Oh, Sandy

Belatedly stumbled across this brilliant reviewin the July/Aug issue of the Atlantic:

[Linda] Hirshman’s thumbnail review of recent feminist history [in Get to Work … And Get a Life, Before It’s Too Late] makes for prickly, entertaining reading. “Just over thirty years ago,” she rails, “the feminist movement turned from Betty Friedan, the big-nosed, razor-tongued moralist,” to Gloria Steinem. Not only did the honey-tressed blonde clearly have a smaller nose, as Hirshman implies, but “Gloria was nicer than Betty.” The pliant undercover Bunny shepherded in a “useless choice feminism” of soft convictions and “I gotta be me” moral relativism. Hirshman quotes Sex and the City‘s hapless Charlotte, who, when given flak for quitting her job to please her smug first husband, can only wail plaintively, “I choose my choice! I choose my choice!”


In fact, Hirshman insists, the problem starts well before motherhood. it begins when young women enter college and violate Hirshman’s No. 1 rule of female emancipation: “Don’t study art.”

Why aren’t the women who are outnumbering men in undergraduate institutions leading the information economy? “Because they’re dabbling,” she snaps. Here’s yet another Problem That Has a Name: Frida Kahlo.

“Everybody loves Frida Kahlo. Half Jewish, half Mexican, tragically injured when young, sexually linked to men and women, abused by a famous genius husband. Oh, and a brilliantly talented painter. If I was a feminazi, the first thing I’d ban would be books about Frida Kahlo. Because Frida Kahlo’s life is not a model for women’s lives. And if you’re not Frida Kahlo and you major in art, you’re going to wind up answering the phones at some gallery in Chelsea, hoping a rich male collector comes to rescue you.”

As Woody Allen’s own Whore of Mesa would sigh and pencil in the margin, “Yes, very true!” And don’t we all know them, those defiant, dreadlocked young lovelies with their useless degrees in studio art, experimental fiction, modern dance, and gender studies, lactose-intolerant and unemployable: “I choose my choice! I choose my choice!”

Ah, shit. I love Sandra Tsing Loh.






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