dharma_bum wrote:I’m certainly not going to be a dissenting voice tonight. Hunter and women… for understanding so much about how the world works, he didn’t “get” us. Or, he got very few of us. And even the ones did “get” (Chenault in the Rum Diary) he couldn’t fully make sense of them print. I also agree with many of you who thought Duke (by default Hunter) was an equal opportunity abuser. He didn’t seem to modulate his behavior for either gender.
No one has mentioned Breakdown on Paradise Blvd., which I found wickedly funny. If it was meant to be a comment on the blissful ignorance of the underclass, it came across as borderline cruel—what does that say about me? Ironically, although the characters were women, the roles could have been interchangeable with men.
I put off posting about this for a while because it's been a long time since I've thought about this issue. I think dharma_bum is correct in the assessment about Hunter and women, "he didn’t 'get' us. Or, he got very few of us." But I know that a large part of that comes from the time period in which this is taking place.
Some years ago I was blessed with the chance to be a part of a forum concerning women and their treatment during the Beat Movement and the "Hippie" years. One of the people I got to speak with about this in depth was Mountain Girl Garcia (MG). She lived with Kesey and had his child, and went on the bus with Neal, so she'd been in the thick of it all. What I learned was a bit disconcerting to my, at the time, idealized view of the '60s. Although women did participate in some of the music, art, decision making, and fun stuff, it was marginal to a great extent. A few select women were part of the inner circle; most were not. Women were were still chiefly diaper changers and bottle washers, so they went off and had their own political discussions away from the men. A lot of the guys thought that the women should be keep-our-home sex goddess earth mamas -- and a lot of the women were just that for a long time. It was only in the '70s that things began to change. This makes me think that some of the treatment of women depicted in the book (especially how they rid themselves of Lucy) is just a product of how lots of guys treated women in those years.