Alison Garwood Jones

Female emancipation never looked so bad

August 5, 2010



You’re circling the drain

Take back the message

Yeah, it takes work

Focus and vigilance

The lowest common denominator takes seconds to achieve

Overriding decades of work

You’re discouraged?

OK! Let’s work with that

No, you say

And throw a party

To make you feel better

The theme?

Your own degradation

You invite your friends

Go Wooo!

Flash the boys

You love that they love it

Well, some of them do …

You ignore the rest

And get more provocative on your Facebook news feed

See how many comments you can get

What’s that?

I can’t hear you. You’re whispering

You feel stung by the aggressive feedback?

A little confused?

Well, here’s how we handled bewilderment

Back in the eighties

I’m talking, but you’re texting

OK, you say, tell me how it’s different today

It’s a global stage

Your mistakes are stored

But the basic dynamic hasn’t moved an inch

Waddya mean?

I get caught-up in the web-like complexities of the male/female dance


I’ve lost you

Your phone rings

You leave the room

And up the ante

Installing a webcam in your bedroom

Misting up the lens with your open mouth

Flashing. Again

Who taught you this?

Not Naomi

Not Gloria

Not Betty

The Hollywood sleazebags, I guess

Those cigar chompers who put the highest premium on your fuckability

“Would you do her?”

If that’s a yes around the casting table

You get the call

Mom, I got the part!

You don’t tell her what’s involved

You take the money

Fill the hole inside yourself with more purses

More shoes

Lots of stuff

Ignore the sacred whisper

On your own terms, it says

Yeah right, you sneer,

Turning out the light, and spooning your pillow.

*For more on this “hot” topic, see this week’s cover story in Maclean’s, “Outraged moms, trashy daughters,” by Anne Kingston.


2 responses to “Female emancipation never looked so bad”

  1. Emily says:

    Hi Alison, the Maclean's article is now available online:
    I agree that it is a bit depressing to think about the media messages being absorbed by teens today (not to mention that it makes me feel really old!). Of course, we all look back at our teen years with hazy lenses; I don't doubt or deny that I was exposed to sexualized music, movies, and shows but what was once considered to be "pushing the envelope" is shrugged off by most teens today. However, I have a feeling that the newer generation will breed its own "riot grrls" who are fed up with the current messages aimed at young girls.

  2. AlisonGJ says:

    “I know this a generational thing, she says, leaning on her cane. But, I think those Mary Quant mini dresses from the sixties (shocking at the time) were pretty darn kicky! Many of the gals who wore them (including Gloria Steinem (below), Marlo Thomas and, even, Hillary Clinton) looked and acted smart and sassy in them, accomplishing important things despite their trendy wardrobes. Oh, and back then, women didn’t greet each other with “Yo bitch!” But because I’m human, I’m also torn. Should Gloria (below) be organizing a rally for women’s rights AND showing her whites? Does one cancel the other out? Fast forward: I doubt time will make the antics of the sparkly “Hot Skank” T-shirt set look or seem better than they are. Exhibitionism in and of itself is such a dead-end for women, although try telling that to a young gal who thinks her sex appeal is her only ticket. Looks ARE power. That won’t change, and it shouldn’t. It’s how you wield it (and come to terms with it) that matter. Obviously, this is a very North American and very privileged take on women’s autonomy, but it’s all I know. I’ve never lived in Afghanistan or been pressured to drop a sheet over my head because my looks and very existence were thought to be a major distraction, at best, or subversive, at worst. In the end, maybe the deepest part of human nature makes us all (women and men) go crazy over the effect of women’s attributes. I still say this will go down as a dip (no, a free fall) in women’s history. As always, LOVE your input, Emily!”

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