They are missing Feminism

From Susan J. Douglas’ Enlightened Sexism:

“Better to have a little bit of an eating disorder, or a really weird relationship to food, and a hatred of your own body, than defy the whole thinness-beauty regime and be thought of as unattractive (bad), unfeminine (really bad) or a feminist (like totally odious).

All this effort to try to look remotely like someone in Glamour, matched by the inevitable failure to do so, creates a certain dyspepsia among the female population…. Back in the day, feminists had fun mocking the media images of women and took special delight in giving out awards to the most stupid, sexist ads of the year…. But now because we “have it all,” and feminism is dead and unnecessary, mounting a similar critique would be uncool, even ungrateful… So by selling us the faux feminism of freedom through skin creams and control through pantyhose, they urge us to substitute consumer feminism for the real deal. It’s still feminism, right?

…There’s something else going on here as women, and young women in particular, lament the gap between image and reality and the impossibility of bridging it. Whether they know it or not, they are missing feminism. There is anger, however repressed, about how unforgiving this new boilerplate femininity is and an instinct, however thwarted, to fight back. There is a desire for female solidarity based on having to figure out how to live, still, in a male-dominated world, rather than on having to lose five pounds.”

My favourite part? “Whether they know it or not, they are missing feminism.” Discuss, I want to hear what you think about this.

One Comment on “They are missing Feminism

  1. “Whether they know it or not, they are missing feminism.”

    Exactly. Jessica Vallenti, Amanda Marcotte and Jill Filopivic are 3 younger feminists who I admire and respect and who are doing their darndest to open all our eyes, especially college-aged women to the “looksism” of our society. Vallenti, in particular, has delved into the question of whether we are in the 3rd wave of feminism or just an evolution of the original.

    But there is the persistent drum-beat of men, particularly conservative, who insist that if a women in a feminist or liberal she is an ugly, bitter harpie. And obviously, that plays right into the hands of advertisers.

    Excellent post. I recently started reading your blog. Thanks!

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