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Deals in Stereotypes
February 16, 2009 |
Dear Mr. Keillor,
There's something that disturbs me very much about your show. Seems like older women are portrayed as ugly and undesirable while it is always the younger women who are considered sexy. I just heard your Valentine's Day segment and....it made me sad. I'm middle-aged and don't consider myself to be unattractive, but I still feel that men should really be aware of just how much this kind of negative
stereotyping hurts women. It's not just on your show, of course it's everywhere. Seems like our society is set up for older men to be depicted as wise and knowing, whereas older women are trashed as value-less and ugly, always ditched for the younger, less experienced ones. This message pervades psyches everywhere...from the magazine racks to the dating games and when you consider the damage it does, there's nothing funny about it. Have you ever stopped to think about how unfair that is and what it does to a woman's sense of herself especially as she grows older?
Promoting superficial values isn't helping anyone....including the men who miss out on having lifetime partners who grow wise and knowing along with them.
Please know that it hurts older women to be made the butt of 'ugly' and 'old' jokes, especially on Valentine's Day.
San Francisco, CA
You may be right, Heidi-Jane, and if I think back on the Valentine's show, I suppose you may be referring to the lady who accosted Guy Noir in the bar and whom he rejected in favor of a young woman. But the young woman then rejected him. And I think that Guy is pretty consistently rejected by women, sometimes rather pointedly: it's the story of his life. Balanced against whatever slights you heard on the show, you must consider Heather Masse's rendition of a parody of John Lennon's "Imagine" "Imagine you did housework/it's easy if you try/Imagine you cleaned bathrooms/and were that sort of guy" which got a big reaction from the theater audience, especially the women. The same guy wrote that as wrote Guy Noir me and as an older guy, I think I've been pretty hard on my own kind. But comedy does deal in stereotypes, no doubt about it, and the attractiveness of youth is a staple of comedy. Which suggests that it is an attitude buried deep in our culture and it's not going to go away. It's probably tied to our survival instincts we prefer youth because therein lies the future of the species. It sure doesn't lie with guys my age.