Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Sexual Politics of Sleep

'sleep is never just sleep. It is a metaphor. '

'For 20 years, the powerhouse feminists of the West have been superheroines'

'I believe that successful women — the ones with the most privileged lives of all — often feel a gnawing existential guilt about their very abundance and power. Someone has to be punished.'

Someone called Naomi Wolf, who clearly thinks she's important, discusses in the Times how sleep is a feminist issue. Women, we are told, are trying too hard to keep up in a man's world and are so tired as a result that they can't. Women, all women, everywhere, apparently, sleep less than men, spend hours at the hairdressers and in the gym, and it's all just not fair. Presumably this is part of the male conspiracy to rule the world. As models of the superwomen that all women strive to imitate, she gives a couple of gossip columnists and a pop singer. Why is Sarah Palin never mentioned in this context? She has, after all, achieved far more than most women. How many female governors are there in the US? But she's a Republican, of course, and a human being, rather than a product of that politico-factory they have somewhere in Detroit. And she comes from an unfashionable state, where she probably only needed the votes of her brothers, cousins and uncles (but I repeat myself) and half a dozen caribou to get elected, so she doesn't count.

Feminists come in many forms- wooly-headed, blinkered, frothing, stupid, self-loathing, hate-filled, verbose, shrill, sometimes even thoughtful and intelligent, but they invariably fail to notice that successful men also have to work hard, organize their time efficiently, devlop a number of social skills only indirectly connected to their profession, sacrifice family and other interests, get up early, carry on when they're tired, and so on. We just don't complain about it. We accept it as the price of success. (Not that I know much about success, but the little I have achieved has been through hard work and sacrifice, not by virtue of having testicles.)

Most of the women I know, successful on feminist terms or otherwise, have too much self-respect to see Madonna as a role model, or to write contentless, vapid, circular, irrational pieces in the popular press. Perhaps I don't know much about women. Anyway, the article's good for a laugh, but I shan't be reading Naomi Wolf again.

1 comment:

Jim said...

It occurs to me the reason women complain so much about how 'hard' it is to get on in life - to climb the greasy career pole, is because deep down they all have thousands of years of conditioning that they should be provided for, just for being women.

Think about it, throughout human existence at some point in a womans life she will be unable to fend for herself, due to pregnancy and then child caring. During these vulnerable periods she is dependent on others to feed and protect her, mainly men, though some female help as well. Whereas there is pretty much no similar period in a mans life, except perhaps old age, which due to disease, accident etc was rarely reached. So the concept of being provided for will come naturally to women, with no quid pro quo, other than the mere fact that they are female, and bear children.

So a few decades of 'equality' is going to have little impact on millennia of social conditioning. Women deep down still expect a man to provide for her, and have a sense of grievance at society when they have to provide for themselves.