"We are mired in a repetitious pattern of hate, jealousy and resentment toward those who are plucked by media powers and come to stand — however inefficiently — for the rest of us in the cultural imagination, securing the top spots, the best exposure, the prime media real estate in exchange for opening veins of feminine vulnerability." That's Salon's Rebecca Traister, weighing in on the publishing world's ghettoization and fetishization of the female experience by women writers both real (Emily Gould) and imagined (Carrie Bradshaw). Traister, in a little over 1,400 words, perfectly sums up this writer's inner conflicts over Sex and the City, the nasty, knee-jerk reaction to Emily's NY Times magazine piece, and the aesthetically prejudiced, commercially-limited and critically loathed space occupied by many contemporary female writers. Here's more:
Just as Gould is infuriated by all those "Scary Sadshaws," wandering around in search of baubles and boys... [I find it] maddening to have to wonder — Carrie Bradshaw-style — if Gould's story would have run had she not been beautiful, and maddening to then hate oneself for having had to wonder that at all.
But perhaps most maddening is the way the buildup of critical attention to a piece like Gould's — or to a cultural phenomenon like "SATC" — only affirms that certain kinds of women, and only those kinds of women, are worth elevating to begin with, in part because of the delight people take in tearing them down.
No matter how angry you felt about Gould's piece, it was almost impossible to read the comments and not feel terrible: for her, about her, and about yourself for having even peeked. The process is exhausting, and not good for anyone, especially women who get stuck with some lame avatar they feel does not represent them, but whom they do not particularly feel like burning at the stake just for having been clever, lucky or talented enough to wind up drawing a spotlight.
Another Pretty Face Of A Generation [Salon]
Related: The Times Magazine Dapples Sunlight On Its Memoirist [NY Observer]
Exposed [NY Times Magazine]
Earlier: 5 Things About That Times Magazine Piece On Masturbatory Blogging
The Problem With Chick Lit