Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Big Payback Remixed

"you gonna pay what you owe..."--Riley Freeman

In honor of the holidays, I'm reprinting my holiday tribute from last year. It's still true! Other than a few links I've updated for this year, it's untouched. Enjoy...

“I Have A Dream: Christmas 20072008”

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest concept of satisfying women in the history of our nation.

In just under a month, a great holiday, which stands symbolically in the shadow of Jesus’ birth, will come to pass. This momentous occasion comes as a great beacon light of hope to millions of women who have been shopping the Internet for months, surveying clothes, shoes, travel, expensive memberships, spa visits and rare vintage literature and photography, who have been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It comes as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their heartbreak.

Even after centuries of overcoming male oppression and disappointment, the Woman still is not free. Years later, her life is still sadly crippled by the manacles of mistreatment and the chains of neglect. She is still languishing in the corners of true love and emotional fulfillment and finds herself an exile in her own land. So we have come here today to dramatize shameful conditions.

In a sense we have come to cash a check. When women created Cosmopolitan and Mademoiselle, they were signing a promissory note to which every man was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all girls, yes, girls as well as women, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of passion, accountability, consideration, intimacy, affection and the pursuit of commitment.

Instead of honoring this sacred desire, men have given the Woman a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of amorous justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of passion of this nation. So, this Christmas will be a very special Christmas for us. We have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the new relationships of our hearts' desire and the warm blanket of Santa’s benevolence. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind the male persuasion of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of avoiding the malls or to take the tranquilizing drug of singular gifting. Now is the time to make real the commercial and completely fabricated reason for the season. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of despair to the sunlit path of red boxes with gold ribbons...or blue boxes with white ones. Now is the time to lift ourselves from the quick sands of romantic injustice to the solid rock of demonstrated devotion.

It would be fatal to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of Woman’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of Christmas presents and New Year’s kisses—and presents. 2007 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Woman needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the penis-bearing set returns to business as usual. There will be neither cellular silence nor cessation of texts or emails in relationships until the Man has granted Christmas wishes, however huge and however ridiculous. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of his sex life until the bright day of do-right emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my ladies who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining all we deserve we must not be guilty of undervaluing ourselves. Let us not seek to satisfy solely our thirst for material goods by drinking from the cup of coming up.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into sex without strings. Again and again we must make men rise to the majestic heights of meeting the expensive present force with the soul force.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking us, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the stocking is empty and our beds are cold. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies and minds are heavy with the fatigue of fighting against men’s degradation, humiliation and underestimation. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until we get what it is we have coming to us.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream today that I will look up to find myself in love with someone worth my time, someone who understands my needs—spiritually, emotionally, physically, materially…intrinsically.

I have a dream today ladies.

I have a dream that I will soon find myself in a new relationship with someone who writes me poems and love letters every now and then, just enough so that it’s a surprise every time. I have a dream today that I will be with someone who I never have to ask for the things I want. Someone who will know instinctively, just by mere mention, that for Christmas I want the new Prada perfume, Prada Infusion d'Iris, that smells so good I want to lie next to myself and kiss the nape of my own neck-- except it won't be out of necessity.

I have a dream today that I will have a love that will want to step out with me in the new Marciano jumpsuit that inexplicably transforms my body into Pam Grier’s from Foxy Brown, and the new little Marciano sequin dress that’s mildly inappropriate on my body but makes me feel like a rock star. He’ll be fashion-conscious enough to know that both outfits would best go with the Gucci Dahlia High Heel Knee Boot, after I tell him.

I have a dream that one day that he will wake up next to me and think “how can I make my baby happy today?” And then know that a huge-gesture gift certificate to Origins would do just the trick.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day he will give me beautiful, brilliant babies—two boys and a girl (or the two girls and a boy the psychic/prophet predicted/prophesized in Vegas last year). But for now, he will fill the maternal void in my heart with the Christian Louboutin Platform Cage Sandal with the bold, bright pink symbolizing our future daughter’s future nursery. He will also give me a Sephora gift certificate with which I will purchase some fresh blue NARS Island Fever eyeshadow in honor of our boys.

I have a dream today girls.

I have a dream that I will find a man who shares my deep appreciation for cold weather, and wants me to be properly covered when he takes me to exotically cold locales and doesn’t balk when I pair my mother’s vintage rabbit jacket with Young, Fabulous & Broke tunic, stirrup pants and no underwear.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that I will cohabitate with a man metrosexual enough to buy me a gift certificate to Neiman Marcus and heterosexual enough to not know that I will use it to purchase every shade of red lipstick that Chantecaille manufactures.

I have a dream.

I have a dream that we will marry in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay and honeymoon in Asia, but long before that fateful day he will have the resourcefulness to locate last season’s dark rinse Guess Leah Jean in a 29 that I so adored and didn’t buy, and love me enough to tell me he wouldn’t still want me as 27. I have a dream that when I use the spa visit and gym membership he gives me and I actually am a 27, he will lie and tell me I’m too skinny.

I have a dream today that I will love and be loved by a man that realizes and appreciates that I have expensive taste made far, far more expensive when it’s not my money being spent.

I have a dream my friends. I have a dream that contrary to what any analyst or highly principled person will say is just and/or healthy, one man will pay for what the others have done. I have a dream that one man will fill us up with all the love we’ve given—for every gift of time, adoration, sex, and actual matter that we have given to men we no longer love or even like, we will be repaid.

This is my hope. This is the faith I go into the holiday season with.

And when this happens, when we get to the mountaintop of this against-the-current brawl with love, we will be able to join…hands (hmm)…and survey our booty (no, not that one) and say “It’s free at last! My spree at last. Thank GOD Almighty my spree at last!”

Happy Holidays!!

G. Steinem disclaimer: * *man not actually required**

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