In her charming and informative New York Times front-page obituary for Pauline Phillips (aka Dear Abby) last Friday, Margalit Fox states matter-of-factly about Phillips’ career that, “nearly 60 years ago, seeking something more meaningful than mah-jongg, [Phillips] transformed herself into the syndicated columnist…”
The implication is that for a California housewife of that era, few professional careers were an option. From the bylines on the front page of the same edition of the New York Times (January 18) one could almost conclude that little has changed six decades later. In a total of six articles appearing on A-1 that day, only one – the Phillips obit – is written by a woman. The other five articles are each written by not one but two men, giving the sense that the editors have concluded a buddy system is best, in journalism as in grade school.
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