More feminist than thou
Slate opens a new blog written by women, for women: win!
A disappointing number of the articles consist of the same old girl-on-girl bashing regarding feminism, motherhood and celebrities: fail!
The concept of feminism as a movement seems to be taking a particularly rough thrashing, with articles such as ‘Whine, Womyn and Thongs: How Feminism Has Failed’ and ‘How I Got Bored With Feminism.’ The real prizewinner in the Fail Bowl, however, is Linda Hirshman’s hatchet job on Jezebel, dissected by her target here. Hirshman posits that the gals who write for Jezebel should probably turn in their feminist membership cards, because despite rape being a pressing issue for women, they talk about getting drunk a lot and occasionally engaging in casual sex. After all, any real feminist worth her salt would know to avoid any behavior or situation that could lead to getting raped, because men shouldn’t be expected to control themselves. Granted, this “I’m not saying anyone deserves to get raped, but…” attitude is hardly new, if not particularly distasteful coming from a woman, but Hirshman ratchets the female misogyny up a few more notches by suggesting that because one of the writers was sexually assaulted as a teenager but didn’t report it to police, any opinion she might have on rape and its effect on women and society is unreliable at best.
You know, this pandering “I’m a woman-hating feminist who tells it like it is” twaddle wasn’t any more charming when Camille Paglia was spouting it back in the eighties. Hirshman previously exhibited her privilege and astonishing lack of empathy when she wrote an article claiming that the best way to help someone stuck in an abusive relationship is to relentlessly badger them into leaving. It would appear that she’s blessed to have gotten this far in her life without ever having been raped or a victim of domestic violence. I have too, thank the gods, but I also know that there’s nothing easy about reporting a rape to the police, even less if it makes it to a courtroom. As I pointed out in Monday’s article, it’s a grueling, traumatizing experience for the victim, due to the fact that there are still far too many people in society who believe that rape is a “misunderstanding” or that if you hadn’t left the house in that short skirt, it would never have happened. Would you want to put yourself through that? I don’t know that I would. If I failed to report, would it be to the detriment of my fellow women? Perhaps. But my decision to report or not report, as would be anybody’s, is mine and mine alone. Identifying yourself as a feminist doesn’t automatically require you to be held accountable to other women.
As for her questioning why women in abusive relationships just don’t walk away, again, Hirshman shows the insufferable, insulated self-righteousness that taints modern feminism as a whole. Sure, it’s a question of just leaving, it’s that easy. Because abusers don’t inflict the same amount of damage on their victims’ minds as their bodies. They don’t isolate them from their friends and families and convince them that their lives, and perhaps the lives of their children are at risk if they try to escape. They just pop them in the face once in a while, what kind of woman would put up with that? A weak, pitiful woman that namby-pamby other feminists coddle, according to Linda Hirshman. She’s not putting up with that nonsense.
I will agree that too much of today’s feminism is bogged down in splitting hairs over semantics and blowing entirely too much steam over relatively meaningless things, such as arguing over whether or not Seth Rogan playing a character who commits date rape might mean he condones it in real life. I buy that much of it is a distraction to try to deal with the frustration over that old chestnut about things staying the same the more they change. Women still aren’t given the respect they’re due in the workplace. The nature of rape is still misunderstood, and rape victims are still treated as though they have something to be ashamed of. We’re still plagued with body image issues perpetrated by both the media and, saddest of all, each other. Little girls are still encouraged to be pretty, pretty princesses draped in pink. Feminism isn’t dead, not by a long shot, but we haven’t come close to winning yet. It’s not even a matter of “winning,” really, so much as achieving certain goals. If we’re losing, it’s because we’ve taken up with in-fighting and pseudo dick-waving “I’m a better feminist than you” competitions, judging each other for everything from shaving our legs to having children to engaging in alternative sexual practices to taking a husband’s name upon marriage to the “right” way of handling a sexual assault. Who fucking cares who’s a better or “real” feminist? What does it matter? Betty Friedan isn’t going to rise from the grave and present you with a golden WORLD’S GREATEST FEMINIST trophy. Female misogyny isn’t edgy or revolutionary. It’s just sad.
And now to cheer things up a bit, here’s a picture of Memebon, a tiny kitten in a rice bowl. I had to, it was depressing me to write this. I may just consider changing the name of this blog to Tiny Kittens in Rice Bowls.