Lest we all forget...
"I am writing these words in a bar in London in the spring of 1997," she says. "I'm drinking a glass of beer ... My ability to find work allows me to pay for my drink, a small freedom, but it also gives me all the other freedoms and dignities that women before the middle of century rarely knew: to choose whom I should live with and where I can go in the evenings and how I can spend my time ... I don't think about these freedoms ... Yet all these everyday transformations, as well as others - that I use contraceptives, that I work at a newspaper, that I got a degree at university, that I am paid much the same as my male colleagues, that I can vote, that I own a flat - were only brought to me after the struggle and argument of previous feminists."
And I am writing these words from a three bedroom flat in Chicago that I share with a lesbian couple who can walk down the street holding hands in Andersonville without getting shit thrown at them. I have a Master's Degree in history that I got at a university in South Africa of all places. I've literally traveled around the world. I'm engaged in a relationship with a younger man who lives in New York. We're not married, and we have a lot of guilt-free sinful sex because I was able to get an IUD: even though I'm single (some states still won't give you one unless you're married). I work for a telecommunications company that pays me enough to live on and where my boss actually brings and/or buys me coffee. I have my own health insurance. I didn't have to marry the first guy I dated/had sex with in part because I didn't have any massive family pressure to do so. I wear guys' clothes and nobody looks twice at me. I eat alone at restaurants and nobody asks me where or when my date's coming. I can afford to tip well. I travel a lot. I used to take boxing lessons. I regularly lift weights at the gym. I know how to throw a good right cross.
So when people tell me what a terrible, confusing world all those 70s feminists made for me, I can't help but look up and around at my life and realize that without all the gains our mothers made, I wouldn't be living the life I'm living now. Nor would my female friends. And woe to all of my guy buddies who like hanging out with the smart, beer-swilling independant person that is me. Think of all my friends of both sexes would miss out on if I weren't allowed the freedoms that feminism has given me.
That's a scary thought.
Sunday, October 30, 2005
Lest we all forget...
Oh, Maureen, Maureen. Maureen Dowd puts the smack-down on feminism again because she's a high-powered NY Times columnist who's over 40 and not married.
Yea, feminism sure has failed you, Maureen. I mean, look at all the quality men she missed out on dating:
At a party for the Broadway opening of "Sweet Smell of Success," a top New York producer gave me a lecture on the price of female success that was anything but sweet. He confessed that he had wanted to ask me out on a date when he was between marriages but nixed the idea because my job as a Times columnist made me too intimidating. Men, he explained, prefer women who seem malleable and awed. He predicted that I would never find a mate because if there's one thing men fear, it's a woman who uses her critical faculties.
This isn't the first time that Maureen has lamented the fact that everywhere she looks in her NY City superset, men are marrying their maids, secretaries, and personal assistants.
At no point does she question whether or not she or any other women with "critical faculties" would want to date these men anyway.
In fact, this entire column feels like it's been written by a sixteen year old sitting at the front of the math class chewing her nails because "boys only notice the blond chicks."
I recognize the tone because I, too, once worried and gnawed over the fact that I was invisible to all the tall beautiful blond boys in grade school. Once I did start dating in high school I tried to dress and act more fem in order to keep said man, since he, Cosmo, and my girlfriends seemed to think this was the only way to "keep" a guy, and keeping a guy was akin to finding the holy grail.
Then I grew the fuck up.
Decades after the feminist movement promised equality with men, it was becoming increasingly apparent that many women would have to brush up on the venerable tricks of the trade: an absurdly charming little laugh, a pert toss of the head, an air of saucy triumph, dewy eyes and a full knowledge of music, drawing, elegant note writing and geography. It would once more be considered captivating to lie on a chaise longue, pass a lacy handkerchief across the eyelids and complain of a case of springtime giddiness.
Who are these women? Why can't they find honest, meaningful relationships? Maybe because they're play-acting, pretending to be somebody they're not, and turning off both men and other women. So not only are they not getting laid, they don't have any friends either.
Grow the fuck up.
Today, women have gone back to hunting their quarry - in person and in cyberspace - with elaborate schemes designed to allow the deluded creatures to think they are the hunters.
And then they get angry when their prospective mates call them "deceitful." heh
"There are plenty of ways for me to find out if he's going to see me as an equal without disturbing the dating ritual," one young woman says. "Disturbing the dating ritual leads to chaos. Everybody knows that."
What planet are these women from? Just after my first date with B, I conspired to spend the night at his house. When he offered to sleep on the floor, I asked him how big his bed was.
Oh, that's not forward at all.
And oh, look, we're still together and I'm still getting laid.
A few years ago at a White House correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful and successful actress. Within minutes, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
To reiterate: Why would you want to marry these men anyway? These are the sorts of guys who'll tell you to quit your high-powered job, dress more fem, stop eating all together, and dump you on the street when you're forty and marry their secretary.
What the fuck do you want with people like this? I don't even have friends like this. Why would I fuck anyone who acted this way?
So was the feminist movement some sort of cruel hoax? Do women get less desirable as they get more successful?
And here's the bit that really pisses me off everytime I read these backlash articles: why the hell are women so damned concerned about men all the time? Why are so-called feminist magazines and articles all about men?
As K pointed out when I read the NY producer line out loud, "Why's a guy need to be your mate?"
Not only are a good deal of women lesbians, but a shitload more are at least bisexual. If it's about kids, fucking adopt or get a sperm donor. And what's with having a mate? Be single. What's wrong with it? Single women suffer from less depression than married women, in general, anyway.
Pair up with another woman or a guy friend in a sexual or non-sexual pairing and buy a beach house. Learn to garden. Buy some big dogs. Why, as women, do we have to equate our success with "having" a man? Male bachelors with high-powered careers are rarely if ever berated for not "settling down." For them, having a high-powered career is enough. But as women, whether you're a doctor, lawyer, or CEO, your success is measured in whether or not you've managed to "keep" a man. Why? Why's having a relationship so important? I was single for nearly six years after high school, and you know what, I had a really awesome kick-ass time traveling around the world and getting a sweet education. Was I somehow a failure because I wasn't partnered up?
Men, apparently, learn early to protect their eggshell egos from high-achieving women. The girls said they hid the fact that they went to Harvard from guys they met because it was the kiss of death. "The H-bomb," they dubbed it. "As soon as you say Harvard Business School . . . that's the end of the conversation," Ani Vartanian said.
And my response to this is - so what? Should you have not gone to Harvard Law so it'd be easier for you to get laid? If getting married was all you were looking for, shit, you could do that straight out of high school. You could have bundles of kids by now and be living in a rented picket-fence house, and when you're forty, without education or money of your own, said guy could dump you or die and you'd have... nothing. No job experience, no Harvard Law, and bundles of kids to feed.
That sounds fun.
When Gloria Steinem wrote that "all women are Bunnies," she did not mean it as a compliment; it was a feminist call to arms. Decades later, it's just an aesthetic fact, as more and more women embrace Botox and implants and stretch and protrude to extreme proportions to satisfy male desires. Now that technology is biology, all women can look like inflatable dolls. It's clear that American narcissism has trumped American feminism.
It's been argued that American culture is, at root, an adolescent one. And I'd agree. As a teenager, I was really obsessed with all of my supposed "imperfections." I believed that because of them, no men would ever like me, and as Maureen has pointed out, there's some bizarre belief that, as a woman, not being desired by men is the worst thing in the whole world.
But, again: then I grew up.
And you know what? Who the fuck cares what guys think? Why is feminism always talking about what guys want? Why should I care? Cause guys are in power? Then maybe I should become *more* powerful. And maybe the guys who like plastic women aren't the ones I should be interested in anyway. Maybe I should look for some alternatives. There are a lot of other choices out there, and lesbians in the audience may laugh aloud at the idea that silly straight girls are spending so much goddamn time concerned about men.
Maybe you should go out and grow up first, Maureen. Maybe you should go climb Kilamanjaro and help AIDS orphans in South Africa, then come on back home to New York City and tell me just how goddamn life-shattering it is that you aren't getting laid by an NY producer who thinks smart women are gross.
Put some of this shit in perspective, you fucktard.