Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Man, it's going to be disappointing when they don't serve martinis on Election Day

This voter registration drive aimed at single women is just one of many based around the idea that single women are fluffy, brainless kittens who love shoes. I appreciate the effort, but it's a little misguided, I think. I got an invitation recently from a friend to a similiar voter registration drive at a salon. While I was interested somewhat in the idea of getting a discounted haircut, I was concerned because, well, I'm already registered to vote and therefore I'd really just be taking advantage. Also, I was not in love with the idea of going to a salon to hang out with a bunch of women I don't know. I'm forever spoiled because I grew up around a real beauty parlor that you went to at least a few times a week, if not everyday. Not to get a haircut, but to hang out and hear all the scandalous gossip. Once you get the real thing, a simulation won't do.

Outside of that, the "Sex and the City" thing doesn't make sense to me. Not because I didn't like the show; I did. I think it's one of the few TV shows that even tries to address the fact that life isn't all about men and marriage, a fact that got lost on a lot of viewers who were still shocked at the fact that these women have sex and lots of it. Whatever. Except for Samantha, most of them dated about as much or even less than most single women I've known. Call me jaded, but I didn't think the show was all that daring in its sexual humor. What was daring was its willingness to give the raspberry to compulsory marriage once in awhile, something utterly unheard of in most "women's" entertainment.

But the thing about the so-called "Sex and the City" women is that they are predominantly characterized in the media as being the women my age. It makes me wonder if anyone has even seen the show. The show wasn't about young women in their 20's starting out in their careers and getting ready for marriage and babies. The youngest character was pushing 40 at the beginning of the series; all four characters were well-established in their careers. That's why it was particularly heart-rending to watch Charlotte cave in and relinquish her career for marriage to a WASP--you weren't watching someone right out of college struggle with the career or family issues. You were watching a woman sacrifice 20 years worth of hard work to be a "good" woman. To drive it home, her replacement was what the media wishes "Sex and the City" women to be--straight out of college and inexperienced.

Suffice it to say, I don't think it's likely that a single one of the four women on the show wouldn't have a voter registration card and a party affiliation, considering that they were consistently portrayed as well-educated, hard-working, and involved. If any of them was a flake, it was Carrie. It amazes me that our culture is so stuck on the belief that a "single" woman is new to her career, uninvolved in the world around her, and above all under 30, that large numbers of us completely missed what made the show unique and well-loved, which was that it was about women that society has pretended don't even exist. And by rewriting it in our memories and making the characters younger and dumber than they were, we too are helping erase the existence of well-adjusted, smart, educated, single women who made it pass 30 without blinking an eye.

It's sort of insulting to think that women won't get interested in politics without being tempted by shoes and clothes. But I do think that it's a good idea to make voting seem fun again. Passing out martinis instead of stupid "I Voted" stickers is a very Samantha-like idea, in fact. But the important thing to remember about that is that it's something that would probably appeal across the board to women and men, single and not.

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Blogger Diane said...

Samantha would definitely have been passing out something interesting, and it would not be pro-Republican. She would also be fighting to have sex with the power candidate (remember, Hugh Hefner, scumbag of all time, was her idol). Miranda would be there with her. But that is as positive as I can get: I don't think Charlotte would find issues of government "interesting" enough, and Carrie wouldn't know there was an election taking place.

It is no surprise that the political parties treat single women as young, naive, and unformed. The American myth that "real" women are married with children has never gone away. Just as insulting is the fact that many young single women are informed and can think analytically.

What enrages me is that the Democratic Party finds every possible way to "reach out" to women except for the obvious one: putting a woman on the ticket. And what enrages me more is that women accept the crumbs.

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Not to get all super-fan or anything, but I must respectfully disagree about Charlotte. Watch the show carefully enough and it becomes clear that Charlotte has a degree in art history from Smith I think, that she is really clever and good at her job. Also, being stuck as she was on always doing the proper thing likely means she's the sort who votes in school board elections. And repeatedly she was shown as obsessively researchng every little thing that interested her--witness her willingness to dive into Judaism whole-heartedly when she converted.

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