Well, that was a stupid month. I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that April is one of my least-favorite months. And I don’t want to go there, because that’s some 8.3% of my existence, crib to crypt. And I like the April weather. It’s perfect, not too hot, but you can get outside and do stuff. But as is the case with all things in life, April is a grab-bag of positives & negatives, and we have to learn to take what we like and leave the rest behind, where we can. This April had the Boston bombings as well as, like all other Aprils, tax day. Our Nation’s First Holy President had His hindquarters handed to Him on a plate after trying to get that insane gun control albatross through the Senate.
None of that has to do with my observation here.
The observation I make here, has to do with the fairer sex. The realization is very, very gradually sinking in, for me, that for some reason or another April seems to be a time for inflammatory gender-role conflict to be pushed, by those who manufacture it, upon those who never asked for it. I don’t know what it is. If it’s seasonal, I suppose the most logical theory I could form would have something to do with swimsuit season. There are women who are unhappy with the progress they made? Perhaps there are some unscrupulous exploiters out there seeking to prey on the insecurities?
The wife and I were invited to a second wedding reception over in New York state, for the benefit of her friends & relatives out there. Wow what a cool deal, the groom gets to get smashed on wine again, but in a different time zone. Anyway, that was the big activity at the beginning of our April. And we were struck by this whole thing with President Wonderful getting in all that trouble when He pointed out Attorney General Kamala Harris is a beautiful woman. It impressed us because I was obliged to defend Obama, noting “[T]here isn’t a thing in the world wrong with what the President said”; it impressed us because, the one time He would have been right to stick to His guns and tell His critics to go stick it, like He usually does — that’s the one time He decided to cave. Amazing! It’s almost as if He’s afraid of facing a stiff fine or prison sentence if He ever makes a sensible decision on something.
It made a deep impression on us that the whole thing blew up the first day we flew in to New York, we stayed just short of a week, and by the time we were getting ready to fly out everyone was still talking about it.
So we have a mod to my power and pulchritude theory, which says there’s a curve-shaped ceiling imposed on how beautiful a woman is allowed to be, as she occupies positions of greater authority. Being a beautiful woman in a position of power might be alright, as long as nobody ever notices. And it must be a partisan thing, since of course Sarah Palin is ticking off all sorts of people whether anybody points out her beauty or not.
Beautiful Republican women are barely tolerable, if they have next to no power whatsoever, like Elisabeth Hasselbeck. If they have no power at all but once did have power, or sought power, like Palin, then they’re intolerable because they’re beautiful, but you’re not allowed to notice they’re being subjected to the hate and the spite because of the beauty; you’re required to pretend it’s all about “Palin’s extreme positions on the issues” — which no one can actually name. The beautiful liberal woman…if you look long and far and wide, eventually you might find one or two, like Attorney General Harris…they can have the power as long as everyone keeps it on the down-low that they’re beautiful. Like it’s a secret or something. Shhhh!
I’m old enough to remember when feminism, or womens-lib as we called it, involved some goal of “having it all.” That meant family and career, specifically. But the appeal was that having-it-all meant bridging a divide, of sorts: The spoils that a woman can bring in from the living of life, by being feminine, along with the other spoils that come about from doing “manly” things, like going to an office and working. The message was that she shouldn’t have to give up one in order to have a shot at the other.
It was a good message. Something has happened to it.
Women can’t have it all. And, bizarrely, it is our feminists who are making it that way. Working very hard at it, from what I can see.
Quoting from my observations about S.T.A.C.I., the five pillars that assure us that in any given new situation, liberal ideas are overwhelmingly likely to fail:
Abundance…[T]he goal must be to make something more highly regarded and highly valued, and the surest way to get there is to make that thing more plentiful, ideally, so that it becomes impossible to ever get away from it. This is a guaranteed fail because no person or thing has ever become more highly prized or cherished as a result of being more frequently seen. Natural laws of economics and human nature dictate that the opposite must be true.
We’re seeing the “A” in S.T.A.C.I. being used to regulate the “commodity” of beauty in women — sweet, strong, genetically gifted femininity. Our positive response to this commodity, wired into us by hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, is undesirable, and we are to be purged of it. And so our field of vision must be all cluttered up with these unfeminine, unappealing, argumentative harpies in their pant suits and bowl cuts, until we learn to like them. We are to be deprived of the sight of a more beautiful woman, day after day, year after year, until it’s been so long since we’ve seen a pleasing, feminine, ravishing woman that we all decide we don’t want to see her anymore.
As I pointed out, human nature simply doesn’t work that way.
But they keep trying. They want to control our preferences, so they try to do that by controlling abundance. Guaranteed fail.
* * *
My in-laws have a ritual of watching morning television, which is outside of my own normal routine. Holy moley, talk about breaking down the gender divide. It’s awful. All the women act like men, and all the men act like women. This Rachel Ray lady is a pleasing exception, she’s a real cutie-pie, although her voice is annoying. Some ferret-faced guy was explaining something on what used to be “Regis and Kathy Lee,” or some other show, and I couldn’t believe how hard he was working to act womanly. I had to wince when he knocked his heels together like Dorothy wishing to go home, or something. Dude. Men aren’t supposed to be able to do that.
From the daytime talk shows, we saw it was time once again for everyone to get outraged about “unrealistic body styles.” My mother-in-law, fresh off of congratulating me on my personal growth as I defended President Obama about something, broke from the formation in acknowledging that straight men were probably not the cause of the problem. But, I didn’t see them let off the hook, either.
Just in case, though, I bookmarked this excellent rant linked by Gerard: “Blame the Women.”
I didn’t come up with the idea of fake tits. I think they’re bizarre. I’ve met about two men in my life who disagree, but they’re both obese losers who never get laid.
Our testosterone is already airbrushing you into perfection the second you walk into the room. We have virtually no deal-breakers.
Straight men are a great scapegoat because we rarely complain. Virtually every time you hear about a woman getting breast augmentation or a facelift or liposuction, her husband is saying, “I thought she looked just fine, but if it makes her happy, go nuts.” Go ahead and bleach your anus. Have all the labiaplasty you want. Just don’t blame us when normal-looking women feel like freaks. You gals set the standards, not us.
So women feel like freaks. Men are handy scapegoats, for the women feeling like freaks. Why is it seasonal? Again…bikini season. Probably.
After all, the vicious and mean as all holy fuck rant by “Skinny Girl” against Kate Upton, was from about this time last year:
Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!
Yes, yes, I know that every tobacco-chewing, beer-drinking, shotgun-toting, NASCAR-watching man south of the Mason-Dixon line would love to get into her pants – but most of those guys wouldn’t know a beautiful woman if she jumped out in front of his pickup truck.
Nope. Don’t blame the men. Heck, we’re being singled out for insults and abuse right along with the curvy gals. Same time every year.
* * *
In service of this misguided, doomed-to-fail mission of making ugly, spoiled and petulant women more appealing and making beautiful, feminine women less appealing, by crowding us with the former and depriving us of the latter — someone managed to get a costume collection on the front pages of Huffington Post by re-imagining highly recognizable female superheroes in clothes that covered up all the skin. Ya get it? The male superheroes tend to cover everything up, so as we find new ways to erase the gender difference, the women should follow, uh, suit.
This is a perfect confluence of bad ideas.
First and foremost, there are reasons Superman’s got everything covered up and Wonder Woman doesn’t. Superman’s a guy, Wonder Woman is a woman. Nobody wants to see that much of a guy. Also, one’s a strange visitor from another planet who came here in a rocket when he was a baby, as that planet’s last survivor; the other one is an ambassador of goodwill who won the right to journey here in a gladiatorial game. Throughout the years of arguing about Wonder Woman in long pants, I have been completely baffled at how little is known about her, as well as about all other superheroes, by those who seek to deck her out in a pair of slacks or stirrups. It really is shocking. They know nothing.
But don’t take my word for it. The comments from Huffington Post regulars are most unkind. That’s because the costumes are ugly. They don’t get the job done. And here’s what I mean by that: If your car is teetering off the edge of a cliff, and Supergirl comes by to save you in her classic Silver Age minidress with the red go go boots, you’d think — Supergirl! Thank goodness! I’m saved! If she appears in her late 1970’s hot pants with the puffy-sleeve blouse, which looks ridiculous — ditto. If she appears in the modern skateboarding-chick getup with the bare midriff, which looks even sillier — it still works. But it doesn’t work with that ridiculous burqha getup. She doesn’t look ready for action. You would expect her to say “You’re in trouble? Hang on, I’ll call my boyfriend on my iPhone, maybe he can stop you from going over that cliff after he brings me a Starbucks Venti Latte and a McMuffin.”
Yeah. Watching teevee and waiting for your boyfriend to bring you things…but doing it in style. That’s what all those costumes are for. Nevertheless, we just keep going through this again and again. As if there were some shortage going on, of uppity and pushy women in slacks, stirrup pants and ugly pantsuits. Because, the A in S.T.A.C.I. Controlling our tastes and desires by controlling abundances, which is doomed to fail. And it always does.
We come now to an ugly truth: There is more going on here than the superheroines looking sexy as a result of showing breasts, bellies and legs. You can look sexy without doing that, of course, and that’s for just one thing. For another thing, there is more going on here than looking sexy. As my analogy involving Supergirl shows, there is the matter of looking heroic, which is really job #1. And there is also beauty. A beautiful woman looks beautiful for a lot of different reasons. These reasons are all centered around capabilities. Even a “kept woman” from the noir age, who happens to be beautiful, is beautiful because she has the capability of taking care of something.
The battle being waged here has to do with the connections to female beauty. The battle is between “beauty is connected to capability,” versus, “beauty is whatever we tell you it is today.” Costumes that show more skin don’t have a lot to do with this, except that a woman clearly has to take care of more things if her costume bares more things. But they don’t have a lot to do with sex, either. Really, they don’t. Super Friends is for kids. Justice League cartoons are for kids.
This is the line they’re trying to draw, and we should fight back on it — vigorously, for it is pure evil: Beauty is one and the same as sex. This goes part & parcel with the notorious modern-feminist ideal of all men being (potential) rapists. It’s surreal, it’s like we’re getting our own version of the Taliban going, on this side of the world: A woman happens to be physically appealing to men in some way, and we men — entirely beneath any responsibility for our actions and unable to control our lascivious thoughts — immediately start thinking about having sex with her. Of course, she’s unable to give consent in that context, and acting out the deed is indistinguishable from merely thinking about it, so suddenly rape is a-goin’ on everywhere.
Welcome to the world of: No, women can’t have it all. They should be powerful, and in order to do that they need to dress down, so us hormone-driven men will stop mentally raping them.
Reel Girl was wondering about what powerful and strong women were portrayed with brown eyes. I offered the example of Tomb Raider, and got back a curious response:
I’ll look into her. My only real experience of her is the Angelina Jolie movie and the pics of her before that– short shorts and distracting breasts. I just read a post that there is an attempted rape in her new game.
This gets to a criticism I have against RG, which I’ve already explained to her: Catching flies with honey versus vinegar. She, and opinion-writers like her, manage to affect a lot of “change” but that is all they do. It reminds me of the guy who comes through and blows leaves around the parking lot…badly. In both cases, there’s a lot of difficulty involved in figuring out if any progress being made toward anything at all, because there doesn’t seem to be an end goal. Lots of movement, though. But Reel Girl is never happy.
Snarking away at Tomb Raider is particularly silly, in my opinion, because here we’re dealing with a character that has slowly evolved to resemble more and more closely a feminist ideal. That includes shucking feminine appeal, like the husk off an ear of corn. These days, Lara Croft has an emo haircut. She wears long pants. She has diminutive breasts. Her hips are not curvy. She looks like a PVC pipe. Before she ditched the skimpier costume, it was in all other respects a feminist dream: She left these two gelding-guys back at her huge mansion, who spoke to her through her headset. She did all the acrobatics, the flipping around, the firefights with the bad guys, the filling the vicious jaguar full of lead from her 9mm pistols. Then the ferret-faced guys would get all scared from the images that were coming up on the monitor from her camera. If there were Egyptian hieroglyphs carved into the walls of the cave, she’d read them. If you needed to know something about Greek or Norse mythology to figure out where the next clue would lead — yup, she did that too, all from memory. With very few and minor exceptions, the fellas, safe warm and comfy back at home, didn’t do a damn thing. Had the feminists taken the time to check it out, they would have been pleased, but most of them never got that far. Breasts. Legs. That’s all they needed to know. Like Lara Croft is a bucket of KFC or something.
You realize how remarkable it is that the star character can both recite obscure trivia AND kick ass? Guys have never had it this good. Ever. I mean, really, think back: If a guy knows geeky stuff like how to read the hieroglyphics, you had to have some other guy doing the flying scissor kicks and filling the air with lead. And the action-guy would have a monopoly on the sex appeal. Since we all know, any guy who knows anything you don’t already learn by eighth grade, must be living in his mom’s basement with an office chair disappearing between his swollen fleshy buttocks, as the piles of Twinkie wrappers grows ever higher…
Lara Croft is everything, though. Firearms expert, amateur gymnast, Special Forces veteran, martial arts expert, published professor of archeology, world’s greatest detective. But, Reel Girl’s unhappy. You could see Lara Croft’s legs. So they covered those up, fem’d her down, made her look like a little boy, and now Reel Girl is still unhappy.
Contentment is, of course, the enemy of progress…but that just goes to show how tragic the situation is, because chasing this fake phony rainbow of “make the feminists happy” is viewed as a process of continual improvement. The producers of the comic books, teevee shows, books and games won’t ever stop because they have no reason to. Feminists yell “jump,” the institutional response has been defined as “how high?” Likewise, the feminists won’t ever be happy, because again there is no reason for them to be. They get what they “want” when they are unhappy.
* * *
What is of particular interest to me, here, is that the gender divide is not consistently presented as trivial, nor is it consistently presented as meaningful. It swivels around, from one to the other and back again, out of convenience. We should be toning down, muting down, getting rid of the gender divide…here. But when we start to think of women as dependent victims, and let’s not kid ourselves that is part of the product being sold here — all of a sudden the gender divide is not only meaningful, but vitally important. Because we have these “rights” that are only supposed to go in one direction.
About the only rhyme or reason I can pick up on it is this: Men are not supposed to see anything in women at all that is particularly special, save for two things. One, it is an inevitability, and desirable, that women should take our jobs away from us because they can and will do them better. And two, in the past present & future, they have some legitimate complaints against us for…(deep breath here)…the way we’ve treated them, what we’ve thought about them, what we’ve said about them, how much money we make compared to what they make, that we don’t do our share of the housework, that we open doors for them, that we smile at them and give them compliments, and finally — and I suspect this is the bone of contention behind it all — that God built us to get them pregnant, and built them to get pregnant.
We are to see them as distinguishably different from us, only as replacements who are destined to send us to the benches, and as victims. Everlasting, perpetual, permanent victims.
Such a mindset ultimately will not heal any gender relations. It will only exacerbate the agitation that exists there already.
And that is what feminism is, as we know it today. It isn’t about equality. It is about aggravating the resentments men and women feel toward one another — while pretending to do the exact opposite.
My answer is a definite no. I don’t want to see women in such simplistic terms. I know too much about them for that; I know they are more complex than this. I don’t want to see them as androgynous interlopers who are poised to displace me in my useful purposes, or file grievances against me, or both. Besides, I happen to like them. Oh and as frosting on the cupcake, I don’t accept the power/pulchritude curve; if she’s drop-dead gorgeous and also appointed or elected to a position that has some real power behind it, I see no wrinkle that has to be smoothed out there, I’m good with it. If she’s fulfilling the challenges, then yes, she should “have it all” as they say. Now here’s the really sad part: In the minds of many today, that’s enough to make you what’s called a “sexist.”
Well, we may not be abusing the women too often lately, but we’re sure doing a great job smacking the language around.