Regular readers know that my Gen X shows when I talk about my total adoration for Liz Phair. Her angst at trying to win on her own terms with her own outsized talent in an unfair world dominated by men has resonated with me in my 20s, 30s and still in my 40s. Which is kind of amazing considering how much my own views on the patriarchy and feminism has changed over those decades.
I was re-discovering some of her Girly Sound stuff after its reissue last year and somehow I had never heard or internalized the song “Ant in Alaska” before last week. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hear it. I have listened to it no fewer than 50 times in the last week, as I’ve been dealing with a lot of rage about various things that all tie back to fundamental unfairness against women in our society.
What really resonates with me is this idea of broken promises in this song. As I listen, I reflect on the emptiness that comes from decades of “playing the game” and how little is left for you after all of that. How many men have we all helped build their dreams or in some cases paid for their dreams only to be f*cked over when it was supposed to be our turn?
This random faceless/nameless dude in this song is the collection of the benevolent sexist wave of the patriarchy that wants to pump us all up when we’re suiting his needs, but just ghosts us once that changes, whether that’s a boss, a mentor, or a spouse. He insures all the cars and writes all the damn checks and does all the hiring and holds all the congressional hearings and everything else.
It’s about that moment when you realize how hollow the trade off of you being a woman in a male-dominated system is. And wonder if you should have spent that time overthrowing or building a new system instead.
If you are having a day, week, month, or career like me, just read this chorus and resonate:
“Well, I look at the stars and I know you’re under them
I look at the cars and I know you insure them
I look at the books and things people are reading
I know that you’ve written them too
You’ve got so many little things to do
But then I look at my life and I know you’ve forgotten
The promise you made to me I think that’s rotten
I’m hopelessly lost and there’s hardly a sound anymore
Coming through that can show me around
‘Cause I’m endlessly, endlessly searching the crowd
Looking for something from you
Just one f*cking, measly clue
Any sh*tty little tip off would do
But I’m just an ant in Alaska to you.”
That guy sucks, but we’re here for you.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Tips for cramming more protein into a plant-based diet?
- How do you get back to sleep when you wake up stressed at 2 am?
- How do you decide when to risk your cushy lifestyle for a greater good?