Over at Imagine Peace (and originally on the author’s own blog), Cara Kulwicki examines in a multi-part series the reason for the very public, very widespread — and, she contends, very misdirected — disdain for Yoko Ono.
A short list: she was pushy, controlling, got John addicted to heroin, was rude to the Beatles, stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong, constantly showed up uninvited, was a horrible artist who cared more about self-publicity than quality, she connived to get together with John for his money, encouraged him to leave the Beatles because she saw them as competition, and all around used him.
One by one, Kulwicki expertly takes apart each of the standard arguments against Yoko — and tosses out some pretty sharp barbs at Ono’s portrayal by Beatles biographers, as well.
Rather than calling out the Beatles for being chauvinist pigs, he presents the women repeatedly as wonderfully forgiving, selfless and demurely accepting of the “rules,” rather than abused and mistreated. And in then introducing Yoko by saying that “after ten years, the rules were about to change,” it’s heavily implied that breaking the rules was indeed an offense worthy of scorn. You see, it was wrong for the Beatles to treat their wives and girlfriends like subhuman shit – that is, until one of them had the audacity to demand respect, and even worse, actually got it.
What ultimately makes the post so worth reading is that Kulwicki really does her research — rather than repeating "it’s not fair!" without anything to back it up, the author cites lots of instances where so-called "facts" about Yoko are just plain wrong, and she never loses her sense of humor. In one of the best passages, Kulwicki explains how the typical Beatles girlfriend or wife was horribly mistreated, then explains how Yoko was different:
The Beatles didn’t reject Yoko because they thought she was a crap musician – the thought of Yoko as a legitimate musician never actually seemed to cross their minds – but because she was a woman, and because the role of a Beatles woman was at home waiting for you all dolled up, not sitting by your side. … It doesn’t make sense to blame Yoko instead of John, that is, if you look at this with a totally ungendered lenses. Once you factor in that Yoko was a woman – a feminist, opinionated woman who wasn’t blond or Caucasian or making herself up as eye-candy – things start to become clear. Bitches fuck shit up.
In the end, Kulwicki does stick to a relatively simple explanation for Ono-hating: it’s easier to hate her than to understand her.
People want her to be nothing more than an evil caricature. She’s easier to pin down, understand, and revile that way. Her wildly inaccurate image presents a way of understanding the world that backs up the misogynistic, racist status quo.
But by the time you’ve read Kulwicki’s entire piece (and it’ll take a while — this is nothing she dashed off in an afternoon), the point feels hard-won. [Imagine Peace, The Curvature via The Daily Swarm]