What brought all this about?

I thought this was a bogus story when I first heard about it, and can’t believe The New York Times made such a big deal about it over the weekend: President Obama’s all-guys hoops games, and what that might say about the true influence and “place” for women in his administration:

“Women are Obama’s base, and they don’t seem to have enough people who look like the base inside of their own inner circle,” said Dee Dee Myers, a former press secretary in the Clinton administration whose sister, Betsy, served as the Obama campaign’s chief operating officer.

Ms. Myers said women have high expectations of the president. “Obama has a personal style that appeals to women,” she said. “He is seen as a consensus builder; he is not a towel snapper and does not tell crude jokes.”

But wait, the hectoring gets sillier still, from NOW president Terry O’Neill. Then again, Obama was remiss in filling out an NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket last season. What a Neanderthal!

At least Obama is playing golf with a woman! Oh joy! Nip that Martha Burk problem in the bud before it sprouts.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman in the realm of high political circles, but I do cover sports for a living, and have devoted much of my work to covering women’s sports. Dee Dee, you don’t know towel-snapping like I do!

I know what it’s like to operate in a mostly male environment, and to push for more media coverage of women athletes who aren’t in the so-called “Bambi” sports (tennis, gymnastics, figure skating, etc.).

But I find this whining from very privileged women — the products of elite educations and powerful political, corporate and social connections I have never enjoyed — absolutely bamboozling. Former Wall Street Journal deputy managing editor and Portfolio editor Joane Lipman, also writing in the NYT over the weekend, sounds as though we’re still in the 1970s.

Perhaps this is the mid-life crisis issue for women of my generation. I understand their frustration, but I don’t share their dour mood. And I don’t like the implication that their experiences speak for all of us.

Neither do I have a problem with guys wanting to be with the guys, at least some of the time. Even males I know who are deeply involved in women’s sports need this release. Ladies, just let them be, for a few minutes out of the day.

Obama was right to call the claptrap over his hoops games “bunk.” As usual, he was being too polite. Women need to be more concerned with finding satisfaction with their own work and lives instead of worrying about symbolic issues and infantile name-calling on the Web.

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