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Shorter K-Lo: The good woman is the dead woman

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 18:04 EDT
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From Hugo, I found this absolutely repugnant post from K-Lo defining the “good girl” and the ideal trajectory through life you need to take to achieve feminine perfection. It’s a sad story, of course, because a woman’s lot is fundamentally sad in the eyes of the patriarchy that defines the “good girl”. It’s the story of Agata Mroz, a volleyball champion (therefore thin, tall, and of course blonde and beautiful—wouldn’t be a tragic story of How You Should Be if the heroine wasn’t blonde and beautiful) who got cancer, but got married and made her husband a baby anyway, dying in the process at the age of 26.

In other words, the ideal woman is young and beautiful, and has the good sense to check out of life before her beauty fades, but of course taking the time to make a man a baby before she goes. Women, like houseguests and fish, don’t last too long without stinking, and really we should all get the hint.

By shaking my fist in fury at the world’s biggest dip, K-Lo, I’m not judging the actual human being Mroz. From her story, I get the impression that Mroz didn’t really think she had a good chance of surviving in any direction and thought that having a baby before she died was something she had to do, probably for the same reasons most people have children—to leave their mark, to say, “I was here.” I will grant someone dying young more right to do this than someone who has a good chance of long life ahead of them, a long life where the dramatic impact of producing a child fades as the child becomes less about her parents being here and a unique person herself. Going out on a high moment has much to recommend it. But K-Lo didn’t single out this story as an instructive story on how to keep on living even when you’re dying.

No, the idea that the best woman, the “good girl”, the ideal woman is someone who dies young is profoundly misogynist. And not just for the obvious reasons. The fantasy is that of women not as human beings, like men are, but as flowers. I’ve talking about this fantasy that lurks behind anti-choice proclamations on feminine purity before. A good woman is not a messy, bleeding, aging, thinking, desiring creature. A good woman is a flower who blooms, then turns to fruit, and then has the good sense to disappear after performing the single function they’ve set aside for women.

Mroz was a real human being, with athletic accomplishments and everything, not a flower that performs a reproductive function and then disappears. I’m sure that she’d have preferred not to be the role model of self-sacrificing, flower-femininity, but would have preferred, as most women do, to have the sun on her face in the mornings rather than be an example of the “good girl”, who molders in her grave after her body bears the requisite fruit. Reading something like this really drives home how the anti-choice philosophy really is about how you can’t win, if you’re a woman. Not if you’re walking around, that is.

Honestly, I’m tapped for useful words on this. Like Hugo says, it’s a dig at women who would dare have an abortion to save their own physical lives, much less those who would swallow a pill or get an early term D&C to save the lives we’ve chosen for ourselves. But more than that, it’s a dig at the very right of women to live our lives as if we were human beings that have purposes other than being young, beautiful, and fertile.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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