Friday, June 25, 2004

Hot...on the trail

My mother brought me the July 5 issue of The Nation because she thought I'd like the cover (that's an essay in itself--my mom's criteria for judging things) and I started to leaf through it. "Sex and the Stepford Wife" by Katha Pollitt is a real treat. Pollitt is up there with Calvin Trillin as one of the most stylish polemicists around, and this essay is an absolute gem. Her light touch softens you up, as she describes the shop windows in upper West Side Manhattan ("where the standard femine garb has for decades been Hot Sicilian Widow") sudden being filled with "frilly getups straight out of a Stepford shoppe."

Then Pollitt goes in for the kill. "Women have learned to describe evereything they do, no matter how apparently conformist, submissive, self-destructive or humiliating, as a personal choice that cannot be criticized because person choice is what feminism is all about. Women have become incredibly clever at explaining these choices in ways that barely mention social pressures or male desires."

While I agree with her, I also feel strongly that she's seeing things through an upper West Side, or at least an East Coast, lens. Out here in Seattle there is no Hot Sicilian Widow look on the hiking trails or at the home improvement stores—but there are plenty of women, and far more than you'd have found there 40 years ago.

BTW, have you checked out the game all the Democrats are playing? Sign up (free) to play Republican Survivor.

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