I always hit pause on the DVR when there’s a letter, note, notecard, book page, anything written at all on the screen. I’m curious about two things: how it’s written (is real care taken, or is does it make just enough sense?), and what it says.
Today while watching Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce (basically Sex and the City meets Californication, but without Californication‘s ridiculous sexism and gratuitous anal beads) I paused on a screen shot of a page from a book being written by the show’s protagonist, Abby McCarthy. What would she write in her book, The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce, I wondered.
Here again we have the problem: marriage, by its historically rigid definition, has never been meant as a romantic institution, just one in which the women would be agreed upon chattel and the institution a means for her to not be raped, murdered, sold off to slavery.
Instead, we have this Hollywoodized ideal of happily ever after, filled with mounds of children, soft sunsetty lighting and slomo closeups of gentle tears rolling down happy, smiling, rosy faces, glowing from the inside, as if there was ever such a thing.
Presiding over all of this? Women, of course–those sweet simple folk who could imagine nothing more fulfilling and meaningful than than the cultivation of the next generation (and yet more generations). After all, we raise girls to see themselves as sex objects hurtling inevitably toward their fate as contented incubators. it’s then of course zero surprise that they themselves continue to promote this fiction; if you’ve been told your entire life that marriage and motherhood is your ultimate (or only) purpose…you might start believing it.
…And who can blame ’em? For many women, motherhood–not marriage–is their first encounter with unconditional love. So before we dismiss this as old-fashioned woman-on-woman crime, we must examine this enormous social pressure that women have to be nurturing matriarchal figures.
I’m not sure which of the show’s writers is responsible for that page, but I thank them for it, and I encourage you to watch this show if you aren’t already–if even only to show appreciation for women in TV who are writing for a variety of real-life, actual women.