Kara, we got our first negative letter! Here it is:
i hate to say it but your nostalgia for the 90s seems to be about wishing the gender politics of that decade were still around — because there’s not much to fight over anymore, because, in general, we won. you missed the point of the piece on the whitney, which is that many women in the arts are concentrating on other things (perhaps they are more important things?) besides gender politics, and i think in the process of missing it you’re putting down the artists selected. i really wish you would stop parsing popular culture and put your energy into getting more women elected to congress (which should be doable since women make up more than half of the voting populace), and into somehow making a difference for the lives of women in many countries around the world who are the victims of gender discrimination, repression, and violence, and for whom this entire discussion would an impossible luxury, if not a manifestation of a decadent and self-absorbed society.
I like this letter and I think there’s a lot of interesting stuff in it. But I will say that the last part about how we should be getting women elected to office rather than talking about Clueless is kind of rude.
This blog is just a conversation you and I are having in public about this era no one talks about because it’s supposedly so humorless and vapid and unimportant. But it was important to us and it did have an impact on the culture, and so we’re just trying to figure out what that was in the hour or so a week we devote to this. There are a lot of other hours in the week and we devote those to other things besides parsing pop culture…
I don’t think we missed the point of that Times piece. It was totally fucked-up in tone and not well-grounded in fact.
Now as to the question of whether or not “we won,” I think about this a lot. In general, I think there is a ton of good news out there (more men staying home with kids, more women getting degrees, etc.) that doesn’t get enough attention. But there is still so much really gross stuff in pop culture (Bridgestone tires included) and society that I think we should talk about too.
Anyway, Kara, what do you think about our first hardcore criticism from this reader (whose handle btw is “feminist”)?