but you see in dealing with me, the relatives didn’t know that they were dealing with a staunch character. and i tell you, if there’s anything worse than a staunch woman… S-T-A-U-N-C-H. there’s nothing worse, i’m telling you… they don’t weaken. no matter what… but they didn’t know that. well, how were they to know?
you dressed for battle, edie, one of the maysles brothers asks her. this is either an observation or an inquiry, the inflection is inconclusive. it could be either. i cannot tell which.
you dressed for battle. Continue reading
i’ve been thinking about this a lot:
and about the possible long-term effects of all these dog whistles of late.
all i remember of her husband’s first inaugural is the commentators criticizing her choice of hat and a controversial plaid.
we need, carolyn heilbrun wrote in her 1988 masterpiece writing a woman’s life, stories wherein women deviate from what is expected, and stray from the standard script. we need this, she suggested, because these stories reveal what is possible. they give us- women, men, people!- courage and they are the stories upon which we build our own lives.
it’s easy to forget (or simply to never know) how slow the script has been to change and how limited the range of stories has historically been.
“i desire you would remember the ladies,” abigail adams wrote her husband in march 1776, as he and the continental congress drafted america’s constitution. alas, american women were excluded from full citizenship.
two hundred years later, at the height of the women’s liberation movement, the biographer willi frischauer wrote of jackie kennedy in january 1960:
“the future was closing in on her and kept her keyed up as she approached the climax in any american woman’s life, the inauguration of her husband as president of the united states.”
setting politics aside, let us take a moment to appreciate that, forty years after frischauer wrote it, that statement looks even more stupid after last night.
in 1970, virginia slims imagined that- “someday”- when a woman ran for president, it might look like this…
(obviously, in the meantime, smoking was the only option.)
but it doesn’t much look as they imagined, does it?
2016, ya’ll. i’m in paris at the moment and wanted to cobble together a parallel to p.t. barnum so i just googled him and was reminded that he was “un entrepreneur de spectacles américain.” which sounds about right for our current times. DE SPECTACLES AMERICAIN!
anyhoo, a funny thing has been happening with obituaries this election season. have you heard/seen?
i am writing about feelings. i am writing about the past. i am analyzing culture.
i am analyzing a culture in which it does not feel safe to write about the feelings i have about this woman (for the record, i second all of this), and i am also analyzing the feeling that i am not entitled to these feelings and what that tells us about our culture.
i am writing about hillary clinton because i find it troubling and awful and angering that hillary clinton is someone it does not feel safe to write about.
a preemptive plea: please do not bombard me with hate because i am trying to find a way to write about someone whose politics you may not agree with and whose personality you may not like.
an anecdote: some months (ie. over one year) ago, i wrote a blog post on how i didn’t think i’d ever get around to writing about hillary clinton directly because writing about hillary clinton directly taps into too much of my own emotional baggage of growing up in the divisive media climate of the early 1990s. you can go read that at the link if you care to or take my word that it was a post about cultural analysis and FEELINGS and how it feels to be a woman and read how women are written about.
my cultural analysis of feelings garnered this comment:
which was hilarious, but also unnerving. because though this was a mild comment, i’d only written a blog post on my own feelings and could imagine the vitriol if i’d written something more substantial. the post receiving that comment was actually about the lingering effects of seeing the vitriol directed at HRC when i was growing up in the 90s. it is a vitriol i do not want to welcome in my daily life, and it is a vitriol that to this day surrounds HRC. Continue reading