Thursday, November 03, 2005

Self-portrait of pot, with kettle

What’s to like about men, anyway? They’re pigs. I can’t stand them, myself. I really don’t even understand why women, in today’s day and age, even profess to need us, beyond the given biomechanical procreative function we serve. And I find it especially difficult to believe that a woman with her head screwed on straight couldn’t see through all the prick-waving theatrics and just buy some frozen sperm and a vibrator and call it a day.

Of course we’re not equal. We’re similar, but we’re not equal, and we never will be. Gender and sexuality are the only demarcation lines that truly exist between human beings on this planet. Every other dividing line -- race, politics, religion -- is cultural; they’re learned notions, and therefore malleable. But bitching about not being born with the same equipment doesn’t get you anywhere, because there’s nothing to be done about it, and good luck taking it up with the manufacturer.

Dowd gets no cigar for aiming her crosshairs at Cosmopolitan, a target so obvious it’s almost laughable. She also, tellingly, spends a mere fraction of the piece (one whole paragraph!) discussing the real scourge of feminism, which is cosmetic surgery; you don’t get much more backwards and barbaric than that crap, and Dowd’s own frozen, plasticized features when making her talk-show appearances don’t help her cause much. (In other news: somewhere a pot called a kettle “black.”)

This “feminist movement” of the 1970s, which Dowd is so taken with, seems now to be a bit of a misnomer. Thirty years down the road, it doesn’t seem to have added up to much other than women being able to walk down the street with armpit hair a-hanging. It seems to me that the greater accomplishment was the suffrage movement in the early 1900s, which eradicated an important political barrier for women; this had the effect of weakening archaic social barriers as well. But since history is nothing but the tug-of-war between ideals, men only found new ways to demean and marginalize women. See: Wife Swap. (I remain amazed that women have allowed that one to continue broadcasting.)

No movement’s progress can be fairly assessed from the ground level, anyway; actual progress moves a whole lot slower than it appears to us. Separate idealistic rhetoric from the real meat of the feminist argument from back in the 70s and pretty much the only result you come up with is a courtroom victory on abortion, which to me isn’t much of a victory. Women won the right to do what they want with their own bodies, yes, but at the cost of another (potential) life. I’m pro-choice, personally, but abortion’s a pretty horrific thing, any way you look at it. Winning the social and legal right to hack yourself up, in the name of either beauty or convenience, doesn’t exactly strike me as progress.

I once asked a close lesbian friend, “Of all the lesbians you know, how many would you say really conformed to the whole boot-wearing, man-hating thing?” She thought for a moment and answered, “About eighty percent.” I’ve never forgotten that; I have this theory that homosexuality is another attempt by nature to thin the ranks, and it seems perfectly reasonable that evolution would step into “men vs. women” debate at some point by screwing with our hardwiring a little.

That’s a roundabout way so suggest that these days, women don’t need men. At all. There’s no reason a woman can’t get by without one. I suppose they’re nice to have around, like pets or something, but, ladies, I have a news flash for you: you don’t need one the way you’re programmed to think you do. I can’t speak for the men who find the silicone-packed, Barbie-doll women that grace the pages of Maxim attractive; I find them nauseating, personally. (The women and the men who lust after them.) But it’s deliciously ironic to think that in a day and age where body parts can be replaced, upgraded and modified, just to please some idiot man, everyone seems to have forgotten that the novel Frankenstein was written by a woman.

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