Thursday, June 12, 2008

There Goes That F-Word Again

Asking a woman if she considers herself a feminist is like asking if she would like to help axe-hack your next door neighbor and then join you for a delicatable man-flesh sandwich with a side of internal organs. She gets a, "what the fuck?" kind of expression on her face backs away slowly.

In the 70's, no one wanted to be a feminist because it was subtext for (whisper:) Birkenstock-wearing lesbian. Now, no one wants to be a feminist because it's a punchline.

Announcing to the world, (or whoever happens to be within earshot) that you are feminist yields the same reaction it would to say that you are a cross-dresser, or a Morman. You become target practice for jokes like, "What happen, 'd boyfriend dump you?" It, feminism, seems to be so glazed with the cultural caricatures, that it's not even accepted as a legitamite political belief; it just means you're pissed off about something.

That's another thing. Apparently feminism is a temporary emotional reaction to everything that goes apeshit in your life now.

Your husband leaves you for his secretary with six kids?: Become a feminist
Wake up late for work, miss your morning commute, and get fired on the spot?: Become a feminist.
Walking home alone one night and get mugged by a crack-head for three bucks?: Become a feminist.
Have a fight with your closest friend who decides to spread a rumor about you contracting Herpes from the pizza guy?: Whip her ass. Then become a feminist.

And, of course, when things start to wind down a little, go back to being a "normal girl" (you know, painting your toenails and giving casual blowjobs for a date to your sister's wedding.)

With all of the objections people have to the movement (and they always have an objection), it's almost like i feel obligated to say:

"Yes, i am a feminist. And no, I am not a lesbian or a man-hater. I don't own a pair of Birkenstocks, i bathe on a regular basis (sometimes even once a day), I'm not a terrorist, communist, international spy, ex-con, child molester, schizophrenic or misanthropist. I don't worship Satan, i do not not possess a vagina and a penis simultaneously, i am not currently hoarding 35 cats in my basement. And i occasionally (but only occasionally) have a mustache."

So don't even go there.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Assume the following...

Lately, i've been inspired by the wonderful, ever insightful Chuck Klosterman, and decided to whip up a hypothetical of my own.

Hypothetical Q: You meet the man/woman of your dreams. He/she is physically attractive, intelligent, funny, loving, attentive, everything you've ever wanted. The two of you share a special mushy-gushy bond that is so unreal, it seems only comparable to a PG Disney film. You get married, have three beautiful, healthy children. You buy a wonderful house with a lake view, white picket fence (cause thats what every American wants, right?) and a German Shep. named Herman. You are financially stable, you have great sex, life is amazing. But then you find out something shocking: he/she is your first cousin. You, of course, had no idea, and neither did they. Do you tell your spouse? Do you stay in the marriage? Would your feelings for that person change? (Even the sexual attraction?)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

What Howard Wants You to Know

I know that as a feminist, i'm supposed to let him have it. But I think Howard Stern is trying to make two very important statements:

1.) Yes, white men can have geri curls.


2.) When you look like the unfortunate-looking love child of Slash and Keith Richards you are bound to have a successful career as a "media mogul".

I also understand that were it not for the Howard Stern Show, his current fanbase of ball-scratching Frat Boys with names "Donny" who drown their post-grad grief in an ice cold Budlight while Green Day blairs from the stereo in the background--these All-American guys would have nothing to watch. No where to go. No way of bonding with their fellow ball-scratching cavemen. No way of being entertained.

And isn't that the motive behind everything Howard-esque?

So when he features pseudo-lesbians who spend an entire ten minutes playing tonsil-hockey, he's trying to entertain you. And when he's interviewing some volleyball-titied ex-porn star with an I.Q of akin to a small hamster, he's trying to entertain you. When he pries his female celebrity guests for sex-life secrets and they make up outlandish stories about what turns them on for the sake of showbiz, both him, and her, are trying to entertain you. And of course, when he volunteers women for humiliating, dehumanizing acts (you know, like being handcuffed to a bed, legs spread-eagled, while being tickled with a feather) he's trying to--for the love of the gerri curl!-entertain you.

And he's trying to convey that message quite loud and clear.

But I hear you, Howie. I hear you.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Riding the 3rd Wave...

Last time i mentioned the phrase "3rd-wave feminism, the Stupid Girl i was having a conversation was thrilled i'd mentioned it because apparently it sparked a common interest :(dude, you like to surf, too?). This is, of course, after she pondered on why no one drowned at the time of the Watergate Scandal (seriously, like, weren't there any lifeguards around?). So i'm being more careful this time-round, as to avoid any confusion among those who may fall into said Stupid Girl family. I'm going to assume you know absolutely nothing about what i'm about to tell you, which would follow in line with the first, most important rule of dealing with ignorant people: start from scratch.

Deep breath now. Baby steps. Think baby steps...

I don't really like trying to define 3rd-wave feminism because it always seems like i eventually hark back to the "new direction of social reform" and "modern approach" rhetoric and I end up sounding like something out of Wikipedia.

But if i had to, i'd say it started with Riot Grrrl. With Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill, with Heavens to Betsy, Hole, and Huggy Bear; women who were trying to make thrashing,earsplitting noise. With the Zines, the Lady Fests, the D.I.Y-mentality, with Portland Oregon and the women with short skirts, smeared lipstick and "SLUT" written across their stomachs. With the 90's.

Sociologists like to babble on about how the 3rd wave generation are the daughters of the 2nd-wave feminists who are trying, i guess, to perpetuate the movement through our own cultural means. But i don't think so. I think the majority of us don't have mothers who would claim the term "feminist" without hesitation--if at all--and that relation to the movement wasn't biologically conceived, but adopted through some life-altering realization. Like the "click" Ms. Magazine described as the housewife's moment of self-discovery.

We felt that click as girls who wandered into bookstores, stumbling upon the Second Sex and tore through the pages like hungry wolves. We were college girls who, after one Women Studies class, went home to toss all of our shit; high heels, curling irons, bras, make-up, dresses and jewelry into trash cans. Women who listened to Ani Difranco sing, "I am not a pretty girl/that is not what i do" and scratched the lyrics into binder covers and post-its we stuck inside our lockers, on our doors, above our beds. We were women who scolded our mothers for waxing her legs, for wearing lipstick, for saying, "What's wrong with wanting to be feminine?"

We were women who found our way to feminism through some inexplicable pull, and surrendered to its force because it felt it good, and strong, and honest. We're the 3rd-wave. The only few survivors after the 2nd hit; the women faced with the wreckage and smoke of a war that is only half-over and trying to rebuild an entire city from ground zero.

And still, after everything, after Roe V. Wade and the 70's and all of that yelling, we still have to wonder if it was worth it. It's the gritty, awkward aftermath that seems like nothing's changed at all; the backlashes, the terrorfied men who call us lesbos and cunts and man-haters. The hip-hop video hos, the Stepford wives paying thousands to be butchered "under the knife" if it means bigger tits and a tight face. The men and women who hear us talking, screaming, marching and try to come up with reasons for our rage, like: Because we're women scorned, because we're cat-hoarding spinters who need a man, because we're tempermental, we're difficult, we're bitches, we're PMS-ing, or, as the Stupid Girl so charmingly put it: "On the Rag."