Feminists always have to go around explaining that they don’t hate men. The man-hater accusation is the standard response to anything a feminist might say.
Feminist: One in five women will be sexually assaulted on campus by the time she graduates.
Antifeminist: You’re just a man-hater!
Feminist: But I’m quoting a report from the Department of Ju —
Antifeminist: Man-hater! Man-hater!
Feminist: One in seven women will get breast cancer.
Feminist: Pornography oppresses women.
Feminist: I like pie.
Man-hating apparently, invalidates the entirety of feminism; women are, by universal agreement, expected to love their oppressors unconditionally. Hating women, however, is de rigueur for the modern gal on the go. I was listening to World Have Your Say on Radio Beeb a few weeks ago, when they were talking about women’s issues because it was International Women’s Day (you know International Women’s Day? It’s that sad, lonely day once a year when folks on the radio talk about women’s issues and the people telling them to shut the fuck up are given marginally less airtime than all the rest of the year). So anyway, on World Have Your Say a woman was telling the story of her Mexican grandmother who was able to “have it all” by running a successful company and raising about 37 kids. Well, one of the feminist panelists said, yeah, that’s right, successful women “don’t have to be men.” Women can be empowerfulized and still do things that are ‘natural’ for women to do.
“It’s okay to have a family” she insisted. “It’s okay to be pretty.”
No, it isn’t, my dear old feminist panelist. It isn’t okay to be pretty. Not if smashing patriarchy is on your to-do list. Pretty is merely a semantic variant of feminine, which is itself a code word meaning ‘subjugated, degraded, and controllable.’
Or beautiful, sexy, or fuckable — it’s all the same thing: a set of behaviors indicating that the woman in question is dominant-culture-compliant. The degree of compliance is judged according to standards based on a system of male appeasement (compliance should be full and discernible at a glance).
If a woman is unable or unwilling to capitulate to male desire by cute-ing herself up according to the standards of the day, and is resistant enough to broadcast this unwillingness by eschewing beauty, boy is she in for it. The Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women state that a woman will internalize the beauty mandate to the greatest possible extent, lest Dude Nation kick her non-compliant ass.
Fear of retribution (ridicule, ostracism, harassment, abuse in the workplace) — and by extension, guilt and the imperative of self-sacrifice — is why the overwhelming majority of Vagina-Americans own mirrors and buy carcinogenic products that supposedly make them “shiny,” “radiant,” “glowing,” “pouty,” “smoky,” or “baby-fresh.” Fear of retribution is why even those women who identify as feminists cling with Revlon-coated claws to the “right” that us man-hating feminazis would take away from them: the right to be pretty (or sexy or fuckable).
And no wonder the right-to-prettiness feminists despise us anti-femininity feminists; what we propose is that women’s liberation is impossible as long as women fail to recognize that the practice of beauty is an expression of internalized oppression. We’re just mean and hateful when we suggest that women, especially youngish ones with phenotypes that make them likely to score cash, good tables in restaurants, and public approval, might consider knocking it off already with the prettiness. Those perks are pretty good, but they sort of undermine the feminist revolt.
But when that feminist panelist on World Have Your Say tells the audience that it’s okay to be pretty, what she actually means is that it’s not antifeminist to engage in physically and emotionally demeaning practices in an effort to be sexually manipulative and to communicate one’s submission.
Holy shit! That chick is just wrong.
Internet feminists, by the way, who cast a jaundiced eye upon the cult of beauty are man-haters because we would deprive default humans of their right to pretty girls.