It is likely because I hate myself ardently and wish for the final ebb of my sanity that I use The Internet. It may also be because I enjoy pictures of dongs. Whatever the case, I was just “online”—as youthful cant would have it—and I believe I heard the last breath of liberal feminism as it glugged down a well-fucked throat.
Before I tell you about that rattle, let me afford you a little market context. I would like to try to put my rage into an economic framework to prove to you it is not misplaced. I am angry about something that is refreshed and funded at astonishing rates: for one year or thereabouts there has been a move by the nation’s leading publishers to court the dollar wielded by female AB consumers with, of all things, feminism.
Here in Australia as in much of the developed world, it is the crucial work of middle-class women to consume. It then falls to sensible editors to romance ladies with the money to buy things such as scented candles and face cream and fair-trade lube. The thing they most often like to read, it seems, is an iteration of feminism.
Now. If you happen to be the sort of leftist, or even passionate liberal, who believes that our institutions are in urgent need of great reform or detonation, it’s not that sort of feminism. NO SILLY! It is a mutant daughter to whom the idea of socio-economic class is, at best, an afterthought and, at worst, a fiction. There is no class! The economy is not a force that creates social conditions!? Who are you anyway, Karl Marx? HE was not only a MAN but he was also a guy who wrote about penises. Or, was that Freud? Material psychology, what?! I don’t know. Destroy the Joint and STOP SEXIST ADS.
And, no. I can’t be bothered reprising liberal feminism any better than that because it is a logical Swiss cheese fingered daily by clumsy, self-interested harlots who care less for reason and reform than they do for the pay-cheque they receive from the afore-said AB-geared publications. Which are full of shit. And RAPE.
They love to publish about body image and something called “rape culture” which confuses me but seems to be based on the assumptions that (a) the fact of masculine violence is best ameliorated by making up stupid theories and (b) rape only started happening after mass culture was a thing. Because rape culture in the media blahblah blah.
I don’t know. I am reasonably bright and also reasonably conversant with the needs of pop media markets. But I do NOT get the appearance of this “rape culture” stuff other than to suppose that “rape” gives great SEO; the mention of rape affords a sort of Not Without My Daughter thrill to many readers. But beyond the hunger many have to read about sex crime, rape has also begun to function for women who feel the late-modern version of the emptiness described by Betty Friedan.
The “problem with no name” , as I believe the transcendent lib fem called it, now finds its discursive counterpart in the feminist “argument with no structure”. Rape immediately gives an argument a default structure.
Feminism has begun to become rape-dependent with that lady, Lindy West—whom I once found quite funny—being one of many persons using the fact of receipt of rape threats to prove that she has a point. If I am wrong, then why am I getting rape threats, she asks. The only possible inference here is that she is right. Everyone who gets a rape threat is right, It is always right to write about rape.
Rape. Rape. Rapey rape. It is the alpha and omega of feminism. It’s like Andrea Dworkin is back from the grave but with even worse grammar and a nice new dress.
Whatever. Shut up. Idiots.
This sort of feminism loves to talk about rape but it also loves to narrow its focus to the direct experience of the feminist consumer. Probably because she, like the ladies who serve her entertainment needs, is so fucking lazy she can’t be arsed going outside to look for the origins of The Patriarchy.
Pop feminism attributes all the doubt and moments of unhappiness a Modern Lady might feel to a “patriarchy” that is best recognised and remediated with a click. Alan Jones. Sexist Ads. ME FEELING BAD ABOUT MY BODY. These are all
(a) evidence of the patriarchy
(b) tools of the patriarchy
(c) origin of the patriarchy
So, “calling out” and “girl-cotting” somehow murders patriarchy at its birthplace and hides the body. Something something I don’t know. All I know is that suddenly every discomfort was attributed to The Patriarchy in a cultural moment that would be almost sweet in its greedy naivete if these ideas that trashed sense—the good sense, for example, that we are subjects formed over time by large forces rather than in five minutes by something someone saw on telly last night—were not so prevalent.
And as for all those HORRIBLE eulogies you wrote for Gillard and how she was ousted by sexism, here’s one for you. McTernan probably wrote the “misogyny” speech. A BLOKE WROTE IT to feed your appetite for a “gender wars” narrative.
Sure, Gillard might have been a little irritated by sexism but she was probably a fuckload less irritated by sexism that than she was by a wayward crossbench and a zombie-like Foreign Minister who never ONCE paused in his ambition. You know what probably annoyed her? Anne Summers writing that dumb book declaring that lewd cartoons were both evidence and tools of the patriarchy.
Gillard was a left-ish reformist Labor politician. She knew that it is not lewd cartoons that keep ladies from Being Their Best Selves but the great arc of material history, i.e., she knew (some of her appalling decisions for low-income parents notwithstanding) that it is social and economic class that determine a person’s lot more than anything and that it is only when we address this that conditions begin to change.
But. You know. Whatever. FEMONESM 4 LYF. Sexist ads. Sexism in comedy. Rape threats. More women on boards. Why don’t women win literary awards? (Hint. Maybe because they’re all writing shit about RAPE CULTURE.) These are the central questions of an age of “reading” that is funded by face-cream.
I was on the Internet today and I see one story about how we POST PICTURES OF OURSEVLES WITHOUT MAKEUP to “call out” sexism and another about how the newspaper of the nation’s most affluent university has been “censored” from displaying bare vaginae to “shout back” to rape or something. Again. I do not know. All I See once more is a yawning lack of logic where ideas used to live. All I see, in the case of the Body Positive campaign is the desire of silly women to commodify themselves.
Here, we have an attitude that cannot even be called reformist it is so out-of-step with systems of oppression. The logic goes: in order to outrun the assessment of women for their appearance, we women must appear and be assessed; that the assessment will be unstintingly positive is not the fucking point.
The fucking point fucking is that POSTING A SELFIE AND ASKING FOR APPROVAL is every bit as revolutionary and contradictory to the tyranny of scrutiny as me showing my vagina; an act, by the way, which unfolded—or rather didn’t—in the pages of Sydney University’s Honi Soit.
Honi Soit is old French for “privileged little fucker” and the young women of that paper lost no time in asserting their right to be displayed nakedly in contravention of criminal law.
Actually, I am a bit of a free speech nut and don’t think that there is really any problem with genitals being seen all about the place. But the fact is, most people do and if it were not for the fact that it was not the task of face-cream feminism to “call out” sexism and ask for “safe” spaces, I wouldn’t have a problem but fuck me, it is NOT the patriarchy banning your vagina. It is the classification board.
I mean. DUDE. A week ago all these bitches were banging on about “Lad’s mags” and how women need “safe spaces”. And now, we’re all choosing to interpret the circumspect shrouding of a muff as evidence of oppression.
It seems to me that when Page 3 girls take their tops off for consumption by working class men, then that is unacceptable but while middle-class women from the nation’s best-funded school show their clackers, that is revolutionary.
This class distinction is often made by face-cream feminism:
* women wearing hotpants at roller derby is good for feminism but lingerie football is bad for feminism.
* burlesque is good for feminism but stripping is bad.
* Suicide Girls is acceptable. “Porn” is a document of rape. Because Rapey Rape Rape.
Rapey Raperson is a working class guy and, do you know what, he is probably also black. Because I am a face-cream feminist and my understanding of taking an active role in ending racism begins and ends with POOR BLACK LADIES IT MUST BE SUPER HARD FOR THEM THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE THEIR OWN MAGAZINES TO TELL THEM THAT THEY ARE BOOFUL.
Fuck magazines. Fuck the shit that you are writing. Fuck your fucking assumption that most of us are as intellectually sluggish as you and are so fixated by the pain of Not Feeling Pretty that we cannot identify what needs to be done: radical change to our labour conditions.
We do not make change by asking for praise about our twats, mams or makeup-free faces. To pretend that there is ANY benefit—even at the cultural level—in appeasing our own vanity is hypocrisy of the worst order.
This is not feminism, This is a flicker of a thing seen on the wall of a cave to which one has willingly affixed oneself. This is a cool memory of a thing that recalls hot desire. This is the Virginia Slims ad campaign.
This is a product attached to a symbol whose meaning you can no longer explore.
But you know. Smoke up. Suck that combustible poison sold to you by a corporation masquerading as a “Sista”. Suck it down into your pretty lungs.
And, while you’re having a dart, get ‘em out! Show your gine. Show your tits. Show your muff and call it feminism.
Get ‘em out, bitches. They’ll probably give you a dollar a word to write about it.