Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday Plath; Feminism Rings

The crux of feminism lays upon the issue of marriage.

The independence of women was an issue of great struggle only a few decades ago. Now, it is quite taken for granted within the educated classes that our daughters will grow up to have careers and incomes that give them independence from marriage and men.

This is not to be taken for granted. Currently there are vast and powerful political and cultural movements that would obliterate this here in the land of the free, just as Sharia law considers such female freedoms reprehensible and devilish.

If a woman does not need a man for economic support then she is just one great step closer to equality. Hence the Republican hatred for Hillary, gays, and reproductive freedom.

What could be more threatening to Republicans and their allegiance to rich white males? They have everything, except absolute control over their wives and daughters. And gays. That gives them nothing left to want. And what they want is paramount to their egos, their businesses, their politics.

That is why Plath was considered to be something of a feminist icon. She had a voice. It was nuclear in its intensity, wildly descriptive, and exotic. All the things that challenge rich men with big wallets and small penises, so to speak. They couldn't have *that.*

The Applicant

First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,
Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.
Open your hand.
Empty? Empty. Here is a hand

To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed

To thumb shut your eyes at the end
And dissolve of sorrow.
We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit -

Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.
Will you marry it?
It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they'll bury you in it.

Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.
Well, what do you think of that?
Naked as paper to start

But in twenty-five years she'll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,
It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it's a poultice.
You have an eye, it's an image.
My boy, it's your last resort.
Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

Unfortunately we haven't yet kicked this nonsense. Heed the screechy misogyny of that caveman Chris Matthews:

I think the Hillary appeal has always been somewhat about her mix of toughness and sympathy for her. Let’s not forget, and I’ll be brutal, the reason she’s a US Senator, the reason she’s a candidate for President, the reason she may be a front runner, is that her husband messed around.

That’s how she got to be a Senator from New York. We keep forgetting it. She didn’t win it on her merit, she won because everybody felt, “My God, this woman stood up under humiliation, right? That’s what happened! That’s how it happened.

What an asshole. He's completely unaware of his own presumptive hatred of women. I wish we had a media that was; well, somewhat less clueless. But it is, after all, dominated by men of a certain age. When they all die off, perhaps then some progress will be made.

That's basically what it took for feminism to take a few small steps towards parity. Some stupid white men had to grow old and die. Such is progress. They have made it so. They have conjoined progress with death. Their own deaths, that is. Fuckheads.

This is her most defiant piece, more so than any of the poems in which death, escape, or triumph was at the center.


may said...

without your prose, how would i ever understanded plath's poetry?

may said...


i don't even know where the "ed" came from. the embarassing consequence of not editing before posting :( sorry.

wunelle said...

I'm encouraged--though skeptical--that young people are eagerly supporting Obama, with no apparent thought as to his race. This is only natural, of course, but not historical. They may be similarly gender blind (if, in fact, they are color blind), but they perceive Clinton as representing the old that needs to get washed away.

For my part, I'm happy with either candidate, and either would take us a tiny step out of the White Male Stone Age.

I'm always stupefied to see with what vitriol Hillary is opposed by the men with whom I work. They HATE her, and it's obvious even to a fool that they hate her mostly because she's a woman who is strong and outspoken.

How did these guys ever get married? What self-respecting woman would have them?

(Maybe I've answered my own question.)

Eli Blake said...

I wish that I could have voted for Hillary because it would have been great watching her visit places like Saudi Arabia without wearing a veil and speaking out on behalf of women's rights.

But I could not vote for her, because she supported the Iraq war back in 2002 and (unlike John Edwards) never repented of that vote, and in fact continued to push for a hawkish foreign policy. Even on some domestic issues like NCLB and the bankruptcy bills she made it clear whose team she was on, and it wasn't the team I'm on.

So I voted for Obama. He wasn't even my first choice (that would be Bill Richardson) but I think that in Iraq and elsewhere things are pretty seriously off track, and Hillary has done nothing to suggest that she really gets it.

Unsane said...

Really good blog entry!