Opening Stanza: Passé Machismo

Growing up in the late 1980s and early 1990s I was a HUGE fan of spy films and especially "007". As a naieve child, never realizing how offensively sexist those films were, I grew up with images of machismo and sexism and never thought twice. My parents--now divorced--created a household environment that only emphasized the "tradtional" male-female roles, expressed for humorous effect in films like Goldfinger and The Spy Who Loved Me.

Today I try to reconcile those images, of the breadwinner and the homemaker, with today's reality. Despite my will power--and better judgement--it's easy to slip into the language of passé machismo: for example, I'm still a Bond fan. Moreover, I hold firm that Sean Connery was THE BEST BOND EVER! Yet a part of me feels dirty when I see James dismissing a female companion with a slap on her posterior: "Say goodbye...Man talk [SLAP!!]." I don't care what decade we're talking about, there is no excuse to condone such behavior. It's simply not acceptable.

(United Artists, 1964)

(United Artists 1964)
I'm still not sure when it's appropriate to laugh at the absolute absurdity of this clearly sexist remark--a vestige of a less politically correct past that has long since come and gone--or if I should censure that inappropriate exhaultation. Lately our university has dealt with a number incidents where misguided free expression has hurt and offended many--I beleive the two most recently debated situations in question were indicative of bad judgement and a poor sense of humor rather than genuine intolerance. Such conflicts arrise, I believe, because our culture sends us terribly mixed signals regarding the nature of inappropriate behavior.

Sexism is an attribute that has been invented. Sexism wasn't borne into the world via immaculate conception: it was instead the process of historical factors, both codified and implicit, officially sanctioned and unofficially tolerated. The progressive and feminist movements which at various points in history counteracted sexism--thankfully with success, yet much more remains to be accomplished--are invented worlds as well. Benedict Anderson, in his seminal work Imagined Communities, argues that such universalist movements are in fact the components of tan imagined community of individuals who seek to come together, not on the basis of shared proximal or existential factors, but based on a shared perception of commonalities. Feminism, like sexism--or any *ism for that matter--is humanity's invention.

This wiki isn't meant to be a rant necessarily--though I'm sure at times it will evolve into one. The Theme proper of this collection of student-composed wikis revolves around the "invented worlds" that you and I encounter in our daily lives. I view sexism as just one species of a plethora of invented worlds which have come into and out of fashion on the prevailing winds of history and its social norms.

Ubiquitous in nature: there's no need to crack open a science fiction book or escape into Second Life in order to cross over the threshold into our invented or imaginary worlds.

Additional Resources:

Photo Essay: Cooking Utensils | Dystopian Worlds: The Matrix and Snowcrash | Short Story: Creation and Cube Life

Eng. 216 Syllabus
Back to Main Invented Worlds Page