'Wake Up Little Susie'

To the Editor:

In the interview accompanying Andrew Hacker's review of her book, "Wake Up Little Susie," Rickie Solinger explains her enigmatic title by saying that the young girl in the Everly Brothers' song "thinks her association with imagined sexuality will doom her, and this book is really about the ways society and culture stigmatize girls in very damaging ways."

But as any connoisseur of the Everly Brothers' oeuvre could have told her, we don't know what Little Susie thinks, because she remains fast asleep throughout the lyric; the song is exclusively about the (overblown) apprehensions of her boyfriend, at the implications of an unintended and apparently innocent lapse. And the implications are mostly just embarrassment -- fear of "doom" is wildly hyperbolic, for either of them.

Mainly, the solecism is just amusing. But Ms. Solinger's gender games aren't really so trivial, reflecting as they do the disposition of feminist scholars to cut any shard of cultural evidence to fit the Procrustean bed of female oppression, even when, as in this case, the shard actually reflects not female oppression but male feelings of guilt and responsibility. One might in fact imagine Little Susie brushing the sleep out of her eyes and saying something like: "Oh, come on, Marvin -- so we fell asleep in the car. Big deal. I can handle Mom and Dad, and I couldn't care less if our friends go 'Ooh-la-la' -- we know what they were probably doing." That, anyway, would be more in line with my own boyhood recollections from the 1940's and 50's. LORRIN S. ANDERSON Bronxville, N.Y.

Source : http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/10/books/l-wake-up-little-susie-837592.html

Related Posts