Friday, April 21, 2006

Let's Get Back to the Golden Age Where Women Were Lobotomized By Their Husbands and Men Actually Got Laid

Who invents these women? Do they not read history books?

I'm remembering an anecdote Joanna Russ relayed in which one of her female students said, "I wish things could go back to the way they were in the 50s. Our roles and choices were so much easier."

Russ wanted to take her by the shoulders and say something like, "You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. You want to go back to the 50s where you had no voice, no autonomy? When you were a private slave owned by your husband?"

Uber easy.

That's one of the false beliefs about the "Golden Age" where women all knew their place and men were happy with their robot wives hopped up on valium (one of the other great myths is that all men were really happy with this set up, too, being married to mute women and having all of the financial and emotional responsibility of the house placed squarely on their shoulders. Yea, right. Partnerships can be oh so much hotter). Many people are deathly afraid of choices. The idea that "all you have to do" is get married, have kids, and get dinner on the table sounds great and "easy" until you do it. When your only creative outlet is vacuuming the house every morning, you're probably going to go a little spastic.

Are things tougher now? Maybe so. But you also have the ability to be financially independent, the choice to marry or not, date a woman or not, travel or not, have children or not, without the intense social stigma that existed in the 50s. Sure, you're still encouraged to marry and have kids and become some sort of superhero, but if you don't vacuum, don't have kids, and don't marry a man, it's not like you're ostracized from the village (well, most villages) and sent to live by the sea where you become the local witch.

Choices can save you.

Putting out for your husband when you don't want to or don't feel like it, however, isn't doing either of you any good. Sacrificing yourself for your kids doesn't do you or them any good, either. Call me crazy, but I think emotionally, physically, sexually, intellectually fulfilled people make way better parents than stifled, angry, repressed ones.

Fulfilled people make better worlds, overall.

Something tells me that encouraging your husband to rape you isn't the best way to go about making a better world.

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

ScottM said...

I do like the 1950s ideal that 1 person working one job is enough to support the family. I know that era's passed, but demanding 80 hours of work to support two people is much less appealing than giving our overlords 40 hours to do the same.

On the other hand, the cultural suppression of the 50s was bad enough that it might be a fair trade.

Catrina said...

You gotta love the idea that in her mind "date night" necessarily means the couple doing "girly" things like eating pasta and seeing Meg Ryan movies (which pretty obviously means "chick flick" in her book) as a prerequisite for obligational sex. As if married couples could never want to just go out, spend time focusing on each other, and relaxing; as if "dates" have to be restricted to dinner and a movie; as if men have to dislike "girly" things like non-meat dinners and Meg Ryan; and as if (those selfish, "date-nighting" )women have no sex drive at all and so must be given "female entertainment" to compensate for the chore of sex.

Christ, what an ass.