Vincent Price’s dessicated spouse Morella rises from the dead to kill the adult daughter on whose account she died in childbirth. From Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror, 1963. Photographed off the tube from my sickbed August 10, 2007.
Yesterday’s post — on pop culture’s ceaseless efforts to spawn pods of misogyny in every crevice — focused on a Blogthing quiz entitled “Are You A Feminist?” Blogthings are vacuous blog viruses that straight girls post on their LiveJournals for reasons I may once have understood but which are now concealed from me by the swirling mists of middle age. Even respectable adult bloggers, if that’s not an oxymoron, resort to them from time to time. Unless they seem pertinent, in a barometer-of-pop-trends sort of way, to something bubbling on Twisty stove, I usually ignore’em. This is because I am 48 years old and cannot imagine what use I would have for information pertaining to What Flavor Pocky I am. I am even less interested in What Flavor Pocky you are.
Besides, what assurances can Blogthings.com give me that the results are accurate? How, pray tell, does being diagnosed as a Chocolat Orange Pocky correlate with being, as the results described me, “the perfect partner in crime”? What if I, acting on this exciting new revelation about my inner outlaw, were to take a wheel-man gig for a jewelry heist, but ran the getaway car into a pole? Could I sue Blogthings? For sorely overestimating, based on inaccurate analysis of my preferences in anime characters and pizza toppings, the level of perfection to which I actually rise as a criminal henchman?
And exactly who composes these Blogthing quizzes? A crack team of expert sociologists, psychologists, MDs and Pockyologists? A bunch of 20-something white dudes with beat-up Dell laptops and Opie shirts? Descendants of the diabolical fiends who write for Teen People? What credentials enable them to diagnose whether I am a “PMS disaster,” or what my “girl smell” is? How can they reliably estimate the degree to which I am a “psycho ex-girlfriend” or a “spicy chica”? Blogthings maintains that I am 48% addicted to Blogthings, for crying out loud! I smell a rat, I tell you. As blogger Nate Nelson, an advocate of compulsory pregnancy who protests that he was erroneously fingered as “certainly feminist” by the Blogthing Machine, declares, “trusting Blogthings [...] is probably silly.”
But I digress.
I proposed my own Are You A Feminist? quiz in yesterday’s post. It went like this:
True or false: Anyone who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum.
Causing blamer Marie to lodge this complaint:
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.
For the past few months I have reverted to an old blogular policy, the one whereby I decline to defer to commenters who self-righteously point out my consistent failure to cover all my PC bases in these gasbag essays. But in this case I made an exception. However tiresome it may be to have another “oh the irony” leveled at me, I cannot dispute Marie’s point. So I modified my quiz statement to read “Anyone with the means to do so who doesn’t vociferously advocate women’s total liberation from male dominance and oppression is misogynist scum.”
I did this because, despite my original sloppy writing, it is my actual view. I can’t get behind blaming women for their own oppression. Besides, it never hurts to remind readers that the globe is rather more populated with women who are forced to scrap by in conditions of slavery, fear, abuse, and abject poverty than it is with middle-class American white chicks, and that vociferosity is, as Marie suggests, rarely an option for them.
But there are still plenty of people for whom vociferosity is an option. Men, for instance. As it happens, men are the group I had in mind when I wrote the little quiz. Men (except for your Nigel!), judging from the conspicuous silence of their collective non-vociferosity, appear to be pretty gung-ho for women’s oppression.
Here’s another quiz question.
Your Nigel is out drinking with the lads. A woman who is Beauty2K-compliant walks by. One of the lads scratches his crotch and says, “I’d hit that. Boo-ya!” Your Nigel:
a) High-fives the boo-ya dude
b) Smiles and nods
c) Hasn’t noticed the episode because he’s been too busy ogling another woman
d) Looks at his shoes
e) Tells the boo-ya dude he’s misogynist scum, comes home, and cleans the toilet
I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I have never in my life heard a dude tell another dude in front of some other dudes that he’s misogynist scum.