As I have mentioned before, I consider myself a feminist. I believe in the equality of women and I believe that every woman should have the right to decide her own fate. If she wants to be CEO of a fortune 500, she has a right to do that. If she wants to be a stay at home mother and raise kids, that is cool too. With that said, I have a lot of issues with the women that are the leaders of the feminist movement. I think they give feminism a bad name by berating things that have no place in the feminist argument, or by promoting ideas that, while important, aren’t really big issues in the world today. So when I read this article by feminist maven Camille Paglia, it made me a little bit crazy.
The article is a rant that starts with describing how both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry are setting back the feminist movement by comparing these women to popular women of the 1950s:
It feels positively nightmarish to survivors like me of that rigidly conformist and man-pleasing era, when girls had to be simple, peppy, cheerful and modest. Doris Day, Debbie Reynolds and Sandra Dee formed the national template — that trinity of blond oppressors!
Seriously?Blond oppressors? Or could they be described as early working mothers who paved the way for other actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Drew Barrymore? Personally I find the image of the housewife something to aspire to and hold up as something I always wanted to achieve. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to have a beautiful home and happy kids! Why is making that choice considered oppression? There are 5.6 million stay at home mothers in the United States. That is a lot of women who made a choice to stay at home with their kids. Why is their choice any less valid then women who choose to work outside their home?
The article continues with a diatribe about the sexuality of white upper-class female Americans:
Whatever sex represents to this generation of affluent white girls, it doesn’t mean rebellion or leaving the protective umbrella of hovering parents. The messy party scenes where everyone boastingly goes crazy don’t have the debasement and ostracism of true decadence once projected by such avant-garde groups as The Velvet Underground and The Doors. No alienation here! On the contrary, the young revelers just pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go home zonked to doting Mom and Dad. Partying till you drop has gotten as harmless as a Rotary Club meeting.
Now, when I was in high school there was a lot of partying and a lot of hooking up, but there was also still a strong culture of not wanting to be labeled a “slut”. I have no idea what it is like now-a-days, but if what Ms. Pagila is saying is true, then it sounds to me like the whole sexual revolution has done its job. If females can choose to hook up with whomever they want and/or not hook up and either way they will be accepted, then I say feminism has done its job. Wasn’t the whole point of the sexual revolution to equalize the sexual prowess of both sexes?
Then Ms. Pagila goes on to define authentic eroticism as Rihanna. RIHANNA!
Authentic sizzling eroticism does appear among the strata of high-earning female celebrities. Rihanna, who earned $53 million last year, was born and raised on Barbados, and her music — even with its chilly overuse of Auto-Tune — has an elemental erotic intensity, a sensuality inspired by the beauty of the Caribbean sun and sea. The stylish Rihanna’s enigmatic dominatrix pose has thrown some critics off. Anyone who follows tabloids like the Daily Mail online, however, has vicariously enjoyed Rihanna’s indolent vacations, where she lustily imbibes, gambols in the waves and lolls with friends of all available genders. She is the pleasure principle incarnate.
Say what? If I am understanding Ms. Pagila correctly, she is saying that because Rihanna rolls around in almost nothing on a beach she is more sexually authentic then either Katy Perry or Taylor Swift because those two women dress like they are in the 1950s? Seriously? Is she really holding Rihanna up as a paragon of feminist sexuality? I mean Rihanna has gone back to the man that beat her up! And that is who Ms. Pagila is suggesting should be a feminist role model? But Taylor Swift,who realizes some guy is just messing with her heart by getting back together with her after he is feeling a bit lonely and puts a stop to it, is not feminist material? Am I living in some sort of bizarro world? Because I just don’t get it.
The article continues with comments about Jennifer Lopez (good) and the Twilight series (bad). It isn’t until the very last paragraph that Ms. Pagila comes to the point of the entire diatribe, and that is the lack of older female parts in Hollywood.
Middle-class white girls will never escape the cookie-cutter tyranny of their airless ghettos until the entertainment industry looks into its soul and starts giving them powerful models of mature womanliness.
*Rolls eyes. Airless ghettos? Give me a break. Hollywood has always sucked at portraying strong older females. This is nothing new. And yes, I wish Hollywood would get a clue. But there are far more pressing issues- like the fact we are the only western country that doesnt have paid maternity leave. And Ms. Paglia seems to be blind to the hundreds of amazing female role models that are all over the media today. What about Lady Gaga? What about Michelle Obama? What about Hillary Clinton? What about Peggy Noonan, or Ivanka Trump, or Martha Stewart? Oprah? There is no dearth of fantastic female role models, but there are real problems for women and that is what Camille Paglia should be talking about, not making up a false premise about how Taylor Swift is leading us into airless ghettos.
So it doesn’t shock me one bit that when Katy Perry accepted her Woman of the Year award from Billboard she opened her acceptance speech with these word, “I’m not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women.” Well guess what? Katy Perry is a feminist, just not as defined by the feminist leadership. It seems as if you want to be feminine, you cant be a feminist, which is something I am diametrically opposed to. It seems as if others feel the same way I do:
Thus, for Serano, some women may feel alienated from feminism because feminism doesn’t like them. Women who value traditional expressions of femininity—whether that means wearing pink, or prioritizing family life like Bruni-Sarkozy or sacrificing themselves for their children—can feel scorned and belittled by the feminist movement. The scorn can, as Serano says, feel similar to the misogyny that feminism is supposed to oppose.
Thank you Serano! I don’t know who you are, but I agree with you. It seems to me that the “problem” with feminists is they dont seem to accept those of us who want to be feminine. And until they do, they are going to loose the younger generation who see feminism as a dirty word. Which is a shame because until we all work together, we will still be paid less, have less opportunities, and continue to be bombarded by silly articles about things that really don’t matter instead of solving real issues that affect all women.