6/24/14

Today's Feminist Rant: Four things we confuse with feminism

1. It looks feminist to be able to wear whatever you want, but the freedom to buy clothing is not equality. Here is how you can tell: Men do not wear short shorts or deep V necks. If it were equality, men would want to wear those things too. As it is, your choice to show off your boobs and ass is not empowering. It is choosing to buy into a culture that still values women most for their ability to attract the male gaze.

2. It looks feminist to take part in hook-up culture, but the freedom to have sex without emotional entanglements is not the same things as having sexual choice. If it were real choice, women would be able to say no without being seen as prudes, they would be able to get passed out drunk (not that I encourage it) and not get taken advantage of, they would not have to get drunk to excuse hooking up, and they would be able to have real conversations about what they want emotional, sexual and otherwise without it feeling weird.

3. It looks feminist to be able to swear, smoke cigars, and take on the trappings of hyper masculinity, but all this really does is send the message that hyper masculinity is the ideal human standard. The ability to perform and compete alongside men should not be confused with the highest level of human success. (Katness Everdeen is not a feminist symbol; she is a symbol that women can still only be seen as heroic if they act like men.)

4. It looks a like a feminist victory that women make up over half of all college students, but is anyone wondering why--now that that has happened--talking heads are wondering how necessary college really is?

The personal is still political. 

OK. So just thought I'd go a little old-school political today as I am still annoyed by the horrible van that recently parked in our town and advertised topless maids. 

15 comments:

Lori Elliott Webster said...

I see that van parked all over and want to throw a molotov cocktail at it. Great rant, Margaret!

Daisy said...

Some spray paint might improve that van! As for the "rant", we totally agree.

Petrea Burchard said...

Margaret, you articulate the things I feel. I appreciate that because I sometimes don't even know I'm feeling it until I hear it from you.

Petrea Burchard said...

Oh, and cosmetic surgery. Not liberating.

Cathy Perlmutter said...

Genius. Will forward to my daughter.

Star said...

...and dying hair to cover gray, oh, and comments on a professional woman's clothes/looks, ah, and giving a professional woman flowers when, in the same situation, it's not done for the equivalent male professional. Thanks, Margaret, great post.

Olga Hebert said...

Now those were words in need of saying! A big thank-you.

Bellis said...

Good points there, Margaret. I can't believe that offensive van is still in South Pasadena! Women of the 'Denas Unite, let's march in the 4th July Parade with protest banners.

Petrea Burchard said...

One of those vans has been parked on Barham Blvd. in Universal City for a couple of weeks. A molecule of the bigger problem.

Margaret said...

Bellis: I love your idea. Currently, the van is taking a break from South Pasadena, although I'm sure it will be back sometime. What a creep.

Heather said...

It looks feminist to be able to swear, smoke cigars, and take on the trappings of hyper masculinity, but all this really does is send the message that hyper masculinity is the ideal human standard.

Somehow this summer, I have been exposed to a lot of young female interns in my place of work who not only ostentatiously take on some/many of the trappings of hypermasculinity, but seem to think that they deserve a cookie for doing so. Their behavior is basically a put down of women as a class of people and it both annoys me and more importantly plays into the sexist image of women and feminine identified things as being less good than men and masculine identified things. They are basically going around announcing with their behavior that they are exceptions to the otherwise reliable rule that women are losers.

I doubt highly that they are going around doing this with awareness and purpose (I don't give them that much credit for introspection), but that doesn't mean that their behavior and attitudes aren't deeply offensive and damaging.

I know they think they are somehow "getting ahead" with this honorary guy behavior, and I'm sure it feels like an accomplishment to join the boys' club. They don't realize that if they have to exhibit massive self-directed misogyny to do it, they aren't really members of the club to begin with. Its just another patriarchal bargain. And we all deserve better than that. Even them (much as they offend me).

Margaret said...

Heather: I think you are absolutely right. I see this a lot too, both out and about and in the media. I actually think this is perhaps the most disturbing phenomena of all because it degrades values traditionally gendered as female, thing that the very first women's right activists tried to cultivate and grow, values such as compassion and care giving. Now, so much, it this hyper masculinity is tied to the rugged individual, survival of the fittest. It is social Darwinism run amok.

Katie said...

Great post! So much to still rant about, which is a bummer (but rant we should). I read recently that women in top positions in Silicon Valley feel they have to be well dressed and wear makeup to be taken seriously.

Bec said...

This is a great post - you have said it so well. My girls have been asking "where are the girls?" when they watch the World Cup and "why do the boys get to wear shorts?" when we watch men's and women's tennis at Wimbledon . . . the issues are complex and I want to answer them in the right ways so that they don't start thinking that "being one of the boys" is the ideal.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

five supreme court justices disagree