Filler, Filler, Filler

I’ve drafted and scrapped my music analysis a few times so far because the words aren’t coming out right.   Perhaps I should have taken that course in Creative Nonfiction?

Anyway.  Both as filler and because I think it’s really interesting, I am going to quote the anonymous Internet advice columnist Coke Talk on feminism.   I generally agree with at least 80% of her advice.

What do you all think about it?

“In what ways does Postmodernism and Multi-cultural/global feminism critique the feminisms of the 1970’s and 1980’s?

Gloria Steinem is one of the baddest bitches ever to walk the earth. Back in the days of hairy bush, she was the cartoon tiger on the cereal box of women’s liberation, and the very fact that I can use that metaphor without irony or disrespect is just a friendly reminder of how far the movement has come.

Feminism has a sense of humor now. It’s less radicalized and it has less to prove, not because it’s any less important (it never will be), but because women like Gloria made such amazing progress in previous decades.

I say this only to preface that any critique third-wave feminism has of its predecessors it also owes to its predecessors, so that shit should come laced with a heavy dose of respect.

As for critique, I’m not going to be a douche and pretend to speak for an entire post-feminist movement. This is a just a personal observation, and quite frankly, something that’s always bothered me.

One of Gloria’s most famous quotes is that, “a liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after.” Yeah, no. That shit never sat well with me. In Gloria’s version of liberation, a woman’s sexual freedom and upward mobility still orbit around the institution of marriage.

Fuck that. That flavor of liberation isn’t enough anymore. I can fuck on my own terms, work on my own terms, and I’ll be damned if my life pivots around a wedding. My marital status is not a binary state that determines anything about me other than whether I’ve chosen to keep a particular promise.

If marriage is your thing, that’s fine. A liberated woman can choose traditional gender roles or make up whatever shit that works for her. Still, it’s no yard stick in my world.”

And of course, the best comment on her site:

What do you lot think of her response?   What does it mean for men, genderqueer people, and society as a whole?      I don’t have deep thoughts right now, so I’m looking forward to hearing yours.

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2 thoughts on “Filler, Filler, Filler

  1. Emmy says:

    Thanks for posting this! I had no idea who coketalk is and now I am intrigued.

    First of all, feminism is not radicalized enough, and still has quite a lot to prove. On that note, I’m ready to pronounce feminism dead, if this essay by coketalk is any indicator of the current state of “feminism.”

    In case coketalk didn’t know, marriage, as an institution that enforces and propagates compulsory heterosexuality and capitalist hegemony, still dominates the lives of a _huge_ percentage of women. To pretend that it doesn’t matter is _extremely_ harmful to feminist goals, since it basically gives people carte blanche to accept very problematic institutions by saying that it doesn’t matter to them.

    “Fuck that. That flavor of liberation isn’t enough anymore. I can fuck on my own terms, work on my own terms, and I’ll be damned if my life pivots around a wedding.”

    If this isn’t the most goddamn spoiled, solipsistic, and blindly privileged sad statement about the state of feminism today, I don’t know what is. She may very well be able to fuck on her own terms, work on her own terms, and avoid the institution of marriage, as a member of a particular class of people – but the _overwhelming_ percentage of women do not have the option to just _not_ consider these things. The pressure to participate in the institution of marriage, and in a capitalist system that renders classes such as women destitute if they do not work, are often not at all “on one’s terms,” (PS What kind of fucking job is _ever_ ‘on one’s terms’?) but are instead on the terms of the very heterosexual and capitalist structures that she thinks are irrelevant.

    She has grossly misread Steinem. By advocating for sex before marriage and for women to get careers, Steinem is advocating a direct confrontation with the precise institutions that have kept and still keep a majority of women as second class citizens, in a radical attempt to bring these institutions down to their knees, which is the only way that the vast majority of women will _ever_ get _anything_ “on our terms.”

  2. Quintus Varus says:

    I think Coke is misunderstanding what Steinem means. Steinem is arguing that institutions that prohibit women from asserting their freedom, both in the private sphere and in the sphere of production need to be changed. Simply boycotting them ignores the way in which these institutions function. Marriage was never the only option: there were always prostitutes, especially with capitalism. Women also entered the workforce with Steinem. But Steinem is arguing that these choices should be legitimized and supported, instead of creating a traditionally married caste and a legion of whores below it. (I’m using the word to indicate what the status of those who didn’t marry would be.)

    Israel offers a great example of this social pathology (as usual). Marriages have to be done on Cyprus because getting married in Israel is a PITA. (Thank you Chief Rabbinate!) The result is that secular Israelis are excluded from a core function of the state, even as they forum-shop for a more palatable version of the same. This doesn’t change the oppressiveness of Israeli marriage law or the assumptions it promulgates.

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