I had a really great conversation last night. Take your life, your romances, your male and female interactions, and divide them up via Star Wars. Think about it, men seem to go through a period of wanting to be Luke but inevitably end up as Han. Women, like Leia, take time in their lives to vacillate between their desire for a Luke and their need for a Han.
Isn’t that silly to think about? Of course it breaks down the gender interactions we experience to a far too generalized state and naturally it falls back on hetero-normative assumptions about male and female interactions. But it’s fun.
This leads me to another point. How do we, in this day and age, balance our desires for horribly sexist pop culture and our drive for change? I know that I spend a lot of brain space making sure I address groups by gender neutral terms and have taken “guys” out of my vocabulary entirely. But I also watch Gossip Girl religiously, buy fashion magazines on the regular, and use my gender
to gain leverage in certain situations. A lot of people like to say that as long as you’re filtering it and constantly staying aware of the fact that these things are symptoms of the problem you’re fine, but are you? Because acknowledging the symptoms and enjoying them is only going to fuel the problem. You can’t love your fever because you’ll subconsciously keep yourself sick. Won’t you? Or can I sit back in my heels and lipstick watching Gossip Girl and successfully plotting a revolution?
It’s about talking to people, bringing up the things that happen in Mad Men and breaking them down with groups of people. That’s the only way those things can be successful in their attempts to point out inequalities. It’s so important to dissect the things the media sends us, but we can still like them right? People shy away so far from really getting in to the messages we’re being sent. “Oh it’s just a show, it’s just the 60’s, it’s just New York.” But it’s not. The only way we can escape from those damaging images of women and gender relationships is to take them down and talk about them. Unpack it and acknowledge all the things that happen that are wrong. We have to. We can still like it at the end of the day but we can hate the pieces that make it. It being Gossip Girl, Mad Men, gangster rap, Cosmopolitan, stilettos…