If you are interested in or perplexed by the use of language in this piece, I recommend reading my initial post about the Cuntzilla Project here. This current collage is approximately 36″ x 24″ and includes paper media as well as material collected from popular representations of girls as princesses. It is very much a work-in-progress.
I continue to be outraged by the violent misogyny of our current era. The toxic masculinity damaging women and men, girls and boys in the United States feels particularly dangerous right now. Moreover, gender roles seem more rigid than they have ever been. I saw evidence of this today when I went shopping for children’s books, specifically seeking out girls’ books that underscored the notion of limited roles for girls and the imperative of achieving the unrealistic goal of being a “princess.” Ironically, at the Goodwill shop, the older books I found were not as bad as I expected. The oldest among them were dated, to be sure; but they were far less offensive than I had anticipated. However, when I went to the “Five Below” shop, I became outraged at the new products that are reinscribing limited and distinctive male and female gender roles for children and their parents. My casual book-shopping venture did nothing to ease the wretched feeling I have in my gut: that misogyny, including the pigeonholing of young girls and women into unrealistic and limited roles, is becoming more, not less, entrenched in our culture. I have had little doubt that we are moving back in time, and that we are in a period of fairly extreme backlash to the women’s liberation movement. I do not mean starting in 2016 with the election of the US’s very own misogynist-in-chief. This backlash started years ago. This backlash started while we were still organizing not only for women’s rights, but for global recognition of women and girls as human beings. But our ontological status as humans has never felt more questionable to me as it does in our current era. Again, I must stress that I do not see this as simply the result of one particularly strident misogynist preying on the fears of white working-class men. My only question is whether we have seen the worst of it yet. Somehow I doubt it.