So it seems I'm all ragey this week. I promise I'll get back to regular bookish blogging soon. I've never really done a post like this before because, well, this is a book blog - but then, it's also my blog. And I just had to express my thoughts on Twisty Faster's brand of feminism, as exhibited on her blog I Blame the Patriarchy. I apologise in advance for all the caps.
Twisty's view is that all women are being oppressed by THE PATRIARCHY. Patriarchy is oppressive to women - and, dare I say, men - but the thing is, the closest I’ve ever felt to really being oppressed is when I started applying her values to my life and was subsequently made to feel inadequate as both a feminist and a women. Twisty claims that all men hate women, and yet some of her rigid statements are more misogynistic than anything I've ever heard from a man. She actually oppresses women, by:
-Claiming femininity is bad. She says that to perform femininity by using makeup, shaving your legs and so on, is placing patriarchal restrictions and conventions on yourself, reinforcing THE PATRIARCHY that rapes and murders women. The only solution is to reject all forms of traditional femininity. Oh, and if you actually like makeup and dresses? Clearly you’ve been brainwashed by THE PATRIARCHY! Because as a woman you can’t possibly have the ability to think for yourself and make your own choices. You’re just a victim of THE PATRIARCHY!
Because telling women there’s only one valid way to be a woman is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.
-Saying that women should not have the legal right to consent. I’m not kidding. She claims that if women have no right to consent, then technically all intercourse is rape, unless the woman says otherwise. Apparently this gives a woman more power. I totally see how taking away a woman’s right to consensual sex is empowering her.
Heaven forbid a woman should actually enjoy sex with a man. Coz men are EVIL and only out to RAPE you. They all hate you and could not possibly love you. Sex could never be a loving connection between two equal, consenting adults. If you’re a woman, you only want to be penetrated because THE PATRIARCHY has indoctrinated you. It couldn't ever be because you enjoy it or, y’know, it’s part of your biology or anything crazy like that. Didn't you know? Sex is all about the man’s enjoyment, not the woman’s.
Because making women feel like they should be ashamed of wanting or enjoying sex is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.
-Saying that women should never, ever enter into a relationship with a man because men are EVIL and they hate all women and they just want to RAPE you. Also, you lose your personal autonomy as soon as you enter into a heterosexual relationship, because you couldn’t possibly stay independent as that relationship must become your whole life and, by the way, the man secretly hates you and just wants to DOMINATE you and you, being a helpless victim of THE PATRIARCHY, are incabable of resisting or having any kind of agency. In fact, you’ll also stay in your relationship for way too long because your brain has been so destroyed by THE PATRIARCHY and such close contact with a man that you no longer have the ability to think or feel for yourself. You especially can’t love a man. Love was invented by THE PATRIARCHY to keep women subordinated. Love can only exist between two women, because women are awesome (as long as they're not feminine) and men are all evil and dumb.
Because claiming someone’s sexuality is invalid is totally feminist and not something THE PATRIARCHY would do at all.
I could go on, but frankly I’ve already given way too much time and energy into stewing over this batshit crazy woman. I refuse to let her make me feel inadequate as a woman or as a feminist. Isn’t feminism all about women having the freedom to make choices about their own lives and their own bodies? About men and women being treated equally? Respecting everyone as a human being, regardless of gender (or class or race or sexuality, for that matter)?
Well, call me crazy, but that's always what I thought feminism was. If I’m wrong then I guess I’m not a feminist. I always hate it when women say “I’m not feminist, but I believe in equal rights”, because, hello, that is feminism; but with women like Twisty around I don’t blame people for wanting to avoid the title.
The thing is, the reason I got so fired up is because her and people like her attempt to - and sometimes succeed - in invalidating my life choices. I know I shouldn’t give someone else that much power, and I guess I’m trying to take it back with this post. Because even though my gut reaction is that this woman is totally irrational, and hey, I LIKE lipstick and pink floral dresses and painting my nails and marriage and romance and family and MEN (and still, believe it or not, consider myself a strong, intelligent woman, and a feminist to boot), I began to question whether I actually like those things or – *gasp* - have just internalised the misogynistic views of THE PATRIARCHY. I started to worry that maybe being feminine is bad – maybe by putting on makeup, I’m reinforcing a stereotype that is damaging to woman. Then I realised that maybe I’m actually breaking the stereotype by showing that caring about “girlie” things doesn’t make you vapid or submissive, and that being with a man doesn't negate your independent identity or your equality.
To me, feminism should be about broadening women’s options, not replacing one limited set with another. It should not be about eschewing femininity, but rather expanding its definition and reinforcing the notion that there's more than one way to be a woman – or a man, for that matter.