Recently, VoxFairfax initiated a new snarky definition: COWGUYS, an acronym for Christian Older White Guys, the ones who discovered, founded, and ruled the United States until women and slaves received the right to vote and immigration was legalized.
COWGUYS, as a caricature, represent the plaintiff claims of a former ruling class which, in some contemporaneous discussions, is characterized as patriarchy, especially since the #MeToo movement. Patriarchic views are sometimes subtle and may emerge in unlikely forums. COWGYS and patriarchs often herd on the same ranges and bleat in harmony on Twitter.
There’s a Democratic primary scheduled for June 11 in Virginia; five positions for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (BOS) are on the ballot, including the Chairperson of the Board. Not unlike the diverse field of candidates currently aspiring for the Democratic presidential nomination, the June county primary for the five seats includes nine women, among them six women of color, three of whom are immigrants, all presenting a wide range of experience and service to the community. This is a vision anathema to COWGUYS and patriarchs of all types.
However, in the lofty offices of The Washington Post, its editorial board curiously (or not) was able to select five men for the five BOS posts following personal interviews with the editorial board. Several of the women candidates reported that one question that may have led to selecting the five men was:
How can you be Chairman with two young children?
Now, the Post had options. For one, it could have recused itself from the county primary election as a sign of good neighbor relations with another, independent jurisdiction. It might simply have issued an editorial congratulating the Commonwealth upon the energy and dynamism exhibited by such a broadly appealing field of candidates, wishing all well in their campaigns. It might have added that the nine women represented a unique phenomenon not ordinarily witnessed in local or national politics. It could have done so without criticizing either the GOP or minimizing the emergence of women candidates as mere post-Trump reactionism. WAPO’s use of the term “Chairman” may have been a giveaway, insight to an embedded bias. It’s not known whether the same question was asked of the male interviewees.
On the numbers alone, WAPO’s choices are questionable. But the fact of the selection also strongly hints at a pandemic bias that has existed since the Constitutional convention and, at least, until passage of women’s suffrage in 1920. One may argue that COWGUYS and patriarchs cannot help themselves, and purging misogyny takes more than 100 or 200 years. Perhaps WAPO will explain the rationale for its selection process and results. Likely not. If the matter is left in the hands of the COWGUYS and patriarchs, women are not likely to forget the sting of such obviously bold ignorance. WAPO may have, in fact, changed the votes of some, even in the patriarchy. Not even the MSM is vaccinated against bias or misogyny.
Editors’ Note: This article has been submitted to The Washington Post as an OpEd.