Monday, June 7, 2010

the pillow book

"Intimacy is female. Love, marriage, domesticity, parenthood, even close friendships — basically any situation in which you might find yourself having a feeling, without the option of resolving that feeling by shooting something to death — have all, pretty much, been assigned to the chicks. Men have more interesting things to deal with! Things like war, and politics, and careers, and swordfights, and occasionally landing on the motherfucking moon! Granted, men also have families and homes and friends and (I’m told) feelings. But such things are not manly! Let us not speak of them! The chicks, it is their job to discuss these things!

It’s why Jane Austen is boring unless someone adds in zombie fights. (Ha ha, the commodification of female sexuality due to women’s restricted ability to participate in the public sphere, and the resultant struggle of women to simultaneously leverage their sexuality for status and money, restrain all sexual desires that did not stand a chance of turning a profit, and forge happy, affectionate partnerships with men: ZZZZZZZ.) It’s why raising a child isn’t book-worthy unless parent and child are both also dudes trekking through an apocalyptic wasteland filled with feral baby-eating hill folk. It’s why Jonathan Franzen freaked out when his novel about a family got picked up by Oprah’s Book Club and thereby lumped in with all of those other, female novels about families; it’s why “chick-lit” is a derogative; it’s why even girls don’t want to read about girls. Intimacy, privacy, domestic life: All of these are associated with women. And when we associate something with The Ladies, we assume that it, much like The Ladies themselves, is not worth our time.

It’s also, in case you wondered, why one of the best ways to insult somebody’s work is to say that it “reads like a diary.” Because diaries: They are pretty much for the chicks, as well! They have unicorns and heart-shaped locks and glitter on them and everything! And the process of documenting your own intimate life, often admitting to feelings about it, is a very extremely girly thing to do. (Except for when men do it, in which case they are Bravely Sharing Their Innermost Feelings and must never be criticized for anything they actually say.) Like: Remember when people were trying to figure out why there were No Female Bloggers? “There are no female bloggers,” went the line, “but why?” And then people pointed out that there were female bloggers, lots of them, and the line was then, “but why are they not so widely read?” And then people pointed out that they were widely read, but not by the people asking those questions. And then the line was, “well, but women write about Personal Things. And men write about Real Issues and the News. And that is why we do not read female bloggers, which is why there are none. The End! We figured it out!” It works the way patriarchy always works: We tell girls to do certain things (care about dating; care about motherhood; Be In Touch With Their Feelings), and then when they do them (care about dating enough to write about their dates; care about motherhood enough to start a mommy blog; Be so In Touch With Their Feelings that they consider those Feelings important enough to consider at length and then share with the world at large) we tell them that those activities are worthless and stupid and a waste of our time."

this is an excerpt from THIS genius article "What We Read When We Don’t Read The Internet PRESENTS! How Sei Shonagon Invented Your Tumblr." i love tiger beatdown always, but this! please read the whole thing - its scope, wit, and complete relevance is amazing.



adele said...

Ugh, I so agree with everything she said. I'm heading over to read the actual article now.
Gotta love smart feminist writing.

phuongtran said...

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thank for sharing. I will find this book!

naruto said...

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Oakville Condos For SaleI like chapter thirteen because it really showed how much people cared for one another. When Mitch stood up for Kate, it proved that he still loves her even after she put him through a lot of BS