Merry Christmas from “cultural studies”: Yule is a patriarchal holiday because Jesus is a male
It’s impossible to “do” Christmas without running into one patriarchal construct after another. Aside from singing the praises of a man who rules over everything (there really are the most gorgeous choral renditions out there), even the secular Christmas songs are ubiquitous in their praise of male characters: “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and of course, Santa Claus. Santa Claus, a white male who, by the way, gets all the credit for labour overwhelmingly done by women (I’m picturing my friend Kathleen, for example, describing her Plan A and Plan B for getting Minecraft Lego in her hands by Christmas Eve, hoping like hell that one plan works out, wondering if she should instigate a Plan C).
The holiday feminist challenge extends to every Christmas category. Sure, I have fond memories of watching movies of the season with my brother and my mother but now? Now I realize that Maria from “The Sound of Music” finds her true calling as a nurturing caregiver and ends up responsible for a man’s emotional rehabilitation.
Similarly, “White Christmas” resolves with the Hanes sisters teaching Bob and Phil that what they need is the love of a good woman to be happy — enough already with the emptiness of workaholism and playing the field! On its own, this might not be so problematic, but when you run into the same thing in myriad other classics, you wonder if it’s possible for kids to grow up NOT believing that girls should be men’s emotional handmaidens.
Feminists: Putting the “merry” into “Merry Christmas”
Posted by Charlotte Allen