I love Secret Societies. I love the concept of them. I find some of them super creepy or have scary amount of power but I am fascinated by them nonetheless. Long standing institutions with secret traditions, membership, and hidden agendas get the conspiracy theorist in me thinking and burst the doors of my imagination and allow it to run wild.
I went to a college that had secret societies which only fueled my obsession with them. One of the weirdest, most noticeable buildings on my college campus was the home of an all-male secret society. The rumors surrounding the building were numerous, wild, and contradictory. The fact that no one knew what went on in the creepy, windowless building only increased the campus fascination with the group and the building. I was mildly disappointed when I was tapped to be in a secret society that we didn’t have our own creepy fortress with a secret entrance. I was not disappointed when I learned the amazing, community service related stuff we did around campus. I would tell you more but then they’d kill me.
Of course, as a lesbian, I am part of the best secret society around. We have our own styles, manner of speech, haircuts, customs etc. We can recognize other members of the club who we haven’t met yet by that thing, that intangible something that all the gay ladies have (or, for those with limited lesbidar, by the equality sticker on her Nalgene).
Sure secret societies are by definition exclusionary. Sure that can feel mean spirited but who hasn’t gotten a good chuckle out of the poor, bewildered, non-members who Tweet things like “What the hell is a #gayshark and why is it trending?” If you haven’t dropped BooRadleyVanCullen into casual conversation to ascertain the orientation of a particular lady, you should give it a try. Of course, once we come out, we’re often public with who we are but many times amongst a group of strangers we’re all members of this group that flies under the radar of a society where people just see Maura and Jane as best friends and miss out on all the gayzzoli fun.
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Fiction is punctuated with secret societies, both real and fictional. The Da Vinci Code and Skulls took real secret societies and used them to ground otherwise wildly fantastic scenarios. The Harry Potter series gave us three amazing and one terrifying secret groups: Dumbledore’s Army, the Order of the Phoenix, and the Death Eaters. Who wouldn’t want to thumb our noses at Delores Umbridge by learning magic in the Room of Requirement with Harry, Ron, and Hermione? The people of Rosewood, PA are terrorized by the “A” Team, a dastardly assortment of people hell bent on ruining the lives of our favorite Pretty Little Liars and their loved ones. The “A” Team has a long way to go to rival the Death Eaters level of menacing and terrifying acts but with Toby sure looked like he’s ready to play the part of a Malfoy with his swaggering sneer. None of these books, movies, or television shows would be the same without their secret groups; they create a delightful layer of mystery, danger, and lurking menace that make these stories go.
Last week when I read Jill Guccini’s brilliant take on movies that should be re-gayed I got a little fixated on the idea of Snow White and the Riot Grrls. When I read it I thought, “that is the best secret society ever!” And with that tiny push I couldn’t help imagining a few more that I wish existed.
I have named them all for mythical gods or creatures to mimic the names of our own societies in college and give them an added layer of pretentiousness that every secret society needs. If it doesn’t sound a little pompous you aren’t doing it right.
This society, headed up by two of the biggest BAMF’s around, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Michelle “Welcome to the Gun Show” Obama, is named for the Roman Goddess of wisdom and reason. The group’s mission is simply to change the world. What you thought those two would set their sights lower? Their tactics include showing girls, women, and the rest of the world that being pretty is nice in high school but being smarter than everyone in the room and not being afraid to show it is so much better.
Other rumored members: Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, Rachel Maddow, Oprah.
This group, comprised of the women who represent Cover Girl cosmetics, is named for the mythical bird that is said to be incredibly beautiful and that when it becomes old and frail builds a fire of its nest and burns. From the ashes rises a new, young phoenix which begins its life anew. I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, a bunch of women hawking make-up, are you high Hallowell?” No, the women who rep Cover Girl come from varied backgrounds, ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, and ages. Who are the women? Queen Latifah, Ellen DeGeneres, Pink, Janelle Monae, Sofia Vergara, Paula Patton, Marlen Esparza, Taylor Swift, Drew Barrymore, the list goes on. These women are out and about showing the world that beauty isn’t for people who look like Barbie, or who have long, blond hair, or for women who look like they just need to eat a sandwich (or 10). I don’t wear makeup but even I can get jazzed about this group of women who, by being the face of a major make-up company, are expanding the boundaries of beauty, femininity, and what is sexy in our culture.
Momus was the Greek god of satire and mockery and thus is a perfect name for the group led by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The group uses humor to make pointed, but palatable, comments about the state of politics, celebrity, feminism and whatever they damn well please. Famous examples include the sketch of Fey as Sarah Palin and Poehler as Hilary Clinton on Saturday Night Live in which Fey’s Palin exclaimed that “I can see Russia from my house.” Another example includes Poehler’s brainchild of having the nominees for the 2011 Best Female Lead in a Comedy Series Emmy stand on stage and hold a mock beauty pageant. Dumb politicians, silly contests, and threats to feminism beware of Momus because they’ll cut a bitch.
Other rumored members: Sarah Silverman, Roseanne, Lily Tomlin, Janeane Garofalo, Maya Rudolph, Samantha Bee.
OK, now it’s your turn. Who else should be in these groups? What other secret societies do you think should be out there and what are they busy doing?