If Genesis teaches us anything, it’s that even the righteous need hobbies. Just as Abraham counted travel and circumcision among his favourite pastimes, the prophets of feminism also enjoy active leisure. We find this has come in two primary forms viz. (a) Getting Really Angry When Some People Call Themselves Feminist and (b) Getting Really Angry When Some People Don’t Call Themselves Feminist.
Everybody needs to blow off some steam, most especially those of us who have a covenant with g-d. And, let me tell you, these judgement-games can be enormous fun. You haven’t lived until you’ve publicly rebuked one of those crazy chicks who bangs on about “the over-sexualisation of girls”.
I often wonder what, exactly, “sexualisation” is as an identifiable process and, more to the point, how one might measure its over-supply. Recently, I hired an instrument to test my gas heating ducts for harmful emissions and I thought briefly of Melinda Tankard Reist.
Of course, today’s younger keepers-of-the-faith are much nicer than I and have largely abandoned the sporting feminist tradition of keepings-off. These days, feminism is inclusive and even, and especially, seems to welcome fashion magazine editors. Call me old-fashioned, but I see fashion magazine editors about as useful to the goals of feminism as a penis-flavoured candy bar. Which is to say, not particularly inimical but strongly inappropriate nonetheless. Fashion magazines are no more a viable locus for social change than candy bars are a suitable medium for the taste of penis. One cannot, quite simply, have one’s cock and eat it too. But, again, this is a story for another time and place.
The story for today is Australian and concerns the question of feminist umbrage reserved for those women who elect to call themselves “not feminists”.
One such Not Feminist is unremarkable broadcaster, “Jackie O”. In a recent cover-story for a national newspaper supplement, Ms O was asked, “do you consider yourself a feminist?”. It appears that she does not and it appears that she chose not to elaborate on her rejection of the Faith beyond, “But … you know.” This was enough to (a) ignite the blogosphere and (b) disappoint the author of the article, who helpfully pointed out “but you’re a woman”.
I shan’t go into too many details about O’s career vis-à-vis this denial of feminism as it’s too jizzing boring. Let it suffice to say that the woman, in the great tradition of FM Radio, is paid to giggle and to serve as a Civilizing Influence for a fuming pot-of-vomit. Think of her as Robin Quivers but much, much, much less interesting.
Personally, I was relieved that O publicly declined her membership to my club. If you ask me, it’s too crammed with fashion magazine editors to make room for another unhelpful tit. I mean. Shit. If we keep letting these people in, all we’ll ever talk about is How Photoshop is Killing Women or Getting Katniss’ Hot Apocalyptic Look. And, yes, there’s room for everyone in an inclusive movement blah blah blah. But, when the actual fart will we start talking about something other than accessories?
Actually, these are the sorts of sentiments that might have been unlooked had O answered, “Yes. I’m a feminist”. At worst, she would have been derided by ladies like me. At best, she would have been schooled in Remedial Feminism by well-meaning bloggers for the next five years. Jackie O Vs Feminism, I suggest, can only be a zero-sum game.
But, as the author of the O puff-piece reveals, I am out-of-step with modern algorithms. Today, apparently, we are all feminist whether we like it or not.
The English writer Caitlin Moran is gifted of great wit and nowhere is this more apparent than in her oft-quoted Test for Feminism. “Put your hands in your pants. (a) Do you have a vagina? And (b) Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said yes to both, then congratulations, you’re a (c) feminist.”
This is, of course, quite hilarious. But, axiomatic charm notwithstanding, it’s also quite wrong. Moran, funny, as shit as she is, is begging the question.
Not being a feminist is not unavoidably the same as disapproving of feminism’s gains. One can endorse activism without being its agent; and the term feminist does imply activism or, at the every least, the inclination to action. It’s just nosy work, I think, going about demanding that people identify as part as of a social movement. It is the right of all female, First Nation, same-sex attracted or atheist or religious or whatever persons to NOT be Abrahamically righteous.
In its current compulsive inclusiveness, feminism(s) reminds me a little of the LDS. Making Jackie O be a feminist is a bit like a Baptism for the Dead, intellectually speaking.
One is not ethically obliged to utter the name of the Saviour in life and we are ethically obliged not to utter Her name on behalf of the intellectually deceased. Getting all Mormon on Jackie O will serve no one very well; least of all the name of feminism.