*Disclaimer: Some of y’all are not gonna like this. You are going to think I’m mean and all snide-commenty and whatnot. I’m really not. I’m really a nice person and even kind of quiet and I don’t really even drink, especially since I got sick. But I would like people to think that I am a whisky-swilling, cigarette smoking hard-a$$ (picture Marge Schott, below) who has nothing better to do than cut everyone off at the knees. I really am not. See how I’m apologizing? That makes me nice. So keep this in the back of your mind as you read the following.
Thanks be to Google Images for having this. *I think this is the outtake from her Sports Illustrated covergirl shoot. Obviously not the swimsuit issue.*
Now that I’m no longer interested in placating the masses with photos of tablescapes, I am looking for blog fodder. One of the places I occasionally find this fodder is the HuffPo.
I am not a regular reader of The Huffington Post, though I should be. I should also be a regular commenter. Why? This is the way you get invited to be a writer for them. And that’s my goal—to be a writer (mainly because it doesn’t include 30 surly 17 year-olds staring back at me). As part of this quest, I like to hang out over at HuffPo,
And then I make fun of it.
I know some of y’all will think this is mean, but this is all in jest, as my dad (RIP, Russ!) would say. I hope the authors don’t take it personally (as if they would even find out about it), and just think to themselves “well, I WRITE for The Huffington Post and you DON’T, old lady!” and then we’ll all hold hands and twirl. And maybe shoot glitter out of our butts.
Last October, The Huffington Post published a bit by Zoe T. titled “11 Lessons that ‘Jane Eyre’ Can Teach Every 21st Century Woman About How To Live Well.”
(Nothing says “I’m an undergrad from 1957” more than the orange Penguin editions!)
First, let’s talk about that title. Could it be any more cumbersome? And you started with a number that you didn’t spell out? Tsk, tsk, Ms. T. I hope the points you make are salient. You know, to make up for your lack of title finesse.
1. You can overcome your past, no matter how bad it is.
Okay…I see where you’re going with this. You want to talk about Jane’s ability to move forward with her life, instead of dwelling on those who have wronged her. But you know what? I bet there are some things from which you never really recover. I’ll bet that some people carry around visible scars of a bad past. You might be able to move forward with your life, but if you’ve suffered a soul-defeating blow, you may not be able to “overcome” it by pulling yourself together and bucking up. Yes, I’m being nit-picky.
2. “Your will shall decide your destiny.”
Ms. T. points out that although Jane had no family or money, she still managed to become a governess! And:
“(d)espite that during most of the book, only bad things are happening to her, she still goes on to live happily ever after.” I’m sorry, but THIS 21st century woman is going to guess that life with a guy who jerked her around while he was secretly harboring a crazy wife in the attic and now he’s blind and one-armed may or may not be the “happily ever after” cakewalk that little Zoe thinks it is.
3. Tell the guy you want to date him already!
But please find out if he’s married first. Because some married guys will date you despite being legally wed.
4. Loving and respecting yourself is essential, and is the key to independence.
While I can appreciate the sentiment, we 21st century women know that the key to independence is to have your own money. ‘Nuf said.
5. Be positive.
Ms. T. points out “When Jane Eyre was younger, she had a tendency to feel sorry for herself. And she had a lot to feel sorry about! Her life was miserable. But as she gets older, she begins to see that everything has a silver lining. She learns to be happy despite her past.”
Zoe T. is the Senior Book Editor at The Huffington Post. Her bio says that she “…is an ardent lover of grammar, words, literature, and all things literary.” NOWHERE does it say she is phenomenal at putting her own words on paper, which she does with the skill of an average 15 year-old. But she’s positive!!
6. Don't ever let anyone tell you you can't do something just because you're a woman.
Apparently, the columnist skipped that class in “Early Feminist Literature” when it was offered, because she seemed shocked that in 1847, a woman would be writing about a woman’s right to “do her thing.” If she’d taken that class, she would have known that Jane Austen was offering that particular sentiment some 30 years prior. Not to mention that this is not a new sentiment for the 21st Century---we 20th Century broads took matters into our own hands with the right to vote, equal access to education and employment, and Title IX. Ms. T. doesn’t seem to know “we’ve come a long way, baby!”
7. You are stronger than you think.
In my personal opinion, I think we figured this out in the last millennium, too. More appropriate for the 21st Century would be something like: If some scuzzbucket plays you and then doesn’t want to marry you until AFTER he’s blind and one-armed, you can KICK HIS A$$!
8. “Most true is it that 'beauty is in the eye of the gazer.'”
Read that again, peeps. What is the ‘it’ doing there in that sentence? It renders it completely incomprehensible. I think she means that Ms. Bronte meant something similar to “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” without saying those exact words (I think that may have been Oliver Platt), but she doesn’t want to plagiarize, for which I give her props. And Ms. Bronte was right—beauty is different for different people. Which is why plain Jane found a husband. Even if he was handicapped and really just wanted her to be his live-in nurse. For free.
9. The possibilities for life are endless for those who take risks.
There are possibilities for death, as well. Ask the folks who wanted to give the Titanic a try. Or John Denver.
10. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
Also taken care of in the 20th Century—see #6 where I remind you of the Nineteenth Amendment, as well as all the other goodies we 20th Century women fought for. You don’t think women got those things by sitting down and shutting up, do you? Women DIED for the right to vote. Other women were belittled and harassed in the workplace and in schools, and many of them gave up…but guess what? There were a few who didn’t sit down and shut up. And those few made a difference.
But here’s where it gets tricky: people will call you out for being a bee-otch. No one responds well to anarchy. Women need to learn to say things in a way that others will listen, but not think they are being a bee-otch. Unless you want folks to confuse you with Marge Schott. Then, have at it.
11. If you choose to get married, do so only for love.
Well, the Kardashians have just set us back 150 years. But they’re 21st Century women, aren’t they??
In other words, women haven’t really changed. We all want the same things: to love and be loved in return for WHO WE ARE. I have friends who are in their fifties who still believe they are 23 year-old party girls…because they feel that is all they have to bring to the table. Whether or not we are wives, mothers, employees, homemakers…none of that matters, as long as we are true to ourselves and understand that just being who we are has value. That’s not exclusive to the 19th, 20th, or 21st Century…it’s exclusive to humanity.
*Another disclaimer to my regular readers. Do not forsake me. I will continue with walkabout Wednesdays and some projects, but those aren't word-intensive, so I'm adding these. I hope that if you like them, you'll pass them along. Otherwise, stay tuned for more house crap!