18 thoughts on “Saturday Night Double Feature: Sexism Nostalgia

  1. The Fifties and early Sixties were bad enough without glorifying such a sexist, oppressive, boring, stagnant time. This is part of the plot to bombard us with so many sexist, demeaning, and humiliated images of women that they begin to seem normal and acceptable again … like the return of the popularity of high heels, which no female would ever wear if it wasn’t to get the approval of men.
    But I guess this is what happens when there are far less women television writers.

  2. I watch shows like this and think women sure haven’t progressed much. It’s more like we’ve moved sideways. Sometimes it feels like we’re actually going backwards. I was channel surfing last night and could not find a single show not involving a woman’s dead and pornofied corpse. Stories of bad things happening to women are now a national form of entertainment. We get off on it. People aren’t really outraged by the TV sexism of today because it’s so familiar we hardly notice how violent and pornographic it really is. There are rape jokes in our cartoons, there are 24 hour news channels that do nothing but sensationalize crimes against women, and every channel has a CSI, SVU crime drama involving a parade of dead and raped woman in sexy poses.
    It kind of makes me crazy, people will say, “did you see Mad Men last night, it was so sexist back then!” Back then?? Who are we kidding?! Do people not see how bad it is today? The amount of violence against women that our culture now tolerates, no, actually gets off on, is rather astounding.
    Yay, women have finally arrived! Unfortunately we’re all dead and wearing stilettos.

  3. I hate these shows so much. I tried to watch some Mad Men after it started to get award after award and people were just drooling over it everywhere I turned. Figured it couldn’t be THAT bad if everyone seemed to love it and maybe it wasn’t just the horrid sexist bullshit it seemed to be.
    I was wrong. It was much worse. It was SO boring and tedious and did nothing but make me want to punch my tv screen every 5 seconds. How the hell anyone can watch this shit (especially any woman) and think it’s cute or interesting or worth any time at all? Especially since women are pretty much still working all the secretary jobs and flight attendant jobs and sexy porn jobs. Why would we want to watch shit that not only continues to devalue the already devalued positions we have but turns these positions into nothing but SEX. Seriously, the sex and workplace sexual harassment in Mad Men made me as an office secretary so uncomfortable. Plus the constant reminder that the men think secretaries are just functional idiots with boobs and that we will never amount to anything and anything we do manage to amount to was only gotten because of sex… ugh… I pretty much judge every person who claims to like Mad Men now. Thankfully no one I know actually likes the show, otherwise I’ve had a lot of ex friends with black eyes.

  4. The trend for these shows is more insidious than mere sexism. If you want to see plain old banal hatred of women there’s plenty to see in every other show on the boob tube (double-meaning intended). These nostalgia shows are reconstructing the ideal masculinity, just as the Ocean’s series hailed back to the Rat Pack to get that gloss of male strut and calm control over all the survey (even when they’re being goofs — which Soderbergh is too savvy not to thrown in for effect). The writers of these shows are also smart enough to give the appearance of telling women’s stories — ask the average woman what she thinks of Mad Men and she’ll tell you the female characters are great renditions of what women actually have had to (and still have to) go through. But their stories aren’t the point, so there is never any real growth there. The point is that they are foils for showing how great the reconstructed male is.
    No one would be able to get away with telling these stories straight using a current time frame. So they set them in the past to pretend that it’s all just a period piece when what they’re really doing is reconstructing our understanding of how great it would be if men of a certain type were allowed to be who they “really are.” With those men in charge, things turn out a certain way (we’re led to believe). They’re saying: “See? Things wouldn’t be bad; when you give these men the reins and just give women a little bit of control, things all turn out right in the end.”
    These are men’s fantasies of what the uber male could be without constraints (Ayn Rand anyone? it’s not a coincidence that her ideas are ascendant at the same time these shows are appearing), but it’s painful how many women are more than willing to go along with these fairy tales. More than misogyny (which soaks into every single aspect of everything, that’s a given), this is paternalism for a new generation. And lots of people are lapping it up. And the creators are getting away with it because women have roles that they apparently enjoy as long as they can stretch enough within their roles — this is pretty much the logical conclusion to fun feminism: give women some control, but never more than men want them to have. These shows are simply selling this idea to young men and women.
    The trick to pulling it off with these new shows, though, is to not overplay their hands. Mad Men comes off looking sophisticated in its paternalism. These two new shows have slid over into what anyone can see is just pure schlock. But never underestimate how many people long for manly men and compliant women. We may see a new low yet.

  5. I think of Dworkin and her “right wing women” and wonder perhaps if that isn’t what is playing out on our TV sets? You have only two options on TV, be a sexy half naked corpse or let the men be “real” men and they’ll let you live.
    It’s like we’re trapped in this never ending backlash dance. Women rebelled against the sexism of the 50’s so we “empowered” women right into porn and stripper poles. Now that it’s 2011 and woman are getting a bit tired of being pornofied 24/7, let’s swing back the other way and get nostalgic for the “good” old days.
    Noanodyne is right, never underestimate how many people long for manly men and compliant women. But why do so many long for that? Because like Dworkin implied, the objectification and pornofication of women coming from the other side of the spectrum is so repulsive and unappealing it’s enough to send you running right into the open arms of one of those “sophisticated paternalists.”

  6. I really agree. I hated growing up in the fifties, but you did not usually see explicit fucking scenes even in movies, they way you do now on television. Women weren’t displayed in the media in such sexist and grotesque ways, and there was not even close to the same pornified torture and murder of women shown. Even “Psycho” only showed a knife, screaming, and blood. I haven’t seen the “modern” version, but similar movies show elaborate close-ups of women being cut up.
    Most movies and television shows are made by and for men. Many movies are geared towards boys also. So men and boys obviously enjoy seeing women being tortured and killed.
    In the Fifties, here was not the same pressure for women to work at “enjoying” being fucked and agreeing, as the norm with peer pressure, for girls to start being sexually violated at young ages. I just found out yesterday that there’s an epidemic of young women with tongue and mouth cancer from HPV — and you know what that’s from.

  7. i also believe the current trend of “trans as cult” is helping to destroy feminist efforts as well, especially with M2T adopting these ideas for their appearances. it’s all very insidious isn’t it? but it sure is adding up to some horrible realities for women… i only hope the funfem crowd wakes up in time.
    thanks for sharing.

  8. Our culture hates women. Yes, it really does.
    I can’t stand it! There are some things women just can’t un-learn, and the fact that our culture *hates* us is a very difficult truth to know.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  9. @ fabflowers: I watched the Brit version of the X Factor on Saturday night (brain bleach was needed) and I was shocked that so many young women were looking like middleaged M2T; the ones who didn’t don this season’sTrans look, stood out so much; they were beautiful women.
    I hate these retrospective ‘dramas’ that glorify sexism. Great post.

  10. Gay men are also complaining that trans are undermining them as well and don’t care about anyone but themselves. Instead of LGBTQ, it’s become lgbTq, and the other letters in relation to the T are getting smaller and smaller, while the T grows larger and larger. LOL, I tried to warn them that the T had no business being in the same sentence as gay and lesbian, much less, part of the group. Hello? The T is anti-lesbian, anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-feminist. Which should come as no surprise being the dude who created and founded the whole gender/trans phenomenon was John Money, who was raised in an Evangelical Christian home. Evangelical Christians are not only anti-lesbian, anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-feminist, but also dominionists, as well. That’s why everyone gets the sense that trans are a cult/religion. It’s based on Evangelical Christian beliefs! Which also involve many of the same supernatural powers and magical thinking. Hey, if folks believe that, they’ll believe anything! Which would be the whole point.

  11. That’s good, Lucky. Money was such a child sexual abuser and lied on his data. He has done so much damage. Did you all read, “As Nature Made Him,” about David Reimer who had his penis burned off during circumcision so the doctor decided to make him into a “girl?” He and his twin brother were Money’s favorite experiment to prove that you can turn a boy into a girl. Their parents were intimidated by the famous doctor, so let him do what he wanted. Office visits were an opportunity for him to do inappropriate sexual experiments with them. He completely ignored that “Brenda” (David) hated being a girl and kept “acting like a boy,” inspite of being given estrogen and surgeries. They were his star case so he kept up the pretense until David decided to live as a man. (This has been used to prove that men will be men, no matter what, but I think it’s a case of a boy seeing how much more freedom his brother had as a boy and of course wanting that.) The twins both killed themselves later.
    I agree about women in the media who are meant to be beautiful looking instead like female impersonators.

  12. “Evangelical Christians are not only anti-lesbian, anti-gay, anti-woman, and anti-feminist, but also dominionists, as well. That’s why everyone gets the sense that trans are a cult/religion.” –
    Yes, I agree completely with that Luckynkl, and also the language used, insisting on calling us ‘cisgendered’ and ‘cissexism’, ‘transmisogyny'(when to me, it’s the trans that are misogynist), transbutch, transmasculine and all the rest of the claptrap ‘some women have a (flesh)penis, some men don’t’ crap.
    As far as these shows, I won’t be watching them, and I always found ’50’s and early 60’s nostalgia to be BORING, until all the color of the hippies, the social movements and psychedelia! I was a child of the ’60’s and would have loved to be part of those social movements, but I see something happening NOW with all these protests and occupying of Wall Street right now! Sexism is sexism, whether it be airline stewards or playboy bunnies or nurses on General Hospital shows. Though my partner LOVES to watch Dr. G solve yet another case! And what a brilliant woman Dr. G is! I myself like strong female science fiction characters like the brilliant Major Carter on SG-1, and Starbuck on the latest BSG, and some of the later STar Trek characters. There isn’t a show I’m interested in watching these days that’s in current circulation, since Battlestar Galactica went off the air, and all the Star Gate shows.
    It would be good for the Wall Street protestors to immediately work on diversifying, empowering women and women speakers, the white males to stand back, and also allow far more people of color, or invite them in, as well as the construction workers working on the World Trade Center, especially the female and minority ones. Otherwise it’ll be another sexist rewrite and repeat of male ’60’s lefty radicals calling the show. And not allow provocateurs to take power and destroy the movement in it’s nascent beginnings. IT”S ABOUT TIME!
    I long for those days of the women dancing on the nuclear arsenals and occupying Greenham commons and Seneca! It is time we do this again, maybe even have a women’s section in these Occupy financial districts movement, because it will be spreading beyond Wall Street! We need good feminist street art, songs and creativity!
    -In Sisterhood,

    This blog, and Radfemhub, are my new daily reads (along with IBTP). I WAS a Feministing/Feministe and Manboobz reader until I got called TRANSPHOBIC!!1! yesterday when I suggested that my number 1 priority was to fight hatred against WOMEN- that is, those born with a uterus to be owned, a vulva to be co-opted, boundaries to be violated, and ideas to be ignored. I also suggested that my very BIOLOGY was hated (notably, my capacity for making babies), not just my ‘gender’. And, that a man ‘transitioning’ to a woman DID NOT negate however many years of male privilege were enjoyed before that. I was attacked by a 54 year-old MAN and some other funfem concern trolls. In a thread about what radical feminism is. WTF. I said how INTERESTING it was that all of these people claiming to be women were AGAIN bullying, sidelining and erasing an actual woman’s (my) opinions and thoughts (just like, you know, men do!)- after I had actually been called out by NAME to talk about why I am a radical feminist. I ended up triggered, crying and angry, and I am DONE with Manboobz. I guess misogyny is OK when it’s done by other women and their trans BFFs. I can’t even return there to read the subsequent attacks on me, or the PMs I have been sent (which I cannot bring myself to read). I thought Manboobz was a blog about misogyny and the hatred of women (because men want to CONTROL us! Because we have what they want to use- UTERI for making babies and vulvas to use as fucktoilets). Nope, it isn’t. It’s All About Teh Tranz now.
    The freaking out that commences when women try to have ONE SPACE for just them WITHOUT MEN makes my skin crawl. As if the ENTIRE rest of the planet isn’t all owned by men.

    1. Wow I was shocked when I read the thread in the manboobz forum and I made an account. These people lack of biological knowledge and the phrase “Tranz women are women” gets old and pathetic because they have no real explanation why they are “women”. I will join the discussion because I don’t fear to be called transphobic. Hell even the slightest disagreement with trans people is considered as transphobic that’s how crazy it got (and pretty fascist too). So if you are considering to go back to the forum don’t fear of saying your opinion. I will be there and support you.

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