“When did we all become women?”

Here is an essay by Kathryn Robinson, from 2006 (!), via “Chad”, here is the opening excerpt:

Hang around the zeitgeist long enough and a pattern will emerge. You flip on the TV and there’s a young woman announcing that Eagle Hardware is her social life. Change the station and see the newest Nike ad: no more the command to Just Do It, but now a ringing paean to self-esteem: I Can. Maybe another station will be broadcasting OlympicGames human-interest stories; maybe the winning American wrestler will be weeping lavishly.

Or maybe the vice president of the United States will be the one weeping, standing on the dais of the Democratic convention relating the tragedy of his sister’s lung cancer. You open a men’s magazine and read about the Nine Steps to a Toned Derriere. You log on to the Internet where designer Donna Karan reports that the top fashion trends are not wide lapels or sheer skirts, but “Compassion. Caring. Embracing.” You go to church and pray to God the Mother. You flee to a restaurant for a scotch and a steak, but find yourself in a cafe with wine and low-fat beefalo.

You wonder when we all became female.

If you cast a critical eye backward, you will see that it’s happened over the last three decades, in a shift as gradual and inevitable as the changing tide, surging over everything from business, education, and religion to politics, fashion, and interpersonal relations. One of the great cultural revolutions of our time, it’s also been as invisible as the air we breathe, shifting the default position of our behavior to “feminine” as imperceptibly as our evolution toward light eating, self-empowerment, and public intimacy…

The upshot, discovered in that campaign and exploited ever since: men vote for policies, women vote for symbols. Handlers found that where men’s voter turnout is dictated by political attentiveness, women’s voting has increased more rapidly than their interest or knowledge warrant. Therefore, women are more susceptible to campaigns waged through potent emotional symbols. Sick of the mudslinging and soundbiting that have since come to characterize political campaigning? Blame feminization.

Way too much generalization of course, that one is from Seattle Weekly (!…but where else?).  Interesting throughout.

Comments

Respond

Add Comment