The Year of the Woman

The Year of the Woman
by Ron Provine


     Last night was the Grammy Awards Ceremony.  I had prior
commitments and could not be in attendance.  But I have heard the
phrase 'Year of the Woman' bandied about a lot this morning and
afternoon by various pundits, so I think it is safe to assume several
women won things.  Some, no doubt, deserved no better while others
were perhaps unjustly stigmatized by being stuck with a Grammy.
     But all this mention of the 'Year of the Woman' reminded me of
that time a few years ago when all these women got elected to various
offices and people were going ga-ga over 'the Year of the Woman' in
politics.  And yet, years later my feminist acquaintances inform me
that men are still jerks, so I don't see what all the hype was about
or what has changed.
    The Rise of the Woman in pop culture has been a glorious and silly
thing.  If you think about it, there is no better time to be a white
male executive.  *Their* jobs are safe.  Ahh yes, the corporate puppet
masters are still sitting pretty.  They show us new faces in movies
and commercials, or re-make the old ones.  Strong, independent,
assertive she-drones who play characters who know what they want and
go after it.  Woo fucking hoo.  Mighty zombies.
    And it's all the same old lie, with a twist.  The entertainment
business says 'This is how you wish you were.  We are going to show
you people who are that way.  Don't you wish you were?  Buy Pepsi."
     Alienation and estrangement are being marketed as commodities. 
The gap between women and men can be bridged, if only women wear
Reeboks and win more Grammys.
    Women are now recognized as having purchasing power and the white
Armani clad Yale and Stanford educated men in all industries are
taking note, sucking up, selling products.  And what has changed?  The
same white men are getting richer, the same old old families get
stronger, the same corporations become more insanely powerful, and
more women waste $100 on sneakers.  Is this what popular feminism was
striving for?  If so, it won.  Huzzah.
    The Grammy awards and the Year of the Woman deserve each other. 
False recognition, false consciousness, chimeras to masque the old old
way of doing things in entertainment and society at large.  What a
happy marriage.

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