Monday, November 27, 2006

Last week, I attracted a comment to one of my blogs on myspace about Hello Kitty. I suppose this blog is a rant. I suppose I need a space to vent that won't cause so much controversy. But then, why not? I will likely copy this and paste it into my myspace blogs anyway. Why be afraid of creating an issue? Isn't that part of the purpose of blogs? And, the issue merits some discussion and thought, I think.

It started the morning when Clay Aiken made the insensitive mistake of putting his cupped hand over Kelly Ripa's mouth during the taping of her show. A rude gesture, for sure. The incident caused much attention, and, sadly, was probably capitalized as publicity for her show, and perhaps, even for a little needed attention for Clay Aiken. Anyway, women on another TV show, "The View" were discussing it, and one of the women made the point, and rightly so, about how men will say and do things to women that they would not do to other men. Very true. Would Clay Aiken have put his hand over the mouth of Jay Leno, David Letterman, or other? I truly doubt it. It's a power thing, and he felt like he was being funny and cute by cupping his hand over the blond's mouth. Insensitive and thoughtless, really.

Okay, back to Hello Kitty. About a week ago, I posted a blog about Hello Kitty's lack of a mouth, and how a female photographer pointed out that Hello Kitty can be seen as representative of the role of Japanese women - cute, curious, but silenced. I was struck by the metaphor, and in many respects, I think the photographer had an interesting point.

One of the people on my friend's list commented that the feminist photographer was wrong, and that although Japanese women act subservient in public, at home they, "rule the roost." Therefore, Japanese women aren't really silenced and inferior. He abruptly said, "The feminist is wrong." It really bothered me.

Why is it that some men, even men we don't know very well, think that they can, and actually do, talk to women this way - even when feminism is discussed. The irony of it all is incredible. Many men honestly think that they have the final word, and that women, poor creatures that we are need to be corrected and admonished. They are the authority. So many, and I know that I am generalizing, think that they are the final word on so many things.

Most of the comments that I have posted in response to others' blogs have been either:
1) supportive and complimentary, or
2) humorous

I think that I rarely give dogmatic statements or make proclamations to anyone, especially men. I recall reading Deborah Tannen, a linguist who writes about the communication differences between men and women, and how women will usually ask men questions, or make statements that ultimately become questions. How easily we fall into gender roles, and how easily men think that women need these sorts of inflexible, uninvited statements in order to be clarified or gain "the final word."

Hello Kitty needs a mouth now - with teeth.