Saturday, April 19, 2008

NOT The View

I remember the first time I watched The View, ABCs daytime program featuring women co-hosts. It was the year that I lost 40 pounds in 12 days. Of course, I don’t remember much else about that time what with the blackouts and all, but I do recall that this show was aired live. That’s a forum you don’t see every day.

I paid attention for several weeks. After that, I tuned out (or passed out – whatever) but I think it was pretty good.

The next time I caught the show was some time later, and I remember because it was the year that I lost 65 pounds in 20 days. The co-hosts, including Barbara Walters, were discussing various important topics to women such as eyelash curlers, designer diapers, and of course dieting. I gave the show considerable concentration but I had to give it up after going into debt buying one of everything they promoted. Damn the electric company and their threatening shutoff notices

I stayed away for a few years and then something happened. They acquired this no-nonsense, candid co-host named Rosie. Here was a woman – of considerable size – who talked about the things that affect our every day lives like corruption, cover-ups, and casualties of war. She even stood up to arrogant, sexist hair-challenged men.

I gave up my restless leg syndrome medication so I could watch uncompromised.

Unfortunately, in less than a year, Rosie was gone. And it was a rather ugly departure at that. After her “removal”, The View carried on (ad nauseam) with the adventures of Paris/Lindsey/Brittany under the guise of “hot topics”. One day, Barbara read a letter Paris had sent from her jail cell. For that item, I am thankful. My daughter owes me $25 over a bet on whether Paris was illiterate.

Nevertheless, I found myself looking forward to the debut of the new co-host, Whoopi Goldberg. During the week of September 4th, I tried to watch, but often didn’t get a chance to tune in until it had already started. And I (always) had to wait through several commercials – for Botox (gotta have it!) and usually some other product that alters the frequency of a woman’s period - resulting in fewer episodes of PMS and its new, sassy counterpart PMDD. I mean, what woman doesn’t want to disrupt her natural beauty, contours, and hormonal cycle into a wasteland of toxic bacterium clostridium and drospirenone/ethinyl estradiol? With a dash of botulism.

Of course, I pray that I live long enough to see not only the offspring produced by this new breed of female, but also the bone loss, tooth decay, and whatever other anomalies rear their ugly head.

Yet, I was hopeful Whoopi could save us from this paternal order of the controllers.

I soon learned it was not to be. A de-radicalized Whoopi made her appearance without any hullabaloo. In fact, on one show, Whoopi and Elizabeth Hasselbeck, The View’s blonde, had teamed up for a special project to design outfits in celebration of fashion week.

Whoopi a fashion icon: Who would have thought?

I couldn’t wait to “view” their designs.

Elizabeth’s sketch was remarkable. An absolutely stunning dress that could be worn at any time by any woman whose husband is a professional football player and who – at a moment’s notice – must let the nanny know they are going out for the evening. I prayed that she didn’t go overboard and was able to keep the cost of her outfit down to just a few thousand dollars. Anything over $8,500 would definitely spoil a weekly clothing budget.

Elizabeth’s inspiration for her design was the loveable Peanut’s character, Snoopy, as she pointed out that on the reverse side of the dress was a tie that lassoed resembling Snoopy’s ears. I inferred that Elizabeth was not – I repeat NOT – trying to imply that Snoopy likes to play dress up or has on occasion envisioned himself as a female beagle. Because then, and only then, would a male species know what it is like to be called a bitch.

And we can’t let that happen.

I watched as Whoopie listened with (controlled and probably contracted) restraint to Elizabeth’s gushing comments, and I felt my hopes and dreams for this new co-host’s ability to salvage any semblance of respect (not to mention intellect) for women quickly deteriorating.

I cry every time I think about how The View – this purported representational view – generates a society that inspects women from the outside in….instead of the perceptive inside out.

For now I’m going to just try and relax and wait for the pharmaceutical industry to find a treatment for an ailment that I don’t yet know I have. Although I’ve noticed that on sunny mornings - while waiting for the coffee to brew - I find myself compulsively whistling along with my daughter’s little canary. It could be that I have Whistling Mother Syndrome.

But given the patriarchal society women toil in, rest assured, relief will soon be on the way.

Maybe some day women will not be afraid to speak truth to power. And those women will actually be “viewed” through our public airwaves on a scale large enough to empower them – flaws and all.

At least that would be my preference. Because we’re worth it.

Copyright 09/07

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