Maggie Wilson Author

Historical Non-Fiction in Northern Ontario

In Defense of My Defense: A Postscript

Dust to Dust

Dust to Dust

About my post yesterday, In Defense of Jennifer Lawrence:

Who cares, you ask?

Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it makes no difference. Actors and their disciples will come and go, fads will rise and fall, as will the mighty and proud. Dust to dust, and all that.

Closer to home, though, in my little pod, the question has significance.

My protest has two targets. One, the objectification of woman. Second, the sport of finding humour at someone else’s expense.

I’m going to piggyback on an article that came to my reader yesterday. Please read this post by Emily Hauser. The author describes the results of reducing women to objects. An honor killing compelled her to write about a teenage girl who was slain by her brother for the perceived shame brought to the family.

As is often true for oppressed populations, some women support this status quo, serving to perpetuate the very system that hurts them and their sisters — but their involvement doesn’t change the basic fact.

And that basic fact is this: At the end of the day, I cannot be sure that my body is mine. My daughter cannot be sure that her body is hers. Our bodies are free game to whatever man needs to tell the world that he is powerful. Our human right to physical autonomy is not a given.

Women’s bodies are delivery mechanisms for statements about men’s power. Everywhere. Every day.

It was my hope, by writing In Defense of Jennifer Lawrence that I might nudge a few readers, especially young women, toward a realization that we are accomplices. By supporting an industry such as Hollywood, we are partners in crime. You might call that hyperbole. I call it truth.

The second part of my protest, the use of mockery or ridicule as humour? Yeah, not so much. It is just another form of attack. I’ve never been a fan of television programs like Candid Camera, the sort of entertainment that trades on the embarrassment and discomfort of the “victim”.

Of course, at the very root of my response are my personal sore spots. I’ve tripped over my own two feet and have been ridiculed. By my father. The shame from that moment will always resonate, I think.

Back to the cosmic scheme of things: we are all connected, folks. Please play nice.


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Categories: Personal Growth

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20 replies

  1. Like you I’ve never been fond of the pull the chair out from under when someone goes to sit style humour. It’s why I love Black Adder and loathe Mr Bean even if it is the same actor. It’s demeaning to both parties. Enjoyed this post and the previous one re Jennifer L. – people need to think before joining the congo line of derision.


  2. Here here! Maggie, I especially like that you try to take on the ridicule by being respectful instead of trying to deliver a stinging verbal slap. That never advances the conversation. And you’re so right. Sometimes, we women are the very perpetrators of our own special brand of automisogyny. Nastiness isn’t funny.


  3. Imeho (the ‘e’ is for ‘extraordinarily’, of course!), the only problem with your post was that you employed your usual somewhat caustic wit, Maggie. People like you and I must, I think – for what the **** that’s worth – write without employing our usual style when the topic is like that you write about above in ref. to yesterday’s post. Be plainer. Be more boring. Come on, you can do it if you try! 🙂


  4. Let’s see if I understand you, M.R. You suggest that for topics of “import”, I might do better to use plain language, less wordplay, colloquialisms – anything that might lend a hint of emotion, and therefore a weaker voice. Si?


  5. I read the post to which you responded yesterday. The writing in that post was stupid and facile — and (to me) reeked of envy. The author said it was “tongue in cheek”? I found it simply irrelevant (as well as arrogant, lacking in imagination, humor or [most important] compassion).


  6. how neat – – Jenni and jmgajda both on this comment page! Okay, I apparently missed the post this is in reference too so headed there now. I will tell you one thing – – I am already starting to feel very guilty about finding Candid Camera funny. But I watched it as a girl sitting between my mom and dad and it was so cozy to giggle at the stunts. Seeing it differently now!


  7. I’m with you all the way. I don’t find embarrassment in the least entertaining (probably relate too closely to the victim) and the whole Hollywood/paparazzi thing makes my teeth curl. Some of the ‘stars’ seem to revel in it, but the rest… They’re PEOPLE, for goodness sake! They have LIVES! (or they would if they were allowed). And when they’re pushed too far, they’re the ones charged for hitting the odious pap-people in the nose.
    A ‘face’ on Australian television committed suicide a few weeks ago. The media dissected her for days. Wasn’t it enough that the poor girl was dead?


  8. Hi Helen – happy to see you back on the blog! I wonder if in future history books (if “humanity” is around long enough) this period will be termed “The Dark Ages – the Sequel”. I read elsewhere on WordPress that a bookmaker is taking bets on the outcome of a murder trial. Come on!


  9. Objectification is at both ends of the spectrum. The religious oppression of women in Middle East and Africa is unconscionable. That travesty is not of women’s doing.

    The oppression in the fashion and entertainment industries is perpetuated by women who are educated and monied and should realize how damaging their so-called lifestyles are to women!! Every time I see those god-awful shoes that fit no woman; that can’t be walked in; that cost more than a month’s rent, I think WHO ARE YOU WEARING THOSE FOR? I look at Oprah’s magazine – she, the supposed supporter of women everywhere, in the magazine that exudes feeling worthy and valuing your inner self, and what are her “featured goodies” her readers should aspire to acquire? – nothing essential and nothing that costs less than $150. What’s that smell? Rome burning!

    Oh gosh, I didn’t know you in March and followed the track of references in your Wilma post. After jumping up on that darn soapbox, i’m headed back for another chuckle about Wilma – only feel goods today 🙂


    • Read this tomorrow, when feel good day is over, k?

      I gave up wearing heels and pantyhose in the late 1980’s. I know, scandalous.

      I know what you mean about the magazines. A very good friend used to hold an annual Vision Board gathering at her home on or near New Years. We’d gather round with our magazines and scissors and glue and cut out the pictures or text that grabbed our attention. Those gatherings were somewhat difficult for me. First of all, I don’t subscribe to magazines so I had nothing to contribute. That wasn’t a problem in terms of material because my friend had dozens and dozens, as did the other participants. But I have gotten very good at blinkering out or reading past the advertisements. Since most of these magazines are 85% ads, I had to force myself to look at and take in the artwork and photos. For me, a repellent exercise.

      You smell smoke? Me too. Yup, I said it the other day, and I’ll say it again. I despair.


      • Yes, sorry I rerouted us to despair:-)

        Yeah, me too nixing both in the 80s. Best thing I ever did. Next best thing – removing myself from the social shit like getting nails done that makes me odd man out. Who cares what my fingers look like for typing and tangling. I try not to judge but I’ve given up the illusion that I do, or want to, fit with (most) people.

        The Flintstones suit me just fine!

        Liked by 1 person


  1. In Defense of Jennifer Lawrence. | The Zombies Ate My Brains
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