Womanism

I was listening to RoH today and someone was giving a talk on how feminism has distorted womanhood and messed up society.

The speaker gave an account of TV characters evolving over the past few decades. June Cleaver, Mary Tyler Moore’s Mary Richards, Murphy Brown, Ellen, Sex in the City.

The transition is pretty radical, I have to admit.

I was thinking what the male analogue would be. Ward Cleaver, Dick Van Dyke, Jack Tripper, Al Bundy, Tim the Toolman, Ray Romano?

An interesting exercise and it made her point well. But I think something is missing. She should have gone back for about a century to get a true representation of women’s collective journey.

From property to home maker and so on.

It seems like anything -ism — when philosophical militancy is implied — always goes too far.  I mean, we went from women being property, which is deplorable, to women not needing men, which I also find deplorable.

I visited the Jefferson Memorial with a friend and we were reading the quotes.  Like this one, of course:

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men.

And she said, with respect to the oppression of women, “It’s written in there.”

I looked at the quote, looked at the statue of Jefferson and read the quote again.  I was thinking, well when they wrote “men” they meant, you know, everyone.  Like “mankind”.

Then I thought, wait.  No they didn’t.  They meant white, male landowners. Plutocrats.  The term “mankind” probably came about because women weren’t considered entities worthy of consideration.  It was all about the affairs of men.

As an aside, whenever I see footage of life in Iraq and Afghanistan I wonder where the women are?  It’s always a bunch of dudes.  Little boys playing in the streets.  Men at their businesses or patrolling the streets.  Fascinating how burqas and belly dancing come from the same culture.

What was I saying?  Oh, right.  Mankind?  Not humankind?

Christian conservatives are anti-Feminism.  Some of them even make cracks that Feminists aren’t real women, which I take as a jab to counter the accusation by some Feminists that being a housewife is a waste of a woman’s potential.  The ends of the spectrum.

Again, as with many social issues, I see this as a false dichotomy.  As if the only two options are being a stay at home home-schooling baby machine or a lesbian CEO.  It’s time for the end of caricatures.  Caricatures that are shaping our social policies.

I really don’t understand why Conservatives don’t propose and support policies that encourage child rearing.  America is an exorbitantly expensive place to raise a family.

Steve Martin once said in a comedy special: “A woman should always be put on a pedestal…that way you can look up her dress.”

Seems like that’s what we’ve accomplished.  On one hand you’ve got female CEOs and presidential candidates.  Secretaries of State.  On the other hand, “Girls Gone Wild.”  Liberated just enough so that some dillweed with a camera can get barely legal drunk college coeds to flash their breasts or tongue kiss their female friends.  And on the other, third, bizarrely mutated hand female teachers (mainly, in the news) treating classrooms as sex clubs.

This is totally out of context, but it’s a good visual.

Public Schools are the New Catholic Church

Did you see the latest?  In Utah?  Thirteen year old boy having sex with two of his teachers.  The teachers didn’t know about each other.  Every time I see one of these stories I want to see what the student looks like, y’know.  Good god almighty.   I just looked at the Dumbass Daily website.  What the heck is going on?  I think if all of these cases were … if the teachers were men there would be so much more outcry.  Even calls for legislation.  Seems like the country’s taking it all in stride, though.  A little indignation, a light sentence and then on to the next one.

Meanwhile, a teenage girl commits suicide due to a “sexting” scandal.  Teens sending nekkid photos to each other and then of course it spreads around and someone gets embarrassed.  Sometimes someone gets arrested and charged with child porn for sharing the photos (even if they’re teens themselves).

Craigslist

One more thing.  I just saw an article about a sheriff in Illinois suing Craigslist for promoting prostitution.  There are a lot of sex for money ads on Craigslist.  At first I was flippant, like heck.  Why is selling sex illegal to begin with?  Like George Carlin said:  “Having sex is legal.  Selling things is legal.  Why is selling sex illegal?”  I’ve often wondered how Craigslist gets away with it.  It’s blatant.  They even have a section for “Erotic Services”.  ???

According to the sheriff:

“Missing children, runaways, abused women and women trafficked in from foreign countries are routinely forced to have sex with strangers because they’re being pimped on Craigslist,” he said.

Oh.  That’s why.  Even in the Red Light Districts of Holland they’re shutting down a lot of sex, er, houses?  Shops?  Brothels?  They’re shutting down a bunch of them and maybe changing some laws because even though prostitution is legal and regulated the exploitation of women was out of control.  If I remember correctly, criminal organizations had their fingers in the pie.

Uh.  I know you’re not going to believe me but I swear on the dinner I’m about to eat that no puns are intended here.

What?

I wrote this over the course of a few days.  All that smut and news porn I just mentioned were stories in the news tonight.  Just tonight.  I have no idea if this blog entry is coherent.  I think I had a point when I started off.

Something about feminism?

Maybe it was how radical, reactionary movements inevitably go too far and lose focus.  Woman’s right to vote, equal pay for equal work, fighting domestic abuse and victimization.  Amen to those achievements.  A pity that they have to be “achieved” to begin with but so it goes.

But it’s like … well, have you kept up with some of the political scandals in places like Baltimore?  Black people have not been in positions of political power for centuries, right.  And now, Black people are being elected to powerful public offices.  That’s great and heartening.  And yet, there are too many scandals.  Historically disenfranchised, it’s like the attitude is:

We’ve been stepped on and abused and white people have been corruptly looting the coffers of our city/state/country for too long.  So now … it’s our turn, motha f*ckers!  Free jobs for my family and friends.  Kickbacks all around.  I need a personal driver paid for by your taxes.

Sometimes it seems like women said:

We’ve been oppressed and repressed for so long.  Now … it’s time for us to be just as piggish and lecherous and conniving and sleazy and irresponsible and exploitative and selfish as men.  We have overcome!  Hear our “cougar” roar!

As if the mark of achievement of gender equality is proudly admitting to want to boff and deflower teenagers.  Or to feel no remorse or shame after an anonymous one night stand or adulterous affair.

And yes there are plenty of sour grapes here.  I’ll admit it.  But … there you have it.  Just what’s on my mind.  I’m not judging anyone.  Maybe some of those teachers.  But c’mon.  Things are a little out of whack.

Still, carry own we wayward sons and daughters.  There’ll be peace when we are done.

Have a good night.  Create.

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2 comments

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  1. Janna

    I think the men’s list could likely finish with Tony Soprano and Mad Men? Or maybe Ross Gellar and House?
    I would definitely argue that television and pop culture are just radically different than they used to be. (and personally, thank freaking god, at least there’s more diversity of types of trash now)

    • garyarthuryoung

      Yo, Janna Janna! Thanks for the comment. Food for thought, that is.

      I think you’re right. The women’s list jumped from sitcom to cable TV so the men’s list should have as well and that’s a whole ‘nother world. I like ending that list with Tony Soprano. Still a media representation of, like, a guy in relation to his home life.

      It also provides some contrast. Like, on family sitcoms men are de-fanged and are basically goofy, overgrown children being reigned in by their common sense, savvy wives whereas men used to be strong, discipline-wielding pillars of the family.

      On cable shows or the more mature shows, men are layered, dark and give in to all those … urges. What used to be the underbelly of the idyllic facade … that’s mainstream entertainment and generally more accepted behavior in society. Sometimes.

      Yeh, TV and pop culture are definitely more radical. We are, too. (My theory is — just like with gangsta rap — media reflects society and permeates the culture with that ethos, which reinforces/promotes that ethos. Until it runs its course or something new comes along. Culture as market force.)

      What used to be fringe is now mainstream. And that makes for some interesting cultural tics and phenomena.

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