This morning I was taking a walk and suddenly the words “No More Tears: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” hit me and I thought of Donna Summer and the song she sang with Barbra Streisand back in 1979. I was thinking about how I’ve been writing some really depressing blog posts about loss and living in the “I don’t know” and all that crap. Which actually isn’t crap at all, it’s really important, but after a while it gets self-indulgent. And boring.
I want to dance to “No More Tears: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH” and not sit around moping. I want to dance and be joyous because — well, because I’m alive. And I know we decided a long time ago that disco is dead, but when it comes to turning the beat around, turning it upside down — disco can’t be denied. Your world has turned upside down when you’re in grief — why not the beat too?
Enough is enough. No more tears. It’s an anthem, like “I Will Survive.” What woman hasn’t danced to that song? I’m sick of that guy, or that job, or that life, I’m going to just get myself up and become the woman I was meant to be. Strong, independent, powerful. And powerful this time even without the shoulder pads, because that was definitely one of those looks I’d prefer to forget even though I know they tried to make a comeback this year.
Anyway, maybe the reason I’m wanting to channel my inner Donna Summer is that I’ve been on a week-long marathon of Orange Is the New Black. It’s so thrilling to watch women chew up the scenery and be funny and crazy and silly and insane and wild and tough and every freaking shade a woman can be. And okay, maybe it’s also that the men are mostly jerks, but more to the point, they’re just the B stories — because who doesn’t love Red and Nicky and Crazy Eyes and Piper Chapman (who is so often an idiot) and what woman wouldn’t want to have an affair with Alex Vause, she’s absolutely gorgeous.
And whose heart didn’t break when (spoiler alert) Miss Claudette was denied parole and she strangled that poor guard? Miss Claudette definitely has anger management issues, but who wouldn’t after so many years in prison with not one visitor, then finally that handsome guy comes, the love of her life, and then her life goes right down the tubes? Life is often unfair and that was the perfect demonstration of that sad truth.
Yay for Jenji Kohan, who has saved us from almost no female leads and no scenes between women and just a couple of women-centric films this year (thank you, Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock), and thank you for making me feel alive again and not miserable and depressed.
Laura Linney gave a speech recently at L.A. Women In Film, when she was honored for her work that addresses these issues. She talked about the lack of female studio executives, writers, producers and female actors she works with in film and television. She said that most of the discussions (by men) about her acting centers on her hair color and highlights — and not her performance.
Last night I saw Blue Jasmine and again I saw two great performances by women — Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins. I saw great acting by everyone in the ensemble. It’s so important that we see more fully realized characters in theater, film and television, the way we used to so many years ago. I grew up with Mary Tyler Moore as my role model — where are those young women now? “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it” is so true. I see Sheryl Sandberg, but she’s a billionaire. She is one in a million. I need to see real women excel in every field and they are out there, we just don’t hear enough about them. Wendy Davis stood up in Texas legislature, which was great — but we need a million Wendy Davises. We need to stop focusing on Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner and focus on stories that inspire us, not portray women as victims again and again.
I think that the reason Orange Is the New Black resonates so much is that it is a metaphor for the prison women are living in, in real life. We are having an interesting time, but the men are running the show. Somehow, I believe during the Bush administration, we lost our way and there was a backlash against women as leaders. Or I should say, a particular kind of female leader. The religious right and conservative Republicans certainly made it their business to redefine what women in leadership could look like after they’ve downed the Kool-Aid of Bible-thumping patriotism as they define it. Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and other women who think they can lead the country and make policy based on magical thinking and disregard of facts and good science do not advance our cause.
Our theme song should be: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” Because as much as we love all you men, and we do love you deeply, we really do — especially Jon Stewart, Louis C.K. and Chris Rock (because they make us laugh) — it’s time for women of substance, courage and vision (maybe someone could send this to Hillary) to be leaders again. Okay then, let’s get out there! Right after this dance break.