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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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