Thursday, February 28, 2013

And now, for something completely different: Iggy Pop, Maria Von Trapp, and Dana Scully

“I'm not ashamed to dress "like a woman" because I don't think it's shameful to be a woman.”
Iggy Pop

No projects today; just a bit of observation, and a little bit of a rant on what I guess is what passes for the other f-word these days. And not as well put as I would hope, but....

I was reading a post by the lovely Brigid Kaelin over at The Red Accordian Diaries .
She talks about how she would like to be in a musical and mentions The Sound of Music, which got me to thinking about Maria von Trapp, who had the strength and courage to change her mind about her path in life, to take on a widower with a bunch of kids, and the Nazi army.

I'm afraid if they ever did a remake of The Sound of Music, we might see Maria coming away from the stage at the end with a machine gun blazing, mowing all the Nazis down and screaming obscenities while the Captain and the kids head for the hills.Nowadays it seems that movies and TV shows with what Netflix would call "A Strong Female Lead" seem to confuse strong women and feminist progress with badly behaved sex-obsessed, substance- abusing, weapon-toting, foul-mouthed, rude, testosterone -ridden teenaged boys.  In rubber corsets. Or really bad blazers and heels. This is progress?

In other words, to echo Iggy, what's so shameful about being a woman?

Where are the regular strong women? The Norma Raes or the Karen Silkwoods or the Irene Dunne in I Remember Mamas, or the Maria von Trapps, or any number of other characters real and imagined that were incredibly strong yet didn't act like guys?  No weapons, no vinyl, no cussing, no meanness, no farting. The problem, as I see it, is not that these new strong women fight or cuss or whatever, but that acting in what is a traditionally male (and not the most admirable male) fashion is being elevated to what is the best and the ideal; what women should aspire to if they want to be seen as worthy of respect.

And it's unnecessary. Look at the character, Dana Scully.  SHE carried a gun, SHE wore bad blazers and heels, and yet she didn't swagger around, talk like a  street tough,  and shove Mulder out of the way to get to the bad guys (or whatever) to beat the heck out of them first. Nor did she wear cleavage baring shirts to work (ha, ah) or act like "one of the boys". Somehow, she still came across as female AND someone not to be messed with.  Like my paternal grandmother -also not someone to be messed with - and SHE wasn't even armed; just respected.

These ultra macho women don't honor us  - they caricature us. They take us to an opposite yet equally ridiculous end of the spectrum from the June Cleavers and those women in the horror movies who always tripped at the worst moment; those utterly helpless female images that feminism was supposed to eradicate. The replacement is not much better, in my opinion, in that is unrealistic and unattainable in so many way(e.g.,  body issues; 'nuff said). Why not equally represent and honor strength of purpose and conviction, dedication to nurturing others, gentility, softness, generosity of spirit, cleverness, intelligence? They're good, too!

And have you ever noticed that the women in many British TV shows and movies actually look like real people and come in a wider variety of shapes, ages and sizes?

And three more things while I'm at it. Why are female nipples obscene, but not male nipples?  I really want to post pictures on Facebook of both in closeup and see what they do. How would they be able to tell which is which? How would they know which to take down?

Why are the traditional female roles and occupations disparaged? Why don't kids' books tell girls  it's good to be a teacher or a nurse or a stay -at home mom? Sure, when I was a kid, those were pretty much the only choices listed, but they're still good. Why does everyone act like Home Ec is unimportant compared to math and computers and sports? Doesn't everyone need to know how to cook and sew on a button and take care of themselves?

How come you can name your daughter Ryan or Kevin, but no one would name their son Betty or Margaret?

What's so shameful about being a woman?

If you're still reading, thanks for listening -had to get that off of my chest.



  1. Love this!

    First of all, I think it would be better if boys were taught home ec. too.

    The thing that tends to annoy me about those hyper masculinized female characters, going along with the fact that they are totally unrealistic in oh so many ways, is that many of them are still really two dimensional- they are *too* perfect, no flaws to make them *people*. *people* are flawed, kids- emotionally, physically, you name it. It's those flaws that make you a human being, instead of a generic 'strong female character' or '50's housewife'.


    1. I agree, Amy. And it's the flaws that make them interesting.