A minute later, the waitress returned empty-handed and said, "I'm sorry, Miss. We are out of cream today -- can you take your coffee without milk instead?"
Blondes! Really, you should pop over to the Coffee Lounge yourself if you don't want to miss other such amusing exchanges.
Love and kisses,
Forgive me most, my sweet, as I had listened to some of the very serious conversations a few of our deeply-brunette friends were having, and felt it my duty to go away and think through the more important aspects of what they were saying. That and the stocking page, and I was quite busy for a while.
And then - well - I must let you know.
A totally-bongofied ugly pit-tarred mean-minded type with nothing better than to walk over other girls on her way to the top tried to edge ME out of my position. I drew a deep breath, faced up to her and her (forgive me, gentlepettes) utterly ungentle ways, and told her firmly yet femininely that I do NOT allow that sort of behaviour, and neither should any other sweet thing. I then turned (of my own volition) and left the office (of my own volition) - and took up an offer from a sweet friend in another town.
Alas, although Miss Irene's training in the ways and mysteries of fibres and servers has been edifying and liberating, the travel is extreme. At LEAST 100 minutes from door to door. But oh the difference in the workplace - oh pette, would you please call that sweet little maid in her crinoline and ask her very nicely if I could have one more White Dream! I may be tired from the travel, but not only am I away from that B.....lessed female, but I can actually do quite a lot of lovely knitting and needlepoint on the way. Not to mention keep an eye on all those luscious blondes with their oh-so-high heels and their ever-so-sweet frocks!
And what do you think of my terribly-sensible working shoes, possum? Not the lovely red lady-killers I am wearing, but these elegant-yet-comfortable black pumps. Just the thing for climbing on girl's desks to have a look at their wiring!
I must, however, protest. Now which of our gentle company decided that all the desks should have a Modesty Panel at the back, so a girl can work without having to worry if her ... er ... underhem area is showing. For these panels, although decorous and functional for most of us, are definitely NOT keeping MY modesty. When will I learn to wear slacks on those rare days I have to slide under a sweet Blonde typist's desk to fix her power points? One's hemlines have such a tendency to rise, if you know what I mean!
Miss Barbara, I swear they are making these White Dreams even stronger than I imagined. I apologise for carrying on in such a way - I even feel a little blonde and giggly. Oh - not you, you sweet thing. Although if you prefer...
It certainly is eerie. A quite chilling reflection of how mass-propaganda can twist a whole generation away from all the feelings that make life thrilling and magic and - worth living; of how people can so easily be made into their own jailers. Chains on the body are easier to break than chains on the mind.
That, of course, is what it is all for: Elektra, Aphrodite, Aristasia, everything. To help girls to liberate themselves from the iron chains of a phoney "liberation". To help us all realise the joy and exhilaration of our own femininity, the delicacy, the depth, the infinite nuances of a world that is not created by the cheap slogans of commerce and politics. To give every assistance to those of our sisters - a few at first, but growing in numbers as the new millennium approaches - who dare to follow the light in their eyes, the glow in their hearts rather than sitting with the numbed, controlled multitude in the hypnotic grip of the Pit.
I imagine Miss Deborah watches real films from time to time, but it is my guess that she watches them as strange artifacts from a strange time, seeing in them images of women restricted and oppressed by a patriarchal era. If she watched the film from the inside rather than from the outside, if she for three minutes decided to assume that what she saw in the film was normal and what she saw on the streets was abnormal, she might begin to understand our position better.
When one decides to give one's life over to an archetype, when one chooses not to express one's own individualism (and only an individualism) and rather make a real "free choice" to express a traditional femininity through one's actions, dress, and manner, then the one becomes aware that a life cut off from centuries of tradition is inconsequential when compared to a life connected to tradition and archetype.
I do not want to be cruel in any way to Miss Deborah, for I can hear in her voice that she loves women as I love them. I know there are many things we probably would agree on. But I must say this: that while I have lived in the Pit and understand the Pit fairly well, anyone from the Pit cannot understand Aristasia until she lives there. What I mean is, Pit-dwellers cannot see the real world filled with archetypes and feminine images and chivalry and community, because whenever they see something from the real world (even our world before the Eclipse), they define their reactions to it with the mentality of the Pit, thus keeping themselves from ever seeing it truly. I am not speaking personally against Miss Deborah, and indeed, I am thankful for her for giving me the push I needed to start chatting again with you Cocktail Bar pettes.
And next time, I promise not to be so serious!
Love and kisses,
AMY DE CULVER
When Dr. Jung speaks of Archetypes, he means images that are lodged deep in the human psyche - so deep that we find the same images cropping up again and again from India to Europe, from the Esquimaux to the South Pacific.
Archetypes are not things that can be "invented" by particular individuals, or even by particular cultures. They lie deep within us.
Aristasians, though, like Plato, take an even profounder view of the Archetypes. They would hold that Archetypes reside not in the human mind, not even in the group-soul of all humanity. They are reflected there, but their true origin is in the structure of the cosmos itself. Femininity was before the first woman was born, before the earth took shape or the sun was in the sky. It may be reflected differently in different human cultures, but always it is the reflection of the same primordial truth.
Phew! Blonde bombshell, please, barmaid. With an extra cherry. I think I deserve it.
Although it may have seemed like a long time in Elektraspace, I sat on Pier 43 for only an hour or so before sweet Miranda drove up with her brunette mummie -- or mommy, as they say in Culveria. And it's not just the strange landguage one must get used to over here! La! Everything is so new and bright in New Quirinelle! No soot, no pea-soup fogs, lots of trees and flowers .... and lots of rosy cheeked pettes -- no wan complexions. They all drive on the wrong side of the road and have strange money with even stranger names, like nickel, and dime, and quarter, and two bits and buck (which is a kind of greenback, I learned).
Culverian fridges are absolutely gigantic -- big enough to feed a whole platoon of Amazonian soldierettes. Same with their gas cookers and washing machines -- sturdy enough for military duty. The Bland household even has an automatic clothes drier -- but not for a pette's dainties, and that, pettes, brings me to the heart of my story, and to a subject which, well, a girl blushes to raise, but, once having raised it, I am not sure where to post this letter, to the Cocktail Bar or to the so-called Coffee Lounge, which seems to delight in such subjects. So I hope the Management will post this to both places!
Without beating around the dead horse too very much, I shall take up where Miranda left off -- with the idea of five blondes and a brunette all squeezing into an itty-bitty small little bathroom. I was so exhausted that I slept extra-late, so I was the last one to use it. And, like some rare conjunction of all the planets, this morning was the very day all of us chose to wash out our, um you know, um, our stockings and dainty feminine garments that others on these pages seem to have no trouble mentioning at all, in considerable riskay detail -- (including the normally very staid editor herself). Well, since it's a new word to me, it doesn't embarrass me at all to tell you that the whole itty-bitty small little bathroom was simply festooned with panties, (which we know as, gulp, knickers), fluttering like delicate dainty diaphanous semafour flags, (though there were a few sensible cotton ones, as well), sending their various delicate feminine messages, semafour flags (as Dana would note) in white, ivory, pink, peach, baby blue and a few in delicate rosebud prints. Not to mention pairs and pairs of New Lady stockings and suspender, um, I mean garter belts, and brassieres here and there, like vines and lush tropical blooms in a pastel-hued rain forest. But, of course, I do not have the cheek to mention embarrassing details, (as other pettes seem to do with such shocking abandon), such as all the frothy ruffles and frills, the delightfully symmetrical panels of satin and lace, the dolly tiny little bows at the center of waistbands, the downy soft cotton gussetts, the faint tinkle of metal suspender clips as I brushed by the lines, etcetra etcetra. I would be too, too mortified even to make the most subtle illusion to such intimmate details! Dea forfend! So I simply added my own contributions to the little clotheslines, which I certainly won't mention, and went down to breakfast.
But the loveliest Culverian invention of all is this dolly little ordinator sent to Miranda by her cousins in New Novaria Why, it looks a bit like a hand-cranked Victrola, in a gleaming walnut-burl case, with a dolly little typewriter keyboard, but instead of the morning-glory trumpet, there is a little window set into its side where messages and pictures appear, so I visited the Aphrodite Cocktail Bar and the Coffee Lounge, which Trudy and Rosie said should really be called the Panty Bar because that's all everyone seems to have on their minds and no one is drinking any coffee! So I thought I'd brush up a bit on my Culverian English and tell you about my first morning in New Quirinelle at the same time!
So I did! Good-bye!
To say that traditional feminism aspires to masculinity is insulting, and uninformed. Many lesbians and traditional feminists have long since said that equality does not mean being "the same" as men, they uphold "feminine" values such as community and pacifism, but maintain that other traits, especially superficial ones such as dress and mannerisms, should not become "trappings."
Of course, traditional feminists eventually created their own "trappings," their own archetypes of what a feminist should be. I actually think it was a very important phase in our sociological history that we denounced the more "girly" aspects of our culture-we needed this time to step away from them, to see where they stemmed from and the problems that came from them (such as unrealistic body images, which you don't discuss at all, notably). Now I think young women can reclaim these facets of themselves and the culture, because they are fully aware of what they mean. It is in our hands, we have options. We can play with Barbie, without feeling pressure to become her. And if we want to dress like her, that doesn't mean we're docile, or demure. And if we are docile and demure, it's not because men want us to be these things, or because it is the only way we can function in the society, it's because we want to be these things.
I personally believe that the dichotomy of "male" and "female" is, for the most part, constructed. Both gender archetypes are the result of complex sociological, historical, philosophical, and psychological conditions, not solely the patriarchy. And our biology is not our destiny. Why should rage or muscular build be "masculine?" And why should makeup or sensitivity be "feminine?" Even if these stereotypical traits were fundamentally genetic (the only scientific test that could convince me of that would be if a boy and a girl were raised by robots on a desert island with no outside contact, that's the only way they could be isolated from cultural sociological influence), we have certainly proved the ability to overcome these limitations. Why should we be "natural" in this way? What is the point in limiting ourselves? We should be able to play with ourselves (pun intended) without guilt.
I'm not saying that anyone should be pushed in a direction they don't want to go, or held up to a pedegogical ideal that they will then fail to achieve. But I never met any woman pushed to become a rocket scientist or an architect when they wanted to be a writer or a management consultant. I would be surprised if you have.
Of course, no woman should be made to feel guilty if they want to identify themselves with the feminine archetype. I think it's wonderful that women are reclaiming this image for their own pleasure. But no woman should be made to feel like less of a woman if they don't identify with this archetype. I believe that self-awareness, and self-determination (in that order) are the keys to liberation.
Young women are not being brainwashed by feminists into becoming men.
Feminism gives them the freedom to explore every aspect of their personality,
in order to become themselves, whatever that is.
Indeed, I think we may fairly say that the later 20th century - the Pit, as we call it - is, as far as its "sexual politics" go founded and constructed upon this view. A great deal of all that we see about us. The dress, the attitudes, the very expressions on people's faces are to a large extent by-products of the philosophy so faithfully set out by Deborah.
It would not be unfair, we feel, to answer this entire argument by saying "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". If the 1990s seem to you like a place worth living in, then this philosophy has proved its worth. It made them. If on the other hand they seem like a drab, ugly, brutal place; a place stripped of magic and beauty and light, a neurotic, fragmented, unkind world, then this philosophy is largely responsible for it.
But let us look at it a little more closely.
Young women are not being brainwashed by feminists into becoming men. Feminism gives them the freedom to explore every aspect of their personality, in order to become themselves, whatever that is.
It is a very familiar argument, and she has already rung the changes on it more than once in the course of her statement. We hear the familiar talk of "self-definition", of doing things solely because we want to do them, of being only what we choose to be, and so forth, as if we were able to create ourselves and rewrite our culture in any way we like, conjuring an infinity of bright and beautiful possibilities.
But what is the reality? Women - "feminists" in particular, but women in general since the first decade of darkness (the first decade after the cultural eclipse of the 1960s) have been "defining themselves" for three decades. What do we see? Do we see any signs of anything new and beautiful emerging? Do we see loveliness or goodness or happiness of a sort that never existed before? Is it even true that we see any more diversity among women than existed before?
Or do we simply see a drab uniformity - a few rather limited fashionable "options", none particularly inspired or interesting, amid an ever more chaotic, neurotic and fragmented society?
We were told there were untold creative depths, new vistas awaiting us if only the shackles of convention and stereotyping were off. Well, they are off. They've been off for twenty years. Where are the new vistas? Why are we living in a world uglier, nastier and more boring than ever before?
To come to greater detail, you say "I personally believe that the dichotomy of "male" and "female" is, for the most part, constructed." That, of course, is not merely "personal", but the "official" belief of the entire late-20th-century establishment. But you also say: "equality does not mean being 'the same' as men, they uphold 'feminine' values such as community and pacifism". But these two views are directly contradictory. Indeed they are the contradiction that lies at the very heart of post-Eclipse "feminism", and is much more serious than it may at first appear.
If "the dichotomy of "male" and "female" is, for the most part, constructed" then, if you take away that "construction" women must be to all intents and purposes exactly the same as men. In fact, to talk about sisterhood, or the feelings women have when they come together must be reactionary nonsense. Strip off the conditioning and we ought to get exactly the same feelings with men.
Now I know from my own experience (and so do most of us) that being with a group of girls is very different from being with a mixed group. It is just a different experience, and in many ways a very much more rewarding one.
So, to reverse your own argument: even if this is not biologically determined; even if the differences between male and female are 100% socially constructed, this is still a very important and valuable thing.
In fact, if The Position is correct on this point, and if femininity is socially constructed, then the dangers of tampering with it are surely greater than ever. An immensely beautiful and precious thing called femininity exists in the world. It exists now much less than it used to, and the world is the poorer for it. If we continue hammering away at the Archetype with our brash war-cries of "self-determination", "self-exploration" and total self-centredness. May we not destroy it?
And if we do destroy it, are we really sure we have anything even a quarter as valuable to replace it with. If femininity is culturally determined, then the Pit wants to flatten to the ground thousands of years of human culture; to annihilate the things that have formed the basis of our literature, our art and our sensibility as far back as we can possibly go.
And when it is destroyed (and it isn't far from it now), what is to stand in its place? The sub-standard pop-culture of the late 20th century. The inane clattering nonentity-civilisation that flickers nightly on the television sets of a dark and darkening world.
Femininity whether constructed or not, was never the construct of men. It was the thing that softened and civilised the world in the darkest days of patriarchy. It was the thing that made the home a sacred refuge when the outside world was intolerable, and made a life that might otherwise have been barren and worthless have a heart of beauty and light.
What would the world have been like if femininity had not been there to humanise and illumine it with its gentle glow? Look about you. The answer is on every street.
Already Shareena and I are missing you from our girls only chats here. "Shareena dearest, pass me your pastel tissues...theres a good girl (sob) Hold my hand dear, I'm all a quiver."
As for you Miranda dear, all is forgiven. A girl has a right to be late for appointments...but maybe not for another girls date, wouldn't you agree? Shareena and I would love to visit you too my dear...then all of us blondes and brunette mommy can have a real good girly time, and maybe swap notes or something. Shareena and I are forever swapping our tantalisingly short skirts with each other...giggles...whats hers is mine and vice versa.
Thats all for now darlings, and if its fun let Shareena and I
XX in lipstick...Hugs too
SHAREENA AND MIRIAMA
When we first saw the little red head, she was all sour-faced and cross at having to wait for such a long time. As we approached, we even saw her stomping a foot to emphasize her unpleasant disposition. But after a few seconds of hugs and kisses and tears flowing, she softened and was really quite happy to be on her way home.
Girls, you needn't worry about her any more. She has been through quite a lot, as we all know, from her St. Yvyanne's extended stays to her Cocktail Bar employment, to her peddling cosmetics to the cabbies; but we feel quite certain that in her new Culverian hestia she will thrive. What else can a girl do but thrive when the only tasks before her are playing lawn tennis and card games with the other blondes? She has her own little cot in a room, which she only has to share with two other blondes. Brunette Mommy hasn't quite set all of the sleeping arrangements yet, but she will, and I for one am certain all will work out just fine. Until we wake up tomorrow morning, that is, when five blondes and one brunette primp and prepare for the day in only little bitty bathroom. But we'll think about that tomorrow. MIRANDA
Will you be meeting me here often, dear Diana? I hope so. It's such a thrill to be seeing old friends.
Oh, my goodness, how silly of me! Diana, say hello to my lovely
I mustn't cry now -- my mascara will run. Barpette, have you got
a tissue there? Oh, thank you, dear. (Sniff.) Perhaps I should find the
powder room... Can anyone show me the way?
Dearest Shareenas other half is just adding her own little bit in here for the titillating delight of all you gorgeously feminine dolls. My mind's agog with all you er..exotic new girls who have so lovingly entered the lounge. Dearest girls...where oh where have you been all our lives? Darlings, please say you'll never leave... can there be a life for any girl outside of Aristasia?...We, your girlfriends here don't think or imagine so. Stay awhile or forever darlings! My own dear darling Shareena has bound me, hand and foot and head over heels, to this utterly divine girls world. I did not put up too much of a struggle either, I might add. (truly in the pink!).
Ariadne darling, how could you be stood-up and left high and dry
on the waterfront. Shades of Marlonette Brandoll! Worry not dearest...every
cloud has its silk stocking lining, and who knows what lovely surprise
is just around the corner (may she be such a delectable darling). Chin
up dearest Ariadne... we girls in the lounge wait with perfumed anticipation
for your next thrilling episode of your nautical trysting. Don't keep us
waiting in suspense or suspenders, too long darling.
Hugs all...XX in lipstick
KAY AND MIRIAMA
Please, Miss Rebecca, let me know if you recall our acquaintance. I would be thrilled to speak with you in such a genteel and calming environment. It would thrill me to the marrow of my blonde little soul. Do reply, dearest.
And now, barpette, please--a margarita, if such a thing would
not be uncouth in this maidenly setting. And do go heavy on the lime, my
The first time the best? Oh no, it is just the beginning. As one learns more and enters deeper into Aristasia, it becomes more delightful than ever. Like good music or fine wine, the experience improves with experience.
I did have so much to tell you, but there was no one to meet me on Pier 43. Here I am, look!
The Queen Mary's photographer pette snapped my picture
and sold it to me for my last shilling. That's I, all disconsolate -- adandoneée
-- marooned on Pier 43 with all of my luggage, not a farthing in my small
little red alligator purse (but they say farthings and But, La! Where is
that Miranda? Oh, BLONDES!!!! Fluffy, at best! I could stamp my foot! Oooh,
where is she? I am bored, and a bit chilled, too. I'm tired and
I'm hungry and I could use a stiff drink.
Some one has described Aristasia as "one long conversation". Well, Aphrodite is rather like that. If you want to catch up on the conversation so far, the Archive is the place to do it.
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