FrustratedI think everyone here has some knowledge of internalized racism. Racism and white supremacy is so pervasive in our culture that it isn't surprising when people of color believe the lies and begin to think of white people as superior or more authoritative than themselves or other people of color. Many other POC before me have noted that "white" isn't a skin color, it's a state of mind that even brown skinned people can have.
The problem I am having is possibly internalized sexism. In much the same way as internalized racism, I think us women can buy into the anti-women ideas swirling around us every day and it manifests itself when you hear a woman blaming another for the violence inflicted on her by a man, or slut shaming coming from women, etc. I think that I may be doing something like this. I'm really not sure but am damned frustrated and have a feeling that it might be the reason I am completely flumoxxed and why this one woman and I are talking past each other. Because this is a private conversation, and I am not sure if she even wants to be a part of it anymore, I won't reveal who she is and will just give a synopsis of what I think is going on and what was said. Unfortunately this is only my point of view and I may mischaracterize what she is saying because I am only telling you what I believe she means and not what she knows she means. So bear with me, hopefully she will be willing to step in and set things straight if I am misreading her. Or at least tell me privately so that I can update the post.
Anyway the disagreement is over this post at Daisy's Dead Air about Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth. I happen to agree with Daisy that the probability is that Elizabeth is a trophy wife, and have seen the pattern often enough with celebrities and politicians so that I don't ignore it and automatically assume, gosh, must be true love! Nope, it's too incredible that these wealthy and/or powerful men just happen to fall in love with teh hawt young babes and never young but average, or their own age, or older. And why is it teh hawt babes never hook up with old nobodies?
I'm just so sick and tired of our "wink nod" culture, I've raised this point several times and really need to sit down and write a post about that. Be that as it may, I think sometimes the obvious, Occam's razor and all that, is just the obvious. As one who mostly thinks of herself as a feminist, yeah I got huge problems with what passes for feminism nowadays, but that's for another day, but on with it...as a feminist, do we have to ignore the obvious to give other women the benefit of the doubt? To give them the best, least judgemental, motives for the things they do *wink nod*? And especially within the cultural context, because I don't have a problem with women who date/marry men they don't love but who give them something else they find important, but our culture certainly does, [sarcasm]damned golddiggers![/sarcasm] In fact, I think that all our chosen relationships are based on the idea that you are getting something from the other person, and they get something from you in return. Hopefully it's also true in the family you are born into, and that one of those things is love, but I know enough disfunctional families to know it isn't always true.
So there are two things going on in my mind. The first is, whatever floats your boat. If the young beauty wants money, fame or reflected glory, presige, social or political rank, hey that's up to her; and if the older dude wants his eye candy, fine. As long as they are both ok with it and happy, who am I to say any different? The second is, you don't get to a long term relationship or marriage without at least a minimum of compatibility, trust, and at least liking each other. But this is about the initial attraction, because I do think people filter out who they date based on certain characteristics they are looking for. And while on an individual level, whatever, if someone decides that something is right for them, it's no one else's place to tell them it's not; but I agree with Daisy that it is an indictment for our cultural and societal values when the priority in a list of attractions in general is youth and beauty for women, and wealth and power for men.
The point that the other woman makes is that you can't know what goes on between two people in a relationship, it is unfair to point fingers at specific people, although it is somewhat ok to notice a trend. But I think it's impossible to notice a trend without having many specific couples in mind, otherwise how is it a trend if it is some amorphous idea out there in the ether? Would it really be better if we had a hypothetical couple with over 30 years in age difference between them, but the dude is a national political figure, running for president, seems like a nice guy, has some great ideas and a good mind, looks like an old leprechaun, and the woman looks like a model, probably a very nice person and is liberal minded. So yeah, compatible politically. Now the question for you, do you think the model who is compatible politically with the old leprechaun would still be with him if he was a Wal-Mart greeter? The answer is, of course she would! As soon as she laid eyes on him she heard the strings section swelling and felt all swoony and once she knew he had the same political views it was all over, no way his prominence in national politics had anything to do with it. *wink nod*
Christ on a bicycle. Marla Maples fell in love with the hair. Anna Nicole Smith had a thing for skinny bald dudes. Monica Lewinsky likes cigar games, it doesn't matter if the guy is president, he could be a clerk in the mailroom and she'd still want to mess up that blue dress.
And you just know if these women were the same age, maybe even older than the men, and average, maybe a little homely, it wouldn't have mattered one bit to the men. It's their minds, and spirits, and gumption that lured the men in!
Ok now I'm getting facial tics from all that winking and my head wants to fall off from all that nodding. Enough with the frustrated anger and sarcasm.
Part of the issue is that it is unfair to use these examples as an example of a wider trend, not just of politicians and celebrities. It's unfair because many of us have been involved in May/December romances and it does not fit this pattern. Yes, but sometimes it does, there wouldn't be the cliche of the man running off from his family with the young beautiful secretary if it wasn't so common. Now maybe I'm not feeling the indictment when Daisy talks about this because although I did date a man 14 years older than me, but both of us drove junkers and had shit jobs, we met because we had mutual friends, we mostly hung out with those mutual friends who didn't bat an eyelash at the two of us dating. He was also at least as attractive in the conventional sense as I was. He was also single, I didn't "steal" him from his wife or older girlfriend. There was so many differences from the cliche that I never felt defensive or felt like anyone was judging us. Maybe if he was wealthy and had a nice car, and he was homely and looked especially old next to me, we would have gotten those stares, and I would have felt like I had to justify our relationship. So yeah, I get that, the unfairness of being stereotyped because this damned shit is so common! But that is the problem for me, that is where I am stuck. I am being told that I should play stupid and not notice how common it is, because there is that 5 or 10% who don't fit the stereotype, or assume that young beautiful women who wind up with politicians and celebrities are doing it for the truest of true love, and those old guys are loving their models for their minds, and I can't!