Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sisterhood, She Wrote

"Often when we see derogatory images of women, we disassociate ourselves from them—we’re not like that. We’re the bright exceptions that prove the rules, right? We’ve grown familiar with that refrain, but it’s simply untrue. We have to learn to realign ourselves with ourselves—with women in general.”
Regina Barreca, They Used to Call Me Snow White...But I drifted; Women's Strategic Use of Humor

I have never voted for a republican and I am in no danger of doing so in 2016.
Nor do I relish giving any right wing politician credit for saying something uncharacteristically intelligent, but republican presidential candidate Carli Fiorina got one thing right with her comeback to Donald Trump’s opinion of her appearance, “…women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.” Instead of taking the slight personally, she chose to align herself with women as a group. Even if her reasons for the retort were purely political, it was one of the most astute, and dare I say, feminist sentences I have heard any political candidate on the right or the left utter in a long time. If only her other actions and policies reflected such an insightful connecting of the dots.

Ever since my mother's death in 2013, I have taken to watching what used to be one of her favorite shows "Murder She Wrote". The very first episode of MSW our intrepid mystery writer/crime solver Jessica Fletcher,  actually has women friends. This quickly changes throughout the rest of the series as we see Jessica surrounded by male regulars.
One of the few episodes, other than a women's prison, that features a crowd of women around Jess, was set in a beauty salon. Not only did the salon look like it was dipped in Pepto Bismol but so did the stylists. There was also the obligatory audio of several women rapidly talking over each other while a man, in this case Tom Bosley as  sheriff Tupper, rolls his eyes.
At another point during the episode the sheriff lets out a frustrated harrumph, "Women!" which elicits a disapproving glare from Jessica. The chief corrects himself slightly and says, "present company excepted" to which our less than feminist star nods approvingly. I was thinking how great it would have been if Jessica kept that disapproving look even while the sheriff clumsily tried to take some of it back. She could have said, "sheriff, when you insult all women you insult me too!" It makes me sad that even an actor of Angela Lansbury's stature would not, or could not, insist that female stereotypes and misogynist epithets had no place on her show.


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