How the Excessively Gorgeous Gloria Steinem advanced the liberal, feminist agenda

If Gloria Steinem put on a little weight in the seventies, the angry, bitter, liberal faction of the feminist movement may have never gained traction, and it may have failed to attain the national prominence it enjoys in the present. This idea struck me one day when a friend of mine informed me that he could no longer watch the sitcom King of Queens based almost solely, on the fact that the female actor, Leah Remini, had put on too much weight. It’s as unfortunate a fact of life in America today, as it was in the sixties and seventies, that women lose relevance, far more than men do, with each pound they gaSteinemin. As a result of this, it was vital to the liberal faction, of the second feminist movement, that Steinem not gain any weight when she was trying to further the movement on the national stage.

The idea that individual women would’ve eventually succeeded in the workplace, based solely on merit, was almost inevitable in this country. Anyone working in a computer-based, office place knows that women are a greater commodity in the office than men. Women are better at multitasking, they’re better at sitting behind a desk for eight to ten hours straight without the need to monkey around, and they’re far more loyal to their employers than their more rebellious counterparts. Even if the CEO of the computer company you work in happens to be male, you know that women run the show.

As America moved away from the manual labor jobs in manufacturing and agriculture, it was inevitable that women would, at least, equal men in relevance, and eventually surpass them in many ways. This progression wouldn’t have advanced liberal women in particular, however, and it wouldn’t have advanced the liberal agenda at all. For that to happen, the angry, bitter, and liberal faction of the movement needed an excessively gorgeous female.

Thus, it’s important to note, that Steinem did not advance what could be called a libertarian definition of the advancement of women based on meritorious achievement, because that would’ve happened regardless. What she advanced, instead, was a liberal agenda steeped in insults and intimidation, highlighted by her most famous catch phrase:

“A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

Steinem’s faction believed that by intimidating men in a mean, confrontational manner, women could intimidate them into the uncomfortable position of creating, and backing, government legislation for the advancement of angry, bitter, and liberal females (i.e., E.R.A. and Title IX).

It is also important to note that there is vast chasm that exists between the classical, libertarian feminists that demanded, and eventually achieved equality, and the “new age”, radical feminist faction of the movement who belittled men to a level where those women felt like equals, and that difference can be detailed in one simple scenario. If a classical feminist, business owner has two applicants before her, one male and one female, she will hire the best, most qualified person to help her business prosper. To this classical, individualistic feminist, politics is a secondary luxury compared to the success of her business. To the new age feminist’s business, money and success are luxuries compared to the importance of advancing a political agenda. They would, of course, hire the female in this scenario, regardless her comparative qualifications, and they might fire that same woman —regardless her productivity— if they found her politics to be in line with a Sarah Palin type.

FreidanSome would argue that this second wave of the liberal, feminist movement was bound to rise up regardless of the person that took the reins. Those who make such arguments state that Betty Friedan’s book The Feminist Mystique and Steinem’s story A Bunny’s Tale came out in the same year, 1963,{1} and that they were both feminist luminaries in their own right. They state that while Steinem became the face of the movement, Friedan was the philosophical backbone, and if Steinem was invalidated in any way, Friedan would’ve taken the reins and continued the movement.

Those who state such things have never seen Betty Friedan. She may have written books and given speeches that appealed to her choir, but the editors of the high profile magazines and newspapers all flocked to Steinem for her take on the movement, because they wanted her body and face on their covers. The most visual medium, television, welcomed Steinem’s body and face with open arms, and they paid scant attention to Friedan, and if Steinem’s body, or face, had grown a little puffy at any time in the course of those early years, the movement might have been relegated to the dust bin with all of the other philosophical movements that preached to their choirs.

ReminiThis moment of clarity occurred when a friend stated that he could no longer watch the television show King of Queens after the female actor on the show, Leah Remini, put on weight. “You do realize that her weight gain was as a result of a pregnancy right?” I asked.  He said he did, but that the result was still the same:

“The show used to be about a fat idiot, with a hot wife,” he said, “but it’s now about two fat idiots.”

While I did know that Remini put on eighty pounds, versus the twenty-five to thirty-five pounds the average woman gains in pregnancy, I still considered his statement to be one of the most superficial I’d ever heard. What shocked me more than anything else, was that this superficial statement came from the most gender sensitive male I ever met. He was so obsessed with gender sensitivities, at one point, that he found himself unable to create a mascot for our computer office team. Every idea he had, had “Too much gender specificity in it,” he informed us. As a result of his frustrations, my friend decided to abdicate his throne as the team artist, rather than face the perceived wrath of the females on the team.

My friend also took this Human Resources (HR) jargon home with him to the point that he was afraid to make insensitive remarks about females when no one else was around. I heard him repeat jargon from those HR videos that I thought everyone was required to sleep through. I saw the way the office changed my friend to the point that he almost changed the way he walked, for fear that someone might view his stride as too gender specific. Thus, when my friend made the superficial statement regarding Remini, I was so shocked that it initially changed my perception of him, until I realized he was simply a product of his era.

coxIt was the idea behind the Friends joke that led me to this realization. The oft repeated Friends joke goes something like this: A male cast member of the show reads something intelligent from his portion of the script, the female actress (either Aniston or Cox) then responds with their portion of the script that is written in a manner designed to put the male in his place in some manner, and the male’s response in the script then commands them to do something to further the notion that he is stupid, incompetent, or in some way a bumbling fool who is not aware of the facts that the excessively gorgeous female’s portion of the script details.

It is vital to the scripts of situation comedies, like Friends, that someone be the butt of the joke, and since current, social mores prohibit anyone outside the white male demographic be that butt, the white male is assaulted ubiquitously throughout modern situation comedies.

The problem that most assuredly arose in the halls of NBC, prior to green-lighting the show Friends, was how to continually insult the male demographic and get them to watch the show at the same time. I don’t know if the answer was self-evident, or if they had to work through it, but they decided that the show would be more palatable to men if the premise of the show revolved around the fact that those insulting the males would be excessively gorgeous females.

KudrowAs the years passed, and the ratings soared, it became obvious that their plan worked, as Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox were viewed as so excessively gorgeous that they were given an immunity card from offense by the male demographic. This idea that only the excessively gorgeous could be over the top insulting to the males on the show was made even more evident by the role of the actress Lisa Kudrow played on the show. Lisa Kudrow is gorgeous. She is gorgeous enough to be on TV, and she was gorgeous enough to be on the show Friends, but she is not so excessively gorgeous that she can get away with insulting males in a manner with which a member of the male audience would be comfortable. So, the execs relegated the Lisa Kudrow character to that of a dumb blonde. This allowed those involved in the show to avoid the stigma of having their show be too female-centric, and it allowed the male demographic more comfort with the idea that it wasn’t just the men who were the dumb on the show.

As Leah Remini proved the “excessively gorgeous immunity” card can be fleeting with weight gain, and if either Cox or Aniston gained weight during Friends run, that show may have suffered the same ratings slide King of Queens did in season seven. That show appeared to lose its “Fat idiot with a hot wife” premise for most males in the prized demographic, when the female actor Remini gained weight (albeit as a result of pregnancy), and her scripted responses were no longer perceived as cute and sassy, but insulting to the male demographic. Steinem may have suffered the same fate if she had dared to gain weight in those early, formative years of the liberal, feminist movement, and her method of operation of insulting men to intimidate them into backing and voting for government legislation may have been perceived as insulting as Friedan’s were. The true, individualist woman would’ve been unaffected by this, as she would’ve eventually succeeded regardless of government legislation, but the angry, bitter, and liberal women in America have Gloria Steinem to thank for never gaining so much weight that she lost her “excessively gorgeous immunity” card for insulting men.


2 thoughts on “How the Excessively Gorgeous Gloria Steinem advanced the liberal, feminist agenda

  1. Thank you for the kind words Mischka! It’s now en vogue to view the world with rose colored blind folds. We can accept ideas as facts if we know how to properly camouflage them, and what is the harm in that? Right? As we all play pretend and make-believe patty cake with one another, I have to think there will be some long-term consequences for it.


  2. Great article and VERY TRUE!!! More people need to read! Keep posting intelligent, inquisitive, and admirably honest view points. Thank You!


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