"Ladies, please don’t go there," Petula Dvorak implored women in her obligatory royal wedding column yesterday. "No 4 a.m. watch parties in jammies and tiaras. No scones, no cucumber sandwiches. No swooning."
"Aren’t we all just a little too smart, sage and savvy to get swept up in the hype and the unreasonable hope of the royal wedding?" Dvorak asks. "Just this week, the Census Bureau told us that not only are women outpacing men in college enrollment, but—for the first time ever—women now hold more advanced college degrees and bachelor degrees than men. So, Misses Smartypants: What’s up with all these vapid, royal wedding princess parties?"
I don't know: Pajama parties are fun? Silly hats are neat? Scones taste good?
Over the past few weeks, I've watched with interest as the media unrolled its all-points coverage of the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton—and then commenced its backlash when it turned out that women are actually paying attention to the whole thing.
This is bad, according to Dvorak, because smart girls don't like fashion and glamour and celebrity and dainty sandwiches and hats and tiaras and princesses and weddings and sleepover parties. Smart girls, according to Dvorak, play kickball and discuss U.S.-China policy.
While I've found myself largely ambivalent to the royal procession*, the elevation of kickball is a bridge too far. Kickball is a phenomenally stupid activity, but it's boy culture, and that's what counts. Participants pick raunchy team names, wear T-shirts and gym shorts, chuck rubber balls at one another, then get wasted at frat bars afterwards. This ritual repeats weekly.
But every three decades or so, women get together to wear stupid hats and make sandwiches in the middle of the night, and suddenly our entire gender risks compromising its gains in higher education? Why can't royal-obsessed women wise up and just kick balls at each others' heads, like boys (and the smart girls) do?
The truth is that the royal wedding is this year's Superbowl of girl culture, the media has bended over backwards to cover the highly feminine event, and that tends to inspire a gut negative reaction in people. Why? Because feminine silliness is degraded in our culture, while masculine silliness is vaulted.
It's telling that the Super Bowl—an event in which clans of men from competing geographical regions don shiny spandex outfits and pummel each other for hours in the hopes of slipping their ball between the other team's spread-open goalpoasts—is the Very Important Cultural Event against which all other Important Cultural Events are measured. Last year, 111 million people watched the thing. Some of them even got together with their friends, wore silly hats, and made some food. Oh, God—what have they done?
* My royal wedding consumption today consisted of paging through but several dozen photographs of Middleton's lovely gown and only briefly wondering what it's like to be a princess.