I’m a huge fan of George Orwell. Aftr working for the BBC in the 1940’s to propagandize Britain’s war effors, he wrote 1984, the story of a future in which the history books were edited to say whatever the state currently desired, and individuals were conditioned by something very like TV to accept the new facts despite their own conflicting memories. Those who refused were taken away for more advanced brainwashing. The message of the book is that they will always assimilate you in the end. You will cease to be an individual, and become part of the group. It is virtually inevitable.
Discussions of 1984 inevitably lead to comparisons to modern day, complete with much headwagging and stunned disapproval. Yes, the government’s propagandizing you. Yes, there are always group forces that offer individuals the choice to be assimilated or punished. But you’re missing the point if you think Orwell was predicting the future. Orwell was showing us the forces that have always been at work on us.
What does that have to do with the representation of women in the media? Everything. Show us women who submit to their rightful place in the world. Or show us women who don’t, but make it very clear how they suffer for this sin. And when the audience is too sophisticated to fall for that anymore, show us strong independent women who screw up all over the place, but are surrounded by characters who are strangely blind to their flaws. Make us hate strong women – show us how they never get their men, or lose them to submissives – and we will get our tits enlarged and worry about the quality of our blowjob skills instead of competing with men in the workplace and the world.
That’s what the artificial limitations imposed by bigotry of any sort are really about: the Tonya Harding method for eliminating the competition you knew would have beaten you.
In honor of Orwell’s fixation on how redefining words or removing them from public consciousness eventually removes the concepts behind them, too, I’ll end this rather depressing post with a review of some phrases which need to enter general usage immediately, so that the concepts can be readily available:
- “Grow up and be a woman.”
- “It’s what separates the women from the girls.”
- “It make me feel like less of a woman.”
- “I’m not the woman I used to be.”
- “Are you a woman, or a… wouse?” (stolen from 9 to 5)
Reaching manhood, as suggested by the original and exclusively masculine forms of these pheases, apparently involves maturity and courage. What does womanhood involve, but decay? Women get old while men get more distinguished. But only if we let them keep hogging the words.