Chick Things

Via Kos, Chicks are special! Not like normal people!

Chalk another one up under “psychoanalysis of comfortable, bored people.” I’m so glad someone’s covering that beat. It’s so neglected. Why, between all the “how to talk to your children about Random Issue X” and “tonight on Health Beat: Liposuction Advances for YOU!” I hardly ever hear this demographic spoken to directly. Thank God Belinda is here to explain to me that my animosity towards Sarah Palin has nothing to do with anything about me, or her, or my life, or her policies to improve or wreck that life. It’s to do with that I’m a chick, and thus the Hive Vagina dictates my behavior with regard to others with the ladyparts.

The hatred women have for Sarah Palin, and others had for Hillary before her, is not necessarily about politics. Anybody can run the numbers on how many people Palin’s pro-life, pro-gun, socially conservative policies will seduce and how many they will alienate. Rather, the test that the McCain campaign failed to put her through was the Abbotsleigh Ladies College test. (Named after my high school. Go, green and gold!). It’s a simple three-point pass-fail exam: Will the other girls like her?

I’ve heard this over and over since the debate. She’s so feminine! She’s so cute! She’s so colloquial! Rich Lowry thinks she was winking at him! People are just calling her stupid because she’s a girl! She brings this lovely real-life mom persona to the vice presidency! It’s darling, her not knowing shit! Hee!

First things first. Can we please put to rest the idea that there is something charmingly, exclusively female about acting like a childish fucking nutjob? I’ve been blaming Sex and the City, but honestly, that show’s been off the air for years, so let’s please stop pretending it’s our divine right, delivered to us with our uteruses, to act stupid and wacky and trivial, and make decisions based on nothing. I amdone with that shit. It excuses bullshit behavior and it’s not okay. But excusing bullshit behavior seems to be entirely what this piece is about:

Women are weapons-grade haters. Hillary Clinton knows it. Palin knows it too. When women get their hate on, they don’t just dislike, or find disfavor with, or sort of not really appreciate. They loathe – deeply, richly, sustainingly. I do not say this to disparage my gender; women also love in more or less the same way.

I’m pretty sure Miss Belinda here is just a couple of Cosmos away from a piece about how if you don’t have five girlfriends you tell everything to and who understand you so much better than your doofy male partner, you’re just not getting the good out of life. Pop in Steel Magnolias or the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and kick back with an appletini, it’s all good. With the collection of fucking sexist clichés she’s carting around here, I’m surprised chocolate-eating doesn’t make an appearance. Or PMS. Did she trip and fall into an episode of According to Jim?

When men disagree, the steps to resolution are reasonably clear and unsophisticated. Acts of physical violence are visited upon one another’s person or property, and the whole thing blows over. Women? Nu-unh. We savor the discord. We draw it out. We share our contempt with our friends, like a useful stock tip, or really good salsa. And then we all go hate together: a mutually encouraging group activity for when the book group gets quiet.

Since Belinda’s making this about every woman, let me just describe my hating process for you. First I stab a pen into my desk chair’s arm hard enough to make a hole, which usually takes care of my urge to violence. Then I get on Google chat with Mr. A and tell him about what’s pissed me off. Generally, by the end of five minutes he’s got me laughing about it, constructing elaborate and wildly disproportionate responses to whatever it was, like “you should set his toupee on fire” for a guy who likes to look down my shirt, and I feel bad for being susceptible to somebody else’s bullshit and letting it bug me. If it’s someone being REALLY awful, it’ll bother me for a day and a half, during which I might tell my mother or one of my friends about it, especially if I can turn it into a funny story.

Then Itry to move the fuck on. I’m not always successful; sometimes I get hung up on stupid shit, but overall? The animosity that lasts, the people I would back over with a car if I saw them again, whose every utterance makes me cringe and whose every attribute inspires me to yet further loathing? They’re people who hurt my friends or my family. People who treated the people I love badly. I don’t view hating them as some kind of fun activity to indulge in with my gal-pals for entertainment value. I view it as a justified response to someone being a complete and total jackass.

And you know, most of the women I know, and count as friends, are exactly the same way.

Are there women who are petty, jealous, gossipy, vicious, and small-minded like Belinda describes? Sure. And there are men who are petty, jealous, gossipy, vicious and small-minded, too. Collectively, they’re known asassholes. Or as George W. Bush calls them, “my base.” There is nothing inherently female about holding a grudge. In fact, I’ve met more than a few men who are experts at it, who remember someone who slighted them 30 years ago. They might not make fun of his hair over White Russians at the local bar with a cutesy name, but the burn still smolders, so do not come in here and try to tell me it’s all good because that’s just how we girls are. Jesus tits.

Here’s why Palin doesn’t make the grade:

1. She’s too pretty. This is very bad news. At school, pretty girls tend to be liked only by other pretty girls. The rest of us, whose looks hover somewhere around underwhelming, resent them and whisper archly of their “unearned attention.” So, if everyone calls your candidate “hot,” you’re in a whole mess of trouble. If the Pakistani head-of-state more or less hits on her, well, yes, she’ll get a sympathy vote, but we’re in Dukakis-in-the-tank territory. It’s an admiration vaporizer. (Of course a candidate can’t be too ugly, or it will scare the men, who are clearly shallow as a gender.)

2. She’s too confident. This also bodes ill. Women have self-esteem issues. But they also have other-women’s-esteem issues. As almost any woman – from the head of the Budgerigar Breeders association to Queen Elizabeth – can attest, it’s almost impossible to get confidence right. Too timid and you’re a pushover. Too self-aggrandizing and you’re a bad word unless it’s about a dog, or Project Runway’s Kenley. Or Michelle, my best friend until 9th grade, after she won that debating prize and got cocky.

3. She could embarrass us. History is not on Palin’s side. Every time a woman gets a plum job, be she Hewlett-Packard’s ex-boss, Carly Fiorina, or CBS’s Katie Couric, there’s always that whispery fear that people will think she got the job just because she’s a woman. So if things don’t go well – and a couple of YouTube clips have suggested that they’re certainly not going well for Palin – women are the first to turn on her for making it harder for the rest of us to louse up at work.

If there’s a unifying theme to this election, primaries to general, it’s been the dismissal of every legitimate thought of everybody ever with some shrug and comment about his or her demographic. Women don’t have any real reason to support Hillary, it’s just the Hive Vagina. Obama supporters are just young, or black, and not really thinking this through. Veterans HAVE to be for McCain, because he is one too! Not to mention white folks, who by nature, if they are hard-working, are Republicans, and “real.” Nobody has any idea who they are or what they want, to listen to this collection of deeply confused, unhappy people known as our punditry.

And by the way, Belinda, not all women have self-esteem issues. Thanks for your concern, though.


16 thoughts on “Chick Things

  1. Sarah Palin is pretty and confident? Who knew? I look at her and I don’t see “pretty” and “confident,” I see “performing patriarchal femininity to the hilt” and “rapacious.” My self-esteem issues (and I do have them) are not predicated around the concept of “gaining men’s approval,” thank you very much.
    I’ve mentioned before that I went to high school with a bunch of people who were either like Sarah Palin was as a teenager or whose motherswere Sarah Palin. I, frankly, loathe her becauseI know the type and we have a mutual antagonism.
    And yep, I’ll gladly cop to being one of those people who holds a grudge forever. I spent my entire childhood being called names, thrown face-first into snowbanks, beaten up, having parts of my body pushed into gravel, and my whole adolescence with more of the same, all by people I had to see pretty muchevery single day. I’m done with “live and let live.” I spent damn near 20 years trying to go along to get along, and only discovered that the assholes would start leaving you alone when you started hitting back. Now I lift weights and I ammost certainly (thank you Dixie Chicks) “not ready to make nice.”
    I’m not a “dirty fuckin’ hippie”; I’m a punk from way back. We’re cleaner. And meaner.

  2. palin is not worthy of my hate, except the pretty beauty queen BS. no, my hate is going to the one who foinsted this idjit on amerika. mcPecker.

  3. Fantastic piece A! Given the chance, I would throw a glass of cheap merlot onto Palin, and even worse if she directly pissed me off w/a cheeseball wink or offhand ‘you betcha!’. I dislike her immensely – because she is CONSCIOUSLY stupid AND misogynistic.
    FWIW, I am an UNAPOLOGETIC lover of “Sex & The City”, show AND movie. A well made cosmo is divine and a great way to blow off the stress of the day w/my gal pal (between the two of us, we have aspects of our characters that make up for the missing two gals while our own lives do take precedence).
    That being said, I do not believe in the Hive Vagina (and remember gals and guys, it’s NOT a clown car – don’t litter!). Off to cobble together a cosmo and keep unpacking my new City apartment, all that’s missing is the Sex… LOL.

  4. the Hive Vagina
    No wonder Republicans men don’t like to perform oral sex.
    It reminded me of this:
    Burns: I suggest you leave immediately.
    Homer: Or what? You’ll release the dogs, or the bees, or the dogs with bees in their mouths and when they bark they shoot bees at you? Well, go ahead—do your worst!
    Interrobang I love your comment.
    “performing patriarchal femininity to the hilt”
    I think with Sarah Palin we can use the same line that people used with Hillary.
    “I want to vote for a woman, just not THAT woman.”
    When I read a story like Belinda’s I sometimes wonder if the 70s and 80s actually happened. I’m going to bet she is in her mid 30s. In a “Post-feminist” world.

  5. Sarah Palin is a very attractive woman. She is personable, and has a great smile. If she were my neighbor my wife and I would enjoy sitting and chatting with her and her husband.
    Unfortunately, she didn’t just laugh and tell McCain to shove off when he asked her to be his VP candidate. My hatred is for McCain for having so little respect for Americans and his country that he would select a totally unqualified person of either gender as his VP. Dan Quayle’s selection by big Bush affected me the same way.
    From what I can see, those who like and/or admire Ms Palin are judging her by her looks and personality. Those of us who dislike her as a VP choice are judging her by her utter lack of any qualifications that even suggest she could learn to handle that job. For me the jury is still out, but about to vote, when it comes to her apparent corruption as a mayor and governor.

  6. I don’t have too many problems with Palin beyond what I have with other Republicans. She’s horrible of course but so are 100 other prominent Republicans. If Romney picked her as his VP it would make a lot of sense. The problem I have with Palin is with John McCain’s selection of her making everything John McCain has said for years into a giant fucking joke. That’s on McCain, not Palin.

  7. Wow. Just…wow.
    Where to start? First, as always, agree with everything A. said.
    Then, just one more thing. This falls into the problem that I see in this election in sooooo many ways: groupism. Yes, that’s a catchall term for sexism, racism, and any other ism you care to throw in.
    The bottom line is that the person calling “Groupist!” is saying it’s not okay to hate somebody solely because of the group they happen to be a member of. Generally, I agree with anti-groupism. Racism and sexism both have been rearing their ugly Rush-Limbaugh-on-a-bender-shaped heads in too many ways in recent months, and I’d love to see us get past them both.
    But here’s the thing. Arguing against somebody’s policies does not make you groupist. Hell, even taking a gut-instinct dislike to somebody doesn’t automatically make you groupist. Yes, there are lots and lots of ways to cover your groupism, and we need to call people on those.
    But this kind of article DOES NOT HELP. It’s the boy-crying-wolf thing. When you make blanket statements like this that imply that women are being sexist against their own gender simply because they think Sarah Palin is an awful choice for vice president, you automatically devalue the accusation of sexism. Throw around “sexist” often enough, and nobody pays any attention when it really shows up.
    So here’s my line in the sand: call Sarah Palin by a nasty, misogynistic name (you know the ones I’m talking about) = not okay. Call her a blithering idiot = okay. Because the first is a term meant to demean someone solely for being a woman, which has nothing to do with a person’s qualifications for office. While the second is both demonstrably true and extremely important in a person’s qualifications for office.

  8. Palin would catch my eye crossing the room, but within 5 seconds of getting close enough to hear her talk all interest would be vaporized.
    In other words, I’m a guy, so I look, but I’m a long way from the vapid Caribou Barbie lust that Lowry and his ilk appear to feel.
    I didn’t want Clinton to get the nod because I don’t like some of what she did, but like it says above, I want to vote for a woman – just not that woman.

  9. Word.
    I frequent you kids but this is the first time that I have felt compelled to comment. This is absolutely beautiful. Keep up the good work.

  10. I watched the debate with friend and his girlfriend. Now, I’ve said some pretty mean things about politicians over the years, but nothing compares to what my friend’s girlfriend said that night.
    She said that Palin was a horrible mother because she’s got a 5 kids, one of which is special needs, and she’s running for office. Those kids take time to raise, especially the special needs child. She’s a horrible mother for not resigning her office and taking care of the kids.
    I’ve said some mean shit over the years, but all of it pales in comparison to that comment. Men can be mean and cruel, but when a woman gets worked up, we don’t hold a candle to y’all ladies.

  11. what’s mean about saying the truth about someone who willingly reproduces despite her political ambitions? The wretch is dragging her brood everywhere…if I recall correctly, school is back in session or does the state of Alaska fund a full-time multi-grade tutor to trail the family? Or does Empress Palin homeschool them in between “you betchas” and “winking at the camera” training? Also – who’s governing Alaska in her absence?
    I thought she “loved Alaska” soooo very much, she wouldn’t allow her latest baby to be born anywhere else (even to his detriment) – and now she’s ready to give up the state she and her hubby were working for secession from the US of A? Hmmmm, go figure, she doesn’t ring true about that, either.
    What that girlfriend said was tame in comparison to many things that have been said. And mean doesn’t always equal untrue about the situation. Believe me, I have heard some prime cattiness out of straight men about many things (not just Palin), too – women don’t have a corner on the market for acidic commentary.

  12. Oh my goodness.
    Women are specialists at loathing? That must be why men are so intimidated by them and suppress themselves when they could be self-actualizing.
    ( Read that again.)
    I don’t get it.
    I sure knew plenty of High School bitches in my day, but there were also plenty of High School assholes.
    Given this supposedly endemic nastiness of women towards other women, how can one explain the strength that women get from one another?
    If women are so jealous of each other’s success, how does that explain the many women who feel that their support has come from their friends?
    Does this also mean to imply that guys are by contrast, not NASTY to their peers who they perceive to be competitors? They are just so much more rational and sportsmanlike about it?
    Man, I am so sick of this bullshit.
    Palin’s not qualified. Can we stick with that?
    Give me a break.
    Thank you.

  13. “First things first. Can we please put to rest the idea that there is something charmingly, exclusively female about acting like a childish fucking nutjob?”
    Even if CSPAN hadn’t provided daily proof that this myth is bogus, one would think the past eight years watching the antics of WPE should have done the job.

  14. Oh how I love when people of either gender use misogyny to accuse women of misogyny! Project much, Belinda?
    All women hate Hillary and Sarah Palin, and for the same reason…because they’re women! Women are self-loathing! Why did we ever give women the vote? They are too emotional to handle it!
    Personally, I’m happy that Hillary is not on the ticket. But it’s not because she’s a woman…it’s because I want her in Harry Reid’s current position! And while there may still be some former Hillary supporters who are planning to vote for McCain, it’s not because of (or in spite of) Palin, but because of racism (despite what the right-wing plants say when they call in to Ed Schultz, et al.)
    I like women…some of my best friends are women (really, they are.) Maybe not “Sex and The City” friends, but that’s because we’re all married, nearing 40, and not vapid. (Full disclosure: I love “Sex and The City–The Series.” The movie was okay, except they totally wasted Jennifer Hudson, using her mainly to A)add some “color”, and B)push the overbearing “Love” meme.
    Her ex from St. Louis just *happens* to show up at the Christmas party she’s attending in NYC and immediately decides she is The One after all??? So she moves straight back to St. Louis so she can be trying on wedding dresses when she facilitates Carrie meeting Big in their penthouse, and Carrie can finally realize Big does love her because he, at the last possible moment before the new owners move in, rescues her never-before-worn shoes???? As if the HBO Carrie would have left them in the first place!!!! (Sorry, loved all the other story lines. That was my main problem with the series…I loved all of the characters except Carrie…the MAIN character.) (And, really, does anyone actually move to New York “to find love”? I’ve never been there, but I have several friends that have moved to NYC, and none of them did it on the prospect of finding the love of a man. They did it because they fell in love with the city itself, or because it was a good career move, or because our home town was too small for them and NYC seemed like the logical place to be.
    But please correct me if any of you moved there to look for a husband.)
    Sorry to ramble. I’m just fed up and put out by the pundits/columnists/diary-writers who tell me that 1)I must desire to vote for the woman because we have ovaries in common, and at the same time 2)I won’t be able to bring myself to vote for the woman because my ovaries tell me I must be jealous of her and wish her harm. I don’t wish Sarah Palin harm, and I’m not jealous of her. Hell, she’s got over 10 years and five kids on me…she’s the one who should be jealous. I only went to one college, and got a BA in Elementary Education (I guess my rewards are in Heaven, right Sarah?) I’m not a “hockey mom”…who in Louisiana is? And why do only the “Joes” get to be “Sixpack”s? Why can’t we “Janes”? Sounds sexist to me! Not to mention “elitist”. I guess while our “guys” are drinking beer, we “gals” must be swilling Chardonnay?
    The US is full of smart, funny, competent women…Sarah Palin just isn’t one of them. We don’t hate her because of her genitalia or because we’re jealous of her, just as we didn’t hate the “popular” or “pretty” girls in high school because of those reasons. Newsflash: not all pretty girls are “popular”, and a lot of “popular” girls aren’t pretty. Belinda is right that we hate Sarah Palin for the same reasons we hated most of “those” girls: because they make the rest of us look BAD! The winking, the faux-sexy behavior, the “I’m cute, I don’t have to know stuff!” attitude, the smiling whilst insulting and stabbing someone in the back. Yes, we knew that girl in high school. But unlike Belinda, we never wished we *were* her. We were very happy to cultivate relationships with women and men that were platonic and fulfilling and have lasted (in my case) over 20 years. These are relationships that lived on without fear of a female-friend stealing a known object of desire, without male-friends who really only want to frack you. We’ve lived good lives with these friends of all genders who like us because we’re interesting, intelligent, and have opinions they respect. And that’s why we don’t like Sarah Palin…because she possess none of these qualities.

  15. “When men disagree, the steps to resolution are reasonably clear and unsophisticated. Acts of physical violence are visited upon one another’s person or property, and the whole thing blows over.”
    Why are you giving Belinda such a hard time? She’s absolutely right. Sure, she neglects to mention that the “whole thing blows over” part sometimes takes 4, 6, 10 or 100 years, and is called a war. But she’s right – that’s NOTHING compared to the bitchiness women display toward each other. I’ll take a war that kills thousands of my countrymen to women being MEAN TO EACH OTHER anyday.

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