Declaring its intent to explore “one of the defining social issues of our time,” the Washington Post has announced to the world that it’s hiring a “gender columnist."
What’s needed? Someone capable of articulating “how gender intersects with sexual identity, race and class,” “how power relationships play out in the workplace” and the home as well as “how gender is represented in popular culture and the rest of society.”
The paper’s goal is to publish a “thoroughly reported and wide-ranging column” on gender-related issues at least twice per week with a “singular voice.”
The Post wants its first gender columnist to have a “distinguished record of reporting and writing with impact,” “be prepared to jump into controversies of the moment” and explore “how power relationships play out in the workplace.”
Despite the august newspaper’s best intentions, the job posting was met with skepticism and even mockery. One observer wrote on Twitter that, “This job description literally defines the genre of every journalist you currently employ” while another asked, “Did ‘looking to hire a clickbait columnist’ not get past HR?”
“I could do the job of gender columnist but all I’d cover is how insane this movement is and document its slow but steady spiral into the abyss,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong tweeted.
Clearly the Post is looking through its sights at its archrival, the New York Times, which recently hired Jessica Bennett to serve as its "gender editor" despite widespread cutbacks throughout the company, including a substantial reduction in crucial copy editors who look for mistakes before articles are published. Bennett, the author of “Feminist Fight Club,” will be working closely at the Times with “senior gender correspondent” Susan Chira, and also reach across the supposedly Iron Wall between the news and opinion sections to work “closely” with the opinion page’s separate gender editor.
Meanwhile, the Post will presumably not provide the gender columnist with a pension, as that is now reserved for longer serving staffers. Back in 2014, Jeff Bezos eliminated future retirement benefits and froze defined-benefit pensions for nonunion employees as one of his first major acts as the owner of the esteemed paper.
The Washington Post did not immediately respond to request for comment.