A Moment of Jen
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Wednesday, December 03, 2008
posted by Jen at 12/03/2008 07:05:00 PM

I had all kinds of deep, lengthy thoughts on everything I’ve been reading lately, but I’m editing the new novel, so I will offer short thoughts instead.

Didn’t Alex Kuczynski's Sunday Times Magazine story make gestational surrogates sound just like tampons for rich ladies? “You can swim, you can ride horseback , you can swill expensive bourbon and go to downhill ski-racing school, and not have to worry about losing your figure or going gray!” I know there was a paragraph’s worth of pro-forma denial tossed in there about how women would never, ever pay someone else to carry a child merely for the sake of convenience, but her whole piece – not to mention the photographs of her un-spat-up-upon little black dress, yoga-tended body, surgically perfected face, and uniformed baby nurse standing at the ready on the plush lawn of her house in the Hamptons -- read like an argument in favor of doing just that.

Wasn’t Maureen Dowd’s Vanity Fair piece on Tina Fey about as deep – and every bit as annoying – as a paper cut? OMG! Tina lost weight! Her husband sews and cooks! Do you know that she is skinny now! Also, sometimes she shows some cleavage! I offered her a cupcake, but she would not eat the cupcake, such is the Teutonic death-grip of her will! Yeesh. More than a whiff of “a woman who is ambitious and hard-working is sort of freakish and strange!" up in there.

I also wondered if Dowd’s fascination with Fey’s husband’s domesticity wasn’t – ahem – a little generational. Women my age pretty much expect their men to be schooled in some of the domestic arts…particularly if they managed their own meals, loose buttons, and dry cleaning prior to wedded bliss, and barely consider it worth noting, let alone going on and on and ON about, if a hard-working woman's husband mixes her a drink.

Isn’t it a little hypocritical for Caitlin Flanagan to complain in the Atlantic about YA books that are “about female empowerment as it’s currently defined by the kind of jaded, 40-something divorcées who wash ashore at day spas with their grizzled girlfriends and pollute the Quiet Room with their ceaseless cackling about the uselessness of men" and point specifically to "the raspy-voiced best friend, bleating out hilarious comments about her puckered fanny from the next dressing room over at Eileen Fisher,” given that she wrote a piece for O Magazine – which is, let’s face it, the in-print version of the Eileen Fisher dressing room, all nubby oatmeal-colored linens and forgiving elastic waistbands – that was basically a transcript of Flanagan and her ladyfriends sitting around cackling about life, and love, in middle age? No bleating over fanny-puckers, but I bet if you poured enough wine there might have been.

Thanksgiving update coming soon!
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