February 11, 2010

Tapping Into Your Inner Goddess?!?

     Although the attention that this summer's Ms. Magazine cover received at the time of publication focused on criticizing the use of the multi-arm Indian god imagery, I think the real uproar should have been about how, despite the advances since the original image echoed in the 2009 cover appeared in the 1970s, women are still struggling to strike a balance between the "choices" that we seemingly have in our lives and the obligations to our physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual selves. 
     Looking at this 2009 cover, it appears that women are still besieged and pained by the need to live up to an unrealistic and un-human, godly form.  It is as if to suggest that women are not only able and share many of these attributes, but are required to live up to a "godly" standard.  With all of the "choices" that are available to women, representations such as these suggest that really the only "choice" is to do it all at once and with "godly" perfection.  What I believe to be a more appropriate message for women is to recognize that we do have numerous talents and multiplicities, but the expectation to have to fulfill all of our potential ALL AT THE SAME TIME is equally as oppressive as the alternative definition of "choice."  A women, with all of her numerous abilities, is not a one-woman circus act, but one individual with the choice of many opportunities throughout her lifetime (READ: HER WHOLE LIFE, NOT IN ONE DAY). 
     As sad as this may seem, women themselves have internalized this message and continue to perpetuate this unreachable and oppressive standard.  The following commercial has aired for about a year now and it is one of my all time favorite examples of what is wrong with our capitalist, patriarchal society and how women continue to be violated by these messages and pass them along to each other. What would possibly make this commercial better is if Kelly Ripa came home after juggling her talk show and daytime television show jobs, spent quality time talking with her children and helping them with their homework, while the Electrolux appliances helped her equally busy and capable husband to throw in a load of laundry and make dinner for their party guests!  Just sayin'.   

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