Laurie Toby Edison

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Rescue: A Useful Step on the Brainstorming Road

Lynne Murray says:

Some advertiser (I can’t be bothered to find out which) is wooing ‘60s nostalgia money and set a 1965 song to ringing in my head these days and thinking about how songs echo life strategy problem-solving tactics. The song is Fontella BassRescue Me

Even though this was Bass’ only major hit, she co-wrote it and I’m glad to report that she is still alive. I’m less glad to report that she has to fight to be reimbursed for all the many ways her song is still being used.

Sadly, women’s fantasies of being rescued by a knight in shining armor, are still a popular idea in life as in literature, even nearly fifty years later.

Popular music is hardly the only social force suggesting a passive role for women, and many men cherish the thought of riding to the rescue. When I think about this as a way to solve problems Barbara Sher’s book Wishcraft keeps coming to mind, probably because I used it myself some years back as a guide to starting my own business to subsidize my writing.

I can still visualize the page in Chapter 6 where Sher suggests brainstorming–listing as many solutions as you can think of to any given problem, just listing them without censoring:

That’s how brainstorming often works. You think of all the staid, sensible, obvious ideas first, like scholarships and loans. Then come the “rescue fantasies”: someone is going to come riding along in a white Cadillac, carry you away, or appear mysteriously on your doorstep with a check for a million dollars. Being free to give those fantasies a legitimate place on your list brings liberating laughter—and only then do the really audacious, original ideas begin to flow.

You notice she’s not suggesting following the rescue fantasies as life plans. Janis Joplin’s plea for supernatural intervention to secure a Mercedes Benz wasn’t really a life plan either:

Looking up the rescue concept online renewed my old acquaintance with Heartless Bitches Website, which is always fun.

My favorite was Jane:
-I don’t expect Prince Charming to rescue me. I’m an 8-year practitioner of martial arts with a 2nd degree black belt. I would probably have to protect Prince Charming in any sort of potential bodily altercation. I really am a GI Joe type myself and prefer to date dangerous men–Navy SEALS, Marine Recon, Firemen, Navy pilots, Cops.. you know, men who can throw me in a bed, and in turn, don’t mind if I do the same to them. Nice men are just that–nice, and best left to nice women who prefer to live mundane, Leave-It-To-Beaver existences.

-I believe having kids is an option, not mandatory. After all, it is my body, dammit. Should I choose to have one, I will ensure that she can fully take care of herself in any regard.

-I don’t believe women should be married until they’re at least 30 and have figured themselves out and have developed some sort of clue when it comes to life, love and the universe as a whole. This will also enable them to have to learn to take care of themselves financially.

Also included are some real-life role models and books.

In emergencies, rescue is totally appropriate, but rescue fantasies shouldn’t stand in the way of anyone’s learning how to stand on her own, plan for the future and use resources at hand to rescue herself and build herQ1` own dreams.

3 Responses to “Rescue: A Useful Step on the Brainstorming Road”

  1. Janet Lafler Says:

    I am married to a nice man; he is neither boring nor mundane. I think a lot of female misery stems from the idea that, to be sexy, a man must be mean, dangerous, and selfish.

  2. Laurie Says:

    I’m with you Janet.

  3. Lynne Murray Says:

    Much as “GI Jane” from Heartless Bitches in my post above makes me smile and admire her self-reliance, I completely agree that simple human decency, ethics and integrity are truly attractive traits in a man. Furthermore, I think it’s damaging and misery-making to men as well as women to foster the idea that men must give off an aura of danger, cruelty and even violence to attract women.

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