Guise and dolls

Well, here it is, Friday morning. I had planned to have this post up by late last night. But, my schedule flew out the window because I watched the entire 11 hours of the Kangaroo prosecution of Hillary Clinton yesterday. I put the DVR record on so I could pause and take care of chores but, I was there through the entire grueling spectacle, shouting at the TV and shaking my head.  When Geoffrey came home, we both watched and shouted.  By the end of it, we were exhausted. I don’t know how a 69 year old woman stood it, without even breaking a sweat.

Montecito 101

So we come to the post I had been thinking about for two weeks, as I mentioned to my dear friend here, Cole a few days ago. As is always the case, when an idea for a piece comes into my head, it seems the entire universe organizes to provide fodder. That is why I am trying to post these more ‘serious’ topics every other week and intersperse them with lighter fare related to my quest for beauty in this world.  So, if you prefer those aspects of this site, just gaze at the photos I took on the wedding trip and ignore what I am about to say. I won’t mind!

One of the things that attracted me to my current spouse was the fact that my appearance had nothing to do with his interest in me. It was obvious from the start that, for the first time in my life, a male related to me for my mind and not my other characteristics. I think of it in a grandiose self-elevating way, lol, as that distinction made by Margaret Mitchell in Gone With the Wind: Ashley wanted Scarlett for her body, Rhett wanted her for her mind.  What irony.

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What prompted this post initially was a commercial that had been airing here all September, by a work clothes company obviously appealing to rural residents who need sturdy garments that will take a beating.  The commercial starts by showing a stacked female with long hair, grooming a horse (with the obvious libidinal overtones that such symbols have in our collective imaginations) and the voice-over says, something like ‘I am a doll.  With bright blue eyes.  And long blond hair. And cute little everything.’ Say. What?!? OMG. Are we back to that? Every time that commercial (and others by this same company) came on, my BP would soar.

Montecito September 087

This was at the same time that Playboy announced with considerable pride in their evolution to a more elegant level of tripe for the passive prurient among one half of our population that it would no longer publish nude (airbrushed and fictive) photographs of women for the titillary pleasure of those stuck (apparently) in relationships with real women.  No, now, at 90, Hugh Hefner aspires to be GQ or Esquire and their ilk. Obviously a big step up in the literary world. Wow. What progress.  It is ruefully confounding to me too, as, recently, one of Geoffrey’s acquaintances and occasional business client, Sharon Stone, had just posed — at 58? — for that very publication.  Knowing her the way I do, she is a no-nonsense, street-smart, take no prisoners Valkyrie when she needs to be. I was disappointed that such a beautiful woman had to do this as her swan song from the movie industry. Why couldn’t she take the kinds of roles Diane Keaton does? Or Helen Mirren? Why does a brilliant person who happens to be gorgeous have to leave the public eye in such a degrading way? Where are other aging beauties now in Hollywood? Where is Sophia Loren? Where is Kim Novak? Where is Doris Day? Why are they unable to work in the entertainment business, but we have to endure Clint Eastwood and Tom Selleck in their old and craggy age?

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This was at the same time that Anne-Marie Slaughter (Google her if you care to) came out with her latest piece, a book, I believe, on why women still to this day cannot have it all. Cannot really be lead caregivers and rise to the top of their professions.  Even though we now expect women (and rightfully so) to handle the same challenges and pressures and decision making responsibilities that men have traditionally done, we expect them to be the main cook and bottle washer in their personal lives and give little support or respect to their male (or otherwise) partners who would assume that role in their stead.  There is no equivalence between the way male heads of household are viewed and treated and women in that same slot. Still, in 2015.

Meanwhile, I happened to be channel surfing and noticed that the Kardashians (lord, give me strength) have a show called “Dash Dolls”. Oh dear. Et tu Khloe? If you aren’t schooled in K-exegesis, their chain of young women’s clothing stores is called Dash.  And the “Dolls” are … ? Yes.

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Then, I heard — and I still cannot process this — the great white hope for President on the right — John E. Bush say, on international television, that the thing he is ‘looking forward to’ this fall, is the premiere of SuperGirl because she looks “so hot”.  I am not kidding or exaggerating. Jeb said this on international television, before the world. Do you remember the way Jimmy Carter was literally crucified (and they play the clips to this very day) for saying something even benignly similar?

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Next, I hear Paul Ryan say that he simply cannot take too much time for his new job, as third in line to the throne of the world, because he has young children at home and wants to at least be there (watching tv while his spouse does the) taking care of the kids on weekends.  What woman seeking that position could say such a thing and not be shamed out of town immediately?

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Finally, I saw Kat Cole, President of Focus Brands being interviewed.  Thirty-two, started as a waitress at Hooters and is now considered one of the most influential and powerful women in business in the world. Yes, Virginia, women have a mind. We are not just flowers, dolls, ornaments, airbrushed figments of lascivious fantasies.  We are bright and capable and hardworking and rational and strong and enduring.

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Wouldn’t it be better to let a person open their mouth before we judge them? I listened to Mrs. Clinton testify all day on Thursday and it was interesting to hear her answers to what seemed like damning questions. Shouldn’t women be allowed to be like her or Nancy Pelosi, even if we happen to have even features and stay in shape? Must we be pigeonholed and reduced to being ‘dolls’ one day, shortly to be chained to the sink while our admirers turn elsewhere for other, newer dolls? Age seemed irrelevant yesterday too. I don’t want to hear one word about her appearance, not one word.

This is all pretty trite of me, I acknowledge, but these things all seemed to happen this week. So, at least let me give you something a bit more meaty to chew on so this post is not all in vain, literally.

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Oh, and, this just in: check this article out! How timely, see? Synchrony.

Next week I will return to Ventura and give you the underpinnings of my rationale for moving there eventually, with more pictures.

Images: Chez BeBe/hothouse in Montecito – click to enlarge them for detail

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/out-of-your-reach/

22 Comments on “Guise and dolls

  1. I haven’t even ventured to look at the Clinton-bashing as of yet. I can’t stand that these things- as I mentioned last week- are made to be issues. Still.

    I read an article in a local ‘paper’ (it exists solely, to my knowledge, online, so ‘paper’ isn’t really the right descriptor) that cited a ‘study’ that found that men SAY they prefer ‘smart’ women, yet still date the ones they think will most impress their friends- without any potential for intimidation. How is this even a topic of conversations- let alone ‘research’?!?!

    So frustrating- and, unfortunately, exacerbated by women who don’t see the ‘need’ for ‘feminism’. Sigh. One step forward, two steps back, I guess.

    I’m seeing a fair bit of commentary from Americans I know who are looking for a Hillary White House- not because they don’t like Bernie (a guy I find more than intriguing), but because the idea of a woman in such a position of power is so ‘novel’ in the US… There’s a whole lot of backlash against the generations of ‘old white dudes’- which is, admittedly, understandable. But hardly the best marker for choosing world leaders, IMO (which is not to say that Hillary wouldn’t be a good leader- I’m just a little concerned at her card-carrying membership in the 1%, is all).

    Interesting perspective, as always, Beth. Hope you have a great weekend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cole, I totally understand. If I had my druthers I might have wanted Elizabeth Warren in that slot. I was 100% behind Bernie until I saw that he was weak on gun control. That is out for me, in a so-called Progressive.

      The problem with Sanders and Warren is that they can NEVER be elected President in this country while the top 1% control the elections. Voting for one of them is like casting a ballot for the craziest Tea Partier on the other side. It shouldn’t be true, but it is.

      Bernie, god love him, is an old, white, Jewish man from Brooklyn who says he is a Socialist. What are we smoking? You would have to know the inmates here to realize what that sounds like to them. As Bill Maher said, it sounds like “herpes” to these people, even moderates. He cannot win no matter how much we all agree with him (on everything except guns).

      The reason I am for Hillary is that she is not at all from the 1%. Yes, she and Bill are now making lots of money and after the hell they were put through in the first 30 years they were in politics, they are at least enjoying some acceptance from the power brokers.

      But if you look at both their backgrounds, what do you see? Solid middle class — they each had hard working parents to whom no one handed anything –, real church-goers (no matter what we may think of that, their affiliations with their respective religions/Bill Baptists/Hillary Methodists — was there from childhood). They are not phonys. I disagree with Bill on his centrism. I am more in line with Hillary’s realistic version of Progressivism. She isn’t a liberal and neither am I.

      She was an excellent Senator for NY and worked her tail off while there. I think she is a good, caring, hardworking honest person. That is my judgment after watching her closely since the 90s. She will be President and a good one.

      I would prefer my own mother to be President, and she could do it, but would never agree! 😀

      Thank you Cole — I think we are on the same wavelength, as usual. xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had a similar discussion with another bloggy-buddy about the US aversion to anything remotely ‘socialist’. I don’t understand it- but I see how it makes Bernie an unlikely candidate for the masses.

        We have a little bit of that here- but given the fact that we have elected New Democrats (who are considered ‘commies’ by those bright lights on the far right) to some of the highest offices in the land, we’re not quite that extreme in our unfounded reaction to those who lean way left.

        I like Hillary- I do. And I’m hopeful, for all of us, that she will be your next POTUS. I think she and Justin just might do some amazing things together. xo

        Liked by 2 people

        • I got the impression that Canada was more reasonable. Our far right is really crazy, imho. They believe the most insane conspiracy theories and I have gotten an earful from my tea partying sister-in-law Heidi about the nonsense floated re Hillary. It is so nuts that I cannot even repeat it. I honestly never realised how dumb this country can be.

          I think Hillary will win and work hard. She is not as progressive as I would like on certain issues, but she is very close. I want more protection for animals in this country and no one is talking about that, for example. I want her to adopt more of Bill DeBlasio’s ideas (NYC really progressive Mayor). In fact, I think he will be a candidate for President next round and I would vote for him.

          Let’s see if these two countries can bring back some common sense and goodness to our part of the world, and join civilised countries in fixing the planet. Thank you Cole! xx

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: I fear we won’t see her like again… « colemining

  3. Interesting, Beth, that the link in your post talks of ‘being and appearance’ as an inseparable experience. Accepting this as an elementary and universal truth it would seem that we, as humans, have something of a design flaw when it comes to interpreting the being within the appearance.
    I’m just finishing up with my class on a series of lessons meant to provoke thought on our perceptions of all sorts of issues from gender bias to animal rights. It’s been heartening to discover the capacity even the very young (ten-year-olds) have to explore perception and raise their own concerns.
    Maybe, hopefully, eventually, fewer of the old-school Hefners of this world will influence opinion and perception. I loved the Barbie ad (albeit Barbie is still an unrealistic representation of the female form.) The expression on the faces of those encountering the little girls was priceless. Not sure exactly that it will do what it seeks to, but I guess every effort to raise awareness of perception is welcome.
    Fingers crossed for you after Cole’s result. Change is a-coming one way and another. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think children are naturally emotionally intelligent and empathic. We have to be taught to be so selfish as I don’t think it is in our nature. I also think we groom children to see beauty only in certain ways and it has to be recognised and adjusted so the full spectrum of appreciation is cultivated deliberately. That is why I am a huge advocate of Waldorf Education — there is where I see proper understanding of human, and especially early childhood, development and the employment of techniques to emphasise the right values.

      I am not a Barbie fan but if Barbie can finally approach normalcy, it might be a very good sign for this country. We are way behind in this regard, imho.

      Thank you for your support, Anne-Marie! I will be holding my breath until next November.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read this and had an immediate image of some of the kids from the Barbie ad addressing politicians! Their natural sense of justice wouldn’t put up with half of it, Beth. I think children can be selfish in the early years when they first become self-aware or have competition to contend with but they also understand very quickly what is right and fair. I’m thinking back to my two eldest in particular – only a year separates them – and how Claire had to be taught, at a very young age, that she couldn’t have things all her own way. And, as young as she was, she got it. Children never cease to amaze me. I learn more from them than they do from me. It’s adults I have a problem with. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked the “meat” you sent us to or “threw” to us. There is a difference between appearing and being, as mentioned by Helen Arendt. I am a bit sleepy so excuse me if the name of the intelligent woman’s book and her name may not be correct.
    I hope my being around on a blog, in a family and at work~ show something worthy of my “being,” Beth. I could care less and less, whether people say my appearance is pretty if there is a lack of substance in my existence, in their opinion. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Robin. I think you got the name right, but it doesn’t matter. I find my spelling is declining as I get older, LOL! Half the time I have to go back and fix my writing on even common words. I have a sticky keyboard too, so that doesn’t help. 😀

      I go out of my way to look nice and then keep my appearance out of any equation. I want to be valued as a human being with a mind and heart, not a body. So, I welcome the day when women are seen for the full range of talents and abilities we contribute. It is appalling that we still have to even talk about this!

      Hugs, Robin!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your orchid photographs were stunning, Beth. It was fun imagining growing them. Those ones look like they have “faces” on them. So sweet! I do feel looking good or “neat and polished” helps self esteem. Despite my down to earth center core being, I also try to look my best, Beth. 🙂

        Like

  5. Those orchids are beautiful, Beth! Sorry I got around so late to reading this.
    I can no longer watch political debates – they frankly turn my stomach. Too much slick and not enough earth for me.

    I’ll be voting for Hilary, too, and pray she wins the election. ‘Nuf said.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She will, I am now happy to say! We have been watching them and the latest one was such a disaster that even we have decided not to continue subjecting ourselves to it.

      You don’t have to get here early or late. I am grateful that you read these and comment at all Susan, believe me.

      xx

      Liked by 1 person

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