Every day I start off my day by reading blogs. I don’t read news papers, or news sites even (unless someone on my facebook feed links to an article that tweaks my interest). I don’t listen to the radio, I don’t watch newscasts. I am in what I like to call a “Media Free Bubble”. As such, I miss out on things. And the only ways that I stay informed of what’s going on in the world around me is through MOMD (who himself is a journalist), facebook, and blogs.
This week I stumbled upon a new blog: http://wrathofmom.blogspot.ca/. When I find something new, where the writing is good and the humour is plenty, I tend to read through a bunch of entries to get the flavour for the site and decide whether it will make it into my usual haunts, so to speak. Which is how I became aware of this. And this. I’m sure you can imagine it really made me uncomfortable. Because wow… way to be totally insensitive, even after the issues with your material are raised. Far more appropriate would have been to say, “Oh – I had no idea. Thank you for raising our awareness.” Or something like that. Instead, the station did nothing and time is being spent discussing the problem in the House of Commons, in front of our Prime Minister.
And then there’s the whole business with Ashley Judd. I mean, 6 months ago most of us were hard pressed to remember who Ashley Judd was. We may remember her from her movies like “Double Jeopardy” and the grief she reportedly gets from her mother, Naomi Judd, for her movie roles. And now, she’s up in the stratosphere, appearing on 4 highly recognized and watched news programs in less than 4 days. She is the new face of the feminist discussion.
I’ve been a big fan of Miss Representation ever since I discovered it. And in fact, when it was here for a screening back in October, I bought 4 tickets myself, and filled the seats. There were 7 of us in our little group that night and it was just amazing to see. A theatre filled with people – the 7 in our group ranged in ages from 12 to 63 – men, and women, discussing Humanity and how to best serve our own interests.
All of this made me feel like we were getting somewhere. Maybe – just maybe – the time has come for the tide to turn and the world to become a more accepting place. But then, I’ve always been an optimist.
Yesterday there was a link in my newsfeed – which I am deliberately NOT sharing here – to a piece asking whether a fairly well respected woman comedian was “too ugly for Hollywood”. Mother of God! Where do I live that this is a headline in an international magazine?!?!?! Detractors from this article are saying things like, “did anyone ask this about Jack Black?” This makes the point that there are not just ugly, but also fat men in Hollywood, who are regularly given big-budget movies to carry. And at no point that I can find has someone ever asked if a man were too ugly for the industry. And c’mon: Steve Buscemi – while an excellent actor and highly deserving of his reputation – is not good looking.
And yet, when I reflect, I note something that I find too convenient to be a coincidence. This article was published in the wake of Ashely Judd’s essay, her subsequent press tour discussing her position, and all of the articles that came in response to her moment in the media spotlight. All of this was designed to change the conversation – to dismantle and rebuild the way we think about each other and women specifically. Women were getting some screen time and were talking about breaking down the establishment.
Does it not seem too convenient to you as well that “Is Rachel Dratch Too Ugly for Hollywood?” is a headline in the aftermath of the shifting sands upon which the Media Machine stands?
I remember reading somewhere once that the only way to keep women from taking control of our culture and industry is to keep them divided. (Mommy Wars, anyone?) The author was saying that the only way for men to stay as power-players in our societies is to keep us distracted and fighting with each other so that we did not turn our collective intellects and strengths toward accomplishing goals that we consider important. You know, silly stuff like ending the cycle of poverty for our young and elderly, education, and dare I say it? Even world peace.
Somedays I am dismayed about the state of the world. I question whether bringing more people into this mess was the right decision, particularly now since I’m carrying a little girl. And then I remember that I am one person, with a voice, who has influence over 2 soon-to-be men allowing me to shape and mold their perspectives. I remember that the presence of a strong man, like MOMD and my presence too promises a strong foundation for self-esteem, compassion, and discourse that will set our daughter up for success; in fact it will serve all 3 of our kids well. It is then that I take a deep breath, square my shoulders and soldier on.