A friend on mine posted this on FB:
liberalism is a wild ride.
pornhub advertises for breast cancer awareness, monsanto is a “LGBT-friendly” place to work, “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirts are being made by impoverished bangladeshi women for cents a day.
what is it going to take for people to wake the fuck up and realize that this is not what “progress” looks like?
It was this, in conjunction with the two “creepy fauxminist” threads (1,2) that got me thinking. Much of the discussion in those two threads seemed to converge on whether men should even self-identify as feminists, at least publicly. I followed some of the discussion and even made the argument that if you identify a certain way internally, then you should identify that way externally, but that was a broader idea.
I’m personally not a feminist. I used to identify as one, and nowadays, I mostly see it as a very white, relatively wealthy, affectation that, in order to present properly, requires more intellectual capital and labor than a lot of people are able to provide. In my eyes, within “feminist” communities there is a recapitulation of the same old shitty dynamics that I see everywhere else in the world, with many of the same consequences. To be clear, since complaining about feminism on the Internet has certain tendencies, I’m not complaining that feminism has flipped the tables to disadvantage men, but that I’m not sure it serves its own purported agenda–especially with regards to poorer, browner, non-English speaking women.
T-shirt feminism is sort of the symbolic height of what I’m talking about here: Buying a t-shirt to express your feminism that was sewn by a 12 year old girl. Of course to some extent, especially if you don’t have money, all your clothes are sewn by poorer people, and that’s not always a trap you can avoid without risking exposure to the elements. Here, it’s the lack of self-awareness that matters.
This is where you can argue “no-true-feminist” I suppose, but I really think the term has undergone significant dilution over the years. I don’t know “what a feminist looks like.” I don’t trust people who call themselves feminists of any gender-- not because they call themselves feminists, but because to some extent, everyone calls themselves a feminist now. I also don’t care to police terms. That’s a waste of everyone’s time, and leads to several dynamics I despise. Term policing just turns into one-upsmanship, and has this convenient way of shutting people up who are constantly already told to shut up–in gentler “progressive” form. But I don’t see a meaningful way to separate the large number of people who self-identify as feminist, from predominant and ubiquitous behaviors that I want nothing to do with, and which I suspect, neither do a lot of “feminists.”
Anyway, I’ve prattled on about this long enough, the point was to open the floor to the question of whether “feminism” is a useful term, and are we (yes this is an obnoxious term, but I think we can agree I’m not using it in the usual sense) post-feminist?
(And if anyone restarts that crappy discussion about calling Conway “ugly” I will come to your house and cut you. I will. I mean it.)