Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I had an idea for a post! Anyway, I think we should study the rhetorical pose of the 'bad feminist'. The bad feminist fights the strawfeminist. She has been told that she is not a feminist, because of these reasons: she wears makeup, she shaves, she is a stay at home mother, she likes sex. Of course, I never see people say "you're not a feminist because of X", but it's an easy way to make your point. Instead of simply disagreeing over policy, you are fighting for the heart of feminism. Will feminism be won by the good feminists who conform to traditional ideals of feminity, or the evil ugly feminists who do not? It raises the stakes and adds drama to the day. Not only that, the strawfeminist is an accepted cultural type- we all know what she is like, what she does, etc. So instead of having to do a lot of explaining "I don't like what so and so said because it totally leaves out the experience of homosexuals"* which can be debated on its own terms, people have their heroes and villians picked out already- even if this pose comes from a real debate usually things are distorted- so 'blowjobs are gross'(tone: joking but probably thinks semen is icky) becomes 'if you blow a man, you're not a feminist'.

This framing drives me nuts because it's like you have to tiptoe around any critique of any choice someone might make or they'll say you said they weren't a feminist. It also bothers me because I grew up in the 90s, in which a bunch of 'girl power' and Suicide Girls pseudofeminism was thrown around. The whole idea was that women chose to do exactly what they were doing, and what appeared to be exactly the same thing to the unenlightened masses was totally changing society! Just by shaking your tits you could totally change the direction of society! Just because you liked something made it the feminist thing to do! I just hope this is limited to the summer heat, and we don't get any posts saying that Bitch magazine is evil, because how can they tell us we're not a feminist because we like this show on TV.

*Sorry to whoever it was that made that argument if my paraphrase was poor

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