christine & pop politics

good evening. i ended up relaxing a little too much this evening. watching television, old sitcoms on television that weren't that good to begin with.

who's the boss is the show. but elaine and i used to watch that show. i saw 1 of our favorite episodes where samantha is working for angela but wants to quit. it's really a harmless show and there's much worse out there.

like the home improvements and the raymonds and all the other shows where 'the little woman' just sits around saying 'oh tim' or 'oh ray' and has no life of her own.

i can remember when judith light was karen on 1 life to live. anybody else go back that far? probably not. but she was really amazing. karen was a prostitute but her husband didn't know it. to save her friend from a murder charge, she had to admit it on the witness stand, in front of every 1 including her husband.

judith light is a good actress. and the worst that can be said about who's the boss is that it was sometimes just silly. these days you can say so much more about so many other shows.

tv on the brain tonight and you can blame that on christine of ms. musing.

ava and c.i. offer a feminist critique of tv shows each week over at the third estate sunday review. (they reviewed the hideous three wishes most recently.) and for 2 years now, christine's offered a feminist critique on pop culture and a host of other issues via ms.'s website.
but that's over there now.

i can't imagine why. ms. has 2 new blogs and 1 is really funny and the other will be hard hitting politics by eleanor smeal. (they're on my blogroll: a new leif and the smeal report.) but i can't imagine why christine's not going to be there anymore. if you read her last post it just seems to come out of the blue.

i hope it was a mutual decision and i hope ms. understands how important christine was to visitors of the site.

they aren't a monthly magazine, ms., they're not bimonthly. they publish 4 times a year and the content isn't always available online of each issue. this isn't to run down ms. for instance, i support the naacp but they need to realize that when people visit their site, they're wanting something more then 'about the naacp.'

with ms. when nothing else changed, you always had fresh content from christine. i get the print edition of the magazine so i honestly only went to the website because of christine.

and i hope they realize that and that she was appreciated.

she gave you a feminist critique. which doesn't mean every 1 always agreed with her because there is not 1 feminist critique. c.i. and ava both hit the roof 1 time when jim was putting something about 'the feminist critique' and they had to walk him through on how there isn't 1 feminist critique of tv shows, let alone of everything out there.

but christine would offer her opinions and steer you towards some show to watch or a cause to support. she was 1 of the handful of people i saw blogging about the issue of animals in new orleans after hurricane katrina. she didn't just write an entry either, she went down there.

she was an important voice and she really was the voice of the website because her content was new. so i hope she was appreciated and that she left because she felt it was time to focus on her own site (pop politics).

c.i.'s noted that she's moved on (and is noting pop politics) but i hope others are as well. christine is so the antithesis of the type of woman i wrote about yesterday. she truly was in it for every 1 and out of the desire to support women. elaine and c.i. did an e-mail today asking every 1 to consider adding pop politics to their blogrolls and i can't imagine any 1 in the community saying no to that. but if any blogger from outside the community reads this, i hope they will think about adding pop politics as well.

besides the fact that christine supported everyone, there's also the fact, and c.i. and elaine made this point strongly in their joint e-mail, that pop culture especially needs feminist critiques. before susan faludi's backlash, you'd meet a lot of women who would sneer, women who identified as feminist, about pop culture being critiqued.

i can think of 1 hideous woman that c.i. knew. we all knew her but, as usual, c.i. was the high roader who was nice to her. the woman was a lesbian but not out then. and she was trying to hide being a lesbian with every 1 that knew her. so, this is around 1987 or 1988, she went through this phase of going on and on about michael douglas and how hot he was. fatal attraction was out.

every 1 was raising their eye brows over her comments about his butt because there was no reason for her to be in the closet - we all knew and had no problem with that. but at 1 point when she was going on about michael douglas's butt for the 9th or 10th time, c.i. said that fatal attraction was really an anti-woman movie. i need a name for the woman so i'll just call her 'closet.'

closet hit the roof. she started yelling and screaming about how women were being beaten up and there wasn't time to waste on movies.

this after closet had gone on and on about the butt of michael douglas which i doubt had any healing effects on battered women.

she was an older feminist. she'd been one of the 1st of the 2nd wave. and she just wasn't open to discussions on anything that she didn't feel was a feminist issue.

when susan faludi's backlash came out, i remember elaine and i telling c.i. that closet had to be given a copy. 1st off, c.i. was handing that book out like crazy which isn't uncommon. when c.i. falls for a book, every 1 gets a copy. 2nd of all, faludi was critiquing film, television and fashion.
and that doesn't seem like a big deal now but it really did take faludi and that book to make a number of feminists realize the importance of offering critiques on those topics.

in their joint e-mail, elaine & c.i. noted lucy hughes-hallet which is another favorite author. she wrote a book on cleopatra that i do not remember the name of. (pray c.i. doesn't read that and i don't hear 'uh, rebecca, i gave you that book, didn't you keep it?') but hughes-hallet goes through various time periods to illustrate how cleopatra is never, when people write about her or make films of her, a fixed point of reference. you can find the thoughts and moods of the times in each portrayal. and our popular narratives do not critiquing.

we need to struggle to figure out what the message is. that doesn't mean we'll always agree.

for instance, i doubt i'd agree with christine on buffy the vampire slayer. i think after buffy came back from the dead and moved to upn the show had no feminist message.

there's a review of that which everyone worked on at the third estate sunday review and i was the 1st to say, let me blow my horn, 'let ava and c.i. write the tv reviews.' the strong points in that review come from them. it's a muddled review. and that's because every 1 was tossing out stuff. but buffy went from a strong woman to a pretty pathetic woman and i agree with them that this had to do with joss whedon wanting to play with the big boys which always means, as they point out, that a whedon or a glenn gordon caron reject the women that made him famous.
whedon kept trying to prop up angel to the point that he even lets buffy get slapped by angel in 1 cross-over episode. the star, the character every 1 loved from the bigger show, is reduced to carping, jealous woman who gets slapped for it.

that says a lot about where whedon's priorities were.

so i never agree with the claim that buffy was this powerful feminist statement. i agree that on the wb it was. there was enough of an arc to carry it through. but when you have buffy sleeping with spike and all the other drag her through the mud nonsense of the upn years, it's just not about feminism in my opinion.

and you know what? a lot of feminists would disagree. that's because there's not 1 feminist opinion. and we need to have these discussions (if we don't we end up supporting women blindly, including war hawks, and weakening ourselves and our own message of equality). not to say 'you're wrong, i'm right!' but to get another take and inform ourselves.

and it really is important because, as elaine & c.i. noted, pop culture is the narrative of our times, the fairy tales we grow up on, the equivalent of legends passed around the campfire.

and for 2 years at ms. musing, christine's taken on that and so much more.

abbey e-mailed me about christine. specifically, she wondered why christine was always called that at the common ills.

there are a number of reasons but the most obvious 1 is because you were supposed to think of her as a friend. she had a sight and it was to make sure she was approachable the way she would be if you were sitting around talking to your friends and 1 was present and you'd say of her, 'did you hear what christine said?' we aren't first wavers of the second wave, elaine, c.i. and i. so we do have that 'gloria steinem!' to this day. but it would probably be better if we did that with gloria steinem and others as well, said 'gloria' or whatever. because the hiearchy of titles is something that feminism really isn't about.

that's why c.i. doesn't say 'senator' or 'mr.' or 'ms.' when it's some 1 of the clergy, c.i. will go back and forth on it but always put in the title if they are a nun or a priest.

but christine was supposed to be a 1 name the way elaine says 'rebecca' and not 'rebecca winters.' feminism is supposed to be welcoming and that was supposed to drive it home. it was 'here's norman solomon and there's katrina vanden heuvel and here's christine' as in 'here's our friend christine.'

and that's what she was and is, everyone's online friend. so i hope you'll try to check out pop politics and give some thought to what she and the other women are writing there.

i've only been today because i'm running behind but if there are men writing there as well i am not trying to slight them, i just didn't see any. but men can be feminists and they should be. we all should be. that doesn't mean that i agree that every 1 who uses the term is a feminist. and that's something that christine and the other women (jaclyn's a name that stands out) there will really get across, what feminism is about.

now some people will go back and read the feminist mystique by betty friedan and good for them. i've read the book. i've read gloria's books as well (and prefer gloria's books). but with something like pop culture, in discussing something that we can all usually grasp, it's an easier way to get across feminist principles. a lot of my readers in high school, if i say 'comprable pay for comprable work' would probably wonder what i was talking about. if i said something like why did joshua jackson make more money than katie holmes on dawson's creek, they'd get that.
and you can do that with any feminist issue.

look at ava & c.i.'s review of three wishes. they're tackling some really big issues like what we owe one another as a society and how it's really easy to say 'personal problem' and dismiss something that way.

they could do (and they could, they're very smart) a thing, a historical thing, with no pop cultural refs on how women have long been told that any issue that matters to them or harms them is a 'personal problem.' your husband beat you? that's a personal problem.

believe it or not, there was a time when that was the attitude, the overwhelming attitude, on spousal abuse or rape or any number of issues. if you're older and were alive when these issues were 1st being seriously addressed, you remember the excitement as women said, 'it happens to me too' over and over and we started seeing it was a societal issue and not the dismissive personal problem.

but for those of us who can remember those days it can be easy to think every 1 else knows all about it and the topic doesn't need to be discussed anymore in terms of leading a person through it, just address the heart of the issue. and in doing that, a lot of people new to feminism end up lost and saying 'why are we talking about this?' a pop culture critique can go a long way in educating us to the feminist issues that might otherwise go unexplained.

so please try to visit christine's site pop politics and show her your support. she and the others will raise issues that are worth raising. and it won't be heavy handed and you won't be bored. they're doing a feminist critique of popular culture. you don't need to do any outside reading to engage in the conversation you just need to be willing to read and think about it. or, if you're a poster, i'm not, but if you are, you can join in on the dialogue and say 'oh i agree with that' or 'i think differently and here's what i'm seeing.'