An acute reader once informed me that “the ideas on this blog are not new,” which remark I was apparently expected to interpret as a real take-me-down-a-peg zinger. Old ideas? Bo-ring. Entertain me with some new analysis. Preferably something more fun.
This sentiment is echoed by a bunch of “new” feminists profiled in the lifestyle section of the December 21 Sunday Times.
Screw political activism. “New” feminism is a lifestyle.
The “new” feminists are embarrassed by the old-school feminist protesters at a beauty pageant; those old bats “looked a bit silly, a bit like a stereotypical idea of what a feminist should be.” The beauty pageant in question, a new feminist maintained, was not about men. It was for “girls.” I mean, what were those protesters thinking, pointing out that sexist bullshit? Those “girls” were in the pageant of their own free will.
You’re hardly gonna fall off your chair when I aver unto you that the feminists in this article don’t, alas, live up to the hype. They’re not “new.” They’re old, so old, so painfully, oldly old. They were old when they were Tallulah Bankhead, and when they were Madonna, and when they were Suicide Girls, and when they were on “Sex and the City,” and they’re not getting any younger.
That’s right. They’re choice feminists, the gals who say “I choose it, and I decided I’m empowerful, so it’s feminist!” They’re fun feminists, the gals who say (and I quote from the article) “As a woman, you can’t not buy shoes and wear dresses. Plus all of that stuff is fun — it doesn’t take away from your power as a woman.” They’re 12-step feminists, the gals who say “Take what you want and leave the rest.”
Seriously! It’s all there in the soon-to-be-published The Noughtie Girl’s Guide to Feminism. Quoth author Ellie Levenson, “In the past, you had to subscribe to a whole set of beliefs to be a feminist, including how you should look and behave. But Noughties women have made it their own. It’s like a pick-and-mix feminism, where you can choose the bits you care about yourself.”
Like when you choose an outfit! For yourself!
Scratch a “new” feminist, and you’ll find an empowerful girl whose lipstickin’, shoe-buyin’ ideology springs fully-formed from her immaculate, politically-neutral, sexyfun, patriarchy-free choice-lobes. Her “choices” are her very own brilliant ideas. Her behavior proceeds from her own empowerful personal desires. Her rights, including the right not to call herself a feminist because it’s too embarrasing, revolve chiefly around her right to resemble a male fuckfantasy to whatever degree she “chooses.” The “new” feminist weltanshauung seems a little light on political theory, a little insouciant about the global ramifications of femininity, but you know what? Us old radfem prunes should just respect that and quit being so judgmental already.
Hence the sub-headline: “Yes, you can wear lipstick and be a feminist. The F word is being rebranded.”
Rebranded, apparently, as a cosmetics marketing gambit (again). If it doesn’t involve lipstick, you can count these hipster chicks out. Because lard knows a political movement should have glowing skin if it wants to maintain its market-share in this day and age.
I wish they would rebrand funfeminism as “I Heart Patriarchyism” and be done with it.