Tolentino Using Women’s Treatment as a Litmus Test for Culture

Since culture is reflected in the treatment of women, women’s rights and treatment are a litmus test for culture. Jia Tolentino’s “Trick Mirror” attempts to discuss culture through the experiences, plights, and societal standing of women. Tolentino chose to use women as the main subject for multiple reasons, including the ease to which she relates as she is a woman and the fact that culture is the relationships between people in society and women are the largest disenfranchised group in the world, a group that has faced countless slights in society. Women are culture, as half of American culture is how women interact and are interacted with. It is easier for Tolentino to write from the perspective of a woman as she can relate to the tribulations of her gender.

The essay “The Cult of the Difficult Woman” accomplishes the goal set out by Tolentino to discuss culture through the experience of women. Cultural fixtures, such as events and objects, are brought up and discussed through the eyes of women who were disenfranchised or whose stories were never heard. She uses the examples of Hillary Clinton, Monica Lewinsksi, the women who came forward against Harvey Weinstein, and Delilah from the Bible. Delilah overcomes Samson’s strength, a story never told as it paints the woman as the hero. Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinksi were victims of a man’s ambition – a take on recent history that is never told as out culture does not often view them as victims.

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