Jul 02 2010

LA Times publishes article about woman; global reserves of sexist stereotypes dangerously depleted

In the news: a woman known as Anna Chapman is accused of being some sort of Russian spy (Russian spy? Seriously? I didn’t realize we still had those. It’s comforting to know that at least some beloved artifacts from my idyllic Cold War childhood endure).

This LA Times story, the gist of which is gripping speculation concerning Chapman’s future as a reality show celebrity or the subject of “blockbusters”, is a real breathtaking pile of asswipe antifeminist hate speech. The authors don’t seem to know, or care, who or what she is, or isn’t, beyond the assertion that she is a “sultry red-head.” This is demonstrated by the photograph accompanying the article, which is about as sexy as a yearbook picture, and is therefore worth a thousand sexist words.

Here is a selection of the delightful metaphrasery employed in this article (some of which the authors breathlessly quote from other “news” sources). Chapman is

a “sexy antagonist”
a “red-haired beauty”
a “femme fatale”
a “Natasha”
a “secret sexpot” who “partied, shopped & schmoozed”
a “modern-day Mata Hari”
a “vivacious vixen”
a “practiced deceiver”
an “attention-seeking sensationalist bimbo”
a “beauty with a captivating tale”
a “romantic young woman”
a “billionaire or a hooker”

Because Chapman is such a red-haired sexy romantic billionaire mata vixen, her 15 minutes as a bankable piece of ass appears to be in the bag. On the subject of femmes parlaying their fataleity into fame and fortune, one interviewee was moved to recall that the woman Eliot Spitzer paid to rape now has a sex column in a newspaper. Sluts sell!

The LA Times omits to cite any evidence that Chapman is/was, in fact, a prostituted woman, but this is America, and evidence is hardly necessary. According to the authors, Chapman’s Facebook page reveals all relevant information: she is hottt, so obviously she’s a whore, which apparently renders the entire nation verklempt, and that’s all we need to know.

There are 10 other spies in the spy ring, but the LA Times doesn’t speculate about their marketing potential. A separate article reports that one of the dude spies jumped bail in Cyprus, but neglects to provide details about his sexiness, vivaciousness, wealth, hair color, or the dollar value of his “story.” Instead, the reader is forced to make do with boring minutiae such as the charges he was brought up on (failure to register as a foreign agent), and trivia regarding the diplomatic relationship between the US and Cyprus.

Thanks, PhysioProf


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  1. Lu

    The BBC also saw fit to quote one of the (female) neighbors of another spy in New Jersey thusly: She “didn’t put a lot of time into her looks but she was sweet-looking, very pretty face with light make-up, maybe a little bit of lipstick, nothing profound.”

    IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO KNOW THIS! Thank you, BBC and neighbor who was alert enough to be able report to us on the attractiveness and makeup usage patterns of lady spies.

    Maybe all she had on hand, though, was poison lipstick, so that’s why she didn’t use much–at least, not to a degree that could be termed “profound.”

  2. Thomas Stazyk

    Spot on as usual. I have yet to see an article explaining what sorts of sensitive jobs these people were in or what secrets they spilled–it’s all about the woman or the fact that the one couple has two kids who are in protective custody or something.

  3. Saphire

    The whole world has to alert us to sexist stereotype made reality. Just what is the obsession with hookers, pay per rapes, and red haired hotties who hang out in billionnaire bars, anyway? The excitement of this woman’s glamorous story as a meatsock with spice and adventure! We await updates with baited breath.

    Why is every person viewing news assumed to be a drooling dim bulb of a man waiting for an erection? How patronising.

  4. Comrade PhysioProf

    This one sure did have it all.

  5. Sarah

    Omigod why is “businesswoman” in quotes in the lead? Robin Abcarian, Geraldine Baum and their editor should be ashamed of themselves and their prurient abuse of the English language, not to mention the key tenets of good journalism.

  6. Mujery Legs

    Nice work, LA Times. Now all our GI Joes are gonna go work for the Russians. Leaving American ripe for FEMINIST REVOLUTION!

  7. Pinko Punko

    My friend was surprised that the NY Post-riarchy missed “Mata Hottie.”

  8. Kelsey B.

    Not even taking into account the incredible sexism of the article, was anyone else irritated by all the banal platitudes from the subject’s Facebook page? “Pain is weakness leaving the body?” Seriously? This is the most boring secret agent EVER.

  9. Ma'Whis'Ki

    Well, gee, maybe she needs to get together with Al Gore, who really desperately ‘needs his Second Chakra released’ via hotel masseuse (as the swill-fest that passes for the evening news so thoughtfully informed the nation yesterday evening). Maybe they could collaborate on a new book: ‘How To Massage State Secrets Out Of A Dick For Fun And Profit’…

  10. Pellegrina

    Yes, I was saying just the other day that it’s amazing how the Russians have managed to set up a whole spy ring consisting entirely of identical foxy redheads called Anna Chapman. They must have a factory somewhere.

  11. Valerie

    “Practiced deceiver”? According to the bible/P women are naturals and don’t need practice. What the heck have I been doing practicing the violin?
    Must have been a slow news day. Oil spills just aren’t sexy enough.

  12. janicen

    “… global reserves of sexist stereotypes dangerously depleted”

    No need to panic, citizens. It’s our most highly renewable resource.

  13. Earnest O'Nest

    It’s a very curious psycholinguistic phenomenon that makes the same term ‘Russian spy’ synonymous when referring to a certain person and to ‘evil igly genius out to destroy zee world’ when referring to a dudely person.

  14. FemDoc

    Our local news referred to Anna Chapman as a “Bond girl”, thus further demoting her into a supporting character of her own story.

  15. Lullabee

    Spot on as usual.

    Do dudes ever comment on this blog without sounding like they want to put a gold star sticker on Twisty’s work? Twisty gets a check plus!

    But, indeed, it is a spectacularly sexist and pointless article. Pretty much Russian spy fetish porn.

  16. Jill

    Do dudes ever comment on this blog without sounding like they want to put a gold star sticker on Twisty’s work?

    Yes, but I delete’em because they all go like this: “You take great delight in posting calls for cold-blooded mass murder. You’re an idiot. Your writing style is awful, too.”(actual comment).

    But dudes who aren’t trolls and who agree with me generally have to pronounce from on high. They can’t just give me a “you go, girl” for some reason.

  17. nails

    I am pretty sure that this is all total bullshit, and that there wasn’t any real spying going on. The story about what the ‘spies’ were trying to find out doesn’t even make sense.
    No one knows what they even found out and transmitted back, and they were not charged with espionage.

    I read a whole deconstruction of the ‘bulgarian connection’ of that guy who tried to shoot the pope, our press tried to pin it on russians. It was done about this poorly. The media was at this level of irrational craziness, too.

    This all broke right after the president of russia met with obama, and after the FBI had been watching these people for about a decade. People are less scared of terrorists than they used to be. Russia and the us have used fear of each other for political gains for quite some time, maybe they are trying to spark up that fear again? I don’t know. This whole story seems to be completely manufactured, and I wonder who decided it was a good idea and why.

  18. wiggles

    @nails – I don’t think the Obama administration wants us to look so closely at the oil spill and the wars and the economy as we may have been. It’s not good for capitalism.

  19. The Chemist

    So the next time I complain that female spies seem to do little beyond occupy skintight suits in movies- I’m supposed to lighten up because it’s not hurting anybody. Good to know.

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