“I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women.” ~ Katy Perry at Billboard’s Women in Music event while accepting her Woman of Year award.
My response to this fuckery:
I mean, really?! This whole “I live my life in a way that’s in line with the fundamentals of a particular idea, yet I’m going to renounce it publicly” is beyond ridonkey kongculous. If you believe in the strength of women, you might be a feminist. If you believe that women should be treated as equals to men, then you might be a Femipanther (a Black feminist). If you believe that women should have the option to live their lives however they want to - have a career in addition to or instead of being a mother – then you might be, as I stated in a previous Blaria article, a FeminLin (someone who’s a really big fan of feminism and of Jeremy Lin). Point is, Katy’s probably a feminist, so what the hell is going in her brain balls to make her say such nonsense?
I mean, what’s the point of going around saying, “Btdubs, I’m not this, this, or this?” Unless I’m mistaken, people don’t go around proclaiming what they’re not all the time. Like no one at my job goes, “I am not a Sagittarius, but I do believe in a woman’s right to Google her horoscope compatibility with a guy she just slept with for the first time.” Um,
So please stop telling me random shit and stop bringing salmon and lima beans to work for lunch because that mess is stinking up the joint.
But in all seriousness, it’s pointless to go on the offensive about what you’re not unless, generally speaking, there’s a pejorative connotation associated with the thing you’re denying. And we all know how much Feminism, the brand, takes a beating, so it appears as though several high profile women are shying away from it.
Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Meyer doesn’t want to be labeled a feminist even though she’s for equal rights. Country superstar Taylor Swift said she’s not one because she doesn’t believe in “guys vs. girls.” Guys vs. girls? Ugh, Tay Tay, while you’re picking up your fake ass “I’m shocked people like me; I win again,” dropped jaw off the floor, make a pit stop and take a gander at the nearest Funk & Wagnalls and educate yourself. Summing up feminism as being solely reactionary and anti-male is to completely miss the point. That’s like saying the Civil Rights movement was about black people being against whites or anti-white. Um, no, I think black folk just didn’t want a stroll down the sidewalk to turn into an impromptu Six Flags water slide by some white people who wanted to water hose them while other white folk watched and did this:
But back to this whole “guys vs. girls” thing. This kind of mindset explains why plenty of people, both male and female, throw so much shade at the word “feminist” like they’re a pair of venetian blinds from Raymour & Flanigan. It’s out of fear of being labeled as, at best, combative, and at worst, a man hater. You know those broads. Those men bashing, thick leg hair that doubles as L.L Bean long johns growing, Bob Vila loving, carpet munching, can’t get a man (I mean, duh, bro, she wouldn’t be muff diving if she could get a dude), FEMINAZIS. Dun, dun, DUN!!!!!!!!! Look, these stereotypes aren’t entirely untrue (as no stereotype is not without roots in some little tiny nugget of troof aka truth;). Some feminists really are theworst.edu/admissions, but I think it’s extremely important to note that these stereotypes are partially designed to make women go, “Oh, I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be a buzzkill. I want people to like me and being an angry woman is unlikeable,” so they will shy away from embracing what is actually the point of the whole damn thing in the first place. But honestly who gives a shit? Yes, there are annoying women who go on ad nauseam about women’s rights AND don’t shave their armpits. But guess what? Dope ass women who are just into being treated as equals also don’t shave their pits. Exhibit A: Paula Cole:
Ok, maybe Paula Cole isn’t the definish of “dope,” but you get the point. Anyway, I think that people like Perry are wary of being associated with the current brand Feminism because it isn’t in line with her brand of Katy Perry, which is the pretty young woman, who appeals to a wide range of people by claiming to be independent and edgy because she has purple hair and shoots whipped cream from her tatas:
You know, the kind of independence and edge, which isn’t all that edgy if you’re over the age of thirteen. The kind of independence and edge that will still attract the average man because it’s quite non-threatening. Whether one wants to admit it or not, some women, especially those in the spotlight, are uneasy of the feminist label because they are fearful of being undesirable and, more importantly, threatening to the opposite sex. If only they realized that their embrace of the feminist movement would do quite a deal in terms of rebranding feminism into something that isn’t this “scary, fringe” movement. If more women came out in support of the movement and its ideals, it will achieves a sense of normalcy. If all kinds of women were vocal about the the feminist movement, it will undoubtedly broaden the definition of what it is to be a feminist.
And someone like Yahoo’s Meyer is important to changing the perception. Sure, her reticence is not the same as Perry’s, but that still doesn’t mean it’s not problematic. Meyer isn’t concerned with record sales and maintaining a non-threatening public image, rather it seems she’s more concerned with obtaining equality by appearing to be like everyone (aka white dudes). Which in theory is a good idea, but a flawed one. All too often there is this hyper correction to assimilate in order to fit in, rather than remaining yourself in order to expand the notion of what is considered the norm. Look at the ’80s boom of women in the workplace. So many women were wearing boxy powersuits with these cray cray shoulder pads to appear less feminine, but ended up looking like they were Chicago Bears linebackers doing the Super Bowl shuffle:
All too often there is this hyper correction to reject anything that sets you apart does more harm than good, in my opinion. It’s like when people say they don’t see color. Several celebrities have said this, including Rosie O’Donnell & Tom Cruise. O’Donnell was on the Today show not too long ago about how how she taught her children not to pay attention to race. She was actually proud that her daughter had corrected someone who had pointed out another person’s race (just to be clear what her daughter was correcting was someone saying thing as harmless as me going, “Check out that white guy over there in line. Cool shoes”). Look, this is well intentioned. It absolutely is, but it also ludicrous. It’s a white guy with shoes. That’s not a cray cray thing to say, but under this hyper correction, it is deemed as such. Not only is it luda, but the denial that there are races that is different than yours is rather disingenuous and actually a way to then not have a deeper discussion at all. Because if one doesn’t acknowledge that people are fundamentally treated differently based on ethnicity and gender, than there’s no need to acknowledge there are institutional problems that need solving because we’re all the same, so those problems don’t exist and never existed. Denial is just as damaging as making it completely about race. And the same holds true for gender.
Look, I’m not saying Meyer and other women like her need to smack e’ery time Tom, Dick, Harry, and Jane in the face with their labias and be like, “I am a woman. Hear me roar!!!” But to pretend that men and women are completely and 100% the same isn’t helping matters. Pretending things are the same has, in fact, not made things the same and equal and only continues to reinforce the same inequalities. Women still don’t make as much as men. Aren’t always taken as seriously as men. So let’s be honest and open about it, owners of lady bits. Let’s not just live our lives as a feminists in private, but in public, make sure no one identifies us as that for fear of someone slipping us a Bic razor as a hint to shave our legs. Let’s let go of the fear of judgement, of being labeled a man hater, because the fear is not what is important. The strive for equality is. So to all you Katy Perrys and Marissa Meyers out there, knock it off. You’re a feminist. Be proud of it. End of story.