

I realize that I run the risk of criticism that I am hypersensitive about political correctness, but the reality is that sexism still exists in our country and one of the biggest problem areas is our language.  Using the word "girl" in reference to an adult woman when the term "boy" is almost never used to refer to an adult male unless an insult is intended is a common example of sexist language.

Come on's 2011; you know better!

I emailed it to the editor Friday evening and he emailed me right back and said he completely agreed with me and had spoken to the person who had written the headline.  My letter was published in the Sunday paper.
Score one for feminism!


  1. Good for you!!! And good for the paper, for printing your letter in its entirety. When I imagine changing the gender to male and using the same words, it's very obvious that this is a blatant example of sexism alive and well!!

  2. I'm with DJan, good for you. I have to say I was surprised the newspaper responded to your letter. Obviously the cause has not been won, we must continue to bring the issue to the attention of those who use such language.

  3. Good for you. I don't think it's political correctness run amock. As you pointed out, she's a woman, and a highly trained professional one at that.

  4. Wondering how old the headline writer is. Probably as old as Officer Charlton. It's a shame we still have to tell them. Will it never end!

  5. Great letter, Jann! And you are so right! It's really irritating when women are patronized under any circumstances, but a highly skilled professional woman about to put her life on the line in Afghanistan -- give me a break!

  6. You are absolutely right in your evaluation of the entire headline. Thanks for writing the letter. I am very proud of you.

  7. Score one for YOU. I don't know what's more distressing, the "girl" part or the "adventure in Afghanistan" part. Wheee!

  8. Hooray for you!!! I think that your letter was right on point and I'm glad that they published it. Too many people belittle women in that way in print, media and conversation.

  9. Way. To. Go!!!!! This made me want to stand up and shout - but in a good way. You're changing the world, just a little bit, one WTF Wednesday at a time.


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