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Fulfilling Stereotypes

Updated: Feb 9, 2019

by Joanna Hootnick


It's so frustrating to see women undermining each other to the detriment of mutually held goals, while also (I believe unintentionally) fulfilling long-held stereotypes about female discourse.


"How New York City Ended Up With 2 Competing Women’s Marches"

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/nyregion/womens-march-rally-nyc.html


I have purposely chosen not to advocate for either perspective here. My larger point would overshadowed by the micro conflicts that inevitably exist within the identity politics which comprise a large and mosaicked population.


My favorite line in Aaron Sorkin's "American President" is delivered by A.J., portrayed by Martin Sheen, who you might know as President Josiah Bartlet. A.J. says to President Michael/Andrew "Husband of Catherine Zeta-Jones/Boyfriend of Sydney Ellen Wade" Douglas/Shephard that you don't fight the fights you can win, but rather "you fight the fights that need fighting."


While perhaps this is true in the utopia of Sorkin's liberal mind more-so than the real world, it saddens me that these two groups of women couldn't figure out a way to reconcile to fight the larger issue at hand, the purpose of the marches in the first place. I have never in my life watched an episode of "Real Housewives," the very name of which has always struck me as oxymoronic. But what is it about female-on-female battling that has earned we ladies the reputation of infighting? Is it biological or a social construct? We even have a name for it: catfighting. Cat fights never refer to dudes.


I get that footage of (D-list) celebrity and wealth and hotness attracts viewers. But why the fighting? The "real" housewives' discord feels like a microcosm of the larger trend which, in this case, played itself out through marches of tens of thousands of women and national media outlets.


by Joanna Hootnick