Msnowe's Blog

This is all “it all” is.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on January 25, 2012

Via the New York Times:

Are women bad at setting goals for themselves — or setting themselves the wrong goals?

The standard I-want-to-lose-weight resolution of my female friends is indicative of a common misconception, and I am as guilty of it as any of the ambitious alpha-females I’ve come across in my generation. We were raised to believe that we could actually have it all: A stellar career, a happy family and time for a social life and that crucial workout.

Ambitious men tend to be more focused: They want that stellar career.

Heather McGregor, aka Mrs. Moneypenny, an entrepreneur, broadcaster and columnist at The Financial Times, has just published what might be described as a self-help book for would-be successful women titled “Mrs. Moneypenny’s Careers Advice for Ambitious Women.”

Asked recently to sum it up in a phrase, she said: “You can’t have it all.”

First, what the fuck is this mysterious “it all”? Sure, we could list a bunch of things that people, individually or in groups, might decide to lump into the two-word phrase: a career, a family, good health, a home, etc., and so on. But already, we’re on ridiculously shaky ground when we decide to pinpoint what that means for every living human who sets eyes on this article.

But “it all” seems to also mean=all the stuff that men have that women don’t seem to have, or aren’t as able to get, as easily. But why do we always, without fail, throw this “it all” rhetoric specifically at women, instead of looking at the possible reasons: the basic facts of inequality in the workplace, at home, and in the culture at large?

No one is asking groups that are more obviously prejudiced against why they don’t “have it all.” When was the last time you heard someone ask a Latino man, “hey, why don’t you have it all?” Or, when was the last time you read an article about how a gay couple “just can’t seem to have it all”? That question can answer itself: racism, homophobia, hate, discrimination in general, an unfriendly legislature, the list goes on.

Here’s a newsflash: the human condition is one of constant want. If asked on the street, most people would love to have “more,” of something they already want. We are not all toddling monoliths that can Hoover everything in mouth-range like a Stay Puft marshmallow man, so the idea that anyone in reality could “have it all,” man or woman, is a delusion. And whether or not that’s what the phrase literary translates to, it’s setting up every single person who prescribes to it for incredible failure.

To me, it seems that the image of juggling, and telling women they either should or shouldn’t hope for “it all” does nothing but distract everyone, and somehow makes women less equal. No one (or at least, far fewer people) asks a man who acquires all the conventionally impressive accomplishments how he “does it all.” He just fucking does what he likes, and has fewer barriers than women to do it. And guess what, he probably still wants a ton of other things he doesn’t have.

 

**Also, ten bucks to the first person who manufactures or finds me a t-shirt that says “I wanted to have it all, but all I got was this stupid t-shirt.”

Advertisements

If you wear them, you die.

Posted in Uncategorized by m.snowe on September 13, 2010

m.snowe picked up a large cup of coffee on her early Monday morning commute. She was ten sips in at her desk when she finally observed the sleeve that was slipped over her cup in order to keep the hot liquid inside from burning her hands off. It was a white sleeve with a green block, which inside contained white lettering.

Here’s what it said. (When m.snowe read this, she almost spit her joe.):

Every time you WEAR SWEATPANTS in public, a single guy leaves NEW YORK.”

I’ll give the people at piperlime.com one point for at the very least eliciting my reaction. But that’s where m.snowe stops. It’s also not linked here–you could go there yourself, but why give them the web traffic? Basically, it’s a shopping website. A dime a dozen, really.The site is plastered with other detestable slogans, like:

If your frenemy sees you out in public in your tv-watching clothes, the frenemy wins.”

What makes this marketing so detestable is that it is playing directly on insecurities. Sure, you could say that Dockers add about “being a man” is offensive in the way that it reinforces gender stereotypes and subtly plays on a man’s insecurities, his fear of not being masculine enough. That’s surely evil. But this is worse. Much worse.

It is not telling you what you should wear–it’s telling you what you shouldn’t, and how you will inevitably feel if you make the irrevocable mistake of doing so. There isn’t one lick of “if you wear our clothes, you will defeat your enemies,” there is only “if you wear that baggy shit, you will die.” I really wanted to see a slogan saying “the tapered bottoms and waist elastic of your sweatpants will cut off the circulation of blood to your heart and brain, effectively making you a unloveable bloated drone of a human being,” but I guess they didn’t have the research to back up that one.

Does negative advertising like this actually work? Obviously, this ad is meant to elicit a knowing chuckle from the likes of m.snowe. But she’s not smiling. Perhaps we’re too serious here. But the problem with this joke is that there is too much truth right below the surface of it–at least in the eyes of some dunderheads.