gifs: fried green tomatoes

She had stayed a virgin so she wouldn’t be called a tramp or a slut; had married so she wouldn’t be called an old maid; faked orgasms so she wouldn’t be called frigid; had children so she wouldn’t be called barren; had not been a feminist because she didn’t want to be called queer and a man hater; never nagged or raised her voice so she wouldn’t be called a bitch … Evelyn wondered; why always sexual names? And why, when men wanted to degrade other men, did they call them pussies? As if that was the worst thing in the world. What have we done to be thought of that way? To be called cunt? People didn’t call blacks names anymore, at least not to their faces…there were no more kikes, Japs, chinks, or spics in polite conversation. Everybody had a group to protest and stick up for them. But women were still being called names by men. Why? Where was our group?
—  Fannie Flagg, “Fried Green Tomatoes" 
Reasons Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe Is An Awesome Sex-Postive Feminist Lesbian Novel

1. It’s a story about women, being told for women, by women. The frame of the stories is that they are being told to Evelyn, a menopausal woman who is quietly, desperately unhappy with her life, by a post-menopausal woman who experienced these events. Mrs. Threadgoode serves as a surrogate mother to Evelyn and her stories help guide her through menopause and her quest for happiness.

2. One of the center couples in the story is a lesbian couple. In the twenties. In Alabama.

3. The story would be almost the same if the lesbian couple was a heterosexual couple. By which I mean, no one doubts the strength of Ruth and Idgie’s feelings for one another. No one calls them unnatural, questions their ability to raise their son, or suggests that Idgie and Ruth just ‘need a good man.’

4. Idgie’s family has no problem with her being in love with Ruth. Her mother, in fact, warns the family that Idgie has a crush and no matter how ridiculous she’s behaving around Ruth, no one is to tease her. When Ruth asks Idgie to help take her from her abusive marriage, Idgie’s parents offer their full support, and help Idgie set up a business to support Ruth, Idgie, and their son.

5. One of the many annoying changes in the film: Ruth contacts Idgie to help her leave her husband when she finds out she’s pregnant. In the books, she leaves after her mother dies. She decides it for herself, not for her child.

5. A close friend of Idgie’s throughout her life, and someone who provided her with strong emotional support, is what other, more traditional literature would brand a whore or slut. Eva is described as a woman who is comfortable with her body and her sexuality, and sees nothing wrong with sleeping with whoever she wants, and giving people comfort that way. The text is sympathetic and supportive to her promiscuity, and she is never shamed for it. 

6. Sex! People have it! And it’s portrayed as healthy and wonderful when being done between people who care about each other, male or female. As Evelyn gains confidence in herself, she has an orgasm so intense with her husband that it scares him. Eva comforts a sobbing Idgie by sleeping with her, which the text simply calls providing comfort. The only sex that’s portrayed badly is between Ruth and her former husband, who rapes her on their wedding night and proceeds to be a generally horrible human being who thankfully gets what’s coming to him.

7. Sipsey, the female black cook, adopts a black baby boy who was born out of wedlock and raises him as her son. Her relationship to him, and Idgie’s relationship to Stump, Ruth’s son, are never shown to lack love, affection, and trust despite the lack of blood ties.

8. Sipsey never marries and never shows much interest in getting married that we see, but chooses to adopt Big George. She becomes a single mother in Alabama, in the twenties, because she wants a baby but didn’t seem to want or need a man. So you have a potentially asexual character as well.

Anything else I could say starts to wander into spoiler territory. But in summation, this is an amazing book and everyone should read it.

Era rimasta vergine per non essere chiamata sgualdrina o puttana. Si era sposata per non essere chiamata zitella. Aveva finto gli orgasmi per non essere chiamata frigida. Aveva avuto dei figli per non essere chiamata sterile. Non era mai stata una femminista perché non voleva sentirsi dare della lesbica. Non aveva mai protestato né alzato la voce per non venire etichettata come rompiscatole…
Aveva fatto tutto questo, eppure quell'estraneo l'aveva umiliata con le parole che gli uomini rivolgono alle donne quando sono furiosi.
Perché sempre riferimenti al sesso? Si domandò Evelyn. E perché, quando gli uomini volevano umiliare gli altri uomini, li chiamavano donnicciole? Come se fosse la peggiore cosa del mondo.

Pomodori verdi fritti al caffè di Whistle Stop, Fannie Flagg