Sunday, November 6, 2016

Trainwreck by Sady Doyle

  • THE BOOK
    • Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear...and Why by Sady Doyle
    • Published September 20, 2016
    • First book by author

  • THE PREMISE
    • The definition for trainwreck (besides the literal one) is this:
      • A chaotic or disastrous situation that holds a peculiar fascination for observers.
    • The author covers the women we consider as trainwrecks:
      • Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Paris Hilton, and more, along with women from history who were the trainwrecks of their day:
        • Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Bronte, Billie Holiday, Sylvia Plath, Monica Lewinsky, Marie Antoinette and several more.
    • Society seems to want their women to be "good girls" and when they step off that path they are "wrecked", mostly splashed across tabloids and websites for our voyeuristic enjoyment.
      • Many of the people who seem to enjoy the trainwrecks most are fellow women.
        • We can look at one wrecked woman and think, "At least I'm better off than her."
  • MY THOUGHTS
    • Lots of good quotes from this book:
      • "So, to reiterate: Someone followed a woman to her hotel, then waited in a concealed location, watching her, until she began to have sex, then photographed the sex, then promptly sold the photos to a public outlet, causing the press to then rebroadcast those photos, while explaining they had no choice in the matter, and making sure to add a link to the appropriate porn site so that the full invasion of privacy could be accessed by their readers. And somehow, in this whole chain of stalking, bad decision-making, and borderline sexual assault, the person who would up getting the harshest condemnation was the woman who'd done nothing but have sex with her boyfriend." Pages 4-5
        • I will ignore the use of "So" to begin a sentence in a book --- I know this particular thing drives some people crazy; it doesn't bother me particularly --- and all the places I would not have necessarily used commas. The point of the quote is still a good one.
      • A quote by Kathie Sarachild from 1973 included in the book about studies to establish womens' intelligence: "For every scientific study we quote, the opposition can find their scientific studies to quote...We know from our own experience that women play dumb for men because, if we're too smart, men won't like us. I know, because I've done it. We've all done it. Therefore we can deduce that women are smarter than men are aware of." Page 155
        • "I know, because I've done it." So have I many times in my life though not with my dad, brothers or the man who became my husband!
          • My dad likes having smart children (my mom, too, when she was alive) and my brothers also appreciated having a smart sister. I am also positive my husband would prefer a smart wife to a dumb wife.
      • "You could even make a case for Hillary and Monica themselves as the scapegoats for second- and third-wave feminism, respectively: The second wave told women to work for equality and advance in the workplace, which Hillary did, and was hated for doing, and the third told women to embrace their sexuality and see femininity as a source of power, which Monica did, and was hated for doing." Pages 205-206
    • In general, men who crash and burn are welcomed back with open arms, according to the author. I think this is true based on the examples she cites --- Robert Downey Jr and Chris Brown to name two --- but I also think this might change as time goes on.
      • Or not, as the Trump groping allegations seem to have made no difference to his candidacy as the Republican presidential nominee.
    • I have a new appreciation for what these celebrity women go through. I'm not one to wallow too deep in a celeb's downfall but it's hard to miss when they are all over the entertainment websites. The kind of coverage these women get makes it so easy to pass judgement on people I don't even know! Crazy. I vow to stop doing this. 
    • Recommended for those who follow culture and especially those who enjoy the whole trainwreck phenomena.

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