If there's one thing I hate, it's female intellectual mudslinging. A major trend among women in the media is the tendency to prove that one is more feminist than thou. What it all comes down to is the pot calling the kettle bimbo .
Recently, when New York Times columnist Anna Quindlen retired, a number of RIGs--Really Important Gals--took the occasion to chide Quindlen for having written a column about home and family. Apparently, Quindlen was giving up the column to spend more time with her three young children (bad) and to make more money writing books (good).
The RIGs seem to feel that women should write pompous, self-important essays on social issues and men should write warm fuzzy columns about home and family. You know, "George Will on Making Jell-O" and "Erma Bombeck on the Deficit."
Fine. Swell. I'll bet George makes a mean Pineapple Lime Surprise. And no doubt Erma could teach us a thing or two about getting and spending. But does that mean that women should stop pondering a traditional yet still unsolved mystery: how to raise a kid while this crazy little planet falls apart?
I view the attacks on Quindlen (who is a terrific writer and always had interesting things to say about growing up) as part of a larger problem among progressive movements: the tendency to eat their own. It reminds me of going to feminist meetings where the few poor men who showed up were showered with abuse. Or attending forums on racism where participants ridiculed guilty white liberals in the crowd.
No doubt the fact that I frequently write about the "little" issues of our time plays some part in my attitude. And speaking of little issues, how about a woman who thinks that wearing makeup is a natural instinct? Now this is where \o7 I\f7 get to be more socially correct than the next gal. And this--finally--is the hidden agenda of today's column: Is there a natural instinct in little girls to wear makeup?
I didn't raise this issue. Lesley Stahl, the star of CBS' "Face the Nation," did.
Had not the weather been vicious the other night, I might never have considered the question, which was blowin' in the wind. A gust shook loose a piece of my roof, which started banging against the side of the house. In order to cover the banging noise, I turned on the TV. A reminder of the usefulness of this appliance.
Although I never watch TV at 3 a.m., I immediately recognized the show as a talk show--chairs, people, close-ups, chitchat. And although I had never seen him before, I immediately knew the host was Bob Costas--guy, blazer, not Johnny, not Pat, not Arsenio, not Mort, not Oprah.
Lesley Stahl was the guest, and in order to prove she was \o7 not\f7 more feminist than thou, she made a big point of talking about how she loves to do her face before she faces the nation. Lesley loves makeup and is proud of it. In fact, she said, she once found her little girl playing in Mummy's makeup and having a ball.
"It's a natural instinct," she said.
She said that, and I caught her. Ha. Ha.
Of course, she also said a lot of intelligent and interesting things about her years as a White House correspondent. She told a story about Ronald Reagan that led me to believe the man may have gone after the presidency to get better movie parts once he returns to Los Angeles. A kind of federal Sonny Bono.
But let's not forget that Lesley Stahl slipped up and said something politically incorrect about the natural instincts of little girls. Let's fund a study to show that if isolated in a cave for the first five years of life, little boys would want to play with makeup too.
In conclusion, let me say this about that: A society that does not allow little boys free access to makeup is a society that will continue to have budget deficits for generations to come.