A couple of weeks ago The New York Times ran a piece they called "Post-Feminism and Other Fairy Tales." Reading it I had one of those moments you have where you're like, "Wait. What?" "Post-feminism"? Us?
Oh, right. Feminism, that's so 80's.
According to The Times, we thought we were in a "post-feminist" era, when "the big battles were over" and the "younger generation" was "less hung up" on stuff. But, well, I guess we were wrong, or something.
OK. I know a lot of young women don't consider themselves feminists, and indeed, regard many of the issues associated with feminism as somehow "over" or boring. But I associate that idea with, like, 20-somethings. Are 20-somethings now the target audience of Times readers? What is up with this?
I'm thinking there are two things going on here:
1) Some female readers of The Times believe that to be a feminist one need not give up on sex, fashion, and femininity. That doesn't seem to me really a post-feminist idea, though I guess you could call it that if you want people to read and link to your story.
2) Some male readers of The Times are excited by, or eager for, more "post-feminism" than there really is out there.
Well, you know, the tone of the story is like, "oops!" turns out women are, you know, maybe a little angry. You didn't know that, but it's true! Angry!
I got thinking about this today because two things made me angry.
First, Dan Savage made fun of the bloggers at Jezebel because they said Abby (of dear Abby) gave the wrong advice to a guy who claimed his brother had sex with his wife while she thought it was him. Abby said something like, "Uh, are you sure you trust her story, when she says that she didn't know"? Jezebel said something like, "Uh, gee, when your wife says someone had sex with her under suspicious circumstances, you gotta believe her, dude!" Which seemed to me pretty obviously correct.
Dan Savage said they overreacted because the letter was fake; a guy's typical fantasy.
This pissed me off. Even if the letter is fake, if you're going to answer it, don't you have to answer it with actual advice? And if the letter represents a male fantasy, isn't it worth reminding a guy that if something like this happens on his watch, he'd better OK it with the wife first, rather than later?
Savage seemed partly upset that Jezebel called the situation rape. But yeah, actually, if a man comes into a sleeping woman's room and has sex with her without her say-so, this is rape. That's not any kind of semantic puzzle or grey area. How could this not be the main thing happening in that story?
The second thing that pissed me off today was when this owner of a vegan strip-tease club was quoted in the Times as saying that he doesn't worry too much about his "feminazi" critics. Seems those critics have posted on the internet complaining, and "one of them came in once" to the club and acted crabby.
OK, listen. You can't have sex with women without their consent; if you do it's rape. And you can't call someone a "feminazi" for peaceful criticism of your sex business. Actually, let me qualify: you can't call someone a "feminazi" for any reason, whatesoever! period!
These rules aren't complicated! Sheesh! No wonder women are so pissed off.