Sunday, April 15, 2007

Things I Am Not Buying

Somehow, this issue of immigration came up at dinner, which was about as fun as you might imagine.

Latino immigrants just don't make enough of an effort to assimilate/learn English. Discuss. Attempts to refute don't work It didn't work, obvs, because at this point the vocabulary of the resources/language/jobs debate is just a flimsy cloak for fear of brown people that doesn't engage reason. Though my opinion isn't really reasonable as in here's-a-workable-solution, either - I want everyone to lean Spanish, I want every public school to be bilingual, I want to see the US move toward being a country with two official languages and no official culture.

I do the same thing with every big problem I'm presented with. Flip it upside down, find the least feasible solution, and become deeply attached to it. So it's been pretty difficult for me to stand idly by and watch the women-working-or-staying-home parade trod the same now-grassless ground for the past few years. While I think all the standard criticisms about how this is a problem one is lucky to have apply, I don't think that means there is not any interesting thinking to be done anymore. Unfortunately, I just don't care. The next person to cash in on the desire of everyone in the entire universe to jizz all over the tits of young mothers while telling them what poor choices they are making gets a sharp stick in the eye.

In last week's New Yorker (missing the stick in the eye threshold by only a few days!) is a review by Rebecca Mead of a book by Leslie Bennetts about how stay-at-home moms are deluding themselves and fucking everyone else over and laughing about it at their monthly symposia. And Rebecca Mead is all, but staying home is a valid choice and emotionally fulfilling and baybeeezz why are you all up in their grillses? "Interview after interview reveals a woman who seems, actually, pretty happy with her lot," Mead writes "at least until Bennetts sweeps in and points out how terrible things will become if her husband leaves her."

Where is he now? Sure as fuck not in this article. Where are the dads in any of these articles, these descriptions of the ecosystems in which all of our professional and feminist choices bind us inextricably? Just working away on autopilot, oblivious to any of this? Patented Violet Beekeper problem-flipping coming atcha - why don't we start approaching this problem by looking at the choices men make ... and at men who make unconventional choices? Is there no thinking to be done there? Is this opt-out revolution discussion not really a discussion but instead an excuse to shame women a la everything else ever? Noooo. Couldn't be.

"But," you say "it wouldn't work! The mens, they are obviously too attached to their provider role and its perks to give it up! It is totally like when they killed antelopes on the veldt, and women stayed at home giving interviews to itinerant authors working on projects about the state of contemporary feminism. I mean, we are talking about i-bankers here."

And I say "why?" Seriously. Do we need a book and loads of commentary on a book about this? Holy shit, THIS JUST IN: SOMETIMES I- BANKER WIVES MAYBE A LITTLE BIT SHALLOW AND LAZY. I- BANKERS POTENTIALLY ATAVISTIC AND EMOTIONALLY INVESTED IN THEIR EARNING POWER. NOT CHAMPIONS OF PROGRESSIVE GENDER ROLES MORE AT SIX. I only know the dudes I know, and the dudes I know are mostly dippy urban liberals (hi!), but I guarantee you a hundred percent that if you proposed to them that maybe you should start discussing how they could work less and hang out with babies more, they would be on it. HERE IS A BIG EFFING SECRET: dudes totally like babies. And they're not even all assholes! Some of them don't even like to go to Hooters, even ironically! I know, right? It's enough to make you want to totally want to punch modern male mythology in the cock.

And I think that journalists who have any investment in feminism would be well advised to punch it in the cock with me. To divest from an anti- feminist-even-when-it's-feminist media paradigm that gets paid for picking like a zealous facialist at women's contradictions and ugly compromises. To examine men's choices and ask them to examine their own - many of them aren't well served by their current options and know it - maybe, if we try solving this equation for Y, interesting things will begin to emerge. Just a thought.

Things not addressed here -

How the constant and consistent preoccupation with stay-at-home-or-work bs has probably done more to alienate black feminists from media feminism than anything else.

The tricky fact of pregnancy. Not that I don't have theories about this.

The awesome New Yorker article about the Pirahã - I also feel like Tavis Smiley is kind of what would happen if they had developed a broadcasting tradition parallel to ours.

1 comment:

rusty said...

i don't even like wings.