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Aug 12 2007

Are you a fake feminist?

areyouafeminist.jpg

Because I am a pore bedridden invalid flyin’ high on pseudoephedrine, I took the backward Are you a feminist? quiz. Unlike some of the dudes deemed “100% feminist” by the auto-bot, I scored a pitiful 50%. I would’ve scored a 0, but I just wasn’t up to articulating my argument against each point. But at least I got an awesome photo of a generic hot babe to go with my results!*

Where did I go wrong? Well, I’ll tell you. I flunked because I’m a feminist. See, the quiz is predicated on cultural constructs that are antithetical to the Twistolution, so the questions are framed so that the quizee has to accept certain patriarchal precepts in order to give the proper ‘feminist’ response. For instance, I had no choice but to check ‘strongly disagree’ on this one:

Men and women should be held to the same sexual standards. If men can sleep around without judgment, women should be able to as well.

To the eyes of the novice blamer, this fun-feminist declaration of empowerfulness might fly under the radar, but to the watery red eyes of the spinster aunt, the antifeminist subtext is clear: the statement presupposes that ‘sexual standards’ is a kind of cosmic constant, and that at least some people should be held to them. But of course the default ‘sexual standard’ to which the statement alludes is the male fuck-anything-that-moves model; the underlying theme is that ‘feminists’ should fight for their right to awesome X-treme boinking. The quizling is not allowed to express, for example, “women’s sexuality should cease to be defined in terms of male sexuality, you fucking knobs.”

The next statement is also about — that’s right — sex (and money; in our culture the two enjoy the most steamy and intimate of relationships):

Women should take an equal role in dating. Women should ask out people they are interested in and take their turn in paying.

Again, the dudely model is the default; not only does the statement imply that all women who date are heterosexual (if they weren’t, they would already be ‘equal’), it shows a weird fascination for pick-up-the-tab parity. I had to strongly disagree on the grounds that ‘dating equality’ cannot be singled out as a particularly urgent feminist goal; paying for a round of drinks can hardly be described seriously as feminist rebellion.** Besides, at least 50% of the women in lesbo dating relationships have been picking up the tab since time began. What has equality ever done for them?

Or how about this one?

Women should accept their bodies as they are. Women should not have to conform to wacky beauty ideals.

Those crazy women, internalizing that wacky patriarchy! I prefer “Men should not give two shits what women’s bodies look like. Men should cease to fetishize and oppress according to any beauty ideals. ‘Beauty ideals’ is itself wacky.”

Yeah, this is just a dumb internet quiz, written without much thought or sophistication from an essentialist male point of view, and as such it fails to assess any meaningful feminist inclinations. Such as the quizee’s views on porn, prostitution, abortion, and forced membership in the sex caste. Why do I bother with it? I merely wish to illustrate, since I can’t seem to do anything else, the cunning stealth of the patriarchal probes in their ceaseless mission to infect and neutralize any ideology that would rise against the Hive.

For instance, there are, at the time of this writing, 767 blogs linking to the antifeminist “Are you a feminist?” quiz. Such as this dude, who, at 74%, is “certainly a feminist” according to the quiz, but who disclaims in his post that “when we start getting into particulars like so-called ‘reproductive rights’ (i.e., the right to abortion) and the overly extreme Equal Rights Amendment [...] I tend to disagree.” In other words, this danged quiz is wantonly assigning feminist cred to pro-life throwbacks.

In Matthew Yglesias’ case, the quiz interpreted his 87% score to indicate that he is “a total feminist.” No word on how 87% of a thing can be a total thing. As he remarks, “Of course a quiz is just a quiz and doesn’t account for the possibility that I’m also a huge hypocrite. Unfeminist quizzes from the same source: Do You Scare Off Men? and Why Don’t You Have a Boyfriend?“***

Here’s my quiz:

True or false: Anyone with the means to do so who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum. [Edited for clarity on 8-13-07; see this].

____________________
* The photo you win for “75% feminist” is a close-up of a woman’s foot wearing a pink kitten-heeled satin mule perched on a soccer ball. The “100% feminist” depicts a generic hot babe wearing boxing gloves and trendy eyewear. She’s fighty, all righty, but still sex-ay!

**Sure, there was a time back in the Jurassic when feminists needed to prove their independence, and reasoned, rightly or wrongly, that this check-paying gambit would prevent some entitlement date-rapes, but the truth is that they were trying to buy themselves out of what was universally perceived as their obligation to put out.

***That boyfriend quiz is a doozy. I don’t have a boyfriend, not because I’m queer, but because I’m ‘too shy’. Shy!

40 comments

3 pings

  1. Grant Neufeld

    After reading through the “Are you a feminist?” quiz, I laughed hard at your quiz question. It’s funny because it’s true.

    It’s amazing how clear thinking can cut through the crap and get to the real point. Thank-you. Apparently your brilliance shines even when you’re ill.

  2. Elaine Vigneault

    Tests designed on dichotomies are excellent at figuring out complex human belief systems.

    Agree or Disagree?

  3. Lynet

    True! So much less time wasted with Twisty’s quiz than the other one.

  4. mustelid

    After reading your post, I had a sudden urge to find out what the picture for an antifeminist would look like. The “feminists’ worst nightmares” get a picture of the girl next door, happily doing the dishes. Overall, bleah. And I hope you’re feeling better, Twisty.

  5. Shira

    Women should be economically and socially independent. They shouldn’t rely on men to take care of them.

    I had to answer ‘strongly disagree’ on this one, since there was no option for “Men shouldn’t systematically impoverish women, thus forcing them to trade sex for subsistence through pornstitution and marriage.”

    Women should have the right to choose any path in life – from being a stay at home mom to a Fortune 500 CEO.

    The quiz isn’t even internally consistent. If women “shouldn’t rely on men to take care of them,” exactly how can they “have the right to choose…[to be] a stay at home mom”? And I can’t imagine that the capitalist system that produces “Fortune 500 CEOs” would survive the Twistolution.

  6. Shira

    And the boyfriend quiz said I was “too picky” – “It’s good to have standards – but yours rule almost everyone out.”

    Perhaps the problem lies with “almost every[man],” then! Thankfully I’m “only 16% scary” – “Men keep waiting for your dark side to appear, but it just doesn’t exist!” “Dark side,” of course, define by such evil-bitch things as “telling him about your past” and “crying in front of him.”

  7. ew_nc

    Alas, I’m “too picky” as well as 56% scary. I’m thinking of having that put on a T-shirt.

    P.S. The answer to Twisty’s quiz is – TRUE! But surely we can add more adjectives to misogynist scum.

  8. thebewilderness

    Not just TRUE, but obvious to the meanest intelligence.

  9. 19 Tricia

    just a smarmy test, and as you said, w/out much thought; rated 60% feminist, which is pretty cool considering; I’m seventh-generation Californian, but according to another test on that site, I’m a “bogus Californian” and should go back to the East Coast. fyi – I’ve seen the Mississippi, once, but I’ve never been east of it.

  10. kcb

    Well, I rated 60% “scary,” which probably explains why I’ve happily been with the same man for 16 years. (eyeroll)

    Your quiz is way better, Twisty.

  11. high-strung oddball

    I vote Twisty makes a quiz. I’d like to see how I’d do on that.

    And taking the quizzes at that other site made me realize I’ve got way too much spare time on my hands. So.

  12. Kyso K

    Too picky and 59% scary. It’s like the quizzes looked right into my soul.

  13. norbizness

    Strongly agree!

    I got me a big fat zero… I wonder how that happened? It couldn’t be easily gamed, could it? And then I went and failed your quiz due to insufficient vociferosity! When will the indignities end?

  14. Marytracy9

    “Shy” in their terms probably means “fails to suck up to men and devote her life to gain their approval”. It might be good to be shy after all!

  15. pdxstudent

    I’m still a bit dazed and confused by What Type of Passionate Woman are You. By the time I got to the grad-school question, I needed a drink.

  16. delagar

    I like Twisty’s quiz so much better. That’s a quiz which actually works.

  17. Nate Nelson

    I thought something was wrong with the quiz when I took it. I don’t identify myself as a feminist and I don’t know of anyone who would identify me as such precisely because of my views on abortion and several other issues, so I wasn’t sure how I ended up being “certainly feminist.” But then again, trusting Blogthings to accurately identify feminism or any other ism for that matter is probably silly.

  18. Theriomorph

    THANK YOU, Twisty, for revealing and reviling this idiotic quiz which I have been seeing everywhere and which has been pissing me off even more than the ubiquitous ‘critical examinations’ of TELEVISION SHOWS. Sign me: 56% homicidal.

  19. Lauredhel

    I was disgusted when I first saw that quiz: how anyone with half a brainstem could frame feminism in terms of a list of “Women should…”s is beyond me.

    Oh, and apparently I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m “too picky”. (They seem to have missed the bit that I got my semiNigel right here. And yeah, I was picky.)

  20. Penelope Trunk

    I loved this post. I learned a lot from your analysis of the quiz. And your last line made me laugh out loud.

    Thanks,
    Penelope

  21. Anastasia B.

    Wow, those quiz-things are f’ed up. This one takes the cake: how masculine or feminine are you?
    http://www.blogthings.com/areyoumasculineorfemininequiz/

  22. CafeSiren

    Gah! I took a look at the quiz Anastasia references. So fucking heinous. If I’m “feminine,” I like to shop while gossiping about celebrity romances and breaking into tears when they break up. That is, if I can find the time to shop between all the time I devote to babies and puppies.

    And again I say: Gah.

    I am also “too picky.” But people have been telling me that for years. I’ve decided I can live with it.

  23. Iris

    Hey, Anastasia: I’m 56% masculine. I’m “in touch with both genders”. But not to panic, the quiz assured me, I’m not a eunuch! The question about whether you like to be surrounded by beauty is framed as an indicator the quizee’s vapidity (and therefore femininity). Sad, sad, sad.

    I just saw “What advanced degree should you get?” wedged between “What donut are you?” and “Girly parts name generator”.

    There is also a charming little ditty of a quiz: “How ‘Average-American’ are you?” Look at the questions and lie on the floor in the fetal position with a good ‘ol amerikkkan asprin-and-liquor cocktail! Make the pain stop! There are so many quizzes!

  24. Iris

    That reminds me. A little girl (4 or 5) asked her Mom if I was a ‘boy or a girl’ at the store today. The woman was flustered and apologetic, and told her I was a girl (I got me some short hair and curves). She laughed and said “I’m not even a girly-girl, I mean: I’m a tomboy; I don’t know where [my daughter] got all this ‘I wanna be a princess’ stuff!” There were so, so many things I wanted to say about TV, about how she just refuted androgyny as a socially malignant secret which offended the senses, and that while being too feminine (princess) was pathetic and pitiable, being too masculine (56%, apparently!) was offensive to the public and merited embarrassment.

    But, I was working stock in an upscale grocery store, so I blamed not.

    Oh, raisin’ tots must be tough.

  25. Richie

    My personal favourite.

  26. Marie

    False. Plenty of unscumly people are in no position to be vociferous about their liberation: along with sex, we often trade other kinds of compliance for survival.

    To answer “true” would half display one’s feminist credentials, and half accept the male-as-default way of thinking. To whom does that “anyone” refer?

    Oh the irony.

  27. phio gistic

    1. Women should be economically and socially independent. They shouldn’t rely on men to take care of them.

    The quiz author is mad at women that have expected men to pay for things (1), wants women to be sexually aggressive and sleep around (3 & 4), and stop that annoying whining about being faaaat (5)!

  28. jo22

    “Sorry to break it to you but you’re a pretty scary chick.” Chick?

    I’m also too picky and about to gain weight. There is no hope.

  29. kcb

    These quizzes need a continuity editor. How can I be both 65% masculine and 60% scary b/c I’m too girly? The one dead-on result I got was that I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m too busy. I blame my husband and kids for taking up so much of my time. Oh, and stupid quizzes.

  30. ironmaiden

    Oy.

  31. Genevieve

    Yeah, after finding out I was forty percent scary (and being annoyed at their definition of ‘scary’–it shouldn’t be a crime to get emotional around the people you should be able to count on to support you, for instance, and honestly I’m guessing I’d “scare off” way more guys talking about how I [hypothetically] like to catch rabbits in my backyard and eat them whole then I would by crying a bit), I didn’t want to see why I didn’t have a boyfriend–both because I do and because the first question was so mind-bogglingly stupid.

    Oh, and I took the quiz about being ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’–I was more masculine, but I can’t remember why–I do remember that most of it was stereotypes.

    And Twisty–all I gotta say is, you’re far smarter than me, because when I took the Feminist quiz, I scored a 96%–not even thinking about things like how male-worded it was. Which was stupid. Do I think women should be able to sleep with whoever they want? Yes, but not because that would make women and men held to the ‘same standards’ or whatever, but because every person should have that autonomous decision to have or not have as much (consensual) sex as he or she wishes. And yeah, the obsession with paying is fairly annoying…and I certainly should have seen the heteronormativity of some of those questions.
    The problem with being raised in a patriarchal culture is how hard some patriarchy can be to see.

  32. Zee

    Rats.
    It’s on my blog. Shortly to be removed now I have been shown the error of my ways.
    In my defence, I am a self-confessed novice blamer and learning all the time.

    I got 100% too. Now I’m really depressed.

    Thank you Twisty, for punching another air-hole into the suffocating tupperware coffin of patriarchy that we live in.

  33. slythwolf

    How ridiculous that anyone could think feminism is about what women should do differently.

  34. slythwolf

    Interestingly the author if the “are you scary” quiz seems to believe that men are afraid of both women who want to “tie them down” by acting jealous and possessive AND women who want to seem available to other men by flirting with them in front of their boyfriend or whatever.

    So, basically, men get to do/fuck whatever they want, but women have to pick one man and stick to him. IBTP.

  35. Keez-R

    I’m a 50% feminist according to the crap questions of that quiz.

    In other exciting news, the kind of Passionate Woman I am is ‘purple’. Huh? I find that assessment particularly odd since I’ve been described frequently as dispassionate, but never once as purple.

    I’m 65% masculine because I find celebrity gossip a bore childcare and shopping tedious, and rarely cry.

    Those quizzes are so super duper sophisticated! They really have me mapped out.

  36. Anastasia B.

    “The problem with being raised in a patriarchal culture is how hard some patriarchy can be to see.”
    Genevieve: precisely.

  37. Lindsay Beyerstein

    Point taken that the quiz is written from the perspective of someone who thinks feminism is about the right of women to be like men as they exist today in some parts of our sexist society. In one sense that’s degrading and reactionary. Why should the (white?) (straight?) (college educated?) male role in a patriarchal society be held up as the model that all free people should aspire to?

    OTOH, the sexist society defines men as the only fully-realized humans. So, to some extent, becoming a fully-realized human must involve accepting some male prerogatives and privileges. Obviously, there’s a further question of how women should act on these privileges.

  38. Kyso K

    I’m still a bit dazed and confused by What Type of Passionate Woman are You. By the time I got to the grad-school question, I needed a drink.

    What? You mean I can’t just go to grad school for Italian (Italian what, might I ask) or sculpture because I’m a zany, devil-may-care kind of girl? What do you mean, application? I’ve been to an sculpture thesis defense and you would not catch my bachelor of science ass anywhere near an art grad program, they seem pretty intense.

    My passion was pink, by the way. A smeary, semi-conscious lipstick pink that looks for all the world like it painted its lips to look like a vulva, and succeeded so well that it had to masturbate them right there. Do the people that do these quizzes ever look back and reflect about their picture choice? Because, damn.

  39. SneakySis

    Twisty’s on the right track with this hidden assumption angle. I refused to take this quiz on the grounds that the questions are loaded.

    One quibble though: a more charitable reading could produce a quiz that is somewhat more conducive to actually checking whether a person professes policies also advocated (often) by feminists (or, “feminists”). For instance (@slythwolf), the “women should…” language might be read to say “in an ideal world women exercise their right to…” or “it ought to be the case that…”; e.g. “In an ideal world whoever does the asking out pays for dinner, since you have said you’ll be buying dinner for two at a restaurant at time X and would the askee please be that second person.”

    But maybe the quiz authors’ (nonexistent) intended audience wouldn’t find such questions simpleminded enough?

  40. Lara

    I am so ashamed I took that quiz and even though I found some of the questions fishy, I didn’t catch on to a lot of the things Twisty did. Thankyou Twisty, for giving me a powerful reality check yet again…

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