Friday, July 07, 2006

Who Are You Gonna Call?

Barbara Ehrenreich has written a good response to the Wonkette review of Katha Pollitt's book. You might also want to see my earlier response to the same review. Ehrenreich defends the need to keep feminism serious, because:

I've always liked to think that feminism is the West's secret weapon against Islamism. How can an ideology that aims to push half the human race into purdah hope to claim the moral high ground? Islamic feminists would fight Islamism, and we Western feminists would offer our sisterhood in the struggle. But while Muslim women are being stuffed into burkas, American post-feminists are trying to stuff their feet into stilettos. Who are you going to call when the morals police attack you for wearing eye shadow in Kabul or flashing some ankle in Teheran -- a wonkette?

May I also point out that the same applies to women in South Dakota and Louisiana, both states where the plan is that women can't get abortions if they are raped; the plan, because these laws will only take effect once Roe v. Wade has been demolished.

This is all very sad, of course: that the rights of the majority of this world's humans should be seen as something only feminists care about. But so it goes. And that's why feminism must stay serious, focused, on topic and (well, I can dream) powerful.

And of course I'm furious at this all. Feminists are somehow the unpaid cleaning crew (as I've written before), the crew who is supposed to turn up after dark and fix the world so that the attractive nonfeminists can live in it comfortably. So that nobody else needs to spend time or money or their lives in trying to move the almost immovable rock that is public opinion on the so-called "women's issues". So that it's only the feminists who can be painted with the caricature brush as mirthless and humorless, as too ugly to get laid, as man-hating fanatics. Like it would be ok to live in a Talibanized world if you get fucked enough and have pretty toenails and laugh at every single silly joke. Or manage to squeeze your feet into very tiny shoes. Yeah, then it would be perfectly fine not to be able to go out alone or not to be allowed birth control.

Actually, what set me off was one of the first comments to Ehrenreich's post, the one asking about where Gloria Steinem has been hiding all these years. She's been in the overnight cleaning crew, natch, and the cleaning ladies are invisible to the rest of the people.