Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

Mandi talked about Gabby Douglas and the kerfuffle about her hair.  I'm listening to Game Change (I know, it's old, but it's taken me a long time to be willing to revisit the serious anger I developed over the 2008 campaign), and spending a lot of time thinking about how everybody from the Democratic Establishment to the press to Bill Clinton treated Hillary in the 2008 campaign.  And it's not like people were nice to Michelle Obama in that campaign.

Basically, I'm thinking a lot about the expectations we have for women in public life.

Here are some of the things that drive me to think about this topic.

The Can't Madonna Just Shut Up and Go Away Theme:

  • Elton John says Madonna's career is over, she's "a nightmare," she "looks like a fairground stripper," and she has been "so horrible" to Lady Gaga.  Setting aside the fact that Elton has done his own crazy, silly things and has now been "so horrible" to Madonna himself, I feel like there is a story every other day about how Madonna shouldn't do X.  

  • She shouldn't imply that a National Front politician (the far, far right party in France) is a nazi by showing the politician with a swastika over her face.  

The When Girls Do It, It Must Be Perfect Theme:

    • Too White, 

    • Laden with Nepotism, and 

    • Full of Ugly Men.

  • Pink joins CoverGirl - Forget that Pink is an interesting, strong, different ideal for girls to think about when thinking about beauty (as are Queen Latifah and Ellen DeGeneres, two other CoverGirls) - she's betraying her ideals because CoverGirl does animal testing (see the comments section of every single article about this story).

And of course the Women Olympians Are Too Fat Theory. (Yes, this is, unbelievably, is one of the women - in the front, winning - that people say is too fat.)

So here's the question:  Do you think we hold women to a different standard than men in public life? 


  1. Well, it's like we were noting in the "Girly Questions" thread (http://yourbiggirlpants.blogspot.com/2012/07/girly-questions.html), women can't just be smart, we have to be pretty as well, because apparently that can be our only utility. What if Einstein was also expected to look like Brad Pitt? Our expectation for women in the public sphere is just a tad unrealistic.

    Girls the tv show, is part of a long tradition about the perennial problem of the "white-out" on a tv show. This happens most particularly if the show is set in the big city, with unrelated people, yet include no people of color. But it looks like the creator mostly cast her friends in real life, so at least we have a simple, if unsatisfying, explanation for that one.

  2. I do think it's reasonable to ask about casting, I just think you ask everybody about casting. And hey, Einstein was hot. :-)

  3. Well, they did talk a lot about the lack of minorities in TV shows like "Friends", "Sex and the City", and "Seinfield", so it isn't anything new.

    Einstein was not hot. That is all.