Fantastic editorial in the Times today by Judith Warner about the "Bo-Tax" on the health reform bill, a provision that would tax cosmetic surgery by 5%.
I'm not sure whether it is studying abroad that made me particularly sensitive to sexism, but I am starting to see it exacerbate, even beyond 1990s standards. Watching the FIFA world cup draw this weekend was surprisingly painful: I was struck by Charlize Theron's mindless portrayal of a glamour-girl dumb blonde. Theron, an intelligent, worldly actress who has acted in countless psychologically and physically varied roles (i.e. "Monster"), was paid to saunter around the stage in a red ballgown, being fondled by weird soccer players (and Beckham, with that ridiculous haircut!), and occasionally commenting about her alleged idiocy to the completely uncharismatic Frenchman next to her. As a friend noted, if it had been an African American man acting dumb in front of the so-called distinguished European, there would be outrage in the streets, and not without reason. Why a female/male relation on the stage should be any different is another story altogether...
Why not have Theron in a more soccer-friendly or professional getup? Why use a woman at all? And why not use a knowledgeable woman soccer pro, paired with an ignorant male Hollywood Star? Would this blatant misogyny occur if it was set in America and not South Africa? (Probably)
In any case, the point of Warner's editorial was to show the lunacy of a woman's right's group complaining about this amendment, as if plastic surgery were not a symptom of society's decline into Mad Men-era misogyny.
In any era where almost half of females fear becoming a "bag lady," and women are transformed again into the "mindless-boob-girlie symbol," Warner writes:
This is what happens when equal pay stalls, abortion rights wither, and attempts to improve child care and workplace flexibility die on the legislative vine year after year. Women’s empowerment becomes a matter of a tight face and a flat belly. You control what you can control. And so many middle-aged women feel particularly out of control now, as indeed they are, in these life plan-wrecking economic times.