Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Some Days I'm Thick As A Board

It's weird. I had lots of experience with that feeling when moving from one country to another. At first all the subtle cultural stuff just doesn't exist to you, and you desperately try to apply your old cultural norms to figure out how you should act.

And it makes you feel stupid. I once invited myself to tea in the U.K., for example, because I misinterpreted the cultural signals, and I refused to go for coffee late at night because I applied my earlier cultural dictionary to the meaning of such invitations. Which was about going to bed with someone.

For some odd reason reading this Balloon Juice post makes me feel like that again. I don't really know what it says and that's because I'm not sure about the definition of the terms:

One thing I don't understand is why Pelosi isn't seen as more of a feminist icon. In 2008, we were treated to months of discussion about Hillary Clinton breaking or failing to break the glass ceiling, how coverage of Hillary was sexist, how this was womankind's shining moment or worst disaster, and so on. Why isn't there more discussion of Pelosi in this context?


Update. Numbskull writes:

Basically you answered your own question. The 'feminist icon' storyline has been minimal. Pelosi is powerful. Ergo, Pelosi quashed the feminist narrative.

I agree, but I'd like to know why having such a powerful female speaker doesn't also quash narratives like "Palin will appeal to Hillary supporters".

I simply don't understand what the post tries to say. For example, what is a "feminist icon?" Is it someone feminists regard as an icon (and what is an icon?)? Or is it someone the media regards as a feminist icon, and if so, does that have to match what feminists themselves think?

The negative references to Hillary Clinton support the view that the post talks about feminists themselves as the people who should hold Pelosi as an icon. But then the later references to how Palin will appeal to Hillary supporters sounds like it's the media the post means.

And is this post antagonistic to the idea of feminism or supportive of it? I really cannot tell. The update bit about Pelosi quashing the feminist narrative for being powerful: Whose narrative is this, again, that of feminists (and which feminists) or of the media? If it's the former then the post sounds mostly antagonistic. If it's the latter then probably not.

Reading the comments didn't help me much, either, though I think the tone in general wasn't antagonistic to the idea of feminism.

It's probably one of those click things. Something simple that when I get it everything else falls into its proper place. But I can't really address the post until I know in what sense Pelosi isn't a feminist icon.