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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Again, Pulled 2 Ways

I want to provide two links today: they are very different, but are both on my mind—they give you some idea of what I’m torn between these days.

First, this—§ion_id=36&page_number=1&magind=5791

Which is a link to an article in Elle (I never thought I would reference such a thing) written by Judith Warner, famed author of a book about mommy-problems ( Perfect Madness) and a participant in the general cultural debate about how culture is bad for mommies. If my tone sounds dismissive, it’s not because I don’t think there really are culture-mommy problems…it’s just that I find the whole topic rather exhausting because so few people have anything practical to say about this problem. It can be a little defeating to think about.

I received this link from a dinner guest I hosted Saturday night. B and I got to play apprentice grown-up and have two couples we like over to dinner—they are older than us, and have kids, and are very cool and urban and intellectual and creative. Both of the women, particularly, have fallen into my life at such a good time. I had long bemoaned my lack of positive role models in the next phase of life, and so I am so glad to know these two cool moms. Really, they are so cool: great shoes, guitar playing, etc.

After dinner, over tea, I went on a little rampage about my current thoughts on money and feminism… which I did because I felt very comfortable, but in retrospect maybe I shouldn’t have. I always try to be very humble about motherhood, particularly around women who are actually moms. But it was interesting to get their perspectives—one of them works and one doesn’t—though hard not to feel like I wasn’t stepping on one set of toes or the other as I danced around the topics at hand.

We reached no real conclusions, but I will say that one of the ladies did make me usually reconsider (if not to reject) my feelings about the importance of finance when she pointed out that economic gain was the major goal of 70’s feminism, and that one of the major results of it was to split the constituency of motherhood in a way that ended up not helping anyone.

It is so so easy to judge each other, especially when the topics at hand are so close to the heart, so carefully considered, and so tightly connected to our own anxiety about ourselves. Although I shared this woman’s concern about motherly constituency, I have to say that one of my big feelings after reading Warner’s article is that maybe it’s –good- I won’t really be around other mothers, because without a peer group I can have my motherhood to myself, without so much competition and jealousy and anxiety.

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about this. But imagine holding all that in mind while also thinking a lot about this:,11116,214898,00.html

yes, that is the link for the WB’s new reality show, “The Starlet.” It is the first reality TV show I have every cared about, and I am a leeetle bit obsessed with it. Here’s why: while I do not really have any desire to prove my ability to eat tarantulas (or whatever they do on those other shows) I do have a tremendous desire to be a star—a pretty one, with great clothes, desired by many and impressive to all. I don’t necessarily want to be a star in a starlet, WB-ish way, but I definitely am interested in comparing myself to those who do—in imagining how differently and how supremely I would do the little acting scenes in would do the little acting scenes in which they show themselves off.

But here’s the thing—I am too old! Too old, for sure—if having a husband doesn’t rule you out for the role of starlet, having stretch marks in your boobs surely does. Yup. No wrinkles for Hollywood.

So that is all very traumatic, to find myself in this new relation to pop culture and to pretty girls. Of course, it’s been coming on slowly for a while now but nevertheless it still shocks me.

As far as the show’s competition goes, I am rooting for Michelynn. Mercedes is cooler and probably a better actress, but she looks too Winona to say “starlet” to me.


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