Staffers at Spinster HQ (namely, me and my secretary Phil) are always delighted when an incoming email is brief. We’re even more delighted when it does not contain some variation on the “your head is up your ass” theme. We’re even more delighted still when its author more or less desperately confides that s/he is in deep agony — and, indeed, will probably have to be hospitalized — unless my views on “Now, Voyager” are revealed at once.
Pinko Punko hits the trifecta with the following communiqué.
I feel like maybe [this site] had already come down the barf slide, but the floral utility knife was nice.
Also, I would love to add “Now, Voyager” to the list of classic films I’d like to see in the IBTP film guide.
I hope you aren’t being inundated with plastic army dudes.
Let us first address the website to which you link, LadiesToolsOnline. At this pinkinated shopping site, Ladies can purchase pink hammers, pink slip-joint pliers, and pink utility belts, as well as non-pink products that nevertheless preserve a lady’s surrendered-womanhood, such as the “Family Glue Gun and Stapler Set” or the “3-Piece Cutting Tool Kit-RED FLORAL” (which actually has 4 pieces, but you know, math is hard).
You may not know this, Pinko, but women — or, as LadiesToolsOnline calls us, “Diva’s” — are often physically and psychologically incapable of prolonged separation from the color pink. This is the main reason we get ourselves entangled with men and have babies. It’s so we can surround ourselves with mountains of pink laundry.
For centuries, power tools and utility knives have not been pink. This is the main reason women of yore traditionally spent all their time shopping and getting their nails done, instead of doing shit around the house with implements the non-pink color of which threatens their emotional health. Fortunately for today’s woman-on-the-go, whose sacred duty is to be empowerful and feminine at the same time, purse-sized 26-piece mini-tool sets now come in pink, for $6.99.
The LadiesToolsOnline FAQ explains why their website exists: like doing math, it’s hard “to pick the right hammer.” It is often better, they suggest, to do-it-yourself than to “cash in the spa vacation fund” to hire somebody who knows what they’re doing. But here’s a handy trick if you get in over your head: call the fire department and rescue is on the way! “Every firehouse seems to have a plumber, carpenter, painter, etc. ready to help on their days off.” Who knew?
That there is a whole section devoted to “security” on a hardware site might have baffled you. Allow me to splain. This is a site purveying pink tools of indeterminate manufacture to women who cannot choose a hammer on their own. It is common knowledge that women live in a perpetual state of fear, and that crap like hammers may be more easily sold to them when their fear is excited and exploited. Thus does LadiesToolsOnline suggest helpfully that women whose home security has been compromised should “call the police and hope they catch the bad guys.” Furthermore, the site devotes a whole paragraph to the heretofore nebulous concept that, for “piece-of-mind,” you should lock your house.
Sound advice for imbecilic ladies and people who may be visiting from some other planet where they don’t have doors! I just can’t understand, Pinko, why you find this site barf-worthy, when it’s just trying to preserve women’s spa vacation funds and keep us safely locked in our homes.
But “Now, Voyager“! Dude, you know I love Bette Davis like an old pair of jeans, but this flick is just a big fat advertisement for patriarchal pukeology. Not only is it profoundly anti-Spinster (the horror), it actually pathologizes non-compliance with the Feminine Beauty Mandate.* Charlotte, the Bette Davis character, is sent to the loony bin because she is having a psychotic break as a result of her frumpiness and lack of personality-sparkle. Other misogynist markers:
— Motherhood demonized: Charlotte’s villainous mother eats her own young; the kid Tina’s mother’s similar occupation is to prevent the happiness of her family at all costs.
— The ugly-duckling-into-swan/unattractiveness-as-mental-illness theme appears in a second iteration; the kid Tina, who wears glasses to signify that she is a horrific spinster-in-training, is a mini-Bette similarly in need of psychiatry. Incidentally, although it is of little patriarchy-blaming relevance, that mega-annoying kid character makes me want to tear my own face off.
— Psychiatry (as practiced by wise white dudes who wield absolute power over the hysterical nutjobs) is portrayed as the One True Path to womanly fulfillment. Davis’ character is so fucked up that it takes Paul Henreid and Claude Rains — not one but two handsome, dudely, sympathetic leading men — to fix her. Aack!
— Charlotte can’t get a boyfriend until she loses weight, gets a makeover, slips into some haute couture, and sails into Rio, one of the most phallic ports on Earth.
— Her married lover Jerry is an asshole disguised as a romantic. He supposedly loves Charlotte but won’t divorce his wife; he abandons his kid, whom he also claims to love, in an asylum; and at the end he ditches’em both, leaving Charlotte stuck raising his goddam kid. But Charlotte’s practically giddy with selfless gratefulosity. And we’re supposed to like this chump Jerry?
— Famous line at the end makes no sense: “Oh Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon; we have the stars!” What, their love is so cosmic that she doesn’t need happiness to be happy? Pah!
— Although Charlotte appears to be somewhat transformed and empowerful at the end, she remains emotionally tethered to Jerry, and we know that she will never have a life of her own, and that all she has found is the ability to wear designer clothes. To borrow a deeply satisfying quip from Shakesville: Fail!
The film’s only redeeming features are dapper little Claude Rains, who is just adorable in every film he ever did, and of course Davis herself, who easily mesmerizes even when stuck slurping out ghastly sentimental material like “Now, Voyager.”
Meanwhile, the plastic army man incursion appears to have abated entirely; a security sweep of Sectors 3 and 9 revealed no plastic paratrooping activity. Looks like the little fuckers have declared a ceasefire.
(P.S. Twisty’s still on Opstreperon, but “Hugs, Jill” just doesn’t have the right ring.)
*The Feminine Beauty Mandate states that all members of the sex class, i.e. all women, should endeavor to preserve themselves perpetually in a condition that the casual male ogler can easily describe as “fuckable.”