sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

March 6, 2017

The Day of March The 8th

After seizing power in 1917, the Bolsheviks quickly embarked on a program of societal transformation. An integral part of their cathartic agenda was a replacement of traditional pagan and Christian holidays like Christmas or Maslenitsa with newly created socialist rites.  Arguably the most successful of the newly introduced “red calendar days”, the one that the country celebrated in earnest, was International Women’s Day, colloquially known by its temporal marking as the Day of March the 8th.  Not so coincidentally, March 8 was the most subversive of all socialist holidays, and by “subversive” I don’t mean “commie pinko”.

The origins of International Women’s Day are shrouded in mystery.  It first popped up in New York City in 1909 when women workers may or may not have held a strike on that date. In the coming years lady socialists around the Western world led their own strikes on or around March 8th.  One such demonstration in St. Petersburg in 1917 quickly escalated into the overthrow of the tsarist regime.  It is no surprise then that shortly after the October revolution the Soviets canonized the women’s solidarity day. It wasn’t until 1965, however, that the USSR made it into a major holiday giving workers the day off.

The early driving force behind the establishment of the Soviet holiday was a comrade of Vladimir Lenin named Alexandra Kolontai. Here is Ms. Kolontai explaining the meaning of the new socialist observance in a 1920 speech:

Women’s Day or Working Women’s Day is a day of international solidarity, and a day for reviewing the strength and organization of proletarian women. […]

Only the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of soviet power will save them from the world of suffering, humiliations and inequality that makes the life of the working woman in the capitalist countries so hard. The “Working Woman’s Day” turns from a day of struggle for the franchise into an international day of struggle for the full and absolute liberation of women, which means a struggle for the victory of the soviets and for communism!

One can celebrate many things — harvest, liberation from slavery, birthdays of people, countries and extraordinary historical and religious figures, but how does one mark the occasion of “struggle […] for the victory of communism” on behalf of the fair sex?

In 1965, when the Soviet subjects were allowed a day off to mark the occasion of female solidarity, Soviet women were obliged to work government jobs collecting government wages.  With professional opportunities being bleak and stay-at-home motherhood not an option, women were torn between not particularly satisfying jobs and not always appreciating families.  Without the free market working its magic to meet the needs of working families, this was a particularly difficult undertaking. American women justly complain about the double shift, but try working a double shift when you can’t drive up to a supermarket at 10:54 on Sunday night and buy everything you need to feed your family for a week.

There was also a problem with Russian men (and by “Russian” I mean the culturally Russian).  It’s not just that they generally believed women to be all around inferior, which they did and still do, but with the male/female ratio notoriously askew, there wasn’t (and there isn’t) enough of them.  And it’s not that there were so few of them, but that the ones who manages to survive wars and purges are often plagued by problems like sloth and alcoholism.  Women had to step up and do the men’s jobs, be strong when their men were weak.  Ladies were frequently seen on Soviet streets lifting and towing heavy objects, which was understood to be a problem, not a giant leap for womankind.  Those were not perky coeds who thought it would be cool to compete with men or be on equal terms with them, because they weren’t like their men at all.

Add to it the tragic but not frequently discussed at the time issue of abortion as birth control.  The exact number of abortions performed in the USSR is difficult to estimate because many of were done underground, but it’s not a stretch to say that all culturally Russian sexually active women capable of conception had more than one and often more than ten. This all took place against the background of high rate of alcohol consumption and other untreated mental illnesses.

img_0328

I’m not sure who took this picture and when, but it appears to be from my birth city of Kharkov , and it is exactly how I remember the Kharkov’s dreary side.  It has the quintessential Russian feel — sure, the girl is hot, but look at the surroundings

 

In the 70’s and 80’s, when I was growing up, Kolontai’s talk of the overthrow of capitalism was absolutely alien to Soviet reality.  But oh, did we hear about the inevitable victory of socialist labor and other related topics!  Communist ideology was inescapable: pinned to the outer walls of highrises, spewed at politinformation meetings at work and schools, saturated on airwaves — virtually anywhere and everywhere, except for our apartments and especially our kitchens.  What Russian society craved at the time was an escape from the officialdom into a private world, interpersonal relationships, inner feelings.  Personal, not political, because personal was interesting and tangible, and political was gibberish.

I when I set out to write this post, I tried to look up the quote I picked up in one of my seminars that went along the lines that the anti-Soviet was Soviet too.  I couldn’t trace it, unfortunately.  It could be attributed to a well-known dissident for all I know, it could be late Soviet folklore.  The idea here is that everything political is deeply flawed, that the Soviet system wrapped its subjects in the blanket of politics and that politics became inescapable, and that even to resist Soviet reality with a different kind of politics, like the dissidents, was to give into the Soviet system.  Living a private life unbothered by the powers that be was, from that perspective, a true act of radicalism.

img_0325

Soviet kitsch: postcard cuties bring early spring flowers to their love interests

And those, on this day Russian men give their women flowers, perfume and chocolates and children surprise their mothers with handmade crafts.  Wives and mothers spend the A.M. hours in the kitchen toiling on the labor-intensive mayo-based salads for the holiday feast to be spent with family and close friends.

The irony of the situation was quickly noted: on the supposed women’s day off it was women who busted their butts while, in best case scenarios, men relaxed in front of the television sets. (Worst case scenario? They were drinking someplace.). To offer help with housework this one day a year was considered an act of a true chivalry, but I’m not sure it ever happened, or, if help was offered, it was accepted (because who can trust dad to boil the carrots, right?) or if the offer extended beyond the manlier tasks like vacuuming the rug.

img_0327

More Soviet kitsch: Serenading mom on March 8. Note the apron on the dad

The men watched tv, first national channel mostly — the other two channels unwatchable–skipping the Supreme Soviets session honoring some proletarian femmes, perhaps noting a program that bemoaned the way women are treated in everyday life and always enjoying the operetta.  Lots of it was aired that day, with the aria of Boni from Imre Kalman’s Silva deemed particularly good fit for the occasion:

“One cannot live without women in this world, oh no,” croons  Boni. “As the poet said, they are our happiness.”  Organizers of #DayWithoutWomen please take note.

When the Soviet empire came crumbling down, some socialist holidays were disposed of, but there was broad consensus that the New Year’s Eve, which still remains the most important holiday throughout the Russian cultural space, and Women’s Day are worth keeping.  It remains a deeply ingrained part of post-Soviet tradition.  Ukraine’s controversial Institute for Historical Memory proposed abolishing this vestige of Communism a month ago this year, but that fell of deaf ears; March 8 is genuinely popular in this set in its ways country.

In Russia and its former holdings the holiday  continues to functions as a combination of Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day, but with a Russian twist.  It’s perfectly normal for a Russian publication to make a list of hottest female politicians in the country, just to celebrate the womankind.  A more western-oriented feminists in That part of the world, both of them, look at March 8 traditions with suspicion these days, but they are marginal creatures.  There might be a different way to authentically commemorate a women’s day, but, not unlike the real communism, it hasn’t been tried yet.

America doesn’t need International Women’s Day because our consumer-oriented, individualist society developed different, better ways of showing appreciation of women. When Valentine’s Day and Mothers Day are true people’s holidays, March 8 was an occasion celected by the state that Soviet society made its own.  And yet there is something that we, feminists especially, can learn from this Soviet holiday, namely the idea that private life is worth living for its own sake, that at the end personal happiness is all that matters and that it shouldn’t be sacrificed on the altar of second wave feminism.

I want to leave you with a song by Alla Pugacheva, a spirited redhead with clear, powerful voice, who, in the 70’s and 80’s became the embodiment of personal, not political turn in the Soviet psyche.  She sang of feelings and relationships, love and artists, childhood and motherhood, and it resonated.  I didn’t appreciate Soviet pop at the time, but now, looking back, I get the phenomenon.  So here is One Million Scarlet Roses, her mid-80’s megahit we expected to hear on the first national channel at prime time on International Women’s Day.

February 4, 2016

Everyday Feminism

Filed under: feminism, immigration, jihad, politics — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:36 am

One August in the mid-80’s my mom took me and my sister to Yalta.  We usually vacationed elsewhere because this Crimean city, although unquestionably beautiful, was horribly overcrowded.  That year my sister was busy with university entrance exams all summer, so, after she passed, my mother decided to do something extravagant for her in the one week remaining before the beginning of the school year, and took us to Yalta.

Jurmala

No, this is not Yalta, this is Jurmala, a Latvian town on Baltic sea circa 1970.  The semi-naked human mass above is comparable to that of any other Soviet vacation paradise.  It’s hard to believe, but a jam-packed beach is somewhat of an object of Soviet nostalgia today.  Russia staged these types of human ant farm pictures in Yalta last summer by closing some of the beaches and crowding others

We rented out a half a room (well, a Soviet vacation) from a lady who lived five minutes away from the beach.  The lady that lived in the other half and was very talkative.  No problem, we thought, we are not planning on spending time in that room anyway.  We put on our swim suits and shorts and headed out.

Two blocks away from the beach we were approached by a young cop.

“Hello! Where are you from?” He asked politely.

We were taken aback.  This is not how Soviet authority figures typically approach citizens.  “Kharkov,” Replied my mother.

“So do you dress like that in Kharkov too?” He pointed to mine and my sister’s shorts. “This is way too short!” He all of a sudden became a Soviet authority figure, berating us for something that’s not any of his business in a first place.  He scolded us for a few minutes after which he said good buy and moved on to the next group of female vacationers.  A few months later we saw him on national TV admonishing some ingénues.

My mother was upset: No, we don’t wear this clothes in Kharkov, but Kharkov is not a resort town.  And here, two more blocks and we’ll be in our bikinis!

On a positive side, he didn’t throw acid on us, as our Iranian buddies would had done.  That young cop was pretty comical actually.  All his efforts didn’t make a dent in the beach-goers state of undress. But by then the Soviet Union was falling apart and 70 years of pent-up sartorial frustration was exploding in bright colors and mini skirts.  And designer labels on girls whose families, presumably, couldn’t afford any new clothes at all.

I don’t take my ability to dress the way I want for granted.  That’s why I view some of recent arrivals in my town with unease.  There’s a lot of heads carves and two women have only eyes open to the elements.  Their men dress more or less like normal Western men, but women and even elementary school girls are clearly marked as tribal-religious property.

iranian

A classic: an Iranian woman before the revolution

The new arrivals’ dress code doesn’t simply signal their status; it has implications for me and my daughter.  As the European New Year’s Eve rape rampage confirmed, in the eyes of quite a few Muslim men Western women are one step above prostitutes.

I think it’s very important to show that we are not about to change our ways just because Muslim families settled in the nearby Section 8 (or whatever it’s called now) housing complex.  For instance, I always try to make eye contact with Muslim men and smile.  I wear skinny jeans and skirts that bare my knees.  If I’m ever in a situation where I can shake hands with a Muslim man, I’ll initiate it.

The other day I was walking towards the Target entrance when two women in head scarves and a male relative of theirs approached the entrance from the other side.  I made sure to get in 5 steps in front of them and, for myself, for my daughter and for every woman in Tehran, brushed my hand through my hair.

I don’t think I will personally ward off jihad, but on the other hand American women not as easy of a target as European women.  A 17-year-old Danish girl who fought of an assailant with pepper spray was recently told that she will be charged because pepper spray is illegal in Denmark.  This cannot possibly happen in the US, and the men entering the country must know it.

We can look at Israel as a model for assimilation.  The Jewish state has a pretty good record (well, all things considered) bringing their Muslims into the 21st century, and it’s known for beautiful modern women and Uzis.  I’d rather be Israel than Denmark.

Israeli

Another classic: A beach in Israel

January 15, 2016

David Bowie, Founding Father of Third Wave Feminism Dead at 69

Filed under: feminism, music, politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:27 am

Third wave, or sex-positive feminism, has two dads and one stepmom.  The stepmom is Camille Paglia, the writer who redefined feminism for the 1990’s.  Not ivory tower feminism, of course, and academics-establishment types will never give her the full credit.  Second wave feminism, as RS McCaine argued, albeit I can’t find the exact quote, was a reaction against the sexual revolution and the liberal men.  It made personal political and deemed all sex a rape. What was new about the third wave?  The idea that women derive power from sex and the aestheticism. Those ideas are Paglia’s.  It was Paglia who spoke to the masses, it was Paglia who made most sense.

Paglia was hugely influenced by David Bowie, something she talked about at length after his passing:

Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust period in the early 1970s had a staggering influence on me. I had been writing about androgyny in literature and art in my term papers in college and grad school, so Bowie’s daring experiments seemed like the living embodiment of everything I had been thinking about. It’s hard to believe now, but when I submitted the prospectus for Sexual Personae in 1971, it was the only dissertation about sex in the entire Yale Graduate School. I completed it in 1974, while I was teaching at my first job at Bennington College in Vermont. One of the supreme moments of my life as a student of culture occurred in October 1973, as I was watching NBC’s “Midnight Special” in my apartment in Bennington. It was a taping from London of “The 1980 Floor Show,” Bowie’s last appearance as Ziggy Stardust—a program oddly never broadcast in the U.K. Bowie looked absolutely ravishing! A bold, knowing, charismatic creature neither male nor female wearing a bewitching costume straight out of the Surrealist art shows of the Parisian 1930s: a seductive black fish-net body suit with attached glittery plaster mannequin’s hands (with black nail polish) lewdly functioning as a brassiere. I instantly realized that Bowie had absorbed the gender games of Andy Warhol’s early short films, above all “Harlot,” with its glamorous, sultry drag queen (Mario Montez). Hence I viewed Bowie, who became one of the foundational creators of performance art, as having taken the next major step past Warhol in art history. I never dreamed that someday I would see that brilliant fish-net costume inches away in a display case at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where I was lucky enough to catch the V&A’s Bowie costume show two years ago. It was a sacred epiphany, like seeing a splinter from the True Cross.

The two Bowie albums that had the biggest impact on me were Aladdin Sane (1973) and Young Americans (1975).   Bowie’s haunting, hypnotic “Lady Grinning Soul,” with its rippling, rhapsodic piano work by Mike Garson, is a masterpiece of art-rock. My own highly controversial view of women in the expanded version of Sexual Personae(published by Yale Press in 1990) can really be seen as an epic extrapolation of “Lady Grinning Soul.” That song reaffirmed everything I had intuited about mythological woman from all kinds of sources—from classic Hollywood movies to the masterpieces of the Louvre! Then there’s “Fascination” (on Young Americans), which Bowie co-wrote with Luther Vandross and recorded in Philadelphia. As I wrote in my essay for the V&A, this gospel/funk anthem is Bowie’s artistic manifesto, the closest we may ever come to a glimpse of his creative process, both passionate and agonized. Yes, passion—emotion! Because that is what separates the great Bowie from all those sterile postmodernist appropriators, with their tittering irony. Bowie drew titanic power from his deep wells of emotion. Plus as a mime artist, he was a dancer, grounded in the body. He never stupidly based gender in language alone—like all those nerdy post-structuralist nudniks who infest academe. Who the hell needed Foucault for gender studies when we already had a genius like Bowie?

Bowie loved Paglia back, naming Sexual Personae one of his favorite books of all time.

david-bowie-112_zpsbjeddjnt

One of the many faces: Bowie as a Sphinx

Bowie’s aesthetic sensibility resonated throughout feminist circles. He is probably the single greatest influence on post-Punk in all of its forms, including feminist riot grrrls.  Riot grrrl bands came in full force in the early 90’s; they married the standard-issue feminist message to a space oddity of female sexuality.  In their genre, the stage show is the most important part of musicianship, and their personaes have to be reaffirmed in every performance, Bowie-style, with a collage of glitter, striptease, lesbianism and profanity of the most hard core punk variety.  Their shtick is that on one hand they are reclaiming girliness, on the other — they are tough, so tough. Ironically their oh-so-empowering storm of the male-dominated music industry took place post-AIDS when the rock-n-roll scene was sufficiently tamed by the disease.

0534ef85efc86796d200128c3acbe60b_zpsuuq72ouz

The grrrl singer of Bikini Kill is of a conventionally good-looking variety.  Something she works *with*, not *against*

Beyond riot grrrls, when young women urge each other to grow arm pit hair and dust it with glitter, they are trying to think like Bowie.  When they parade down the streets of our cities in nothing but bras and panties, allegedly protesting unwanted attention, they are channeling Bowie in a fishnet bodysuit. If by no means conventionally good-looking Bowie fashioned himself into a sex symbol through sheer will, then they too are beautiful.  You might think SlutWalks are a dorkfest, but the gals think they are in an 80’s music video.

In literature (well, autobiography) and cinema there are the likes of Elizabeth Wutzel and Lena Dunham who are also working within this particular tradition that Bowie sired.  They are the foul-mouthed glitter girls ready to spread their legs for anyone sufficiently well-versed in inner workings of their subculture: Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am!  And I bet they have this and a few other Bowie songs committed to heart.

It should be noted that grrrls’ own invention was to throw the images of strong and healthy pre-pubescent girls into the sexualized Bowiesque mix.  If Lena Dunham didn’t found it very easy to tell us how she molested her younger sister, it’s probably because she saw images of innocence juxtaposed against sexual deviancy all her life.  Not saying that grrrls approved of Dunham’s behavior.

tumblr_lvzysxcnyo1qij7gp_zps2xv9c4xf

From a 90’s grrrl zine

This is all terribly ironic considering the circumstances of Bowie’s death, as noted by Brendan O’Neill:

[…]I want to pay tribute to another of Bowie’s feats, which strikes me as quite extraordinary: the fact that he kept his cancer private, or ‘secret’, as the press insists, for 18 months. This, more than anything, has blown me away today. In this era of too much information, when over-sharing is virtually mandatory, Bowie’s decision to suffer away from the limelight, among those closest to him, appears almost as a Herculean achievement.

As if beneath all his masks and extravagances the real David Bowie was a private person. To Bowie personal wasn’t political.  He lived his life as if it was a piece of art and kept away from politics.  As a person he remained an enigma.

The second father of third wave feminism was Bill Clinton whose affairs forced the most doctrinaire of feminists to concede that men and women have sexual appetites.  Otherwise mattress girls would have been running around college campuses twenty years ago.

So there it is: a dissident feminist, a closet heterosexual (as Bowie once referred to himself) and the most powerful man on Earth gave us the current reincarnation of women’s movement.  I leave you, my friends, with Suffragette City.  I have no idea what the song means, not sure Bowie himself knew, but it’s one of his best and it seems fitting for the occasion:

December 9, 2014

50 Shades of Lena

Filed under: feminism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:30 am

I wasn’t quite following the campus rape stories that seemed to spring up out of nowhere, and Lena Dunham’s wholly made up date rape was not on my radar until a few days ago.  I’m yet to see an episode of Girls, and I didn’t read the Dunham’s book, but this jumped out at me:

After a month-long investigation that included more than a dozen interviews, a trip to the Oberlin campus, and hours spent poring through the Oberlin College archives, her description of the campus remains the only detail Breitbart News was able to verify in Dunham’s story of being raped by a campus Republican named Barry (here and later the bold is mine, — S).

Barry?  Which Barry?  Two years ago Dunham, as you recall, compared voting for Barack Obama to to loosing her virginity, so her overture to Mr. President is well-documented.  Scratch that.  It’s not your run-of-the-mill overture; she anticipates the rendevouz with a black power figure to be so awesome that all her previous exploits will no longer count.

Somewhere in Hollywood

Dunham’s on-screen character, I hear, once dated a black Republican, which the sitcom creator compared to dating a Nazi:

My personal position is that you should date anyone you want so long as they treat you respectfully and share your value system. So it might be hard for me to date someone who was against gay marriage and abortion rights — I don’t think I would be attracted to them — but I don’t have any personal problem with dating a Republican. I do think that Hannah has this reverse ignorance where she’s like,If they’re Republican, get them out of my airspace, and that was a fun thought to explore.

When most American women wouldn’t date a Nazi because Nazism is a murderous ideology, Dunham claims that she is not attracted to people who have different opinions.  Fair enough… except that she doth protest too much.  Mundane political opinions are hardly titillating, and the mastermind of Sex in The City knock off should sense that.

In Dunham’s world Republicans are a forbidden fruit, and no matter how much she’s secretly attracted to members of this group, she can only fantasize of a sexual encounter taking place under special circumstances.  A Republican’s ethnic minority status can potentially provide a counterbalance to his otherness — all blacks are good, all Republicans are evil.  Or else sex has to be forced. Or both.

I’m curious if there is more examples of Lena hatef***ing The Other out there.  She probably does have some peculiar fantasies of race and power.

UPDATE: Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for linking.

August 19, 2014

Existential Feminist

Filed under: feminism — Tags: — edge of the sandbox @ 9:39 am

Career women in New York City are submitting themselves to hormonal treatments:

Fashionable New York professional women gathered at a first-of-its-kind “egg-freezing party” this week — where they sipped champagne while learning how to scientifically put off motherhood until they decide that they’re fully ready.

Dubbed “Let’s Chill,” the event was sponsored by a company called EggBanxx, which is cutting the cost of egg freezing and marketing it to young go-getters who want to be ready for kids later in life.

“I don’t have a significant other . . . but I hope to one day and have kids,” said attendee, Donna Kanze, 35, of Manhattan, who has a career in the technology sector. She’s already signed up for egg freezing.

“I want to take my fertility into my own hands, rather than put pressure on the person I have my next relationship with,” she said.

“I don’t want to be in the position when I’m in my late 30s and panicking because I haven’t found the right man and I’d compromise and take anyone off the street!”

Does she want to be in a position of having a baby alone at 50?

One day Donna Kanze will die, and before then she’ll get old, and a decline in fertility is a part of aging.  With age her looks will fade, and so will her chances of finding an attractive partner.  Cutting edge medicine and top of the line beauty products can help her retain her looks and fertility longer, but they can’t make them last forever, and sooner rather than later these New York professional women will find themselves running against the same biological clock.  The time to panic is not 35, but 26.

I hear that single, professional, straight women outnumber men in NYC.  These women made a choice to build their careers before starting families, and they built their careers in the most exiting place in the world.  They are making a choice to continue to work and  live there even though they know that their chances of pairing up in the City are not so good.  If they hadn’t met anyone yet, what makes them think that they will in the next few years? If family is important to these women (as I suspect it is because they are shooting up hormones), they should try a different approach to finding love rather than buying up a little time to do more of the same.

Egg-freezing can temporarily relieve the angst, but it doesn’t eliminate the basic career versus family choice they are facing.

When EggBanxx’s marketing director Leahjane Lavin, 34, announced that she just underwent two cycles of egg freezing herself, the crowed whooped with approval.

“The pressure is off, and I feel so empowered,” she said of her feelings after she socked away her eggs for a later date. “I can now concentrate on my career and becoming who I want to be before having children!”

Refusing to face one’s own mortality does not a powerful woman make.

May 30, 2014

Sauce on The Tablecloth

Filed under: feminism, Soviet Union — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:50 pm

A lady who once wrote that “it has taken me 32 years to understand how to take care of myself” penned an essay calling for a national conversation on 3rd-wave-feminism-compliance of feminine hygiene products.  She proposed the thesis that the use of tampons alienates women from the natural power bestowed on them by menstruation.  (Question: why do menses stand for female power but childbearing is scoffed at?)  The revelation was all inspired by a rap video, titled “Tampons and Tylenol” (what else?) because to really understand where we are as a society, look no further than popular culture, especially black popular culture as it’s more authentic.  (Actually I kind of agree about pop culture being a mirror of society, but, gosh, it’s such a feminist cliche!)

The onset of menses is a huge event for girls, who talk about it quite a bit among themselves –so I’m not surprised that in our let-it-all-hang-out culture the topic finds its way into a song here or there or a sitcom features a joke about it.  More interesting is that the contemporary Western grown ups are so uninhibited about the whole monthly trouble thing.

In my early teens in the Soviet Union, which happened to be in the 1980’s, I had to deal with pretty heavy logistics.  Our only option was a special rubber “belt”, panties really, and inside of the “belt” we laid a runner of cotton which had to be removed and replaced once soaked.  On a heavy day, we’d carry around a spool of cotton.  Once the “monthly” was over, we cleaned and stored the device.  The “belt” was purchased at pharmacies, where, once there was no men around, we whispered the name into the ear of a woman behind the counter who then discreetly slid it into the shopper’s purse.

My “belt’s” edge rubbed against my hip, and by the time I left USSR at the age of 16, I developed a scar that did not heal until a few years later.  I suppose as far as the scars of socialism go, that one was rather superficial.

Once we crossed the border, I could choose from a variety of products, all more convenient and humane than the ones I had before.  But what if some peeping Tom was watching me shop?  To my astonishment, Western women dragged colorful plastic bags of tampons to the check out counters of supermarkets where they were often rang up by men, and the men seemed to pay little or no attention to what went down the conveyer belt.  Heck, no-one at the supermarket expressed any interest in what was rolled in the shopping cards in the plain view of the customers.  What, no sex maniacs of capitalism?

And Western women, have they no shame?  Or maybe that’s what civilization is like because, to quote Chekhov: “A good upbringing means not that you won’t spill sauce on the tablecloth, but that you won’t notice it when someone else does.”

Somewhere on the way to motherhood periods ceased providing endless fodder for girl talk.  Then childbirth and nursing became preferred subjects of powder room conversations.  Mostly I’m happy that consumer society makes it easy for a woman to go on with her life, even when bleeding and in pain.  I don’t believe a feminist needs to take any position on feminine hygiene products other than to promote economic system that eases inconvenience and perhaps celebrate the society that does not make a big deal out of it.  Then again, I don’t believe that personal is political.

January 26, 2014

Is It OK To make Fun of Women Nearly 20 Years Younger Than Me?

Filed under: feminism, parenting — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:20 pm

It’s easy to go incognito with a name like Amy Glass.  When a feminist named Amy Glass wrote an anti-mom screed, my first thought was to check out her age.  It was practically impossible since there are so many Amy Glasses out there, so all I have to go by is that she sounds like a rather immature 23.

Ms. Glass confidently announced that she looks down on young wives and mothers:

You will never have the time, energy, freedom or mobility to be exceptional if you have a husband and kids.

I hear women talk about how “hard” it is to raise kids and manage a household all the time. I never hear men talk about this. It’s because women secretly like to talk about how hard managing a household is so they don’t have to explain their lack of real accomplishments. Men don’t care to “manage a household.” They aren’t conditioned to think stupid things like that are “important.”

And there I was, thinking that I’m doing the most important job in the world — raising the next generation of citizens.

It’s amazing how little respect people who make the world go round get these days.  Me, I’m just a lowly housewife — but Amy Glass, she blogs for Thought Catalog.  Now that’s a job for the ages!

Judging by the originality of her ideas, the young woman is destined to be a foot soldier of the pink sneaker brigade for years to come.

Feminist leaders want followers, and they found a faithful one in Ms. Glass; good for them.  But what’s in it for Ms. Glass herself? Perpetuating one’s genetic material and one’s values onto children is a kind of immortality.  Very few women (or men, but especially women since we are more ordinary) are capable of achieving immortality by other means.

Amy Glass’s profile photo.  Ripped jeans + laptop = free spirit + “big ideas”

On the plus side, by eschewing young motherhood Amy ensures that she has time to party.

I’m looking forward to reading about Glass injecting round after round of hormones 15-20 years from now.

UPDATE: Linked by Linda Szugyi over at Da Tech Guy — thank you!

Older Posts »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: