Was Feminism A Dirty Word in 1950?

So, I was watching That’s Entertainment III! for the fiftieth time on Tuesday and idly realised that I’d never seen Annie Get Your Gun. This is not surprising when one considers that I dislike Betty Hutton and am not fond of Howard Keel. Anyway, I equally idly mentioned to my dad that I never saw it and would like to one day… so he brought the DVD home today. And people say I’m spoilt 😉

Anyway, I found it surprisingly entertaining until the last five minutes. There was ‘Anything You Can Do’ which is a song I’ve always really liked. Howard Keel surprisingly handsome, charming and other things associated with matinee idols. Better than that blurry looking bloke on my grandad’s ropey old video of Showboat, in any case. So I’m watching and I’m this close to giving in and admitting I liked it.

Then Annie bleeding Oakley, the best shot in the world, yadda yadda, throws a shooting contest so Frank Butler will love her. It works, of course and everyone’s happy.

Fuck that for a game of toy soldiers, says I. I know this was made in 1950, but come on! Is there anything in that character that actually makes you think she’d do that? And willingly? Moreover, why the fuck should she have to? If Howard Keel’s Butler dude was even half a decent human being, he’d have admired her skill and loved her for it whatever.

I know I’m being idealistic. I know that even in 2005 there are men who find it hard to deal with when their woman makes more money than they do.

Grow up. Just grow the fuck up. If we can deal with you earning more money than us (often a great deal more over a longer period of time), then you should be able to do the same for us. I tell you this now: I would rather spend the rest of my life on my own than ever have to make myself less than I am for someone else.

You know, from a certain angle and in a certain light, I’m a fucking genius. If I’m not, whatever. I’m a freakazoidmadmanfool and I don’t care if other people think less of me for it. If you do, you’ve lost my respect anyway so what the fuck do I care?

An interesting quote from www.dorchesterlibrary.org page on the real Annie Oakley:

Until this time either Butler had received top billing or they had shared the limelight.It was her name that was on the advertising posters as “Champion Markswoman.” From this time forward, Butler was her manager and assistant; Annie Oakley was the star. However, in private and off the stage, she was always Mrs. Frank Butler. Oakley and Butler prospered with the “Wild West” and stayed with it until 1901.

What have we learned from this paragraph, children? That a man in turn of the century wild west entertainment was more enlightened than MGM. That he somehow managed to swallow his pride (possibly through the vast sums of money they made) and allow her to be the star. And that she, to be sure, was agreeable to being Mrs Butler off-stage. I know enough about people to know that a little compromise is dead important, right?

But dear God, who betrays themselves for this love caper? Have love as your master, I agree, but never betray yourself for it. I don’t intend to. But you know, I just… I’m all for looking nice for someone you love, for being a better person for them. Not pretending to be better, being better. No doubt one of these days someone will come along and turn my head, but if the price to pay is my own soul, then I can leave it, thanks very much.

I’d rather be some weird boho godmother to Natasha’s future children than ever have to be someone else to have some spawn of my own. Maybe I’m not built for a normal life, but I’ll never pull a Hutton!Oakley to get myself a Howard Keel.

Hell, I wouldn’t betray myself for an Errol Flynn.

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6 Responses to Was Feminism A Dirty Word in 1950?

  1. elseinane says:

    Hell, I wouldn’t betray myself for an Errol Flynn.

    Good girl.

  2. sarahkitty says:

    I tell you this now: I would rather spend the rest of my life on my own than ever have to make myself less than I am for someone else.

    Amen! or for the non-religious – I agree entirely!

    As being someone who is now waking up to the realization that she has been less than she could have been for quite a while now, I appreciate your enlightening rant on femanism. I have been the sole source of income for my family (1 hubby, 2 kids) for almost 6 years now. My husband I believe is happy with this setup only because he can be lazy at home.

    You will find someone out there who likes you for you, and not for pretending to be someone else. And when that finally happens, you’ll be far happier than I am with a husband and two children and feeling like I’ve betrayed myself completely to get here.

    • apollarock says:

      Hmm… I know that my way of thinking isn’t the way for everyone. I guess it helps that I’ve never been boycrazy or someone who always felt they should have children. As it happens, if children and marriage are not in my destiny, I won’t be surprised.

      One thing I do know thanks to Anjelica in Ever After: Nothing is certain until you are dead. And even then, I’m sure God negotiates.

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