Friday, July 13, 2012

Fascinating Unfascinating

This was a very unfascinating day. I had the whole day free to get work done, but only ended up reading and commenting on three student papers. THREE! It was a day of trying to be productive and then getting thwarted both inwardly and outwardly. (One example: showing up at a cafe all ready to work and figuring out I did not have my wallet only to go home and discover I DID have my wallet the entire time, and then it took me two hours to leave the house again.)

And then I missed a Seaport Music Concert because I felt some weird obligation to see what everyone else was doing of a Friday night. Is that wrong?

The best thing about today was discovering The Fascinating Womanhood Kickstarter page. Fascinating Womanhood, published in the '60s, was a book I discovered with glee and horror in the '80s. It was an instruction manual for how women could build strong marriages by appearing more "fascinating:" in this book, fascinating is defined as demure, girlish, and utterly helpless and dependent. One page instructed women to purposefully mount the bathroom paper cup dispenser upside down for their husbands could have the pleasure of correcting them. Isn't that adorable? It was blatantly anti-feminist, a direct response to burgeoning feminism, and it seemed to be folded like doctrine into the lives of Mormon women a generation or two before mine. But my roommates and I had a great time mocking it and even writing a song about it.

I remember being in a Relief Society meeting in Park City for a roommate's missionary farewell, and watched in horror while a middle-aged member of that ward defended Fascinating Womanhood. It was shocking--that non-mocking! Anyway, I wish I could be at Lara'as Lalage concert tonight. Sometimes there is so much to do here, I end up doing not much of anything at all. P.S. Lara, I just read that the author of FW, Helen Andelin, was a BYU drop-out in home ec (left to get married, of course) and no doubt a Mormon AND from your hometown of Mesa, in the bustling Mormon west. No wonder it was embraced as "doctrine."

1 comment:

  1. i've also heard that f.w. was actually written by andelein's husband. not sure if that's true or not. i'm really, really, really excited for this documentary. emily asplund is friends with one of the filmmakers.