Friday, September 23, 2011

Christina Ricci misses the overt misogyny of the 1960s

Pardon me for scoffing as Christina Ricci promotes her new show, "Pan Am":
It’s interesting. We’re portraying women who are navigating a blatantly misogynistic world, time, and society. And we live in a society that is a thinly veiled misogynistic society. And we are women trying to navigate that. It’s interesting, because in some ways, while it’s nice that everyone pretends the world today is not misogynistic, in other ways, at least before, when it was blatantly misogynistic, it was a little bit more honest. Things were called what they were called, and the rules were set, and people knew what things they had to meet, and what things they had to check off the checklist. And once they abided by certain things, they could then kind of go and run free and avoid things that needed to be avoided. It was, in some ways, less confusing, and in some ways, less dangerous. I struggle with which is better.
I know which is better. Now is better.

Ricci is correct, perhaps, that the old ways were "more honest." But hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue—and in the 21st century, misogyny and sexism are looked down upon. Even officially sanctioned, in some settings. That's progress, even if it's not as much as we'd like to see.

Beyond that: the rules, expectations, and checklists that women were expected—and, frankly, allowed—to fulfill during the 1960s setting of Ricci's new show were much more limited. Being a stewardess (or a teacher, or a homemaker) was about as far as most women could hope their talents to take them. Being an executive at a company? Election to congress or the Senate? Serving in a president's cabinet? It was unthinkable.

It's true that women oftentimes face obstacles in those heady settings that men simply don't. (Remember all the hubub about Hillary Clinton getting choked up during the New Hampshire primary in 2008?) But during the era Ricci pines for—and never experienced—women didn't even have the opportunities to rise that far.

There's still work to be done. I won't deny that. But Ricci expresses a kind of ignorance when she acts like the 21st century is no better than the 1960s. It really, really is.

1 comment:

Notorious Ph.D. said...

Use the same time period (mid-20th century) and substitute "racism" for "misogyny," and the flaw in the reasoning is obvious.