Friday, February 17, 2006

Yay, Friday!

I'm developing a disturbing attachment to my Franklin planner. I blame it on their training indoctrination. I started out thinking I'd just use it for work stuff, and now it's becoming an extension of my brain. I had a Dayrunner back in the 90s, I used it but I never got this organized about it.

I have never been a person who reads a book with a highlighter and writes notes in the margins - I suspect this is the lingering effect of the "Writing in Your Book is a Sin!" indoctrination of grade school. But Feminine Mystique makes me want to write notes in the margins and highlight passages that surprised me, either with their relevance to today, or because I had only vague ideas of the background of feminism, and reading its history is fascinating. Quotes from the 1850s - by men who supported the movement - contrasted with the heavily-promoted media image of the idealized 1950s housewife that inspired the book - it's amazing, and still so relevant today. I'm starting to think there is a 50 year cycle to this glorification of the Woman at Home. There's a quote in the book - from Life or Look or one of those 50s magazines, extolling the glories of well-educated women giving up careers for the joys of home and hearth, and I laughed out loud because it was EXACTLY like the article that sparked a small snitstorm here a few months ago. There really is nothing new under the sun.

It's amazing to read the quotes of early feminists - some of the most eloquently indignant about the restrictions on women were men. In 1850. Dude! I had long felt that "feminist" became a dirty word the same way "liberal" did - by constant repetition of bullshit by the shrill voices that get center stage in our (snort) "Liberal Media." I remember the nasty shit older men of my acquaintance said about Betty Friedan, and yet everything she says is reasonable and common sense. It really bothers me that so many young women don't know how it was, not back in Great-Great Grandma's Time, Lost in History, but in their mothers' lifetimes.
We haven't come a long way. We've come some of the way.

So, my weekend is booked solid. I'll get the front of the tot sweater done, I think. Maybe. This is why I'm in the Knitting Special Olympics. I love the process, and I'm happy with my results, because I know my other challenges.

4 comments:

Bess said...

One of the good things my folks did with their 4 girls was to rasie them as if they were supposed to be the first 4 women presidents - or astronauts - or violinists - or whatever. We were guided into artistic persuits because that was what they admired and we enjoyed that, but we were all expected to forge ahead independently as if there would never be anyone to take care of us.

Child of the 50's that I was, I had no idea other parents patted their girls heads, told them to make C's and find a nice husband.

Catherine said...

I was raised with a collection of mixed messages, but for most of my childhood I was told my career options were nurse or teacher. As I got older the horizons were expanded to accountant. ;-) I definitely received the message that "boys don't like smart girls." Those attitudes were alive and well all the way through my high school years in the 70s!

Geogrrl said...

Oh, yeah. Even though my mother pounded into me that I must always be able to look after myself, she also told me that I shouldn't act so smart around boys. Screw that.

Your comment reminded me of when I got both volumes of "Mermaid Avenue". These albums were Woody Guthrie songs that had been consigned to the archives because he wrote the lyrics but not the music (that was in his head). Woody Guthrie's daughter got Billy Bragg and Wilco to set some of the songs to music. I've known Guthrie's songs more for their historical significance or those used for union rallies. What surprised me about manyf of the songs (written in the 1930s and 1940s) was their sensuality and an unusually progressive view of women's place in society.

Catherine said...

The 30s and 40s were a more progressive time for women, if you go by the media portrayals Friedan used as examples. The changing themes of "women's magazines" was very interesting - in the 30s the heroines of the stories were learning to fly airplanes, by the 50s, they were stressing over dinner parties to boost hubby's career.