Aunt B. just wrote a great piece in response to Lauren's post, linked here on Tuesday at DEAD AIR. And then, talk about timing, I read about the upcoming WAM (Women, Action and Media) conference.
If you need several months in advance to schedule time off, you won't be able to make it, will you? (It's next month: March 27-29th) That leaves out most women who work in factories or in retail. Possibly waitresses and bartenders also, but they tend to be a bit more flexible in scheduling.
How about cooks and chefs? Hotel workers? During Spring-break month? Are you kidding?
Who, then, is attending? Well, none of the people I have listed above, unless they have the seniority to request time off in such short notice.
Add in the considerable costs of lodging, meals, transportation to and from the event... and I think you get the idea. This conference isn't for WOMEN, it's for some women. And it always has been.
The conference is in Cambridge, MA. (Gonna let that location sink in a minute; gee, what else is in Cambridge?) Is that maybe a really highly-educated locale that some folks might find a trifle intimidating? For instance, I'm sure they check credentials before even letting you drive through... I've been told that if you have no college degree, they turn you back at the first few traffic lights. You've heard of racial profiling? This is educational profiling... they stop cars that look suspect (my ancient, oft-repaired Saturn with the flaky bumper stickers, for example, not to mention the South Carolina license plates) and ask questions:
Who is Judith Butler? Why is she so important?Possibly, there will be physical demonstrations required. You will have to be able to log into FACEBOOK (on demand), send TWITTERs and suchlike. At the very least, you will have to know how to text the person sitting right next to you.
What is "intersectionality" (in 25 words or less)?
Where was Joss Whedon born and how old is he?
Why is abortion the most important feminist issue?
Why is religion always unfeminist and evil?
When will you be receiving your advanced degree?
And if you fail these very simple tests, they will absolutely send you back. Do not pass GO!
If you do manage to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the questioner, but speak in the wrong regional accent --they will add a second round of questions:
How did you feel when your parents sold their summer house? Were you sad?And if you pass these, yes, it just gets hairier; the final lightning-round. The disqualifying questions. These are the trick questions, because if you can answer them, you will also be turned away from Cool Cambridge:
What is the highest price you ever paid for a piece of clothing? (extra credit: Did you worry that this might oppress destitute seamstresses in Mauritius, or do you feel this is a suitable method to keep the whole world gainfully employed?)
Have you ever met a person who was actually in prison? Were you scared?
Have you ever been inside a public school? For how long?
Is your BMI under 30? (if you don't know what BMI is, instant fail)
Can you give directions to the Wal-Mart that is closest to your house?If you can do any one of these, well, you ain't the media type. No ACTION for you!
What are "Baptists"? Have you ever met one personally?
I read about __(fill in the scandal)_____ in the National Enquirer.
Demonstrate at least one of the following:
1) loading-dock doors
2) retail pricing gun
3) soldering iron
4) cloth diaper changing, using authentic diaper pins
5) computerized cash register (selection of models provided)
6) Jacquard loom, or similar modern version
7) changing oil in vehicle
8) load and shoot the firearm of your choice
9) pole dancing
10) milk a cow, buffalo or goat
11) carpentry skills, including hammering several straight nails in succession
12) how to deep-fry french fries in one of those dangerously-sizzling deep-fryers (used in restaurants and fast-food joints)
After this rigorous weeding process, there is the possibility that you could STILL get in. If you do, I hope you wear the right clothes and have the right hair. (It should be easier, since all the unfashionable old ladies will have already flunked out due to the diaper/ oil-changing demos.) After all of that, you don't wanna get banished from Cambridge and sent to Southie for the wrong get-up, now do you?
The conference theme this year: INSIDE/OUTSIDE
Some people are more outside than others.
For the first time this year, we’ll be exploring a theme throughout the Conference: Inside/Outside.
We all belong inside some communities or networks and are new to or feel excluded or alienated from others. The tension that exists between insiders and outsiders to any given movement, identity, industry or ideology can be destructive, but it can also be harnessed toward mutually beneficial change. At WAM!2009, we’ll explore both sides of this inescapable dynamic in our relationships, organizations, societies and movements.
Although I am, ha ha, joking, I wonder how funny it really is.
 It goes without saying, NO identifiable regional American accent is good; optimally, you should sound like the people on TV. Non-American accents are a special case, though, and are mostly very cool, particularly British, Australian, French or German. The exception, of course, is if you are a non-white person with a Spanish, Island or African accent, in which case, an extra round with more consumer-goods questions and green-card inspections may be added. Since MIT is where the conference is happening, Asian accents will be overlooked just this once, but if this gets to be an ongoing issue and there are too many of you, Cambridge-border security reserves the right to change the rules any time they see fit.
 Regarding the above: Teh extra immigrant round will involve deciphering American slang, as well as demonstrating teh uses of "teh" in internet writing... when it's appropriate and when it is not. I'd advise you all to start studying NOW.