October 23, 2005

Getting out of that corset of a small car.

The article about the man and his minivan, discussed in the previous post, was buried in the back pages of the sports section of the Sunday NYT. Now, here's an article about a woman and her minivan, and it's buried in the back pages on the Sunday "Styles" section. (I remember when newspapers used to have a section that was just forthrightly called the "Women's" section, or, more amusingly, the "Society" pages.)

So what's the angle for dealing with the big minivan issue vis a vis women? Oh, how about feminism and fashion:
WOMAN, in case you had not heard, is not a vessel.

But Woman has been poured, packed and trussed into some mighty constraining containers over the years, from the figure-flattening boned bodices of Elizabethan England to the figure-flattering Wonderbras and stilettos of the 1990's. And when it comes to helming vessels, Woman has often found herself skipper of that slow boat to suburbia: the S.S. Station Wagon, a weighty skow practically synonymous with women's lack of lib.
Or should I say: feminism and fashion and alliteration?

And while we're being literary, let's toss in another element that, Oprah knows, appeals to the ladies: literature:
Jennifer Weiner feels liberated behind the wheel of her empowering minivan.

Kate Klein, the heroine of the new chick-lit best seller, "Goodnight Nobody" (Atria), and the possessor of today's answer to the station wagon, can relate. "She hates her minivan," Jennifer Weiner, the novel's author, said of her protagonist. "To her it's a symbol of suburban enslavement, everything she's given up - going from having a MetroCard and all the freedom it represented to a life of encumberment."

Before you go thinking of the writer as an ardent yet trenchant cross between Gustave Flaubert and Erma Bombeck, take note: For Ms. Weiner, the sound of freedom is the robotic rumble of the side doors of her Honda Odyssey sliding open at the remote click of her key ring. She doesn't just like her minivan. She loves it.
You will love your minivan.

So from "the figure-flattening boned bodices of Elizabethan England to the figure-flattering Wonderbras and stilettos of the 1990's" to what? Speaking of literature, I note that the imagery fell short. What is the fashion step of the '00s that corresponds to the minivan? It's all about room, room, room, so .... well, we hate to say it.... caftan?

6 comments:

amba said...

Remember the muumuu!

John Jenkins said...

My (male) criminal law professor had a Miata. I never tired of reminding him that my 80-year-old grandmother has the same car.

Slocum said...

I'd suggest cargo pants (I'd have said cargo shorts, but knowing the Althouse position on shorts...). Comfortable, utilitarian, loads of pockets.

Bruce Hayden said...

In keeping with my aptitude for pissing off the fairer sex, let me suggest that such a minivan is the ultimate womb symbol, and, not surprisingly, some women like them, esp. when there are at the age of showing off the fruits of their wombs.

Tom T. said...

"Mom" jeans.

Al Maviva said...

The liberating Metro Card? You mean to tell me that getting on a 90 foot long, rigid, phallus-shaped tube, that only runs on set schedules (very fascistic, that) and which is almost always operated by MEN is somehow less empowering than driving your own car on your own schedule, and operating it by your own womynly powers?

Geez, I dunno. Something to think about on the drive home in my Oscar Meyer Weinermobile.

http://www.kraftfoods.com/om/Wienermobile_main.htm