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What I Read in the Waiting Room of Hell

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From the Tongues of Angels

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December 03, 2005

Comments

Stacy

You know, its interesting watching everybody's reaction to MoDo. I think she's great. She's smarter than most, an excellent writer and totally deadpan in her humor and that throws stupid people off. I'd go out with her. If she'd ask me. But I don't think she will. Oh well.

And I think she makes people uncomfortable because her points about gender, as unpleasant as they are, are basically right on- not in all cases, but in many. We dont want to admit that we arent ready for a woman president but we arent. We arent comfortable with a headstrong, assertive woman like MoDo or Hillary Clinton- many still see them as bitches. And that is the point of her book. People saw MoDo's column about Judith miller as a catfight (as she points out in the article in the villager that Heretik links to above). If a man had written it it would have been seen as valid journalistic critique.

Even Al Franken said a lot of men want a woman who is "nurturing" and Maureen probably isnt that- why does a woman HAVE to be nurturing? And why cant a man be? And why does he assume MoDo isn't just because she chews up the administration and spits it out in her columns? Or cant really smart women be nurturing?

annoying.

[/rant]

The Heretik

Right on, ranting Stacy. Most men will come away from this giving a grudging nod to your argument, but they secretly hope that you do get that date with Dowd and that there is a cat fight. Then they will have a dog fight to be first to get the video of the whole thing. Oy.

Diane

I'm with Dowd about 98% of the time. I often find her funny, though sometimes too cute. The thing that irritates the hell out of me about this otherwise witty, intelligent, take-no-prisoners (yes, I think Clinton deserved everything she dished out to him) woman is her rather male way of discussing "the feminists" as if she weren't one.

Diane

One other thing: I disagree that America "isn't ready" for a woman president. It is the media that propogates this theory, as well as campaign strategists (and sometimes candidates) who base decisions upon the candidate's gender rather than upon the candidate's overall appeal. Some of the worst spreaders of the "America isn't ready for a woman president" gospel are so-called liberals, who are generally too cowardly to stand behind their candidates. Look what they did to Howard Dean.

The Heretik

Diane, don't you "get it?" Just "relax." Relax is what someone says when they can't say something stronger, usually to a woman. The men have already decided the world isn't ready for a woman president (although the men are ready for a Hillary-Condi cat fight). Diane, just "calm down," would you? Calm down is what someone says when the other person's opinions and feelings make the person who says calm down wish he could calm down himself. Oy. Weak men need weak women, strong men have no fear of strong women. On the other hand, I don't understand why Heather, I mean Bush, has five mommies.

Diane

Well, I guess you're right. I didn't mean anything by it. You're not mad at me, are you? How about I fix you a nice sandwich and a glass of beer?


In Bushwomen, Laura Flanders goes into great detail about the nanny White House. Karen Hughes, of course, is the scariest person around. I think she's scarier than Rove, and of course Rove gets the credit (ha!) for a lot of evil I think Hughes actually cooks up.

You don't have to be a mental health professional (although I am one) to see that Big Scary Mama Barbara is probably the reason W. needs to be surrounded by tough women. It appears he didn't marry one, though none of us knows (thank goodness)what really goes on in their private life. But since he can't think for himself, he may take some comfort in having women like Rice and Hughes and Miers think for him.

The Heretik

Diane, I will pass on the beer, but the remote is mine for the month. A sandwich would be nice. A big manly sandwich worthy of a meathead like me. As far as big mamas go, I will take Big Mama Thornton over Scary Mama Barbara. And I like this woman a lot too.

egalia

"One other thing: I disagree that America "isn't ready" for a woman president."

It depends on what you mean by, or expect from, a woman president. If you mean a woman president who can do the job just like a man, certainly the country is ready. If you mean a woman president who will actually do something for women, and even attempt to change the testosterone-biased system, some of us are more than ready, but the country is not.

IMHO

I'm glad to see MoDo is not trashed everywhere.

Stacy

I wish america were ready for a woman president, but I dont think the red states and middle america are and basically the facts speak louder than words on this- we have had one woman on the supreme court througout all of history, have never had a woman VP and have only had two national security advisors and dont even get me started on black people in high office.

Should we be ready? Of course. I find it ironic that we consider ourselves the most advanced nation on earth but many, many other nations have had women leaders.

Do I think a woman could be President and do an excellent job? Of course. But the reality is (I think) that middle America still sees women in the way they did back in the 50s. Is it changing? Yeah. But we still seem to have a problem with a First Lady who does something other than look lovingly up at her husband and take on "safe" issues like literacy and who doesn't threaten the states who dont have water on their borders. How a woman in public life looks is as important as how smart she is. We obsess on whether she's married, how much make-up she wears, whether she's dowdy, whether she's overweight etc. Men don't get that sort of scrutiny. And of course, she's gonna have to go through dyke screening if she's not overtly "feminine." So she better be married and have like 10 kids. You don't think that matters? Just wait.

And I can't wait to see what they do with the "first man". I bet they will change ALL the rules for him. I bet he won't have to sit around and pick out china patterns all day.

Btw, in the interest of full disclosure-I'm not a hillary fan but I defend her when I am in the presence of rabid right wingers who hate her guts for no reason other than her name is hillary. So, I dont want her to run for Presidnt- not because she's a woman but because I dont think she can win because she's too divisive. Also, I dont like her stand on most issues...Anyhoo....

Stacy

opps- made a mistake above- one national security advisor was a woman (condi) and had two secy of state who were women (condi and albricht). Sorry. I keep forgetting Condi is the secretary of state because she sucks at diplomacy. Unless you think telling our allies to f*** off all the time is good diplomacy :)

Anita

I'm not entirely sure how to put it, but it's kind of like Maureen is torn between wanting to be the 50's style Donna Reed and/or a ditzy femme fatale and the successful professional woman that she actually is (not that one cannot be, or have the appearance of being, both ditzy and/or femme fatale AND a successful careerwoman -- surprisingly to some perhaps, but they are not entirely mutually exclusive concepts, something that has been proven over and over again).

But it's almost as if she's looking for a reason to deny her talents and professional good fortunes. Also, I don't buy into her premise that ALL, or even MOST, men only want women who are inferior to them. I think it is much more complicated than that and Maureen should know better. I find it hard to believe she could be so very naive. I also kind of think that her premise is a major insult to 50% of the population. I think just one of the many reasons "successful" or "career-oriented" women remain single or are single for a large part of their adult lives is simply a matter of "time" and "priorities" ... It's very hard to have a serious career and deal with the emotional ups and downs of that IN ADDITION to having the amount of time and energy it takes to nurture a successful relationship and family. It's unfair, yes. But I don't think ALL the blame should be placed on men.

Reality is not often what we would like it to be. And we all end up making sacrifices one way or another.

Stacy

I kind of take MoDo's complaints to be about a society that seems to still want the 50's style donna reed but the fact is economic reality requires most women to need to be wage-earners. Also, women are in a position of having to do it all- we have to succeed and make Partner at the Law Firm and work 80 hours while being the Best Mom and Wife Ever and if you are a woman who says "fuck that" to the second part of the equation, well, you're kind of considered abnormal and not really marriage material.

I guess the question is, why is it so hard [for women]to have a serious career and deal "with the emotional ups and downs....in addition to having the amount of time and energy it takes to nurture a successful relationship and family"?

Men have been doing it for years. Never stopped them. Granted, they werent doing much nurturing. And they werent taking care of the kids, cooking the meals or doing the cleaning etc. But you get my meaning.

Food for thought.

Anita

You're right, men have been doing it for years BECAUSE they have had wives at home cooking and cleaning and taking care of the kids and making it easy for Dad to just come home eat dinner and sit in front of the TV and be the adored father ... (over-simplification, obviously).

The sad thing is that it is an economic reality that most families need to have two wage earners, and two wage earners that typically have to work outside the home and therefore often leaving the children to daycare or being home alone. Not everyone can afford a full-time nanny for their kid(s).

No matter how you try to slice it, women are just not going to be able to "have it all" in the manner in which the early feminists claimed they would. The sacrifices are tremendous and they are generally greater than the sacrifices that men are called upon to make. And, in fact, many women are discovering and/or accepting that the "traditional" roles of mother and homemaker are just as valuable and just as fulfilling (if not more) than going to work everyday and MAYBE (the glass ceiling does still exist, believe me) becoming Partner in the law firm. And, alternatively, you are correct in that if a woman DOES chose to become said Partner instead of getting married and raising a family (it may not be something she needs or wants in her life) society looks at her askance ... the spinster, unlucky in love, married to her job ... all those things.

Again, what I sense in Maureen Dowd is an ambivalance ... I'm not saying it's good or bad, I just think it's the nature of beast.

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