Yes, I agree that in the case you (we) are describing, most of those mean, mean girls are not deliberately perpetrating acts of Meanness, but are responding to their own sexuality, and the culture at large. What the hell…I mean, women (according to what we can see in the culture) should be attractive at the very least, and sexy if at all possible, despite age and/or career position, and so many other things. I think we might exclude lesbians, although The L Word brought some new ideas about how lesbians can/should look to the popular culture at large. And that brings me to the ever-present idea of the popular culture being man (in my day the MAN in this word would be stressed) ufactured by a group with economic interests. Capitalism is part, perhaps the major part, of this problem. Are these girls (for me a girl is any female who is a teen and younger, and for the media it appears girls are any female) more visible now in response to a culture that asks them to be such, or are there other, deeper reasons?
As for our communications: in my experience, women’s consciousness raising groups were seen as subversive. I don’t think your generation could know how fucking scary it was to the culture at large for women to talk, to not see one another as the enemy, to not view one another as the foe to beat for a man. In my day, it was terrifying to the culture at large for anyone outside the pale, anyone that was seen as Other, to come together and open dialog in the hopes of bonding over their otherness and so, gain a measure of confidence, of solidarity, of power.
This legacy of divide and conquer keeps people of like background, gender, race, mind….keeps us apart to keep us oppressed, and perhaps this philosophy is why we (you and I) still feel it hard to express our need to communicate, our need/desire for our relationship to be maintained. Can we trust someone that the culture tells us cannot, should not be trusted? Can we, with our independent craziness and emotional hang-ups (I am going WAY back lol) trust ourselves?
I know both of those poems very well. Poets are among those I rely on to save me. You told me that Middlemarch saved you at one point in your life, as Salinger did for me. I rely on the artists and mad ones. They seem to have steered me clear of much that would have destroyed me.
Our friendship, our commitment to this experiment of conversation, is solid. Make no mistake.
The “weirdness” around the comments was you forgetting that I have little use for men, and not about what this means to me regarding you and this blog. I am not saying anything in code, and I am not being indirect. If women wanted to join this conversation I would be fine with it, and if your men friends feel compelled, interested, in responding to ideas they find here, they should start their own honest blog that we can read without getting our hands into it, thus giving everyone the freedom they need.
As for our disagreeing and its profound repercussions: it is often through the harshest discussion that I have learned the most about myself.
I am standing right here.
In Art and Madness,