Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Silly War On Feminism

I have been reading DoubleX, the Slate site intended to cover women's issues, to catch up after my vacation. It's a ball, sweeties, that site, because the idea is to juxtapose feminism with anti-feminism and to let women choose: Want your handcuffs off or with rubies? Or emeralds? Who would ever NOT want to wear handcuffs? Jewelry is a Girl's Best Friend.

This is so edgy, hawt, provoking and kewl. Imagine a site like that discussing the status of any other historically oppressed group! It. Just. Does. Not. Happen. Which is something you should mull over for a bit.

To give you a flavor of the anti-feminist arguments, Katie Roiphe (she once wrote about date-rape as being just sex you regretted later on) writes about having a baby in a piece with this title:

My Newborn Is Like a Narcotic

Why won't feminists admit the pleasure of infants?

Emily Bazelon writes for the other side on this issue and quite well. But to even create such a straw-woman in the first place! (I know Roiphe most likely didn't pick the title of the piece. But someone at DoubleX did.)

I call this a silly war on feminism because it is silly. Did you ever hear about those large demonstrations where feminists marched with placards stating "Babies are Ugly"? Neither did I, because the pleasure of babies was not something feminism ever addressed. What Roiphe really writes about is her view that biology-is-destiny (though only for women): Women like babies, men do not, men want sex so better call rape just bad sex. So why not state that in the title, if you want edgy?

For another example, an earlier piece about, a site which sells arts and crafts, tells us that it's mostly women who sell there and you can't make a living that way (if you could, men would sell there). And all this is the fault of feminists. Yup. The title of that piece is: Peddles a False Feminist Fantasy

No, you can't quit your day job to make quilts

Once again, a straw-woman is hanged in that piece. Feminists never have argued that you can make a good living on something like etsy. But note that the author of this piece doesn't give us any evidence about the sellers having quit their day jobs. Most of them may indeed have day jobs! That's one of the advantages of the Internet, you know. And if they don't have day jobs it's most likely not something they decided on just because was born.

The piece could have addressed a real feminist question of importance: Do we educate girls to understand that they need to have skills which are properly rewarded in the labor market? And if we don't do that, how will they support themselves in the future? If they wish to work in a field which pays poorly, do they understand the consequences and the way their options are restricted? Who will support the family should they want one later on?

Incidentally, the Bible People tell women not to have careers outside the home but that a bit of apron-pattern selling is perfectly AOK on the side. Perhaps DoubleX could have addressed how that is a feminist dream, too? Or nightmare, as the case might be.

Here I go again, a humorless feminazi ranting and rampaging. I guess I do that because I really, really love infants, including baby girls, and I don't want to think of the kinds of lives those tiny, tiny humans can expect to have in most places on this earth. I want baby girls to have full human lives, the same as baby boys, and silly wars on feminism are not doing anything for them.