A few days ago Ann Althouse, a fairly conservative blogger, had some trouble with the boys of Little Green Footballs, a wingnut site. They called her names and such, and Ann wasn't very happy about it:
Remember back last February when Kevin Drum wrote about why there are so few women in political blogging? He guessed that "men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it." I had occasion to think about that yesterday. One thing Kevin failed to note is that male attacks on women are not so much of a food fight as a sex fight. Blogosphere-strength fighting with a woman takes on an outrageous sexual tone, aggressively declaring that that this is a boy's game. Are there any feminists around to see when it's happening and say a little something?
It's like calling in the plumber, isn't it? Or like something you might hear in a supermarket: "A feminist is needed in Aisle Eight to fix some spilled self-esteem."
Maureen Dowd's recent writings about feminism are really very similar: feminists are this weird group of deranged women and no self-respecting fashionista would want to be one of them. But they should have fixed everything for women anyway, and if they tried to fix something and the society refused to pay attention, well, then it was clearly the fault of feminism!
Why does all of this make me think of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition?
It's pretty fucking awful to be a feminist, actually. You get called names by Rush Limbaugh and friends, you get to be ridiculed in the mainstream media and if the wingnut sources are anything to come by you are responsible for white women disappearing in Aruba, for the falling birthrate, for every divorce that has taken place and the demise of the Western civilization. You are even responsible for increased alcohol use among young women and male depression. In fact, you are pretty goddamnawful.
At the same time, you are responsible for anything that still affects women negatively. Because you haven't fixed it yet. Women like Althouse and Dowd will not risk anything for feminism, it seems, even if they have been clear beneficiaries of it. But they still think that a feminist might be called to Aisle Eight whenever needed.