Wednesday, April 11, 2007

More things they don't tell you in writing class

Okay, there's no more time to worry about my missing cheese - bigger problems are at hand. Apparently, along with the narrative arc no one told me I should be living out, I also missed the memo about weaving a massively controversial position statement through the chapters of my book to polarize editorialists and bloggers across the world, thus giving me loads of free publicity and making me the poster child for some cause I may or may not really agree with. Sigh.

I realized this error this past weekend. One of my favorite female friends (and by favorite, I mean - most likely to pick me up when I'm down, make me laugh so hard it counts as an aerobic ab workout, and send me back out into my life with a vote of confidence that things will work out okay) called. In uncharacteristically somber terms, she described how she'd been flattened by reading an excerpt from Leslie Bennetts' new book, The Feminine Mistake, which (apparently) spends almost 400 pages telling women that if we stay home with our children in lieu of participating in "income producing work," we're: 1. wimps, 2. a disappointment to all women, everywhere, throughout space and time, and 3. Veeeeerrrry likely to end up destitute after our husbands abandon us. Cheery stuff. Gotta love it when women band together to make the world a better place.

I will say this for Bennetts - her polemics are stirring up attention. She's gotten some media coverage (check out's fabulous article about the whole women-bashing-women genre in nonfiction publishing these days), and she's been attacked by a former beach volleyball player/life coach Penelope Trunk for having the audacity to be fat. (I think it's safe to say you've struck a nerve when otherwise articulate women are reduced to saying, "Yeah?'re fat!!!" as their main retort.)

Anyway...onto my point. I can neither control nor keep track of the many ways we women are allegedly doomed to fail ourselves and all of humanity. But perhaps I can be polarizing - that's a gift I suspect most of us with the audacity to blog on any sort of a regular basis share. So ladies, I need your help. If I'm going to come up with a massively controversial position statement (hereinafter "MCPS") to weave through my book, I need to do it soon. Here are some early suggestions - let me know if you come up with anything better:

Potential MCPS #1:
I could say that, based on the observations of various social scientists, women have NO HOPE of breaking through the upper layers of the corporate glass ceiling unless we understand and capitalize on the power of a good pedicure, fire-engine read toenail polish, and open toed shoes. All other shoes, I would argue, set us back into the times of domestic servitude, lace-up "Little House On the Prairie" shoes, and put us (quite possibly) on a slippery slope toward the ancient Chinese practice of foot binding.

Potential MCPS #2
I could posit that recent (unidentified) studies suggest that no woman should be allowed to parent, babysit, or otherwise get too close to a child unless and until they have kept a plant alive for a period of at least six months. (I would, of course, leave out the fact that when I recently received a plant as a gift, my husband actually prayed for it's survival).

Potential MCPS #3
I could insinuate that fairy tales, Disney movies, and (horror of all horrors) chick lit books are the cause of all feminine failure. (Oh wait, that's been done already). Yep, women supporting other women. So good to see.

How about you? What would your Massively Controversial Position Statement be???


Stacy said...

I like MCPS #1 best. I'll try to think of some new ones for you, but my mind is blank right now. I blame this blankness on the exceedingly brainless and meaningless task I've been assigned at work.

Nancy French said...

My MCPS is for real: That schools that make parents send in BOXTOPS FOR EDUCATION should be fined by the government. There's some sort of awful program across the nation that tries to get people to buy certain products, cut off the cereal box top, send it into the school, which in turn gets a few pennies per boxtop. It's called Boxtops for Education, and it DRIVES ME Nuts. Seriously. Like I have the organizational skills to both bathe the kids AND look through my pantry for boxtops.

Then, to add insult to injury, the kids who bring in the boxtops get to pick out a special prize from the prize basket. This, of course, makes my kid realize that I'm a loser parent. So, I take him to Wal-Mart and buy him a toy every time they get a special time to draw a toy out of the basket.
So there.

LEstes65 said...

Oh dear. What silliness. I'm sorry but I think that your MCPS should be that you are allowed to write whatever the hell you want - especially since you LIVED IT - without having to stick subliminal messages about anything in between the lines or words or pages or via invisible ink.

In all the time I've known you, your own personal experience and beliefs have been more help and example to my own walk/crisis/whatever than any MCPS you could dream up.

But what do I know. I'm not a writer. And I'm one of those deluded people that probably would have loved your first draft enough to buy 1000 copies to hand out to friends. I'm a lunatic.

ellesappelle said...

Those are great! In a funny blogging way. But in all seriousness, who needs more people telling us what to think?! I would say if your writing is strong enough, people can come away from your book with their own conclusions. :)

My MCPS, though, since you ask: hmmm. Perhaps that sportspeople should stop talking about sports? Sports should be treated like an embarrassing habit you do in the privacy of your own home. Okay, so I don't quite believe that. But I feel the world would be a much better place and I would get on with sportspeople so much better if they learned to talk about anything other than how many k's they ran in the weekend!

Beck said...

Wait. Didn't Linda Hirshman already write that book last year? I have many embarrasing opinions, but I can't just pick one - it's like asking me which of my children is my favorite.

Sarakastic said...

I've always thought that breaking through anything glass, ceiling or otherwise, or desiring to do so, really isn't the mark of a smart person

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Hey, you're back. Great list. I'm drawing a blank myself, but then the kids are home this week, so I'm pretty much brain dead.