Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The life and times of a female ventriloquist

Dear Marc,

A girl has to have her role models.

Problem for me is that I don’t know who they are. I know they’re out there, and I’m looking for them, but I can’t recognize them since they’re women speaking through the mouths of grown, important men.

These women are my fellow ventriloquists. The important men are our dummies.
We’re phrasing the messages, but we’re not the ones who get to say the important words.

I don’t have much authority. People don’t really listen to me in meetings. I could blame my small stature again, but Madonna is smaller than I am and I don’t think she ever has problem getting people to listen. It’s something else. Apparently, it doesn’t have much to do with the talent for wording the message, since that’s what I get paid to do.

And I’m not alone.

My world is filled with ventriloquists. We’re an army of women speaking through the bellies of successful men. I’ve worded the cheerful letters of CEO’s. I’ve constructed perfect punch lines and made room for feelings of regret, gratitude or restrained happiness at the end.

I’m not saying these men couldn’t write their own letters. Of course they could and they have, they’re beyond that. Now they have more important stuff to take care of in meetings, boardrooms or wherever important men go. I don’t really know, as I’m not often invited there.

I actually like my ventriloquist ways. I like writing a pompous letter, signing it ”James”, though all involved know James didn’t write that himself.

Sometimes I wonder if the world wouldn’t be a tiny bit more equal if we quit being good girls, helping the busy men fulfil their tasks. I don’t know. Maybe not.

It’s not even certain I wrote this myself. I might have a young boy writing this for me. His name could be James, but he’s closing this letter with

Heartfelt greetings from your own

Ps. It’s enough to make me feel like one of those Russian dolls. Are all the layer dolls dolls, or is only the tiniest, the solid one, real? Perhaps that’s what we are? We are the littlest dolls. But we’re real.


janell84 said...

What thoughtful depth you have.

I've read all of your archives, and have been reading daily (or every-other-daily) for a month or so.

I had to say, today, that that final bit there, that "We are the littlest dolls. But we’re real."....is a fully loaded dissertation/stare-off-in-space-during-a-very-important-meeting-because-you-are-navelgazing topic.

Also, "The Littlest Dolls" or "The Littlest Matryoshka" is the title of a book waiting to be written.

j said...

So –e now I’m confused. This parlor trick. This phoney wordplay, these mystico-allagoric anecdotes, these angramatic apprehensions of Russian Babushka dolls, your words transliterated ipsissimis verbis by the boy James (or his by you?)…I feel I’m slipping through another warped passage.

the ue said...

this post sent me on a goose chase looking for the origin of the adage "behind every great man there is a woman" i found tons of stuff but the best was a book called: behind every great woman there is a fabulous gay man.


Fröken Lund said...

Åh. Det här inlägget var så fint.

Anonymous said...

emi, this is wonderfulll. the deepest message i have readen writed by you....i put myself in that too. as a assistant for a very powerfull man, i write his speeches, research everithing he will express in the media, me and some other women make him what he is!!!people congratulate him for what he says or thinks and is me behind it!!!oK, he gave me a lot of credit and gratitude but the rest of the world doesnt know i exist.

love Denise

thea said...

When I'm grown I want a posse of bitch boys doing my laundry. I know this isn't really what you're getting at, e, but as an aspiring writer who at 19 already feels that much of my work is to prop up men, this post hit a very tender and winsome place in me.