March 25, 2012 · 0 Comments
By Marie Burns:
My Website is down for maintenance this morning, so – good girl that I am – I have chosen to use my downtime wisely by commenting on Julie Hollar’s critique of a New York Times article by Sarah Hepola. Hepola wrote a tour-de-force in the Times Style section “pondering why no one has taken Gloria Steinem’s place as ubiquitous spokesperson for women’s rights.” Good question. To which Hollar responds, rhetorically, “Why would anyone (besides lazy journalists) want there to be just one (white, straight, white-collar) woman speaking to the media about all things woman-related?”
Obviously, Hollar has a ‘tude. She’s got it all wrong. We girls do need an iconic spokeswoman to make herself available for brief, controlled interviews on those rare occasions when so-called “women’s issues” arise. The ideal spokeswoman should be conversant with matters as diverse as abstinence (an excellent choice), contraception (not the way things are supposed to be in the sexual realm) and abortion (debatable in case of rape or incest).
Unlike Hollar, Hepola recognizes the core problem: “It’s rare to find the introversion and intelligence required to be an author and thinker fused with the charisma and good looks to knock it out of the park on the Tonight show.” The question then is – how to find such a woman? Fortunately, our male-dominated media have already pointed to a solution. To identify a perfect spokeswoman, what we ladies need is a talent contest, one that harkens back to traditional values – “Miss America” – but also incorporates today’s zeitgeist – “America’s Got Talent.”
An annual contest titled “The Feminist” would be perfect. The contest would be multifaceted, like “Miss America,” because, as Hepola explained, the winner will have to look good and know stuff. For the know-stuff part, that quiz show where contestants had to answer questions like, “Who was president during the Eisenhower administration?” is a perfect model. The show, called “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” had a great hook: when the contestant was stumped, he could ask for a “lifeline” – a friend or family member who told him the right answer. To make “The Feminist” really different, the helpful friend – get ready – would have to be a woman! Oh, girlfriend! (I’m sure readers are warming to this whole concept already.)
“The Feminist,” as Hepola has preordained, will have to incorporate a beauty contest. Since the winner will have to go on the teevee and appeal to men, naturally we’ll include male judges on “The Feminist” panel. But I would keep it classy. No Limbaugh. I’m thinking more like Piers Morgan, Simon Cowell and for diversity, Donald Trump. Cowell could make inappropriate tits-and-ass remarks of a tasteful nature. Sexist putdowns sound so much more acceptable when spoken with a British accent. Cowell is also excellent at rolling his eyes and grimacing in disgust.
The women who becomes “The Feminist” should be well-rounded. I am not referring only to her aforementioned body parts here. I mean the “America’s Got Talent” kind of well-rounded. “The Feminist” must demonstrate some performance talent, and that panel I’ve suggested will be the perfect judges here, too. When I say “talent,” I’m not talking emotive re-enactments of Sojourner Truth speeches. I’m talking singing, dancing, playing the accordian! Naomi Wolf belting out “I Am Woman!” Debbie Wasserman Schultz boogying to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Condi Rice tickling the ivories.
Whether or not a swimsuit contest should be part of the contest is a conundrum. I was thinking the contestants could actually include some older women. Oh, not as old as Nancy Pelosi, but Susan Faludi could maybe make the cut. Kirsten Gillibrand for sure. That said, we don’t want to gross out male viewers. So maybe tankinis.
Ultimately, viewers would choose “The Feminist” via call-ins, but not before Trump shouts “You’re fired!” at a bunch of losers, followed by close-ups of feminist wanna-bees crying. Humiliation will be just as important an element of “The Feminist” as it is on all the other popular shows. Who better as humiliator-in-chief than a serially-bankrupt former presidential candidate, birther, casino operator and mega-corporate-welfare recipient who keeps dumping his wives for newer models? Is America great or what?
Really, “The Feminist” will be a sensation. And a public service. I must read the New York Times Style section more often.
Marie Burns blogs at RealityChex.com