January 19, 2010

There are "certain girls"... apparently including me...

... see comment #1... who make women writers feel... hmmm... what's that all about?

53 comments:

t-man said...

I could have sworn the quote was referring to Nancy Pelosi. I find the constant look of surprise on her otherwise unflappable face quite endearing. It makes whatever she says come across in the most charming manner.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I find the constant look of surprise on her otherwise unflappable face quite endearing.

Otherwise known as the deer in the headlights look.

Salamandyr said...

I'm a bit bothered that the quote refers to "certain girls". It seems infantilizing. Would it be so hard to say "certain women"?

I find amusing the comments complaining of Sarah Palin's "shortcuts to success", and the rewarding thereof. Isn't our President an even better example?

Salamandyr said...

addendum to above post...at least the writer did not use the execrably bad "certain females".

Julius Ray Hoffman said...
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Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Althousism is the cure to this Deborah vs. Marcia quandary that America is in.

Yeah, that's an entirely girlish breakdown of the society, but us men are weakened after we let the feminists ride roughshod over it all...

And today we all look forward to your take on the big battle between Mike Dukakis in a Power Dress and the White Obama Named Brown.

眼淚 said...

Every why has a wherefore.........................................

lucid said...

@salamandyr--
Less precious political correctness, more substance, please.

Joe said...

Well, I think I know why Amba tags Prof. Althouse with this, but I think it's for different reasons. I've worked with a fair amount of media people and also had truck with lots of very smart people...and I'm a man who likes women...so here goes:

The Professor is extremely smart, and even more so, extremely fast. In a recent Blogging Heads piece (can't remember which), she tore apart her opposite number's flailing points, mostly by listening carefully and responding substantively more quickly than the other woman could understand.

The Professor also has a somewhat high voice with a bit of a giggle in it, and she smiles a lot. We all associate that with nice, young, bubbly, perhaps not very bright girls. But in the Professor, these traits are like the sheep's clothing around her wolf-like mind delivery.

In short, I think the Professor intimidates Amba. Men who intimidate people intellectually tend to be called brilliant, but women who do so tend to be viewed as sinister somehow.

I know much of what I'm saying here sounds like base flattery. Sorry. It's sincere, and I've seen it in other women as well. Tina Fey has a bit of it, but she seems aware of it and tries to wink and smirk her way out of scaring people.

John Yoo is a little that way...but he's a guy.

lucid said...

I agree with the general idea of the post, and i agree that this is part of Alhouse's charm and interest--a vivacious mind engaged, with that sense of poised femaleness pervading the mind.

But in regard to Nancy Pelosi--I find her expressions almost inhuman--horribly forced and always with a barely concealed venom just beneath the botox.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I find amusing the comments complaining of Sarah Palin's "shortcuts to success", and the rewarding thereof. Isn't our President an even better example?

No because being a former community organizer and junior senator that speaks well trumps all.

If Palin could only talk in that accent when she wants to it may have turned out differently.

Salamandyr said...

salamandyr--
Less precious political correctness, more substance, please.


Oh Bog...do you like being referred to as a boy? Do you like every commercial, media outlet, trash literature and cinematic masterpiece promoting immaturity?

It seems a big part of fighting that trend is respecting the adulthood of other people. Let's talk about grown-ups and not over-grown children.

And if you have been paying any attention at all, you know that the "politically correct" appellation is male and female, which I described as "execrable". I'd as soon describe "sex" as "gender".

So quit with the twee little rejoinders and you'll find there was actual substance there.

David said...

Salamandyr said...
I'm a bit bothered that the quote refers to "certain girls"

Please. It's Alice Munro. When she says "girls," it's precisely what she means.

I married two "girls" like this. After the first one died, it seems I had to find another one. Took me ten years. Well worth the wait.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

Joe:

We all associate that with nice, young, bubbly, perhaps not very bright girls.

...and with big tits.

I've seen it in other women as well. Tina Fey has a bit of it...

Margaret Thatcher had it. Big time. And it was enough to get Thatcher elected as King of England for 11 years.

lucid said...

@salamandyr,
whether i mind being included in a reference to boys depends on what the other is saying, on how i read their intent. but in general, i don't find the term degrading, as in one-of-the-boys, boyfriend, boy-toys, boys-night-out, etc.

to my ears, objecting to a reference to "girls" in the quote cited is a bit whiny. (!!!)

Henry said...

I am digesting the new tagline:

"I used to visit her site quite often some years ago but she lost me when she mocked Tom Coburn's weeping during the John Roberts' confirmation hearings."

Someone should start a contest for the best "Dear John"/"Dear Jane" missive to a blogger.

"I used to read her all the time, but she lost me when she voted for Obama" is tedious and overused.

"She used to be my favorite blogger, but she just seemed too comfortable in Texas."

"I used to read her blog, but once you become aware of the subliminal messages in the photos it's sickening."

Here's the Paul Simon version:

So goodbye, goodbye. I'm gonna leave you now. And here's the reason why. I like to sleep with the window open. And you keep the window closed. So goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

Salamandyr said...

to my ears, objecting to a reference to "girls" in the quote cited is a bit whiny. (!!!)

So you see the substance, you just disagree with it.

Say that next time.

Henry said...

@Joe -- Good job! You made the banner.

And my banner-related post above is now an anachronism.

lucid said...

@salamandyr,
I don't think you are witless. Let's try to be friends. But whininess does not seem to me to be substance. The word "girls" is evocative of a certain aspect of femaleness and relations between the sexes. When you try to rule the word out of court, you are interfeing in the delicacy of the poetntial experience created by words. And perhaps this is exactly what you mean to do, because you find a female being experienced sometimes as a girl to be offensive to you for some reason. But you are trying to reach into my mind and curtail my own experiencing, and I object to this.

Peano said...

I began to understand that there were certain talkers — certain girls — whom people liked to listen to, not because of what they, the girls, had to say, but because of the delight they took in saying it.

You do have that quality in your delivery, but I don't think it counts against you. I would revise the observation this way:

... whom people liked to listen to, not only because of what they, the girls, had to say, but also because of the delight they took in saying it.

There's nothing wrong with having a fetching style of speaking (nor is that style the exclusive province of "the girls").

peter hoh said...

Salamandyr and Hoosier, you might not be aware that Amba supported McCain in the 2008 election.

John said...

The second commenter nailed it; Anne Marie Cox. Anne Marie is just so excited and impressed with herself.

Salamandyr said...

Lucid, it is not the female experience of "girlness" that is offensive...it is that, in general, using the word "girl" or "boy" to refer to grown men and women is a sure sign that the speaker, writer, enunciator, is trying to downplay the importance of their subject...insulting them, degrading them, holding them up for contempt.

It may be, in this case, that Ms. Munro, who I'm not familiar with, is not meaning to do that. But by using the word "girls" in this instance, it implies that these people she is talking about are less "serious" than those she would describe as "women".

Interestingly, every example you used "one-of-the-boys, boyfriend, boy-toys, boys-night-out, etc." are disrespectful terms, with the exception of boyfriend, which is a holdover from teen years, since language gelled before longterm unmarried couple became acceptably commonplace. They may be used casually, teasingly, but they all imply, to one extent or another, that the subject is not "grown-up".

You may disagree, but I think if we want grown-up behavior, we have to treat people like they are grown-ups.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Salamandyr and Hoosier, you might not be aware that Amba supported McCain in the 2008 election.

I wasn't aware but my remarks were in reference to the comments about Palin in amba's blog.

Salamandyr said...

Same as Hoosier...I was referring specifically to a comment about "shortcuts".

Interestingly enough, diversions about nomenclature aside, the quality described by Ms. Munro isn't even unique to "girls" or women. It's a quality inherent in anyone who is invested, and "interested" in the world around him.

The books of Neal Stephenson are like this. They can be about anything, thousand year clocks, abstruse mathematics, or silicon valley empire building, or even the proper way to eat Captain Crunch cereal, but the joy that Stephenson takes in knowing, the interest he has in sharing this interesting bit of knowledge that he has dug up, like a boy showing off his treasured rock, is infectious.

And my protestations aside, there is a certain childlike nature to that quality...childlike without being childish.

lucid said...

@salamandyr,
I disagree with you, but let's just disagree and move on in a spirit of feisty friendliness.

Salamandyr said...

Suits me Lucid,

Moving on...

Joe said...

Hmm. If I had suspected my quote would make the banner, I'd have written it better. "But in the Professor, these traits are the sheep's clothing around her wolf-like mind." I guess fast typing is why I gave up blogging (and why nobody usually reads my stuff).

former law student said...

I don't see Althouse in that Alice Munro role, so Amba and I understand her statements differently.

The bubbly young women whose charm makes you want to listen to them, regardless of content, seldom have hourglass figures. They don't need to have to gain male attention.

Young women with that amount of charm work the perfume counter, or are receptionists. Sometimes they're secretaries. They don't become law professors.

edutcher said...

Two things. First, regarding Ann, yes, she's very bright and articulate (can I say that, or is it only bad if I throw in clean?), but she's also happy and in love.

There have been surveys done on this and it's pretty well established about the old line that "everybody loves a lover" really is true. Ann's smile, eyes and mouth, and her whole demeanor are appealing. As one commenter put it, "Lady, you glow". Amba picked up on this as do most of us.

Second, as for Sarah Palin's shortcuts, the woman is self-made and few people have had to work more and harder to get to the place she is now. Most "feminists" had their success bought for them by Daddy or hubby - think Barbara Boxer, Hillary Rodham, etc. This is also true of some guys, who, of course, find Mrs. Palin "frightening" - John Kerry, f'rinstance, who can't live without the love of a wealthy woman.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Most "feminists" had their success bought for them by Daddy or hubby - think Barbara Boxer,

I'm sorry but I have to jump in here, can you show a little respect and please call her Senator?

Thank you

traditionalguy said...

A woman's personality that is accomodating and cheerful all the time is not a disability that disqualifies her from the exercise of Authority and skillful use of Power. But many women are brainwashed into believing that one.

Joe said...

(The other Joe)

Certain girls? I know men who are the same way. Hell, that's describing most the blogosphere.

Freeman Hunt said...

The quote seems to put a negative spin on female confidence. Can't say I'm on board with that.

I like earned confidence, both the male and female kind, and I think the confidence around here is earned. But then, I don't think Amba would disagree with that, so maybe I'm reading it all wrong.

Freeman Hunt said...

I would also say that there are "certain girls" who are habitually underestimated because they are cheerful and, in some cases, attractive. And woe to any underestimater who would act maliciously toward such girls. They are girls well-equipped for the fight.

El Pollo Real said...

I'm sorry but I have to jump in here, can you show a little respect and please call her Senator?

Just don't you dare call her ma'am

wv: "cuttor" as in the good ship and bottle, Cuttor Snark

kathleen said...

So funny you believe that you, or "people like you", make women writers feel all aflutter with insecurity. You flatter yourself. Other women know when they aren't particularly welcome in a particular circumstance, but this is a far cry from feeling insecure because of some other woman's male-directed charm offensive. You enjoy the overwhelmingly male attention given you on this blog which is why you are such a persistent blogger. In the same vein, I'm sure any woman who has managed to do something so difficult as make a career from writing novels can turn on the charm when it suits her.

Freeman Hunt said...

Other women know when they aren't particularly welcome in a particular circumstance...

Are you implying that women aren't welcome on this blog? I've never felt that way. Or maybe I'm reading you wrong.

kathleen said...

do you see many women commenting here? Whether they are "welcome" or not, the facts demonstrate men find this a much more agreeable blog than women find it. (waiting for someone to put this down to some intellectual deficiency on the part of women generally

former law student said...

waiting for someone to put this down to some intellectual deficiency on the part of women generally

women generally do not have as much time to waste as men. or else other pastimes appear more agreeable to them.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think there are quite a few standout female commenters here. In fact, the most insightful commenter on this blog, in my opinion, is female.

There are probably more men here than women, but they may just be because this blog appeals to a certain sort of personality that is more common in men than women. Because of that, I think this blog is an especially important place for the women to whom it does appeal, women who rarely encounter other women like themselves. They can come here, and suddenly, there are lots of women like them. I think it's wonderful that way.

Freeman Hunt said...

As to my first paragraph, I would note that being the most insightful commenter here is an exceptionally high bar. There are many, many commenters here who I find very insightful and greatly enjoy reading.

traditionalguy said...

I am again reminded that God created everything and Adam to boot and said that it was very good. Then God went for the ultimate artistic expression that he was capable of and Created a Woman. So "poised femaleness" is actually the best work of art we get to admire on earth. If that makes others jealous, whether they are men or other women, then that's a part of life on the Big Blue Ball. Bon appetit!

amba said...

Here was my point, no more no less: the attractiveness of people like Althouse comes from within them, from their own enjoyment of being themselves and sense of being worthy of attention. We're lucky that in Ann's case, really having class and intelligence and provocative and substantive things to say is part of the package. But the former is prior. You could have the latter in spades and still not attract so much as a fly.

Freeman Hunt said...

Well put, Amba. And true.

amba said...

Oh, and: "girls" because it has its roots in high school. Junior high school. It is apparent already then.

kathleen said...

Amba, that's a nice sentiment, but I simply don't find it in Munro's quote -- which you chose, did you not? The quote is clearly pejorative.

And whether or not Althouse has interesting things to say does not detract from my original point, which is that she inferred some sort of insecurity on the part of Munro when confronted with women like Athouse. I found that self-serving and, frankly, somewhat characteristic.

Trooper York said...

Once in the salad days of the New York Knickerbockers, Charles Oakley ripped down a rebound and went to throw a long outlet pass downcourt to a speeding Derek Harper. But unfortunately, Scottie Pippen hit his arm and the errant pass went awry, hitting this woman in the first row who was not watching the game and got hit right in the snoot.

Walt Clyde Frazier was announcing the game and said "Typical woman, running her mouth and not paying attention."

He was suspended three games for that.

Just sayn'

k*thy said...

Kathleen - I see your point and sensed the same thing. Her vibe or style or whatever doesn't reach all of us. And it doesn't have to.

Theo Boehm said...
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David said...

Freeman Hunt said...
I would also say that there are "certain girls" who are habitually underestimated because they are cheerful and, in some cases, attractive. And woe to any underestimater who would act maliciously toward such girls. They are girls well-equipped for the fight.

Ditto. Since when did being cheerful and engaging become a mark of dullness or stupidity?

By the way, the flesh and blood Alice Munro pretty much fit the description of "certain girls." Even in her 70's she is a lovely woman. When young she was absolutely dazzling and by reputation a fountain of charm and energy. All she did was become the best short story writer we have seen in the English language. (In my opinion--but not just mine.)

vbspurs said...

Would it be so hard to say "certain women"?

You know, I'm getting older, like everyone. Until recently, I called myself a "girl" when informally talking of me in conversation. Then I realised, you know, I'm a woman now -- and I became a little depressed.

So maybe some women say "girls", so as not to remind themselves that they are old.

knox said...

There are probably more men here than women, but they may just be because this blog appeals to a certain sort of personality that is more common in men than women. Because of that, I think this blog is an especially important place for the women to whom it does appeal, women who rarely encounter other women like themselves. They can come here, and suddenly, there are lots of women like them. I think it's wonderful that way.

Yes. I've always been genuinely delighted and impressed by so many of the women here. And I always wish I knew them in person! Funny, I never thought of it this way, but they *do* seem to have personality traits that are, ummm "manly" in ways. I'd have to elaborate when I have more time, which I don't now.

Interestingly many catty and petty comments come from men on this blog, which is unusual too.

Althouse is intimidating! The woman or the blog? both! Women beware. Men beware.

##

Agree that the quote sounded negative. Glad to hear that it wasn't meant that way, because I was surprised that it came from Amba. And "blog wars" are so very tiresome.