I think it's this idea of the 'guilty pleasure' that has been peddled of late. Someone on our thread about the TV show Revenge described it as her guilty pleasure. Obviously she doesn't really mean she feels guilty about liking it but the idea is we are told we should feel slightly ashamed of some of the things we like. Well why the hell should we? If you want to watch Revenge (and you should, it's completely barking mad) then just do it and say you do it. Do men ever say "I do like a bit of Revenge, it's my guilty pleasure"? Do they heck. Obviously I am generalising, I only know one guy who actually watches it but he certainly doesn't seem to feel guilty about it.
The simpering side seems to be saying 'I know what the norms or expectations are, and I know this isn't within the ones I am constrained by, so I have to trivialise the thing I like to make it fit better inside the box'.
Right ... I have been thinking and I hope this is ok - I think I'm going to start a 'Chat' thread separate from this one because I don't want to derail yours and I feel I've been a bit rude suggesting chatting is the answer. I do hope it's an answer, though!
I think what's winding me up the most is what appears to be a felt need amongst intelligent and successful high profile women to have a secret simpering side to them to ?I don't know? gain or maintain popularity or be seen as 'normal'.
Its apparently not enough to be good at what you do and probably a nice person any more, women all over the media are 'letting slip' that they've bought into the prevailing perception of normal womanhood e.g.nail art, inability to change a plug... I'm reminded of Germain Greer telling us we'd bought into the myth that ablutions were actually 'leisure'.
I am right with you about what's happened with Mary Beard. On the other hand, I am dead impressed by the way she's responded.
Steve Biddulph I just found to be very shallow. He eventually admitted on the MN question session that some of the research that underpins his book is from the 1950s! I find that very hard to take seriously.
Yes, let's chat here. There used to be a regular chat thread and it'd be nice to have one again. As I recall people had just started figuring out what the feminist utopia looked like ... now, come the revolution, I am planning on having some comfy, squashy leather sofas for us feminists to sit and chat in. don't you think?
And for now, we can sit and rant about the fact all this crap is happening, but maybe we can also be a little bit happy that, thank god, there are lots of us who feel the same?
Some background (which may or not be relevant) I am mid 40's, have a great job, and also been a SAHM in my time which was nice too First in my family to go to Uni, did lots of 'typically boy' things most of which just included getting very muddy growing up, was comfortable in my own skin on a male dominated course. Married to a lovely man, have a lovely dad and two lovely sons - men around me have always been life-affirming.
DD is 9, she is feisty and funny and has lovely friends and is as up for a whoop round the garden with plastic swords as her brothers.
Yes, I know its a difficult culture in which to bring up girls. I know the sexualisation and objectification of preteens and an obsession with 'image' is corrosive. But until recently I have felt that there was a critical mass of independant minded women on my side.
Then within the space of a week, Mary Beard is pulled to shreds, a chorus of 'Women's Hour' presenters and guests twitter "oooh, but it is, it is!" in response to Steve Biddulph saying that 'appearance isn't really that important in the grand scheme of things', and Heather McGregor aka 'Miss Moneypenny' whizz financial journalist breathily discloses her secret confession on 'Broadcasting House' that 'I always put my false eyelashes on to go to important meetings'
So in summary I am a well adjusted independant-minded middle aged woman who now despairs..where do I go from here?