Posted by: littlegirlyone | October 29, 2008

more madness

in addition to consent, i think that i have a hard time with generalities. i suppose i have a somewhat contrarian nature that is probably related to my brattyness, and career choice. if someone says "girls can't do ____," i will be the first to get offended. girls can too! i can too! i'll show you, you idiot. etc. generalities infuriate me, and bring out the argumentative part of my nature. this further explains why i was so repulsed and annoyed by mad men.

the women in the show (and impliedly, the women of that time) were treated like dumb objects undeserving of intellectual respect because they were women. it is a basic generality in action. in fact, i can think of numerous occassions where the women on the show are told some version of the above sentence. "i won't let a woman talk to me like that," "she can't do that, she's a woman," or just the implicit, "i will treat you as though you exist for my pleasure because you are a woman (and that's a woman's place)." these statements clearly strike a nerve for me. i can't stand listening to them. they make me furious. they make me feel the exact opposite of submissive; they incite stubborn, angry, defensive reactions from me. and, the patronizing that happens isn't enjoyable for me to watch/listen to because it, too is based solely on generalities. "i will talk to you like you're dumb/ 5 years old/in need of my protection (i.e. patronize) because you are a woman, and that is what all women need." UGH!

in additon to my comments about consent, this also explains why i, can enjoy this behavior in other contexts (while still being offended to watch it happen to others). when i am engaging with someone who knows about my desires, and that person treats me like this, i don't get mad, i get wet. (well, occasionally teasing makes me mad, but in a very erotic little girl pouting kind of way, not the full blown woman anger and revulsion that i feel in reaction to generalities above.) but i can only enjoy this kind of treatment because it NOT based on generalities, but rather on a very specific understanding of me and my desires. i don't want to be patronized because i'm a woman. i wouldn't even say i want to be patronized because i'm submissive. no, i want to be patronized because i, personally and specifically, adore being treated like a silly little girl that needs guidance. it's not because i'm a woman, not because i'm submissive, not because i'm blonde or curvy or short or 27. just because i love it, crave it, need it, want it, melt for it. just because i'm a very particular little girl with very specific desires. just because i am the girl that i am.


Responses

  1. I am not quite that old enough to remember that the world was exactly like we’re seeing it portrayed on Mad Men, I was a small child and my own experience of the inequality imposed on girls was similar but only in a child’s world–so it doesn’t compare, and it doesn’t convey what it would have been like to experience that kind of rigidly enforced and institutionally reinforced suppression.I do, however, remember reading magazines published about Mens’ interest (my father had a subscription to a magazine called “True” back in the sixties and seventies, a magazine with some topical articles on news, fashion, ‘how to’, sports, and women). When I came across one ancient issue a few years ago, wow did it ever shock me. I realized for the first time just how hard women in the sixties, seventies, and eighties had to work to change the then universally held mindset about women in our culture. What you’re seeing on Mad Men is very, very mild: after all, you’re not really seeing things from the point of view of the women involved. You’re just looking at them being involved in the world of men. I want you to know that that would be an extremely different story, if it were told by someone on the receiving end of some of that endemic sexism. If you talk to some of the women who came of age at that time, and the way they were presented with their choices, you’d be blown away–even if you talk to some of the most privileged (particularly those who were most privileged). They were definitely restricted all the way around–who to marry, when to marry, what to do when the marriage inevitably went off in order to stay married, etc. I want you to try and imagine a time when not marrying was not really an option, it was what normal, healthy women did, and choosing not to marry for reasons that could not be outwardly noted (such as wanting to go into religious duty or devote your life to some kind of charity work) carried a lot of social repercussions none of us face today. We have come a long way, baby.The thing is, when we are talking about being sexually fulfilled (a whole new realm for us women, really, even if you’re young right now), the choice to be submissive usually revolves around some acknowledgment of the way things work in your relationship–as well as the fact that you are definitely confirming your big turn ons, and demanding that they become a part of your sexuality. Being submissive, as a choice, particularly when that choice confirms and fulfills exactly what you want sexually, is a very far cry from being treated as something less than human, someone’s legal property despite what your feelings are in that matter. Hell, the former is a type of fully negotiated, mutually fulfilling contract that grows out of (hopefully) clear communication between equals, and gets you what you want; the latter is just imposed slavery.


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