Deborah Needleman has been editor of T: The New York Times Style Magazine for less than two weeks and already she’s become an object of ridicule among the Internet's self-identified feminists. Last night, the former Domino and WSJ. editor alerted her Twitter followers to a going-on about town in the upcoming week, sponsored by her husband Jacob Weisberg's site, Slate.
“The sexy (sorry, feminists), smart, sassy Katie Roiphe live on stage @nypl on Wednesday night,” she wrote.
Although it is true that many young feminists do not agree with Katie Roiphe's ideas, Needleman’s real crime was suggesting that feminists aren’t sexy or don’t like Roiphe because she's sexy, according to XX Factor’s Amanda Marcotte. It seemed to me that maybe Needleman was merely apologizing for doing the very un-feminist thing of privileging a female writer’s appearance where she probably wouldn’t have a male writer’s. (If so, apology accepted. We all get crushes.)
Regardless, Needleman's tweet prompted the hash tag “#sorryfeminists,” now also available in Tumblr, wherein women and men ironically apologize for things that are not actually mutually exclusive with being a whatever-wave feminist: liking nail polish, thinking babies are cute, taking exercise classes, being good at cooking, giving blow jobs. It’s a long list because, as far as I can tell, one of the major tenets of Internet feminism is never being sorry for anything.