Just when I’m sure I’m going to cancel Salon

September 13, 2007

They do some quality cultural analysis, like this piece by Rebecca Traister yesterday, “Women are the new men on TV.” While reading its three pages, my jaw was almost always dropped, either from laughter or shock, or both at the same time whenever a sentence such as ” It’s tough to know where to start in explaining how bad these boys have it, but the monkey rape seems as good a place as any” popped up. In short, she gets straight to the humorous and the v. v. disturbing qualities of gender images/ male-female relationships in this fall’s television line-up. This is reassuring to me, because I can easily imagine this undertone being overlooked or not deemed worthy of attention in plenty of other mags. But, just based on the raw plotlines and quotes from pilot episodes featured in this piece, it certainly looks like gender role confusion and backlash is being served up front and center. I’m glad somebody wrote about what a bitter pill it is to find that, in a season when there are lots and lots women being portrayed as primary wage earners and professionally accomplished, the focus seems to be on how the men in their lives are feeling bitter and emasculated, in a way that doesn’t apologize for finding it upsetting. Meanwhile, does anyone want to go to the bank with me and get all of our lifesavings out in cash? Because if there are as many simmering feelings of uselessnes and misogyny as this television line-up suggest there are lurking just barely beneath the surface of our day to day lives in 2007 America, it seems like there could be a Handmaid’s Tale coming on… of course things would have to change in a lot of other areas to make that probable in any way, but when I read about this kind of unresolved gender tension I’m always reminded that in the Handmaid’s Tale, the narrator thinks that none of it could have happened if people had still used cash…


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