Teaching Western thought and American Feminism 101, circa 2009 — via two contemporary stunning novels…

Well, where to start? I think one of the biggest ways to understand what FEMINISM means to the West might be to explore that theme in contemporary novels so I have two you can read as a referral.

The first is by Margaret Atwood — now, I don’t want to spoil the plot of this fabulous read for you — but, a film was made of this book too. I think this is really an essential text about PATRIARCHY taken to its worst extreme. Where are we seeing these themes crop up in the world today?

One of the things I love about Atwood is that she writes close to bone about being a woman. Really close to bone. I read this when it first came out and I saw the film too. Hard to believe that was 1990 on the film? Whew. Well, here we are 19 years later and look how prescient her themes are. Here is the wiki on that book:

The Handmaid’s Tale

“…The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. The novel explores themes of women in subjugation, and the various means by which they gain agency, against the backdrop of a totalitarian pseudo-Christian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government in the near future. Sumptuary laws (dress codes) play a key role in imposing social control within the new society. The Handmaid’s Tale won the Governor General’s Award for 1985, and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. It was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted several times into performance works…”

Well, the themes this novel addresses would horrify most Western women. Seriously. But probably not the patriarchy, here — or elsewhere.

Why you ask?

No woman wants to be seen as nothing more than a breeder — and no woman wants to have lousy sex like that.

Do they?

Now why do you suppose the global patriarchy gets so damn upset by women’s economic and sexual freedom?

I’ll let you in on a little secret. They are deathly afraid of the sizes of their lil ol’ winky tinks (to quote Paper Moon) and whether they are adequately studly in bed. Trust me, some men are better lovers than others — and Lovers are the best in bed, overall. Because with a Lover, you get LOVE sans all the problems of married life.

But…Patriarchy cannot stand that, can they? Admitting that. That it goes both ways. It seems to me — that men really need to learn how to please women in bed and stop regarding them as tented chattel. Men are just so damn bad at sex, most of them — aren’t they? Ask your women friends to talk to you about this.

Now, we all grew up with Barbie as Second Wave Feminist kiddies in the 60’s — didn’t we? She was one of my first toys at age 5. I had the Bardot model and the Bubble hairdo one in the swanky fishtail gown. I had her outfits and her dreamhouse. I had several different Ken models too — and Skipper!

I think Skipper was representative perhaps of my gen! Now that I think of it. Anyway, my gen got bored easily — with relationships — didn’t we?

We did. We didn’t just have one partner for life — did we? No — we didn’t. We really didn’t. Anyway, my friend Song has taken on the 60’s feminists HUGELY in this excellent three part series she just wrote. It’s so interesting to see what happened to Barbie isn’t it?

Take a read!

#3 Pink Aisles and Langue Verte

Read all three, actually as feminist texts because they are!

When you think of the symbology of women as Barbie to the patriarchy — and then think of what you see in the imagery above– and you read the Handmaid’s Tale or watch the film what can you come up with as you see through the images — sifting them?

The images Song presents you with are important –because of the splits in dress codes.

The Partriarchy has developed a big plastic jumbo doll for itself to play with. It has. But, what about “real women” — ?

It’s so all about the fashion statements going on.  Globally.

Western Women are free to have lovers if they choose — in fact it is a given in most European countries isn’t it?

It is.

Women take male lovers because they want something else — something better than the machine-like coitus you can see in the film of The Handmaid’s Tale above. Why deny them ORGASMS just because your winky tink can’t do the job properly, dudes…

You see, in a patriarchal system it’s all about the male ejaculation. Isn’t it?

Only right now?

Why has Viagra become necessary for them to even get it up?

It says something doesn’t it? About how non-Cassanova-like they are circa 2009 to me. Same thing with societies that repress what is a natural drive? Or would see it repressed.

Between people. Just get over it sez I, and work on your technique boys. Then, you won’t have to worry so much or buy a plastic companion will you?

Barbie has turned 50.

Wow. She could tell you reams about feminism as lived by second wavers — by now she has raised children on her own, had jobs, gone to school and had a bunch of different relationships. You just can’t fool her. You really can’t.

She probably had to have an abortion once or twice herself — because her partner Ken dumped her.

Didn’t she?

Another really fabulous writer on feminism is Kate Braverman. For that you want the book PALM LATITUDES.

The female characters in that book will tell you all you need to know, about what women’s lives are like…

All women are not alike either, are they?

They aren’t. Even though the patriarchy wants you to believe that sometimes.

Read women’s fiction and you will grasp deep insight into the mind of the feminine.

That is one of the reasons why writing has become increasingly important to me.

I want to follow in the Atwoodian feminist tradition. My gen really hears her voice on the page. We grew up post-Jong’s era.

Trust me, we have lived it. We have lived it all.

It would be a far better world if LOVE were making the whole world go ’round. Teach the patriarchy about decent sex and we might have a chance at that? One thing women know about that ol’ winky tink? It’s the same all over the globe, no?

It is.

9 thoughts on “Teaching Western thought and American Feminism 101, circa 2009 — via two contemporary stunning novels…

  1. You are so funny Bonnaire! You are! I really wish sometimes that I could just talk with you..because your take on things is so different..but clarifying, in a refreshing way.

    You make me laugh because you are so straightforward.

    you are!

    There is so much here to read and yet, you have reduced it all to very concise winky tinkness, plasticity and well
    $2.00 Kabballah water, so to speak.

    Thank you for referencing my blog…..


    love to you Valentine Bonnaire



  2. Our lives must be different?

    I’m glad you laughed!


    I think there will be more about Skipper….as a role model in the era of Valley of the Dolls. Now that I think about it.

    Also, gearing up on the short story front — the pen is on fire….
    I think it was looking at what you presented in the imagery so perfectly at your place…


  3. Of course our lives are different Bonnaire! I was thinking about that today. I’d like to tell you more about myself, but it bores me to no end..really..

    So so glad your pen is on fire….

    You be good Bonnaire….

    I almost forgot!!

    “high in some silent sky
    love sings a silver song
    making the earth whirl softly
    love makes the world go round”

    song 🙂


  4. Well, I think you are a very interesting person — who has led an interesting life?
    Feel free to share whatever you feel comfortable saying here?

    I’m glad you come by. There are many readers, but few leave comments. It’s nice to know you are brave enough?

    But, I think you are a great writer — especially that last one — so?

    You need to be a permanent blog if people are going to be referred to what you say. You see, if I link to you — I want you to be there for people to read if they click over. By the way — It’s pretty interesting about Atwood and what has just happened. With Handmaid’s.



    looks like she pulled out of where M has no problem going to… (her principles?)


    anyway Song, I didn’t know about any of all of that until I read you on that?

    I really didn’t.


  5. I have no doubt that your author pulled out because of principles, and maybe she knows the “affect” of her work in a 7th century mentality. All roads lead to Dubai, Bonnaire. The disease of the world is in Dubai…and the most oppressed women on the planet are the Muslim. They have to sneak to blog…
    Then of course there are other women in this group who are the “culture carriers” just like in Christianity…the Queens.. who perpetuate the dis-ease. Who stand with the men and fortify the patriarchy. It isn’t always about conditioning.
    Not to me anyway. Like Pigbitch.

    So to me,the patriarchy is composed of men and women. Your mom? She liked M, because she came from different times..Your mom wanted to be free, to live her life…without the caustic eye of society peering in…

    but it was hard on you…

    very hard..

    Because of the nature of your heart and soul.


    your friend



  6. Gee! ( you might want to consider a career as a therapist — via Naropa)!

    You sure have insight into things — anyway — what was most interesting to me in your piece was the divide between modernity and 7th cen.

    Now — a therapist would see this as a split and wonder how this occurred — we would look at 3 generations using a family systems model. I have thought quite a lot about this actually — especially in January when that war escalated. So it is grandparent, parent, child. I did research in the wiki on the Gaza thing as it happened trying to figure out why they would do that? Why?

    So to me, and I don’t know enough at all — but I see a David and Goliath situation. I’ve thought a great deal about this especially after thinking about the two major players in that whole deal. The woman who ordered all that has a pretty big history. Generationally. Her parents/grandparents.

    We use a thing called a genogram to look at the roots of things.

    Just think?

    Where was the world in 1900 and where is it now?


    So, this concept of 7th cen. Why 7th cen? What was 7th cen about?
    Maybe the Crusades? The Crusades redux?

    Dunno. Anyway. I just wish John McCain was in charge right now. I really do.
    It’s because I can trust him. I know who he is and his record — and, after reading him — I know his psyche. I know I keep saying that….




  7. I am hesitant to answer you Bonnaire, because you are so sensitive…and you need to take good care of yourself,and not think too much about this. When you get focused, you don’t eat…
    So, see?
    Violet is talking about it..!
    and you linked to me…!
    So what do you want to know?

    you are talking about hundreds of years Bonnaire. You can’t intervene in that…

    It’s all about religion and whether or not feminists can begin to understand the varieties of women in their own country and in the world….

    you already do…see?

    In that very long poem I wrote, I dedicated a part to Lucas..her quotes are below. Here’s what she has to say.

    “What is at issue is the use of religion as national or communal cement, and the control over women in the name of religion, as substitutes to real power . It is in this context that women and women’s movements (in so far as they are allowed to organize) will manœuver.”

    “By internationalists we mean feminists who deliberately seek information and alliances beyond the frontiers of race, nation and religion. This tendency is the newest and is rapidly developing. Though it is premature to judge it, its beneficial effects have already being felt during these past few years.

    First of all, one should know that fundamentalist groups benefit from funds which one cannot even approximately evaluate.Where do these funds come from and through where do they transit, that is a research theme which does not go without risk, but whoever will work on it will render a real service to the women of Muslim countries and communities.”

    Hope this helps…

    Finally, don’t be afraid Bonnaire…

    McCain is on your side.


  8. I thought he was!

    And I’m a Dem! I am worried, when I get to deeply into thinking of how to make a correct intervention. I wrote a piece on Palin and McCain and Ecopsychology that has been read all over the world. It’s just incredible to me — to see where.

    Actually it was about many things — but it was crafted to make people think. Anyway — I’m awake! And it’s late. Geez. I’m really worried about all the news of late. I am.
    I think because of the lens I see through and my training. There are just too many things — too many things right now. One thing is going to be the repercussions (social consequences) of this economy. This admin is getting that at all — not at all.

    I have never felt so worried about my country, ever in my life.
    Plus, I’m not crazy about that 7th cen deal either.
    At this point, global feminism is not my issue — poor women here are?
    You know, women’s rights here.



    That really worries me. Really worries me.


  9. This economy? Depends on what happens in April at the G20 Summit.

    Obama, Brown, the Japanese? Bush? So far they are treating this like it is temporary…

    the window? G20…..

    Again you are so right, about the social consequences…

    not just here but globally..

    if they don’t get it right..?

    there are many defaults ahead..and potential geopolitical dislocation…

    I am too busy watching/studying the economy to worry right now.

    I can’t worry about it…!
    that’s what I say to myself…
    and I study away…….

    not elevating reading…for damn sure..

    unraveling the maze.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s