December 29, 2012

Girlthink

From the Washington Post:
Why we love ‘Les Miserables,’ despite its miserable gender stereotypes 
By Stacy Wolf, Published: December 28 
Stacy Wolf is a professor of theater at Princeton University and the author of “Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical.” 
“Les Miserables” should have feminists like me up in arms. The musical takes the female characters from a 150-year-old novel about a French rebellion and makes them bit players — even though they figure prominently in the book (and in the marketing for the musical and movie). They exist not to drive the plot but to sacrifice for the men, the real stars of the show. 
But I can’t help it: I love “Les Miz.” As a theater historian who studies gender and sexuality in the American musical, when women are abused or marginalized on stage, I notice. Yet “Les Miz” never fails to move me.

Les Miz's pounding music gave me a headache when I saw the Broadway touring company a couple of decades ago. My main memory of the three hours is my increasingly frantic search during intermission for a drug store on Michigan Avenue that could sell me a bottle of aspirin. But, don't let my experience bias your enjoyment!
... And the fact that viewers are flocking to a movie full of outdated gender roles reminds us that, though we’ve seen gains in gender equity in politics and pop culture in the past few decades, old stereotypes still persist — and, somehow, we still love them. 
I live with this contradiction of outdated gender roles within pop culture every day. Looking at culture through a feminist lens doesn’t mean that you don’t have fun or sing along. It means that you can also see what’s missing or what’s politically troubling. 
In 1987, when “Les Miz” opened on Broadway, it was part of a cultural moment that Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Susan Faludi labeled the “anti-feminist backlash.” Its popularity at the time wasn’t surprising: The late 1980s weren’t kind to ambitious women. Television didn’t allow single mothers — such as Murphy Brown and Kate and Allie — to live successful, fulfilling lives. They all failed personally or professionally. ...
Audiences in the late 1980s accepted such gender slights, but what about now? Samantha Barks, who plays the rejected Eponine in the new movie, told the New York Times that she receives tweets every day from girls who say they relate perfectly to the character’s longing: “Why am I always Eponine?” they write. 
Despite bigger, stronger and more complex roles for women in television and film and on stage, the smaller, diminished tragedies of “Les Miz” still resonate with viewers in 2012. 
Why? Largely because they’re familiar. 
The female stereotypes in “Les Miz” are deeply embedded in our culture — the mother who sacrifices herself to the death, the two women who love the same man, and the woman who desires a man in a different class. These characters are readily available, always recognizable and appealing in their familiarity. ...
There’s a deep well of nostalgia for “Les Miz,” especially among women who came of age when it was on Broadway or on tour — even though it doesn’t reflect our feminist politics. ... 
We understand ourselves and our identities because of the stories we’re told. When we hear the same stories about people — women, gays, the poor, Asians or African Americans — over and over, we start to believe them. If our culture tells us that women should sacrifice themselves for their children or for men’s careers, we find it unremarkable that the women of “Les Miz” do just that. ...
But for anyone who thinks critically about gender, it’s unsettling. 
Thankfully, we’re no longer stuck in a 1980s anti-feminist backlash. Depictions of women in today’s pop culture are varied and complex. The “Bridesmaids” characters dare to be outrageous, funny and obscene. Carrie Mathison on “Homeland,” even on the verge of nervous collapse, is tough and brilliant, as is sharp-shooting Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” and misogynist-killing Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

Those are some fine movies!
These women are strong, clever and, yes, vulnerable. 
swolf@princeton.edu 

Okay, okay, Obama won by demonizing the Republican War on Women, just like Bill Clinton won in 1992's Year of the Woman, when we had to put up with lowbrow feminists like Susan Faludi and Naomi Wolf being treated as the second coming of John Stuart Mill.

But, the election's over, so can the feminists please now go back to their university sinecures until the Democrats need them in the next election, and stop boring the rest of us with their self-indulgent lack of logic?

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

OT, but didn't you used to have a link to paypal to make donations directly to you?

PA said...

But, the election's over, so can the feminists please now go back to their university sinecures until the Democrats need them in the next election, and stop boring the rest of us with their self-indulgent lack of logic?

Steve, this echoes Mencius Moldbug's recent post "Adore the Rivers of Meat." There, he proposes that Republicans and all their institutions disband and let Dems have their one-party dictatorship.

This, as MM implies, will stop the ruling "Progressive" class from destroying the country with imigration (rivers of meat) and other Kulturkampfs, as those will no longer be needed once the elections are done away with for good.

WHat do you think?

rightsaidfred said...

Looking at culture through a feminist lens doesn’t mean that you don’t have fun or sing along.

Yes it does.

Anonymous said...

This, as MM implies, will stop the ruling "Progressive" class from destroying the country with imigration (rivers of meat) and other Kulturkampfs, as those will no longer be needed once the elections are done away with for good.

WHat do you think?


That's stupid. One party states have engaged in population transfers and replacement before.

Kylie said...

"'Looking at culture through a feminist lens doesn’t mean that you don’t have fun or sing along.'

Yes it does."


No, it doesn't. For a feminist, it means you get to have fun and sing along--and then you get to condemn the anti-feminist messages you found so enjoyable that you just had to sing along with them!

Kind of like when you go on a "slut walk" and then you get to condemn men for looking at the slutty way you're dressed.

a woman said...

Hey, Stacey Wolf,

You CAN'T have it all. Neither can a man, a father. So, GET OVER YOURSELF.

Lucius said...

"Despite bigger, stronger and more complex roles for women in television and film and on stage, the smaller, diminished tragedies of “Les Miz” still resonate with viewers in 2012."

--What does she think she means by this?

I haven't watched tv in a long time, so I'll adopt Jennifer Garner on "Alias" as one of those BiggerStrongerMoreComplex(TM) women for comparison.

Now, I liked "Alias" in parts, esp. the parts where she had skintight vinyl on. In small doses, the melodrama was nice too, though of course the series as a whole is a vast, untidy, illogical mess.

But what an extraordinary thing, to assert that (to borrow an equivalent formula from "ElleGirl") "kickbutt feminism" is BIGGER than Hugo's women-- or, let's say, Little Dorrit, or Emma Woodhouse, to say nothing of Antigone, Medea, Shakespeare's Cleopatra.

I've no affection for this musical, but considering the source material and the running time, it's a big slice of chutzpah to call this thing "smaller" and "diminished". What's she mentally comparing to, Abel Gance's projected 49 hour "Napoleon" cycle?

Shouldn't a theatre prof get it that characters who end badly are almost always "bigger" than the ones who "kick butt"?

LOL but she things being "obscene" is something "daring" . . .

Anonymous said...

Not "Girlthink", it's "Women's Logic": http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/women-logic

Anonymous said...

They're still upset about that Murphy Brown remark from Dan Quayle. Dan received a deluge of hatred once reserved for war criminals for his statement of crime thought.

Good thing feminists were right and single motherhood has turned out to be a real boon for working class women of all stripes and society at large.

Maya said...

You know which recent movie is really sexist? The Hobbit! Only one girl in it, and even she is only allowed to talk with her mouth closed. The book was probably even more misogynistic. It's been almost 2 decades since I read it, but as far as I remember it had no girls in it at all. Shreck had a girl dragon, at least. No such luck here. The dragon in The Hobbit is male, and a real jerk too. Thankfully, the king of dwarfs is really hot.

Go see it! Even with all the extra stuff that's been added to the story, the movie was still awesome and beautifully made.

Anonymous said...

But the recent study shows how between 1981 and 2010, the ratio of boys to girls in the top 0.01% of maths scores in the Scholastic Aptitude Test at high school (SATs) dropped from 13 to 1, to 4 to 1 in the Nineties before plateauing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2252975/American-children-brighter-girls-challenge-boys-maths.html

52% of girls were asians in SMPY back in 90s, the ratio of asians was 4/1 and 16/1 for caucasians, are asians that disproportionally represented?

Anonymous said...

Is it my imagination or do women generally seem to love having conflicted feelings about pretty much everything and love discussing in detail the intricacies of all these conflicted feelings?

I guess having feminists fret about how female characters in musicals make them feel is almost a return to normalcy? Middle class women fluttering, twittering and fretting about the theatre is almost Edwardian. It would all be kind of charming and harmless if feminists weren't such malicious bores about everything.

As a side note I thought of one big advantage the Les Misérables franchise has in these politically correct times: there is no strong Orléanist lobby running around now days. No well organized supporters of the July Monarchy of Louis-Phillipe are demanding a boycott, the removal of "vile canards" from the script or anything of the sort. Something to keep in mind if you're trying to right the next big Broadway musical.

Anonymous said...

Bridesmaids was so depressing for me.

I'm not a feminist...but I was so upset by the fact that the ONLY good thing that happened to the main character was her finding the Irish cop.

Her bakery failed! When a woman can't open a bakery...something is seriously wrong with society.

I hate that movie....yet feminists love the movie for portraying women as crude losers.

AHHH!!!!


Simon in London said...

"sharp-shooting Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games” and misogynist-killing Lisbeth Salander in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”"

Strong women in fiction used to be family leaders and matriarchs, like the women in the 1920s Irish plays "Shadow of a Gunman" and "The Plough and the Stars", which we read in high school in Belfast. These women 'sacrificed for their family' the same way male patriarchs 'sacrifice for their family' - sure it's costly, but it's worth it.

Since the '60s the supposedly 'strong woman' is an isolated, atomised individual focused on her own self-actualisation, whether or not that involves killing men and blowing things up.

Anonymous said...

Les Miz

Was it better CATS?

Anonymous said...



Stacey fails to realize that what she and others like about the women in Le Miz is something enduring, and compellingly attractive. It goes by the name of "love" which is shown in ones ability to sacrifice for others and requires great strength of character. The women in Le Miz are heroes every bit as much as the men, but because they aren't narcissists, they aren't all about power and recognition.

hbd chick said...

"My main memory of the three hours is my increasingly frantic search during intermission for a drug store on Michigan Avenue that could sell me a bottle of aspirin."

all i remember is having that annoying song "Master of the House" stuck in my head for about a week after seeing it. to this day, if i just think of that song ... oh, d*mnit! (~_^)

Son of Brock Landers said...

Katniss never killed anyone and made it to the end by getting the crowd to love the love story.

Lisbeth Salander was a tough, fierce les type who the filmmakers softened up and feminized the moment she had sex witht he male lead (Mr. Bond). At the end fo the movie she eventually is 'tamed' by him and has him made an xpensive leather jacket. He hangs with another woman and Lisbeth throws the jacket away and rides off intot he night rejected.

Super feminist role models with their silly infatuations.

Mark Plus said...

I haven't come across much discussion of the fact that the character Jean Valjean demonstrates his spiritual regeneration by renouncing his life as a Taker and becoming an upstanding Maker instead. He opens a factory, employs poor French people who might not otherwise have had jobs, becomes a successful businessman and community leader, and in the novel leaves Cosette a fortune equivalent to about US$9 million in today's money.

Yet in the perverse value system of the progressives' Opposite World, Valjean deserved "empathy" as a Taker, and his transformation into a Maker shows his descent into sociopathy.

RS said...

> I live with this contradiction of outdated gender roles within pop culture every day.

unbelievable what the human spirit can bear up under...

HaHa said...

Roissy readers understand what's going on here!

Anonymous said...

@ Lucius

It should be mentioned that one character she references as a positive female role-model, Carrie Mathison from Homeland, is a bipolar woman whose career at the CIA is repeatedly threatened when she becomes manic (and hysterical).

Anonymous said...

Two thoughts about the SAT math scores:

1) The SAT math section could have been dumbed down so that a high score doesn't discriminate as well between top students and riff-raff.

2) Girl-focused intruction methods in schools could be keeping boys from reaching their full mathematical potential.

I'm no teacher, nor do I work for the College Board, so I could be totally off base.

Mr. Rational said...

the ratio of boys to girls in the top 0.01% of maths scores in the Scholastic Aptitude Test at high school (SATs) dropped from 13 to 1, to 4 to 1 in the Nineties before plateauing.

The SAT was re-normed in 1996, and top scores became much easier to get.  This almost certainly has a lot to do with the shift, because a top 0.01% score is a long way from a top 0.01% capability.  Above a certain point, meticulous avoidance of errors is probably more important than raw capability.  Such attention to detail is a characteristic of girls.

tial said...

Ah yes, the bad old misogynistic age of...late 1980s.

Anonymous said...

Of all the marxist in our midst, feminist has to rank as the most Miz of the bunch. Humorless, self serious, solipsistic they drain the life out of everyone around them.

Anonymous said...

"As a theater historian who studies gender and sexuality in the American musical"

Talk about non-value added ...

Anonymous said...

Unrelated,

Steve I,ve long thought lesbian marriage would do worse than gay marriage at the polls if they had to be dealt itch with separately. You should write on this question of which is least popular two guys or gals marrying. To me I,m fine with gay marriage less competition for me but I oppose lesbian marriage.

Anonymous said...

This was pretty entertaining, and more surprising is how its on tumblr, which is some sort of wacky leftist doublethink stronghold.

http://feministfacts.tumblr.com/

Anonymous said...

My high school paper was almost entirely girls. Young guys don,t see. To be going to j schools it women who can just marry rich guys seem to be. The media will only get more female I predict. But they never do the heavy thinking.

Anonymous said...

To echo something SS wrote about mad men,it is funny that women who all today repeat the same feminist tropes favorite shows are based in ore feminist days such as mad men or downtown abbey.

Anonymous said...

Hi, maya

Another actually sexist movie, "almost famous ". All the women in the film are helpers for men. Zooey d. For her brothers the groupies for the bands. Etc. it paints a traditional Venus like angelic view of women as feminine lovers and facilitators of male productivity.

pat said...

Whenever I contemplate the role of women in society as expressed in the musical theater (not very damn often I'll admit) I think of Mozart.

In his earliest popular opera or Singspiel The Abduction he presents in Constanze a woman so heroic that when captured by Muslims and threatened with torture she defies them with a spectacularly bravura aria. Go girl.

In his middle period he wrote Cosi fan Tutte which basically teaches that all women are weak and perfidious. Then of course he wrote Don Giovanni which recounts how easy it is for Giovanni (Don Juan) to seduce women.

Finally toward the end he wrote The Magic Flute which is openly misogynistic.

It seems as Mozart came to know and understand women he developed a deep contempt.

Great genius that Herr Mozart.

Albertosaurus

Glaivester said...

I saw a clip of a stage production of Les Mis while watching something or other, and my main thought was "Hey! Isn't that the guy who played Torquil in Krull?"

Anonymous said...

It seems as Mozart came to know and understand women he developed a deep contempt.

Modern feminism has helped the contempt to develop earlier. If you're a beta or omega male in your 20's or early 30's, you observe that desirable females completely ignore you for a small number of alphas. Even overweight, ugly women, encouraged by feminism, think they deserve better than you. So female hypergamy and the ensuing lack of familiarity with women leads to contempt.

Anonymous said...

Feminism is about affluent girls with nothing to worry and complain about worrying and complaining.

sideways said...

SAT renorming was on the verbal side, so that doesny explain it. I'd bet that It's test prep.

Mr. Anon said...

"Television didn’t allow single mothers — such as Murphy Brown and Kate and Allie — to live successful, fulfilling lives. They all failed personally or professionally. ..."

As opposed to real life single mother Nancy Lanza, whose life was a stunning success.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

It should be mentioned that one character she references as a positive female role-model, Carrie Mathison from Homeland, is a bipolar woman whose career at the CIA is repeatedly threatened when she becomes manic (and hysterical)."

She is also a functionary and tool of an oppressive police state. Funny how that seems to appeal to feminists.

Mr. Anon said...

"pat said...

It seems as Mozart came to know and understand women he developed a deep contempt.

Great genius that Herr Mozart.

Albertosaurus"

Feminists used to be fond of the slogan "Men are pigs". They are of course right.

Men are pigs.

And women deserve them.

Nostalgic Futurist said...

Feminists are really a humorless lot, aren't they?

Anonymous said...

"Ah yes, the bad old misogynistic age of...late 1980s. "


don't forget today's, 1 in 4 women earn the PTSD degree by patriarchy by forcing them in colleges with mad boys.


as for the SAT renorming, the decline in the ratio took place before that.

"From 1981–
1985, the male–female ratios at the ≥500, ≥600 and ≥700
levels were 2.61 to 1, 5.82 to 1, and 13.5 to 1, respectively,
thus replicating previous findings (Benbow & Stanley, 1980,
1983; 2.1 to 1, 4.1 to 1, and 13 to 1 respectively). From 1986
to the present, the male–female ratio declined at several
levels and time periods. As can be seen in Fig. 1,theratioof
students scoring ≥700 (top 0.01%) on the SAT-M began to
fall immediately after 1981–1985, but has remained
relatively stable for the last two decades at roughly 4 to 1,
with the most recent time period (2006–2010) indicating a
ratio of 3.83 to 1."



Sex differences in the right tail of cognitive abilities: A 30 year examination
Wai 2010


"In 1992, Lubinski and Benbow gave the 13 to 1 ratio.Part of an endnote says that "In American samples, these ratios have been fluctuating over the past decade at least partly as a function of increasing numbers of Asian students entering talent searches. For example, in Asian samples, the proportion of males/females with SAT-M = 700 is 4/1 (this ratio has also been observed in China); in Caucasian samples, the ratio is closer to 16/1.""

http://www.awm-math.org/benbow_petition/background.html

Maya said...

Another misogynist piece of film that should be available for rent right about now is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main character is male, the sexiest person in the movie is a guy, the female romantic lead is a slut and the child molester is a woman. Plus, it made me tear up several times.

Those of you young enough to have read and loved the novel at that critical age (and all you other nice people who might have enjoyed the book regardless of age), make sure you see it! I'm protective of the books that I like, especially, if I read them as a teen, and ususually resent them being put on a screen. But this adaptation was truly wonderful. They cut out all the boring stuff about the sister's abusive secret relationship and abortion, and just focus on Charlie. It's just perfect. Hollywood made me very happy this holiday season. For the first time, I think. :)

Anonymous said...

more:

An interesting
detail of the SMPY study is a racial/ethnic difference: not only was there an over representation
of Asian Americans (20%) among these mathematically talented children, but “approximately
52% of the females scoring at least 700 on the SAT-Math by age 13 have been Asian” (Lubinski
and Benbow 1992, p. 66). Indeed, if one excludes Asian Americans from those who scored at
700 points or higher on the math section of the SAT, the sex ratio would be 16:1 favoring boys
(Lubinski and Benbow 1992)

http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/0/9/6/9/0/pages96908/p96908-4.php

mark said...

Hey Steve,

Long time reader, rarely comment. Love the post, lets the commentariat empty out the hatorade in 2012 and come back refreshed in 2013. To bad Mr. Hugo didn't have her proof reading his stuff way back when. She knows what is missing, so do I, gratitude.

Anonymous said...

"Is it my imagination or do women generally seem to love having conflicted feelings about pretty much everything"

love to hate, hate to love, frenemies


"one character she references as a positive female role-model, Carrie Mathison from Homeland"

she is astoundigly annoying!

Anonymous said...

Another misogynist piece of film that should be available for rent right about now is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main character is male, the sexiest person in the movie is a guy, the female romantic lead is a slut and the child molester is a woman. Plus, it made me tear up several times.


Are you trying to outdo Ms. Wolf in the inanity dept.?

Anonymous said...

Re: Dan Quayle

A perfect example of how when Steve and others talk about the stupid party they should really just say the party the media opposes. Quayle made an incisive and prophetic statement and by playing dumb and acting like Dan Quayle thought Murpht brown was a real person, the media got to say oh look the stupid party in action again.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the poster Aaron. He provided a nice family man alternative to all the women bashing. Do you guys all hate your mothers? For a cynical bunch I don't get why you just don't join a church or become Mormon. They will set you up with a nice girl toute suite.

Anonymous said...

The whole raised expectations spoils my ability to get chicks thing cuts both ways. Porn and pop culture made men want hotter and sluttier too.

Maya said...

"Are you trying to outdo Ms. Wolf in the inanity dept.?"

Well, now I won't even try because it's obvious that no matter what, you've got me beat by a mile in that department. How do you do it? Is cough syrup involved?

Maya said...

" For a cynical bunch I don't get why you just don't join a church or become Mormon. They will set you up with a nice girl toute suite."

From my experience with the Mormons (really nice people, most of them):

1. They generally don't set up older folk, expecting both parties to be around high school or college graduating age. Probably because they REALLY don't want to be confused with their cultish offshoots where older men marry teenagers. Perhaps, a middle aged gentleman could be matched with a middle aged widow, so he could help raise her kids. But middle aged widows aren't as common as they once were, especially among those who practice clean living...

2. It's immediately apparent that Mormons do their best to set people up with their equals, when it comes to desirability. Judging by all their facebook wedding pictures and stories, hot interesting boys tend to be steered towards hot cool girls, average looking youngsters of average merits are brought together with one another and the obese guys with small eyes and smaller talents are married off to girls who also resemble that description. And the trouble with people who complain about the opposite sex is that they always overestimate their own degree of desirability. They don't get that if everyone you are interested in is always too picky to pick you, then the problem isn't everyone else being overly choosy- it's YOU attempting to operate in the wrong league. So, even if these guys and gals were to be the right age, they'd be shocked and appalled by the pool of potential mates the church would pre-approve for them. If cats could hook up with video games and trash novels shacked up with porn, these people would become truly alone.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:13's point is made in Denmark where a lesbian is 200% more likely to be divorced than a heterosexual woman.

SFG said...

"Is it my imagination or do women generally seem to love having conflicted feelings about pretty much everything and love discussing in detail the intricacies of all these conflicted feelings?"

Women like to talk about their feelings.

rob said...

"Steve I,ve"

Anon, in English we use apostrophes in contractions. The apostrophe (') looks like a coma shifted up a bit.

pat said...

In my experience many women like to be humiliated by a man - and beaten. This large segment of the female population is seldom recognized by the media. I think this is mainstream default female attitude but I may be wrong. Good figures are not available.

But there can be no doubt that the feminist attitude is a splinter group unrepresentitive of most women. Dare I call feminism a perversion?

Women like to surrender to strong men. It makes good Darwinian sense.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

What women really want is large multi colored feathers. It's Darwinism don't argue.

Norville Rogers said...

One of the first things you can notice from following publications of feminist academia is that most of them seem to be about television shows

Anononymous said...

This is a very pro-woman, pro-feminist book. Single mothers are idolized (literally) and their plight of is highlighed.
Religous imagery is used to describe single-mothers. Chastity is derrided.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Book review LES MISÉRABLES By Victor Hugo
PART 1

A main character is a 20 year old girl from a broken home. "She had never known father or mother." She goes to Paris and hangs out with her slutty girlfriends and they all get boyfriends.

The boyfriend she gets a 30 year old student at a paris university. He is very rich and wears expensive, flashy clothes. She gets unwed-pregnant by him. (hypergamy)

At this point the author describes this unwed-pregnant girl:
"had the long, white, fine fingers of the vestal virgin who stirs the ashes of the sacred fire with a golden pin. ... her face in repose was supremely virginal;"

All the boyfriends dump the girlfriends at the same time. They leave a note that taunts them:
"...You must know that we have parents. Parents—you do not know much about such things. They are called fathers and mothers..."

She then returns to her hometown, but because of the stigma against single mothers, she has to leave the kid at a baby-sitter in another town.

She gets a high-paying job at a factory.

The factory is owned by a very rich ex-con living under an assumed identity. He made his fortune by inventing a resin substitute, kind of like THE JERK's glasses handles. He is also the mayor. Rich, mayor, ex-con. A hypergamous trifecta: money, status, thug. Better than Edward.

Her cow-orkers get suspicious, and one investigates and discovers that she is a single mother. The person who investigates is derridingly referred to by the author as: "gossip ... a gorgon ... door-keeper of every one's virtue ... mask of ugliness ... quavering voice ... whimsical mind ... nettle ... bigot".

She is then fired by the supervisor for being a single mother, without the knowledge of the ex-con factory owner. She then has to get a lower paying job.

She struggles to earn enough money to mail money to the baby-sitter who is in another town. The baby-sitter keeps gouging her for more money and made up expenses.

The baby-sitter treats the kid like Cinderella and makes her a servant. You get the iconic drawing of a moppet with a big broom.

She gets a live-in boyfriend who is a: "miserable scamp ... mendicant musician ... lazy beggar ... who beat her ... abandoned her ... in disgust"

Anononymous said...

Book review LES MISÉRABLES By Victor Hugo
PART 2

Lots of pathos about how hard it is for a working single mother to make ends meet and pay for her child. She sells her hair and sells her front teeth.

She then becomes a prostitute. While out prostituting, a man teases her and she loses it and attacks him. She is arrested.

While she is at the police station the rich ex-con mayor sees her and has her let go. The rich ex-con mayor then says:
"I will pay your debts ... You shall not work any longer if you do not like. I will give all the money you require."

So, the rich ex-con mayor swoops in like the fairy godmother to bestow largess on this single-mother-prostitute. Quite a female fantasy.

He takes her in to his mansion to recuperate in his infirmary. From the book:
[single-mother-prostitute:]"I was praying to the martyr there on high."
And he added in his own mind, "For the martyr here below."
[...]
"You have suffered much, poor mother. Oh! do not complain; you now have the dowry of the elect."


She gets sick and dies.

He goes to the babysitter to get her moppet kid and adopts her. His identity is revealed and they have to live on the lam. They live in a convent for several years and the moppet goes to the school run by the convent.

The rich aristocrat grandfather of the moppet's future husband is introduced. He has an old-maid daughter, who is chaste. She is described as:
"a prude and a bigot. She defends with a heavy fortress of clothing a non-threatened virtue. ... abominably stupid ... incombustible prude ... sharpest noses ... one of the most obtuse minds"

The rich aristocrat grandfather of the moppet's future husband is accused of being the father of two illigitimate children by a servant. He did not, but he is generous and rich and agrees to pay for their maintainence anyway.

The ex-con joins the 1832 Paris insurgency and fights the government in a battle. He escapes through a sewer before being overrun.

He gets a new identity. The adopted moppet marries the grandson of the rich aristocrat. When they marry, he gives them a fortune he had stashed away from when he was a rich mayor.

Moppet can't get married legally because she's illigitimate, so he gives her a false identity.

They live happily ever after, wealthy, and in a mansion.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Summary:



If you are a single mother (by a rich guy) without a welfare-state and it sucks to work minimum wage to support your family, maybe a millionaire will be smitten by you and will adopt your kids and give them his fortune.

Anononymous said...

If you read the book, it's just wall-to-wall Marxist propaganda.
The criminals stealing to feed their starving family trope started here.
"I'm Depraved on Account of I'm Deprived."

LES MISÉRABLES

Cliffs Notes Lez Miz

Maya said...

"In my experience many women like to be humiliated by a man - and beaten. This large segment of the female population is seldom recognized by the media. I think this is mainstream default female ...
Women like to surrender to strong men. It makes good Darwinian sense."

Pat, I've got nothing against your preferred way of sexual expression. You make yourself and willing partners happy, so bless your heart.

However, surveys show that BDSM is a fetish- that is that the vast majority of people of both sexes aren't into it. Biologically, THAT makes more sense than what you suggest. Animals have a strong instinct of self-preservation. Someone enjoying being beaten (or blinded/castrated/sliced into pieces) is an anomaly. An interesting phenomenon is that for both genders, more people who are into BDSM want to be subs than doms. That's why you were able to have a harem- not enough men willing to torture all the women who want it. That's also a woman can easily make extra money as a dominatrix- not enough women out there willing to beat and humiliate all the men who want it.

As far as the evolutionary mechanisms making women want men who are violent towards them because that's proof of an able protector, it's an assertion that lacks in logic. When auditioning prospective protectors, one needs to to test for both ability and WILLINGNESS to protect oneself. Firstly, violence towards the woman doesn't prove much in terms of ability. Sure, it may prove that the man is stronger than the woman, but she needs protection from wild animals and hostile men, not other women her size. Secondly, by beating and humiliating the woman, the man shows that he doesn't value her, might not value their offsprings and isn't likely to sacrifice his own safety to keep her and the potential child safe. You see, romance isn't a recent development. It goes out of style when strict religious and family laws assure the man's commitment and comes back into fashion when a society becomes less strictly structured. Males court females by displaying their abilities through showing off and displaying their intent to commit through assuring the female that she is valuable to them (romance). Monkeys do it too.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Les Miz isn't sexism -- it's racism. Everyone in it is white.

It's a outrage.