Sunday, July 6, 2014

No Ladies

Im not quite sure when Feminism turned into Post-Feminism.  I see evidence all around me that the consciousness of the early 1970s seems to have vanished. Beauty contests abound, the media is rife with all the old stereotypes, just in slightly different forms, and much to my surprise, the language hasn't changed all that much.  The "B" word seems to be as prevalent as ever and men continue to put down other men through women whether it be motherfucker, bitch, son of the later, or any of the other possibilities.
And then there is the use of the term lady/ladies.  I thought for sure that woman/women would completely replace that one.  Or so it seemed. The women I knew back then didn't want to be referred to by any term that smacked of "dainty" or "lady-like."  Ladies, they informed the world, were put on pedistels by the patriarchy.  Seemed reasonable.
In one of the most memorable moments from my time spent in Texas I recall an angry young Feminist railing against a friend of mine for making some sort of unconscious statement. "You tiny little punk," she screamed.  He had no idea what he could have done or said, but she was plenty pissed.  Wow, I remember thinking, I need to be very careful in navigating this mine field. My consciousness elevated in that moment, so it was, in the end, a good ting because the language we use can be so biased.  We can be offending people when that is clearly not our intention. All I could do was repeat the words from Dylan's "Ballad of the Thin Man"   ..."You know something's happening, but you don't know what it is, do you Mr. Jones."

I don't think it's happening in quite the same way these days.
A couple of years ago I went to a book conference with authors, publishers, and speakers of all types promoting all manner of publishing from small presses to the top houses in the business.
I wandered into a presentation by a young woman somewhere around 30.  She'd written a book about her misadventures trying to meet a man through her wonderful Italian cooking.  During the discussion that followed, the author railed about a first date with a man that wouldn't pay the check at a restaurant where they met.  She was incredulous. "That was it", she said, "there would be no second date, I got everything I needed from that behavior alone."   I get that; or at least how someone could think that way.  But I specifically remember when women requested splitting the check on a first date.  They were moving away from traditional roles, and men had better be aware of that.  Not any more, apparently.
I't's not about the money, really, it's about the confusion.

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