Oct 01 2006

Strawfeminism Council Meets, Brings Strawfeminist Goals Into New Millennium


“I’ve never really classed myself as ‘feminist’,” quoth a commenter on yesterday’s post about other peoples’ posts on the day-before-yesterday’s post, “quite possibly because all the bra-burning-bloke-bashing-makeup-banning talk makes me deeply uncomfortable. I am, however, completely committed to the idea that people should be treated as individuals and given any and all opportunities to both experiment and excel.”

Bully for you, commenter, on your complete commitment to an idea, and great news! I met with the other strawfeminists to discuss your deep uncomfort. Guess what! We’ve decided to take a break from all the bra-burning, bloke-bashing, and make-up banning with which we have been obsessed to the exclusion of all else for the past 40 years. A good thing, too, because you know that enormous pink ash cloud enveloping the planet? The one resulting from the tons and tons of angrily incinerated spandex and cheap scratchy lace? Well, that cloud turned out to be the real culprit behind global warming.

Also, we were starting to get complaints from the hospitals. Turns out they were getting so jammed up with the bloodied corpses of all the blokes we’ve bashed that there was hardly any room left for the boob augmentation and labiaplasty cases.

Oh, and you’ll love this: as for the makeup, well, it’s mandatory now. Why? Oh, lots of reasons. For instance, we now believe that liberation has eluded us because our skin has not been glowing or radiant enough (I won’t lie to you; there’s been some pretty severe undereye puffiness and a few tragically enlarged pores, too). And, sure, we’re a little late to the party, but we have finally realized that in order to be taken seriously by liberal white males we must more closely resemble centerfolds. Not to mention that we just love how girly it makes us feel to have a beauty regimen! And you know what, we can no longer deny that real empowerfulness comes from participating as consumers in a $180 billion-a-year global industry that’s scientifically formulated to promote women’s insecurities and self-esteem issues.

In fact, from now on, we’re requiring all strawfeminists to sell Avon products on the side. So, can I interest you in a jar of Anew Clinical Therafirm Face Lifting Cream? Your face will “look & feel firmer, tighter and more lifted.” Because, as the strawfeminist now knows, a face must be as lifted as possible to ensure optimum personal autonomy. Anew Clinical Therafirm Face Lifting Cream is scientifically formulated to relieve you of 32 bucks American. Just think, if you earn minimum wage, that’s a mere 6 1/2 hours’ labor, just 16% of your weekly take-home!

Strawfeminism. It’s not just for humorless feminazis who don’t shave their legs anymore.


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  1. The pinkness, it BURNS us, precioussssss!

  2. denise.vox.com

    Twisty! You look FIERCE.

    But seriously, though. What’s so awful about not shaving your legs? I don’t understand why that’s considered to be beyond the pale, a line you just MUST NOT step across or else you’re clearly a feminist who advocates for men to be put in concentration camps and eradicated from the face of the planet.

  3. Twisty, you’re a gunslinger.

  4. eugeniaandino.com

    I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings about “grooming” and its compatibility with being a feminist.

    I like the way I look when I wear make up. I like hairless skin in myself and in most others. I still think that looking good (healthy, clean, attractive) is important. It does annoy me when fashion and cosmetics feed people’s insecurities, but still, there are products in that industry that I enjoy using.

    I sometimes console myself with the thought that both women and men have their own versions of artificially “improving” their looks, that it is a human tendency, not a patriarchal invention; I just think that it is unfair that the women’s versions tend to be more expensive or more time-consuming.

    Most of the time, though, I really don’t know what to think apart from the fact that my looks contradict my political ideals.

  5. happyfeminist.typepad.com/happyfeminist

    Oooh, Twisty, who’s your manicurist?

  6. Oh boy, that’s way too much pink to look at before noon! Just looking at it makes me want to burn a bra.

  7. Everytime I see a picture of you I’m wondering — who? Because I read you and think damn this woman is TALL, takes up SPACE. But you’re a small woman. Wow.

  8. Did you apply actual lipstick & press-on nails for that before & after shot, or is that the very latest HP effect?

    If it’s real then I gotta say the sacrifices you make for us are truly astounding. It brings a tear to the eye.

  9. Is it you? or is it Photoshop? Only your photographer knows for sure!

    I can no longer remember where I first saw this link http://demo.fb.se/e/girlpower/retouch/retouch/index.html

    (it was probably right here at IBTP) but its a great interactive reminder of how the pros do it: everyb magazine cover, every ad, every celebrity shoot, can now be photoshopped, or “pinkified.”

  10. On a whole ‘nother note, what the hell, let’s talk about leg shaving. I began shaving my legs in the summer months at the age of 19. This causes my legs to look and feel less sexy than they did before because I’m the type of person who gets a 5 o’clock shadow on the knees starting around noon, and by 5 I’m stubbly all over. Less sexy as seen close-up or by me, that is – though from a distance or if I check ’em out in a distant mirror they look quite patriarchalicious, as long as my muscular thighs are glimpsed only in tantalizing slices, that is.

    So, for a woman like me – shaving is good if you want to avoid being insulted by complete strangers as you walk down the street, but not so good in terms of actually looking or feeling sexy to anyone who gets close enough for actual sex to take place. Which is the proper new, empowerful feminist response?

    a) Shave 3 times a day in penance for having inferior, hirsute genes, suggestive of high testosterone levels or equally heinous sins?
    b) Shell out a couple thousand bucks for laser hair removal. Wait ’til patchy hair grows back in so you can see where the laser failed, creating a look more laughable than the hairy or hairless alternatives. Spend another couple thousand to eradicate those hairs, repeat until you go broke.
    c) Try to popularize the 5 o’clock knees look by writing a script for a female-led version of a Miami Vice like show, where our lead has been too busy screwing around with victims and suspects to bother shaving much.
    d) Simply avoid coming into close contact with anyone. The point is to look ready for sex – actually having sex is quite irrelevant. Also, do not touch your own legs or anything in the vicinity.

  11. You left out the auto-slim feature!

  12. Oh – here we go!

    e) Wear skin-tight leather pants year round. For sex, wear skin-tight leather chaps instead. Thus, no one touches the stubble, and I acquire a rep as a very kinky girl without anybody even having to know the horrible disfigurement I overcame to get there.

    Now that’s feminist!

  13. If you haven’t seen Happy Feminist’s post, too late, already the comments are all Belldame222, all the time. Does she get paid by the word, like Charles Dickens did?

    It’s the usual Belledame222 diatribe, radfems-are-evil, in triplicate Shrugs uncomfortably! :headesk: Apples and oranges! I’ll decide what’s liberating! Stop attacking women, you %$#@** woman! [Insert additional nasty person attacks here for realism]

  14. tonypatti.com

    I know it’s amusing to speculate as to what the proper feminist response is to this or that, but when it comes to assuming that someone – Twisty for example, who does not – is out there dictating the proper feminist stance on leg shaving or hair gel is just wack.

    When Twisty points out the simple and obvious fact that BUST magazine devotes a good portion of their editorial focus to grooming and fashions rather than feminism, the response invariably devolves to agonizing over whether or not a woman grooming herself in whatever way she wants to is feminist or not.

    I need to state explicitly that I don’t blame women for going there; I blame the patriarchy for creating the insecurities that take them there. But there is no profit in worrying about whether shaving your legs makes you a tool or not.

    It seems like once you understand some grooming motivations have their root in our cultural biases to please men, you can relax and either do it or don’t, knowing either way that your awareness of the underlying assumptions gives you a little more freedom to choose your poison. If you feel free to opt out it’s probably because you are fortunate in some respect, rather than being a ‘better feminist’.

  15. “The point is to look ready for sex – actually having sex is quite irrelevant.” antelope

    The point is to look ready for sex at all times – actually having sex makes you a slut.

    “It seems like once you understand some grooming motivations have their root in our cultural biases to please men, you can relax and either do it or don’t, knowing either way that your awareness of the underlying assumptions gives you a little more freedom to choose your poison. If you feel free to opt out it’s probably because you are fortunate in some respect, rather than being a ‘better feminist’.” TP

    Thank you!

  16. literaryhoax.com

    Blaming par excellence. I’m so tired of being told that spending leisure hours on “personal enhancement” is liberating.

  17. karenroadchronicles.blogspot.com

    The Twisty on the right looks like Olivia from “Law and Order SVU”. Yipes.

    Right on, Mar Iguana. My thoughts exactly.

  18. Sometimes I don’t know how Happy Feminist does it, dealing with the bullshit like she does.

    By the way, I believe I had that lipstick color when I was a teen. I believe it’s called, “Hymen Sweetness Rape Target” but I could be mixing that one up with “Liberated Female Who Loves Giving Head, Tee Hee.” They’re both from Covergirl.

  19. I just came across your blog a few days ago and I’m hooked. I, for one, am loving Twisty brand feminism, even if it means I must be yet another humorless feminazi who doesn’t shave her legs.

  20. Twisty, hon, I think you really ought to stay away from those red-based tones. I think maybe a nice burnished copper would suit you, no?

  21. It’s the Mona Lisa “Give me a break” smile in both versions I like.

  22. blamethedrugwar.blogspot.com

    Why do they think you are humorless? That pic of you wearing pink make up was the funniest thing I viewed in all my internet travels in a long time. I think it’s the ladies defending BUST that came across as humorless.

  23. I have to say, that shade of pink lipstick is really not “you.” If you like, I could suggest something better suited to your skin tone. :)

  24. On one of those how-to please any man who happens along sexbot instructive websites that sell applicances of some kind they carefully tell us point by point how to apply lipstick so we don’t leave it all over the perpendicular organ. I’ll try to find it. Helpful. That’s me.

  25. It just never occurred to me, ever, that I should shave my legs. So I never have. It was more of a default inaction than a calculated political inaction. But I’m glad to know that I am a feminazi, however unwittingly.

  26. Twisty, I heart you. Where on earth did the idea ever come from that women have to uglify themselves to be feminist? Caring about good clothes and well-cut hair doesn’t have to be about pleasing men. Au contraire, pigeonholing feminists as bra-burning lesbians who don’t shave their legs is an expression of resentment at the very idea that women aren’t defined in terms of their relationships to men.

  27. Twisty

    You know, it took me 30 minutes to photoshop my makeup. I can’t imagine how long it would take in real life. The nails alone would take an hour. Just long enough to watch my doppelganger in an episode of “Law & Order: Teen Sex Slave In Torn Lingerie Unit”.

  28. forfuckssakes.net

    You know, I am trying to get it how someone could take the critique aimed at Bust and turn into a critique aimed at themselves.
    Strawtwisty anyone, or just deep

  29. Well, let’s see. I’m really looking crappy right now, but I’m too comfortable to do anything about it. How dare I? Only men are allowed such privileges.

  30. wendyhome.com

    I truely beleive its capitalism that has pushed the productisation of conceptions of buety (by a Razor to shave, buy implants, buy make-up etc). I know boys who find nail varnish unattractive, who find armpit hair ery sexy etc. These are not American boys, it feels like America has a particularly virulent form of image-based gender role playing

  31. Wait, did I miss something? What’s wrong with Olivia and Law & Order: SVU?

  32. Man, Edith I laughed so hard at your post. I put that quote on my webpage. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time.

    I stopped shaving my legs when I was 19 and now I am 24. I shave them about once every two months when the hair starts to bug me. (It rubs against my pants.) But honestly that’s my only motivation:comfort. It has never been a problem in relationships either. I don’t see what the hype is about. It really isn’t a big deal.

  33. unsanesafe.blogspot.com

    I can’t even look at the second picture (the after shot). The lipstick is too squishy and makes me feel sick every time.

  34. “It really isn’t a big deal.” sparkledark

    You know, it kind of was a big deal when I went into junior high school and life as I knew it ended. On top of the rest of the torture, I was eeewwwwed and getting the stink eye for being so disgusting as to walk around with such hairy legs. And, they were too.

    Where my mom came from, only “bad” women shaved their legs. I got grounded for weeks when I disobeyed.

  35. Why isn’t there a load of baby blue crap all over the landscape for men with breast cancer?

    Nevermind. I know. God damned patriarchy.

  36. Langsuyar’s thoughts from waaaay behind the curve (too many weekend blogs to catch up with on a Monday morning):

    I stopped shaving my legs not long after I started reading Twisty. There may even be a causal relationship over and above the correlational one. Shocking, but true. And I’m not going to be ashamed to admit it any longer.

    There, I said it. Twisty, you really ARE to blame for corrupting the women of America! I bet that gives you the warm fuzzies.

    Okay, okay, so I’ve shaved once since I “stopped” but my person of interest didn’t notice either way so WOOPIE! ten less minutes in the morning and ten fewer dollars a week! Plus, I haven’t gotten sunburned on my knees since, and if that isn’t a benefit when one lives in Florida, I don’t know what is.

    All in all, the point is that selling women empowerment through makeup and fashion is bullshit whether the seller is Avon or Bust. I’m pleased to not buy, and I’d like to thank Twisty for helping me reach that point in some small way. The 500 page textbook on radfem from the library helped a little, too.

  37. animeg.blogspot.com

    I wonder if winter brings on a good strain of strawfeminism. I tend to miss my weekly shavings in the winter, for obvious reasons.

  38. markw.livejournal.com

    The pictures are stereo! If you relax your eyes, as if looking at those 3D illusion posters, the two pictures come together to form a pink and blue Mega Twisty! With full on flickering 3D effect, yo.

    My eyes hurt now.

  39. politblogo.typepad.com

    I’ve never been able to relax my eyes enough to give me the stereo effect.

  40. Twisty, you hit on a very interesting word with the phrase “beauty regimen.” Here’s an exact quote from my Webster’s:

    regimen, n. 1. a systematic plan (as of diet, therapy, or medication) esp. when designed to improve and maintain the health of a patient, or a regular course of action and esp. of strenuous training (the daily regimen of a top ballet dancer); 2. GOVERNMENT, RULE; 3. REGIME.

    Only you can look hilarious and punk rock while fully Barbie-fied. Wonderful!

    And yes, I’m posting backwards, recent to older entries. Sue me.

  41. GreenFertility.blogspot.com


    I wrote about a health reason why not to wear bras (and of course got tons of suggestive I-wanna-see comments from the guy lurkers on the blog) but they are actually quite serious. People have known tight bras (esp underwires) may contribute to breast cancer by cutting off lymph drainage. http://greenfertility.blogspot.com/2006/05/your-bra-can-kill-you.html

    Sadly, Olga, of Olga bras died of breast cancer. So her daughter, instead of disavowing bras, makes a new “lymph massaging” bra. It’s till a rubber band around your lymph nodes!!!

    Keep up the good work!


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