Monday, August 31, 2009

speaking of female sexuality and culture...

Just imagine me, fra la-la la-la, minding my own business trying to fax something at FedEx Kinko's, and wham--obnoxious cultural representations of my sex/gender on a lame greeting card.

Let's take a look at the messages: naggy, needy, housework-oriented, more romance/less sex, and the like.

And one of my biggest pet peeves, the whole "take me out."

Why couldn't the button say "let's go out" or "night on the town" or "date night" or anything that does not imply that the man is active and the female is passive?

Rescue me. Take me out. Pay for me. Take care of me. I'm your dolly.

I know some readers are shaking their heads at how I am blowing a trivial card out of proportion. But I think we all know that this greeting card does not exist in isolation--it is microcosmic of larger hegemonic institutions of gender and heterosexuality.

It seems to me that if two presumably competent and consenting adults are engaged in some sort of relationship with one another, there should be equal partnership.

Oh right...but men and women are separate but equal. How could I forget?


Anonymous said...

As I guy who happens to be feminist and pro-female equality, I understand your frustration with such a card. However, I really see it as just a joke, which happens to be offensive as do many funny jokes. I think your response is way out of proportion.

I'm asking you this question as a point for self-reflection: why do you need a silly greeting card to prompt you to write so passionately about women's rights. You are a wonderful writer and a bright mind. Why don't you write amazing essays and treatises dealing with such issues when you're feeling cool, calm, and collected and could probably write or speak very persuasively on the issue?

Vanessa said...

I do not think my response is out of proportion because humor plays a large role in normalizing and institutionalizing polarized ideas about gender. For this reason, I find "silly" cultural artifacts interesting, fulls of implications, and bothersome. As I said in my post, this card does not exist in isolation.

I appreciate your input regarding the tone of my blog. I really enjoy getting feedback from my readers. I try to have a balance between immediate reactions and organized critical analysis. Seeing as I am now a first year law student, The Colonic will be featuring more of the former. That said, I still think the content of my post is relevant and expresses legitimate concerns.