“Women of a certain age are sitting at home eating ice cream, reading Jane Austen novels…” – Must Love Dogs
In a decade where women over 30 are compared to TV characters and clumped into one of four categories (You are a Carrie, You are a Samantha, You are a Charolette, You are a Miranda) are given both the message to be stronger and more relaxed with the power they have and to be told to tame it down because the poptart role models are too over the top; is it time to just cover up? Have we fallen into the trap of using the sexual revolution as an excuse to just leave our morals and self worth in a mud puddle? How far is too far? And what are we worth if we don’t have limits anymore?
Media reflects the time it is in, or is it a case of the time reflecting the media it holds? The 80’s were a time of powerful women who appeared to have it all, the movie Baby Boom comes screaming into mind as the iconic poster for women in that time. The extremely powerful woman who not just balanced home and office, but did it so confidently. The 90’s gave birth to a powerful woman of a slightly different sense. The power was no longer wielded in the boardroom but the bedroom. Chicklit became the catch phrase as more females left the power suite in the closet and adored themselves with the powerful little black dress. Cosmopolitans became the signature drink of choice letting everyone know you were strong and sexy.
With the rise in the popularity of wrestling we saw the idea of a strong female turned into an actual visual thing (WWE’s China for example) only to bend under pressure to become watered down once more to poptartish status. Although it gave new meaning to the word Diva, wrestling…sorry Sports Entertainment, has thrown us back once more into the shadows of what power is. Apparently power for a woman is seeing who can humiliate their fellow female by ripping their clothes off in public first. And if you are 30 years old in the sports entertainment business, then you are ready to retire.
If power means youth and beauty, its no wonder that so many of our pop stars and movie icons are having meltdowns. Age should be the mark of power, self esteem should be the mark of power. Not how many times you shook your ass in a video showing your thong. Are women today using sex for the wrong reasons? The 80’s were also a time of stories that talked about finding love, the 90’s were a time of stories that talked about finding yourself. This is a time of stories that talk about finding yourself after loosing everything including that great love, then having the strength to find love again.
Am I saying we should pack the last 100 years away and act like we didn’t make any progress? No, but I am saying that we need to rethink things. We want the power, but are we really able to handle it? Women have changed, but it seems to me like the mindset of the media at large still hasn’t.
Given the fact that Jane Austen’s novels still top lists of must read books, and have almost all been turned into films, there is still a need for self confidence with an emphasis on personality over an all-exposure sexuality. The character of Elizabeth Bennet is perhaps the strongest most powerful female in literature that still keeps Pride and Prejudice in the front of people’s minds. A fictional role model that real life present “fictional” role models could look up to.
As a woman over 30, I am admitting to my own flaws, and saying that I am 75% a Carrie, 10% a Charolette, 5% a Miranda, 5% Elizabeth Bennet, and 0% a Samantha.