Monday, March 21

What You Don't Know About Me

I'd love to confess something funny today but it's snowing again here in CT, even though the first day of spring was yesterday, so I'm not feeling particularly funny.

OK, here are three observations. Let's see how long it takes you to figure out what serious thing about me I'm confessing.

1) The "Sports" section in the New York Times today is eight pages long. Despite the fact that the Women's NCAA Tournament had twice as many games as the Men's yesterday, only one of those pages was devoted to women in sports.

2) The King's Speech is a pleasant enough movie, and it's certainly well acted, but it's nothing the world hasn't seen before in terms of plot. It's Rocky from start to finish. Black Swan, on the other hand, while also well acted, is fresh and surprising to the point where sometimes the audience isn't sure if what's happening is really happening. But Black Swan has one leading role, and that role is female, so it's chances of winning the Academy Award for Best Picture were probably even lower than that of Toy Story 3. The last time a movie with no lead male won was Chicago in 2002 although four movies with no lead females have won since then.

3) Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad won the National Book Critics Circle's fiction prize last week. Rather than celebrate that success, the L.A. Times chose to frame the victory as "Egan beats Franzen in National Book Critics Circle's fiction prize." They accompanied the online piece with a picture of Jonathan Franzen, who did not win but who is a male, rather than Egan. If you follow the link now, you won't see the Franzen picture, because as the result of reader outrage, it's been swapped by the L.A. Times for more appropriate pictures of Egan and the cover of her winning book. Still, can you imagine? You win a major literary award and yet somehow it's still more about someone else - some male someone else - than it is about you?

That's right. You've guessed it. I, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, am a feminist. And not one of those who's scared to use the word either. Are things better for women than they used to be? Sure. Are things better for women in the U.S. than in undeveloped countries? Sure. But on both counts, so what? Wherever you look - or at least wherever I look - I see indicators that whatever women do, it is almost always perceived as being somehow less than.

Want to read a real eye-opener? Try Big Girls Don't Cry, Rebecca Traister's account of the 2008 presidential election.

On the plus side, I think things will continue to get better, more equal. But that's a story for another day.

So now it's your turn: What don't I know about you that you're willing to share?

Be well. Don't forget to write.


A.S. King said...

Go Lauren. You rock and no, I cannot believe that story about the LA Times. I mean, I can, but I can't.
But I can.
Oh, I can.

Anonymous said...

I agree that feminism is still has a place (unfortunately) in today's society, but I don't agree with the "Black Swan should've won the Oscar" bit. I'm not an Oscar-reviewer (or whatever you call those people who actually decide on the Oscars) but I simply didn't like the movie. Not because of the female role, but because of the plot, and the performance. Just didn't tick with me. So you know, it might LOOK it's got something to do with the woman being the main character in it, but maybe it just wasn't good enough.
PS: I've actually had a post like this not long ago on my blog. I didn't relate to feminism, but talked about stuff my readers wouldn't know about me.

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Amy, isn't that LAT thing just too much?

Wordy, great post over on your blog and no worries about disagreeing on Black Swan. I knew that that item in particular was bound to spark some disagreement.

Amanda Ashby said...

Lauren - that is totally outrageous about the LA Times.

The other day I was talking to a woman who works part time as a teacher's aide. Now here in NZ the minimum wage is very low and teacher's aides are only paid minimum wage, which is a terrible tragedy and there have been a lot of protests over it.

But when I mentioned it to her, this woman she said it was okay because her husband worked full-time and was paid well, as if that somehow made it okay that she was being underpaid for a job she worked hard at.