Monday, March 3, 2008

The Nature Of Femininity: Two Photos

I've never been into "chick flicks." In fact, romantic comedies of any kind make me squirm, and historical dramas bore me unless they're really great. I'm really more of an action movie sort of girl -- though I have to say that action movies have been declining lately. For instance: I was a big fan of the Die Hard series (especially of the Jeremy Irons villian!) but the Mission Impossible movies I didn't even bother with.

I do read a lot of novels, which may or may not be a girly thing to do. I tend to think of myself as someone who does not have girly tastes in literature, but surveying the last two months of reading suggests a more complicated picture.

Roughly in order, since Jan 1, we have: A Disorder Peculiar to the Country, by Ken Kalfus, Blue Pills, by Frederik Peeters, Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn, How the Light Gets In, by M. J. Hyland (which I blogged about before), Him, Her, Him Again, The End of Him, by Patricia Marx, The Dissident, by Nell Freudenberger, Whatever, by Michel Houellebecq, When the World was Steady, by Claire Messud, Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris (which I blogged about before), and The Futurist, by James Othmer.

Five of these ten books are by female authors, and looking at the list and remembering the books, I'm actually struck by the extent to which those five authors engage themes we associate with femininity: family, female adolescence, love, social worlds, the absence of love.

Not that those are only feminine themes, and many of them are addressed in the men's books. But it's also true that there are some guy-oriented themes in the male authors books that aren't so much in the women's books: work, rage, the state of the world.

All this just to say I was amused by this display at the bookstore last weekend, which didn't reflect my own tastes at all:

All that history! All those clothes! All that, uh, Victorianism! Do women long for the past?

After I left the bookstore I went to shop for a bag -- not a handbag, exactly, but I'm looking for something to carry my laptop in that's cooler than a backpack. I went to a department store, and saw this:

So shiny! So cool! So, uh, robotic! Do women long for the future?

I'm thinking maybe the answer to both of these questions is "Yes."


Octopus Grigori said...

That robot is actually kind of retro: it's very much like the .

That, or the fembots in the
new Heineken commercials.

Either way, the fembot certainly has a troubling history.

Octopus Grigori said...

That first hyperlinked period above is meant to read "fembots in Fritz Lang's Metropolis."

Dumb Blogger bugs.

Anonymous said...

Being an old-style paranoid feminist, I point out that the one item of clothing is a scarf around the neck, i.e. clearly meant to choke off any comment said robot would want to make about being robotized. ha, yes, stepford wives c21-style.

Anonymous said...

oh, yes, I forgot. And a purse, to go shopping.

Noko Marie said...

Octopus, for some reason that beer ad video wasn't working for me (I mean technological glitch-wise). But the abstract in the final link is great, especially the idea that "too-solid bodies must first be anaesthetised with utopian visions and sounds of an incorporeal future."

Mmmm, anaesthetic.

Noko Marie said...

Anonymous, right you are. In the 80's-90's I think there was a flurry of more menacing-looking female robotry. . . I was very sorry to see it go.