Monday, May 04, 2009

Monday, Monday

You know Leonard Cohen's "First We Take Manhattan?" The first three lines of the song:

They sentenced me to twenty years of BOREDOM
For trying to change the system from within.
I'm coming now, I'm coming to REWARD them...

Song lyrics are what one reads into them, ultimately. What I read into those lines are the rewards one gets for being a Good Girl. If that 'one' is lucky, the reward is just boredom. But the powers that be never tell you that. Good Girls don't get raises at work for working harder than everyone else and they certainly don't get promoted. Good Girls may save the world but it is they who are left with the dishes and the laundry. And being a Good Girl is not a defense against the horrors of this world.

When I write 'Good Girl' I'm not talking about real ethics, caring or self-sacrifice based on deep thought, but the kind of societal cake molds women are so often expected to fill, and to fill precisely, not to come out flat, not to overflow the pan. These molds may indeed be of the traditional Goody-Two-Shoes, or the "Biblical Woman" or the Mother As Madonna, but they can also be pans for baking amateur strippers or the perfect girlfriend/sex doll. You can tell when you are being molded this way, honest. It feels like a metal circle constraining whatever the real you is. Men have their molds, too, though the societal kitchen doesn't try to squeeze them into quite as many (and contradictory) shapes as it does women.

I've strayed a bit from my topic, which was really supposed to be song lyrics and what it is about them that suddenly makes that connection, straight to the solar plexus, or not. Anyway...