Saturday, June 04, 2011

twilight and other bedtime stories

I read once that kids have their reasons for needing bedtime stories. You know the kind--the same book over and over, every night, for weeks or months. The kind they keep asking for even after memorizing every word. The textbook told me that kids latch onto stories which deal with their unresolved conflicts. I think grown-ups are the same.

Certainly I'm the same. I read about women who beat people up--if not, I get stressed out. I repeat the story of a woman who picks up a bow or a sword or a gun and successfully protects the people she cares about, possibly because I need to remember it is (or might be) possible when I, like my mother and my grandmother before me, have failed so miserably on this score.

You can be bloody fucking certain the men won't take care of it. Patriarchy lies. The deal was, after we made ourselves less--after we curbed our ambitions and competence, after we were submissive and self sacrificing, after we defined ourselves as decorative, procreational, nurturing, emotional, and adjunct to men--they were supposed to make us safe. For most of my life I would have been happy to accept that deal. As far as I can tell, this is what every romance novel is about: they are the ritual retelling of how things might work out, if you are lucky, and if you are good enough at performing the feminine.