Monday, December 05, 2005

A nice break from all this war and death or “Always walk up to the shrimp bowl like you own it”

Maureen Dowd: Her book (“Are Men Necessary?”) and her tv interviews/appearances are looming large in my life right now. The simple fact that she’s bringing feminist thought and theory back into the mainstream (her version of it; no matter how it will be received).

Her best appearances have been with Tim Russert and Charlie Rose (sigh). Normally petrified of appearing on TV, she's at ease with both of these wonderful interviewers and has an obvious history with both of them. And let's give Mr. Rose some major credit for being simultaneously casual & flirtatious (they told each other they were the perfect catch, and implied they should stop the interview to er--"go away" together) extremely aggressive, smart journalist (trying to get the dirt on the Times, Judy Miller, Bush 41 and WMD. whew!)

When she was with Russert, she mentions how they were contemporaries and friends in the early 70s, when they were in their twenties. (She even throws in the fact that he dated several of her friends, and they all said, “how nice you were, Tim.”hahahahha) She calls this time period the “White Heat of the sexual revolution,” and describes how much women thought they were on the road to a sort of utopia of gender equality (where women could accomplish anything they wanted professionally and academically and men would be attracted to powerful, smart, successful women). She then asks Tim if he thought the same thing. He says, “As women became more accomplished, etc. there was a sense that they would become more like men.”

And that, Dowd explains, was the mistake we made. “Women thought they had to ape men in every way. In dress, they way they work, even in orgasms. And that turned out to be not tenable. We then had to start all over; re-shape our world with *our* needs and desires.” She talks about (more in depth in her book) how evolutionary biologists keep coming up with evidence that men and women are less alike than any of us ever thought.

YES. Men and women are different! But WHEN are we going to stop with all of the fucking love songs. ALL the emphasis on dating, mating-for-life, marriage, etc. Can we ever move BEYOND it? Why, for example, was there a scroll below the televised head of Maureen Dowd that said “Maureen Dowd is 53 years old and has never been married?” Are you fucking kidding me? (OK, sure that’s kinda funny. It made me think of “Careful girls, he’s married,” for John on Ed Sullivan)

The Clash, the Clash, the Clash. That is what I will always come back to. They did it. They are one of the most important rock bands ever and they refrained from love songs. They were not love sick. They were sick of what was going wrong in the world. Sure, they probably cared about their insular world more than anything else, but they wrote songs that served as biting commentary and they critiqued the hypocrisy and fukedupbullshit in the world. I’m not saying down with love, or down with sex (gawd forbid!!) As a woman, I want fewer songs about boys, less magazine advice, less obsession with weight and appearance. Less, less, less.

This is what Maureen comes to when she talks about the 180 degree reaction that women of my generation have spun in. They don’t give a shit about who is being placed on Supreme Court or what impact it has on their freedoms. They give a great deal of thought, however, on 507 ways to “please your man” when they’re reading Cosmo at the gym. She talks about the horrendously “retro” techniques that women use; citing how women now want their sexuality assessed by the guy’s willingness to pay for dinner.”

When she talks about the old feminism (second wave of the 60s and 70s) she says she just didn’t fit in. She didn’t dig “grey turtlenecks and unisex jeans,” and considers herself a fan of “heels and makeup.” But, now, she says, we’ve gone much too far in the other direction. One of the best bits, talking about the Gloria Steinem quote: “All women are bunnies,” she says, “That was an insult! Not something to aspire to!” How so many women want the same plastic tits and lips and the same Maxim body. [and, yes, the picture above is of Debbie Harry when she was a...BUNNY.]

Maureen said it: “American narcissism has trumped American feminism.” BLECH. SO true and so pathetic.

PS (aka To brag in the music head way): Because Dan fed my iPod with 148 songs (or so) of “iPod food” He brought me up to 7 days worth of music. That’s 2,735 songs. And I’m not even close to being all filled up on that thing. Good lord I love that material object like a baby, my car, a man.

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