Control needs to control.
So there I was, sitting on the toilet, reading an article in TIME magazine (accidentally delivered to our house, we don't subscribe).
The article was by someone named Lev Grossman, for whose name I apologize. What a sad name.
The article was about Candace Bushnell's latest book, which I had no intention of ever reading (and still don't).
What caught my eye was this section about the book:
It has an actual Weltanschauung-- it gets at the deep truth of shallow people. Women control men with sex. Men control women with money.
I have read and re-read those sentences over and over, trying to figure out what to make of them.
I can't tell if Lev Grossman thinks this description of the battle of the sexes applies to all people? Or only shallow people? Or only the people in the book?
Or, assuming it's not just bad writing but the fact that I live in an elitist academic bubble, what if it's not just that Lev Grossman who thinks this explains real life, but everybody?
Is this what most people really think? Is this how the world actually works, and I just missed the memo?
Coincidentally, while I was thinking about this, a friend sent me this other article in TIME about a recent study on how much gender actually matters for things like salary.
And that kind of blew my mind. In a nutshell: if you could change just one variable, and that variable happened to be gender, it would explain an awful lot of shit that women deal with in the workplace.
It's a flawed study, yes, but it's a very interesting concept. Doing an actual controlled experiment. Amazing.
Particularly with regard to the question about men controlling women with money, this seems to be true. Being of the fairer gender is sufficient to incur all kinds of hell upon you.
And all this talk about jobs and the economy has me thinking, more than ever, about who has money and who controls it.
But back to this question about women controlling men with sex.
Are we living in a rerun of some earlier time, some Pleasantville where women wear only dresses, spend all day cooking dinner, and are never anything more than mothers and wives?
Maybe even worse than that, am I failing to exert the one power I do have? Should I be flirting with my advisors and recommendation letter writers in order to get what I want? Should I harass my male students?
Clearly, that's not going to happen. I would rather be the wife at home than the secretary who has to sleep with her boss to stay employed.
But hey, that's just me.
But the point is, one of our major problems is that men fear us, because they don't understand us. And by doing that, they imagine differences where there aren't any. So in order to deal with that fear of the unknown, men try to control us. With money.
And for the most part, it seems, they are succeeding.
It's a man's world, they say. It certainly feels that way.
So speaking of reruns, let's see, where were we when this all happened before?
1868 15th Constitutional amendment makes it a federal law that black men have the right to vote; women are not allowed.
1920 19th Constitutional amendment gives women the federal right to vote.
So if that's at all predictive, assuming Obama wins, it will still be another 50+ years before we have a woman president?
Woman = (man) - (50 years of my life wasted waiting for men to get a clue)
Yeah, that feels about right. So by that math, my career will be picking up speed in another 2 decades or so.
Unless McCain is elected and dies the first week in office. Then we'll have a nutjob creationist woman president for a week, before she is assassinated.
And then all hell will break loose. Won't that be fun?
Or am I just being optimistic.