Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct 28, 2011 30 Tishrei, 5772

Sexual Politics at the Movies

By Suzanne Fields




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "The Ides of March," the slick new movie with George Clooney as an unethical presidential candidate, is a morality tale for our time. It lacks tragic dimensions, it's melodramatic without complexity of character, and it has a neatly constructed plot that has no emotional depth, sliding over the surfaces of the political world as we have come to know it, up close and personal.

But it entertains as an engaging tale about the dirty tricks of politics. Entertainment, after all, is what politics has become.

The title, if it means anything, is simplistically ironic, since there is no Caesar to beware of, and no political men deeply troubled over the abuse of power beyond their own resumes and getting their man elected. If Ryan Gossling, who plays a press secretary for the candidate, has the "lean and hungry look" of Cassius, it's merely a likeness in body image, not in intellectual profundity. His disappointment in his candidate's morals will hardly register with an audience that came of age with a popular president parsing the meaning of "is," and that witnessed a liberal candidate with good hair professing undying love for a wife who suffered from cancer while he fathered a child with someone else.

The movie's smooth-talking hypocritical Clooney character is as familiar today as the political operatives who surround him whose cynicism grows in proportion to the success of the candidates they support.

The tragic victim of the movie is Molly, age 20, a seduced intern (played by Evan Rachel Wood) for whom abortion is more of a deal-breaker than a moral decision. She is crushed, less by power than by her own glib choices and the men who take advantage of them. She's simply not mature enough to understand. But that makes her representative of her sex at 20 in 2011.

If there's moral insight here, it lies in the sexual relations as depicted not only among men in power, but in the attitudes of the women who work for them. More important than the cliches and the commonplace is the tragic dimension of a bright young woman as she is trivialized by powerful men. She accepts her trivialization as something as normal as the air she breathes. So much for women's liberation.

The movie, in fact, reflects the sexual mores of those who grew up after the "second sex" won equality with the first, when women were told they could cultivate the same sexual attitudes as men. The young girl who becomes pregnant in a power seduction acts as though she's entirely in control of her body, but ultimately she's as much a victim as a 19th century heroine in a Thomas Hardy novel, pregnant by the baron of the house in which she's a maid. Nature will not be mocked.

The victimized intern is typical of young women today who are confused over how to manage their sexuality as they move into a larger world where they're taught to act "just like a man." In an Atlantic magazine cover story, "All the Single Ladies," Kate Bolick writes about the downside of the "hook-up" culture where high-status men still exercise the power of sex. She describes the diminishment of men in the current culture, but the men who still call the shots for the sexual slots, first in college and then in the work world, are big enough.

The captain of the college football team morphs into the successful man about town (in politics, business, entertainment) often with an official girlfriend, or even a wife. But he maintains a "soft harem" on the side. Kate Bolick visits the popular blog HookingUpSmart.com, which tracks the current dating world of young singles where casual sex is the norm and young women are subject to a sultan-like exploiter with "neo-concubines who service him in the barroom, bathroom or wherever the beer is flowing." Such young women are always willing, no matter how demeaning.

"There used to be more assortative mating, where a '5' would date a '5,''" she writes. "But now every woman who is a '6' and above wants the hottest guy on campus, and she can have him — for one night." Such hook-ups are powered less by the liberation of lust or sensual pleasure than by a narrow social conformity that reduces women to objects, as in the old patriarchy. This makes the rewards of marriage and children even more elusive and difficult to attain — and maintain.

Since we began by quoting "Julius Caesar," it's only fitting to recall another famous line of the Bard: "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings."

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment on JWR contributor Suzanne Fields' column by clicking here.

Up

Suzanne Fields Archives

© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles