Feminism For Dummies

2 min

Parisian painter, Currado Malaspina is the creator of many artist books including The Baba Kama Sutra, The Misery of Exile and Le pas retrouvé. He is also the executive producer of the arts podcast  [+]

Image of Spring 2019
Image of Short Story
I have two sisters.

Let’s call them Jill and Jane.

Jill lives in Manhattan and is an attorney in a prestigious law firm that represents people in show business. Jane lives in Brooklyn and works as a freelance graphic designer and whose primary client is a boutique coffee roaster in Washington State. They’re both married, both have two children and are both in their thirties. “Irish twins,” they like to say though in reality they’re five years apart. Jill is the older one and it’s she who pretends they’re closer in age. It’s a game they started when they were teenagers when fake IDs and boys were important to them.

Jill and Jane are both highly intelligent women though Jill inclines more toward the analytic and lawyerly. Jane is what you might call a ‘free spirit’ though when she needs to, she can be as pragmatic as a freeway off-ramp. They’re both extremely attractive and fit and people tend to gravitate towards them and seek their counsel and companionship.

Jane is extremely comfortable in her skin, a fact that Jill attributes to her relative youth (there’s nary a wrinkle on her face) and to what she calls a bit condescendingly Jane’s “low-impact profession.”

Jill is an insecure emotional wreck.

Though not yet a partner, Jill swiftly climbed the ranks of her firm without much resistance. Assigned early in her career to the decidedly unglamorous contracts and accounting division, the caché of entertainment law is still something that sustains her illusion that her job, if not stress-free, is at least to some extent ‘really cool.’

In the testosterone world of midtown Manhattan, a woman has to be both stubborn and clever to claw her way up to some semblance of parity. Or so it had always seemed to Jill. Rather than fully master the arcana of residuals, royalties, liabilities and indemnities – after all, what are clerks and interns for – Jill figured her charm and good looks would get her ahead.

And it worked. She is endeared by her colleagues and after only four years at the firm she’s a paperclip away from partner.

The problem is that though it’s Jane who is the artist it’s Jill who is obsessed with image and illusion. Each year as she creeps toward forty Jill’s heels get a bit more tapered and her décolletage dips a trashy shade closer to the cleft. Though still within the boundaries of politesse, to call Jill a flirt would not be unfair.

Jill doesn’t spend too many waking hours at home, preferring to work late hours, attend screenings and warm the stools at her bi-weekly team-building happy hour at the Blarney Stone on Eighth Avenue. And though her profile continues to rise she lives in daily terror of losing her looks and being sent into a diaspora of professional insignificance.

Jane, on the other hand, dresses like a coed and without a trace of make-up carries herself with the self-assuredness of a monarch. She loves her job but loves her family differently. She has a natural talent for happiness.

I am their older brother and their most devoted spectator. I am also a man, so what do I know?

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