Archive for March, 2011

Fem Porn

March 5, 2011

I am knee deep in the worst kind of Anglophilia.  These past two weeks, I have been gorging on episode after episode of The House of Eliott, an early ’90s British television confection.  Even though it’s a strangely paced and predictably written soap opera, I cannot get enough of it.  Somehow I only just realized that its pleasures are nakedly pornographic: it is a period piece about two enterprising sisters in 1920s London who design clothes and go to fabulous parties.  The older sister, solidly in her 30s and slightly less gorgeous than her much younger sister, is adored by fine men who devote themselves completely to her.  She eventually marries a society photographer and reformed playboy who goes on to look good in tuxedos and to direct motion picture films.  He cooks supper—because she doesn’t—and generally attends to her every complaint.  She is often unsatisfied and prickly, but he doesn’t mind one bit because she’s a woman with drive and ambition.  What could be more irresistible than her total self-preoccupation?  Later, he develops a political sensibility, making socially conscious films, writing passionate exposes of industrial working conditions and, eventually, standing for a seat in Parliament.

This is pornography for a certain kind of feminist.  Or a feminist of a certain age.  Or a feminist who harbors romantic delusions.  I’m sure there are suave yet goofy men like Jack Maddox who bow to the whims of their imperious women, but I’m sure that I’ve never met them.  And I just keep trying to remind myself that I am way to old to be swooning over a character, no matter how perfectly accommodating he may be.