With varying degrees of success, I've been making myself go out lately. At best, I see a sweet, moving play, like the one my friend Lucas is in, I cry a little, and I am actually inspired to start writing (!) when I get home. Or I go with a crowd I don't know to a mind-blowing show by and starring Anna Deavere Smith, which turns out to be about DEATH and CANCER and PEOPLE DYING FROM CANCER, and sob. And then, exiting the theater while still shaken and teary, deal with the following:
GIRL 1: I didn't cry once! Did you?
GIRL 2: No! I almost did, during the orphanage one.
GIRL 3: Yeah, that was really sad. ... But I didn't cry either.
GIRL 2: Huh. [turning to me] Well, it was nice to meet you! Bye!
It's not their faults, of course. They didn't know what was going on with me. But I still felt like an idiot.
Friday night, I went to a birthday party with a bunch of people I know and love, and it was still hard. Trying to be boisterous and upbeat, I ended up overcompensating and saying at least one truly ridiculous, hurtful thing. Luckily everyone else was drinking and I counted, by the end of night, enough ridiculous things to knock my most offensive comment out of the evening's Top Three.
At the party, one of my friends mentioned my blog, my dear, old neglected blog, where, she said, I "write about my feelings." The pained look on my face must have given me away, and she hurried to assure me that she didn't mean it in a bad way. But Jebus Crispy! My feelings? Is that what I have come to? Is that what I've been wasting my time with for eight years?
It took me a moment to regain my equilibrium. Once I did, I realized I was battling my own -- wait for it -- internalized misogyny. That's right! Why do we look down on feelings, and, especially, harping on, writing about, discussing them? Because they are as feminine as cats and babies. As girly as pretty, pretty princesses and snowflakes and romance and pom poms, and just as pointless, because feelings don't make money or amass power, and that's what the patriarchy values.
I rebel against my own internalized misogyny! Or, I am trying to!
Sing it with me: Who cares if a well-done theater production made me cry, or if I keep a personal blog? There is nothing wrong with feelings. There is nothing wrong with memoir, with rom coms, with Titanic or Twi--
I'm sorry, did you cough? What did I say? Oh yes. Twilight. I suppose you heard that it obliterated records this past weekend, propelled to success by a starkly young, female audience. To be clear, I'm no fan of the series. I haven't read the books, and you may recall that I could not have rolled my eyes harder at the first film. (As a viewer I felt like echoing Jeneane Garofolo in Reality Bites after she has suffered through the thousandth Winona Ryder-Ethan Hawke bantering session: "Just do it and get it over with already!")
But who cares? Anything that makes Hollywood pay attention to women and value female viewership is a net positive. New Moon is probably as melodramatic and sappy as its predecessor was, but most movies these days are loud and dumb. There's no reason to be especially disdainful of a phenomenon just because it's oriented towards girls instead of boys. Let us have a share of the stupidity!
Personally, I'd take Jack Dawson over Edward Cullen any day. Good, old-fashioned costume melodrama is more my style than sparkling vampires, and at least Jack and Rose got to get it on before he died helping to save her. But, as the true snobs say, chacun a son gout.
ETA: Pajiba agrees with me.
The Big Idea: Bill McKibben
2 hours ago