Thursday, September 22, 2005

Deja Rant

A couple of the blogs I regularly read posted about Ariel Levy's book "Female Chauvinist Pigs" and Wendy Shalit's "A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue."

Ann Althouse's post was about a review of Levy's book by Shalit in Opinion Journal. Shalit had written:

It may be that, like Ms. Levy, a lot of feminists now regret getting in bed with Mr. Hefner. Yet if you mention the word "modesty" within 20 feet of them their heads spin around like Linda Blair in "The Exorcist."

And in Althouse's opinion:

It's quite possible to reject social conservatism without falling into some exaggerated libertinism. Shalit's title advocates going back to old-fashioned values, so it's no wonder most feminists balk. They rightly want new ways to think about what is good for women, not a re-insertion into the old set-up.
She also stated a request for writers to liberate themselves from that hackneyed "Linda Blair in 'The Exorcist'" metaphor.

Amba of Ambivablog links to Althouse's post, and contributes:

I think that being attractive is naturally and even commendably important to women, and certainly no one is immune to the fashions of their times. But I would hope eventually that women could become more confident and less desperate, could take or leave male approval a little bit more (which would be a much better reason for saying "no" than a calculated "The Rules" strategy to snag him), and would generate our attractiveness from the inside out -- from a powerful sense of individual style, taste, and desire -- instead of from the outside in.
I started writing my own rant about the books, and then had a sense of deja vu. Waaaiiiit a minute. . .where have I written this rant before? It took some digging, but then I found it:

These books and these articles play on a young woman's insecurities. As if we're gonna say, like Big Sam in "Gone With The Wind": "Lawsy lawsy, Miz Scarlett, take me back to Tara with you. I can't take no more of this here freedom."

I had written that in my personal journal nearly twenty years ago, spurred by that infamous Harvard-Yale study that was was widely interpreted as "Ha ha, Smart Bitch, Serves Ya Right!"
I had worked it as a bit in my stand-up act, but sadly dropped it after a while. What was paying the Con Ed bills at the time were clubs where the idea was quick jokes for people who were drinking a lot. Deconstructing post-feminism didn't sell drinks, so I had to think of another way to channel the steam coming out of my ears.

So it's comforting to know that in this all-too-disposable age, I can recycle my rants from two decades ago.

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