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06/27/2014 06:24 EDT | Updated 08/27/2014 05:59 EDT

A "Thank You" Letter to Leah McLaren

We've never met, but I read your open letter to Nazanin Afshin-Jam in the Globe and Mail. As you may have heard, there is a very unfortunate trend in the media to go after the spouse of a politician for something that politician did or said. This disturbing trend almost universally applies to wives only. Why is that?

Dear Leah,

We've never met, but I read your open letter to Nazanin Afshin-Jam in the Globe and Mail.

As you may have heard, there is a very unfortunate trend in the media to go after the spouse of a politician for something that politician did or said.

This disturbing trend almost universally applies to wives only. Why is that? I recall from my university women's studies classes that this is rooted in the archaic, patriarchal notion that wives are somehow an extension of their husbands. You see, Leah, how often is it that a husband gets publicly attacked for something his wife says or does?

So actually, this is not so much of a trend as it is a long-standing, sexist tradition.

A tradition which you, in 2014 made the choice to participate in.

A politician said some things you disagreed with. In response, did you pen a column to that politician? No.

Instead, you penned an 873-word column (873 words!) to his wife criticizing, lecturing and attempting to shame her.

Your column was condescending, patronizing and downright mean.

I wasn't impressed. You are a smart, educated newspaper columnist and author.

Instead of penning an intelligent, thoughtful column about issues that you care about, you chose to sling mud.

You chose to participate in a sexist tradition that should be a distant memory of the past.

But don't worry, your column wasn't a complete waste of ink. It might serve as a wonderful learning tool in future women's studies classes, where clever students can critique it and shake their heads that in 2014 it was actually published. Maybe one day my daughter will be one of those students.

So thank you Leah. Thank you for reminding feminists that, even in 2014, there is still much work to be done.

Yours sincerely,

Kathryn

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