Bite Me Electrolux and Shame on You Kelly Ripa
Monday, April 19, 2010
Have you seen any of the Electrolux commercials with Kelly Ripa? You know, the ones where she manages her high pressure job(s), makes cupcakes, has a dinner party, washes, folds and puts away clothes, makes chocolate strawberries, hosts a sleepover and a birthday party for a dog... all set to the Bewitched theme.
The commercials that command you to "be more amazing!"
Am I the only one who sees these as a giant feminist backlash?
One of the biggest wrong turns women ever took was making the work we do appear effortless. I say appear because any woman or man who has done the work that is traditionally seen as female, knows it is anything but effortless. I have also read several studies that show the mechanization of housework with the inventions and technological improvements of appliances increased, not decreased the amount of housework that women do in part because it raised expectations. For me, showing Kelly Ripa, a woman who probably works no fewer than 50 hours a week and has multileveled staff to help her manage her responsibilities, effortlessly managing her household is a crock of poo fondue. I would be very surprised if she didn't have a full-time housekeeper, maybe two. And seriously, I'm not saying she shouldn't, I'm guessing she juggles about twenty dozen more important things than I do. I am saying that when a high profile woman like this tells us that we need to "be more amazing" then we are doing it wrong. We are priming the pump of motherhood for depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, isolation, et. al..
So Kelly Ripa, keep making your chocolate strawberries and being "more amazing," I'll be over here yelling at my kids and looking at my pile of laundry. Oh and Electrolux? If you want my hard earned dollars spent on your over-priced hunks of steel and plastic, how about showing a man using them?
I Should Be Folding Laundry or Woe is Me
Monday, April 5, 2010
I have been writing, just not here. I have been putting my busy little fingers to the keyboard and punching out my would be book about life as a brazilian waxer . All of my favorite stories that I've held back because they were good enough, funny enough to maybe be published. It was so smooth, it was coming out so easy. I put together my chapters with titles in an hour of deep thought in the passenger seat of my minivan driving with the husband to drop the kids off at Grandma's. I roughed out five chapters in the following five days. I had the rest outlined in another two days. All of a sudden, I had three chapters at what I would call ready. It was coming out so easy that it felt serendipitous, like this was when it was supposed to happen.
Then my computer lost power in the middle of working on it two weeks ago. I had continually saved so I didn't worry if I lost the last edit I did. Except when I went to open my document the next morning, the file was 9 pages of number signs instead of 50 pages of words. I called my software engineer husband, hoping there was an easy fix. He turned around on his way to work after dropping off our daughter to come rescue me. No such luck. Somehow, the file was hopelessly corrupted. There were no recent temporary versions, he could not repair the original file and a three day search of the hard drive offered nothing. And of course, although my fingers clicked control-S about every two minutes without thinking, I had not saved another copy somewhere else in days. I had been too productive to think to back up my work somewhere else.
I had one copy that held my first 20 pages, all of my outlines but more than half of my work was gone. There were a lot of tears, too many what ifs and profound disappointment when my husband could not undo my mistake.
So here I am, two weeks later. I'm done crying about it. The good thing is although I lost a lot of work, these are stories I know, I can do the work again. My problem is, this thing that was pouring out of me so beautifully, now feels like work. It is tinged by disappointment, the stress around it has made it unfun. I keep opening it, hoping it will comeback, that feeling I had before it exploded. How do you get that back?