Friday, May 7, 2010

On not wanting to be Supergirl

There it was today in the thrift store - a like-new box of Superwoman stationary. I opened it. The top card showed her standing in the open jaws of a huge dinosaur. That is so not for me. When I was very little I got to go to a movie about dinosaurs with some other kids. In the movie, these grownups were castaway on an island, and at last a huge dinosaur ate some of them. Picked them right up and threw them in his enormous mouth. I remember screaming and crouching down on the floor. I have avoided dinosaurs ever since, except that I do like the Komodo Dragon Lizard at the zoo, who is easily four feet long, and projects the energy field of an ancient mountain. And is behind several inches of glass.

Superwoman has sometimes been a popular symbol for feminists. I myself thoughtlessly bought a Superwoman watch at the 1972 National NOW convention - you wind the watch up, that's how long ago that's been. How long ago it's been is that at the time I didn't think a thing about what this woman symbolized. It tickled me, that's all.

I now have a different angle of vision. That sex-symbol Superwoman with her gigantic bust and tiny waist and skimpy shorts embarrasses me. I want a woman to look like a person, a real person. I love the feminine, at least the clothes, silk, chiffon, velvet, colorful clothes, and I also love to go about on an ordinary day in a very old tee-shirt and jeans.

I think the symbolism of Superwoman has morphed. When women talk about trying to be Superwoman, they don't mean becoming maverick crime-spotters, but something more like Sarah Palin - go hunting with or without the guys, shoot a moose, drag it through the woods, cook it for dinner, all the while perfectly made up. They mean being Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, able to catch a bomb and save the day just when she was busy winning a beauty pageant in a floor-length gown and heels. It's not true, folks. There is no one like that.

You try to get rid of an image - the sweet little princess who has to be rescued - and here come more images. They are down deep in your psyche, where they can run your life. Today the temptation seems to be to fit the left foot into that little glass slipper and the right foot into a running shoe. Running to work, forging a career, running home to run the house, running the kids to school and to the doctor, and for fun, running a marathon. Who will rescue us from this one? No prince, that's the difference. Nobody but ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Ah the work of a lifetime, the Self liberating the self. I definitely think you should go back and get that stationary and give superwoman a makeover; maybe add a a frumpy house coat and slippers from the sears catalogue or maybe a pair of rubber boots and an over sized sweater from a garden catalogue, maybe a zafu & a mala? Perfect snail mail treats for special friends!