Unrelated rich people food-du-jour: bacon cheeseburger at Phil’s Ice House
I had to come out of my two-day retirement to bring you this breaking news. Here, from amNewYork, is an actual headline:
It’s not really a question, but if it were, the answer would be “heck yeah!” According to amNewYork’s expert on female delicacy (a Transit Authority EMT who treats sick passengers at Grand Central Station), an overwhelming majority of subway delays are the fault of women who faint. They faint, professes the EMT, because they’re on “crash diets”. The EMT asserts this “fact” even though the MTA doesn’t keep records concerning the precise nature of passenger illnesses.
Now behold how media, the unsinkable myth of female fragility, and woman-blaming-as-national-bloodsport again converge to perpetuate misogynist cultural narrative. For your blaming pleasure, I’ll break it down for you into 4 convenient sections.
The Fake Expert
amNewYork sets up some random buttmunch Grand Central EMT as an authority in female-diet-related train delays. In fact, the EMT’s pronouncements proceed not from a scientific study based on actual documented evidence, but on his general sense of things. It is unclear whether the guy takes medical histories from his little fainters, but I’d be willing to bet that other issues, such olfactory stress from prolonged exposure to passenger B.O., also trigger loss of consciousness.
The Fake Phenomenon
Note that the report seeks to whet its audience’s appetite for news of the weird by introducing a new “phenomenon” — in this case an oddity which relies for its newsworthiness on the abnormal actions of those perennial crazies, women — with the inflammatory lede “Subway late? Blame the lady wearing a size 0.” Every reader who has ever suffered the inhuman tortures of a subway delay will be delighted to find a satisfying new scapegoat in tiny women. Will it surprise anyone when I reveal that this is totally bogus? In fact, the report itself admits that “track work and signal troubles” account for a greater percentage of delays than skinny fainting women, and even lets it slip, toward the end of the story, that other physical issues, such as hangovers, often jam things up, too, but of course that’s not “news.”
The Mocked and Vilified Woman
That the report should take a mocking tone and blame women as a cause of a particularly reviled and universal inconvenience is nothing new. Women, I don’t need to remind you, endure incredible pressure to conform asinine regulations regarding their appearance. When they succeed in achieving the precarious balance between virgin and whore, young and old, natural and fake, fat and thin, submissive and self-reliant, they are rewarded for their success by male approval, but it is a cultural imperative to vilify women when they fail to correctly manage their feminine duties. Women who faint from hunger when trying to appease the male oppressor have clearly fucked up and must admonished. The fainting woman interviewed for this story is described as “sheepish.”
The Natural Order Restored
In the same issue of amNewYork is a story about Wesley Autrey, the “Subway Superman”. Now here’s a guy who knows what time it is when it comes to subway behavior. During his daring rescue of a man who had fallen onto the tracks, “Autrey’s Playboy ski cap was nicked but he was uninjured.”