Post-Academic Life Part 357

You know how sometimes you can’t tell whether a story or TV show or film is either sexist or critiquing sexism?

If you’re getting that sense of ambivalently non-feminist slime dripping into your eyes, even if it’s in the New Yorker (“Thirteen Wives”) you can just stop reading it.


You don’t have to keep reading just to see if it ever gets to the critique. Or, like, try to see what the hell it’s doing in the New Yorker in the first place. 

Blink that slime away and move on with your life.


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4 thoughts on “Post-Academic Life Part 357

  1. molly_notkin says:

    Thank you for this! I usually love Milhauser and I was so confused about the slime reaction I was having to Thirteen Wives. Glad to see I was not alone.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hi Molly! Thanks for the comment! I, too, am glad I am not alone. Did you finish it? I stopped around wife 4 and skipped to the last paragraph. And then that was all lyrical and shit, like the story was about the “nature of love,” which mad me angry.

      • molly_notkin says:

        It got slightly more interesting, in that it got stranger, but the underlying conceit never varied: wife no. x = thing for my particular mood. WTF?!?

      • Elizabeth says:

        Thanks for the update! Even if the story had eventually achieved some kind of self-consciousness or transformation of the husband into awareness of his own entitled sexist narcissism (or if we are to infer it, as I might were I feeling generous), I’d still have been pissed. Because stories about men realizing they are sexist are BORING.

        I tried and tried to think of ways it wasn’t as awful as it appeared. Like all of them are the same woman? But I couldn’t find a way for it not to be complete sexist @#($#$(. And then, remembering my “feminist compromise” idea, why should I have to work so hard to find a way to interpret it generously? Just move on.

        Thanks again for your comments!

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