It was published in 1996, so it’s not in the unlocked part of the archives*, but I think about this New Yorker essay by Joanna Greenfield about when she was attacked by a hyena all the time. THAT PHOTO, TOO.
(* Although I just reread it without having to log in, so who knows! Try your luck.)
Posted 7/22/14 @ 4:57 PM
From a note from one of my cousins, who’s home for the summer: “I’ve enjoyed going over to your mom’s and playing bridge with the three sisters lately. They are so kind and gentle, yet when they start playing bridge, they turn fierce and are quick to scold for sloppy play. Wild nights in Auburn, Indiana.”
(It’s like a fairy tale except instead of three Fates or three Furies or a Mrs. Whatsis, Mrs. Who, and a Mrs. Which, there are Three Very Particular Bridge Players.)
But what all these issues, no matter how gigantically separated an Esquire puff piece and a Tennessee mother’s jailing for meth may seem, reflect back at us: How, in this country, every barometer by which female worth is measured—from the superficial to the life-altering, the appreciative to the punitive—has long been calibrated to “dude,” whether or not those measurements are actually being taken by dudes. Men still run, or at bare minimum have shaped and codified the attitudes of, the churches, the courts, the universities, the police departments, the corporations that so freely determine women’s worth. As Beyoncé observed last year, “Money gives men power to run the show. It gives men the power to define value. They define what’s sexy. And men define what’s feminine. It’s ridiculous.”
It is ridiculous, and I wish we could all tell them how little it matters what they think. Except that of course most women, those who bear the brunt of these assessments, aren’t Beyoncé or Amy Poehler—who, not coincidentally, was on Junod’s list of newly un-tragic 42-year-olds. Instead, they are women who may not be able to pay for Pilates, let alone for day care or contraceptives, who may need but not be able to afford drug treatment, who Esquire would likely still rate as not-hot or more likely not rate at all, but whose fates nonetheless rest in the hands of empowered committees on the general value and status of womanhood in America.
I wish it were different. I wish that every woman whose actions and worth are parsed and restricted, congratulated and condemned in this country might just once get to wheel around—on the committee that doesn’t believe their medically corroborated story of assault, or on the protesters who tell them that termination is a sin they will regret, or on the boss who tells them he doesn’t believe in their sexual choices, or on the mid-fifties man who congratulates them, or himself, on finding them appealing deep into their dotage—and go black in the eyes and say, “I don’t fucking care if you like it.”
— The Problem with Esquire’s Praise of 42-Year-Old Women & Amy Poehler | New Republic (via rachelfershleiser)