Daily Dose of Annoyance

There is this series running on a blog in my feed where “feminists” explain their brand of feminism in the form of an interview. The series is a constant source of hilarity mixed with annoyance for me. See, for example, the most recent interview:

In addition, becoming a mother certainly enhanced, if not changed, my definition of feminism. Practicing attachment parenting, becoming a nurturer and essentially a stay-at-home mom, certainly shoved me into a more feminine way of existing that I had perhaps not been able to fully embody. After all, feminism is not about women being treated like men, but about both men and women being valued equally and choosing their own role. For me, this role of mother forced me to face the ways that I placed more value on the parts of myself that were more masculine. Appreciating equally my feminine nature has been a challenge, yes, but a useful exercise.

Got it? There is something called “a feminine nature” which consists of becoming a housewife and a “nurturer.” There is also a lot of blabber about “true nature” and “essence.” This is such an open and unapologetic brand of essentialism that I’ve got to wonder whether this “feminist” has read a single book on the movement she claims to belong to.

Also observe the suggestion that it is not possible “to fully embody a more feminine way of existing” without being a housewife. And, of course, a mother. Because as we, feminists, have been trying to demonstrate for centuries, women who are not mothers are not real women. Oh wait, that wasn’t feminists who promoted that idea.

I especially love the part where the interviewee states that feminism is not about women being treated like men. It’s super cool to have all of the rights, yet none of the responsibilities of men. “I want to be treated with respect as a valid human being, yet I will sit here being all truly and essentially feminine and refusing to bear any financial responsibility for myself and my own child, while you go out and try to make a living. Because I’m a woman, and my duty in life is to get married and make babies. Of course, men get married, make babies and then also have to slay themselves working like dogs to keep their wives and babies. But, hey, each gender should have its own sphere in life ’cause, you know, faaaaayminism!” That’s a pretty nifty gig. And then people ask why feminism is losing relevance for many people. What a surprise, given the basic hypocrisy of such “feminists” as this one.

Isn’t that fantastic, folks? One can now happily accept all of the stereotypes about the “true essence of womanhood” as motherly, nurturing, completely dedicated to the family and having no professional and social life of one’s own, finding one’s entire value in life through the role of a wife and a mother and sell this as some kind of an especially “spiritual” feminism.

As I read this idiotic interview, I was constantly reminded of the image of womanhood promoted by the propaganda machine of the Catholic Fascist dictatorship of Franco in Spain. The dictatorship was passionately dedicated to destroying all of the feminist advances of the Second Republic. It never stated that women were inferior to men, of course. The anti-feminist beliefs promoted by the dictatorship revolved around the idea that women were particularly spiritual and sensitive beings who didn’t need to debase themselves with things like a professional and social realization. The true nature of femininity, the dictatorship said, was all about nurturing, mothering, and practicing the special and precious femininity of housewives.

If this interviewee spent a little less time blabbering about spiritual nurturing and true femininity, maybe she’d get a chance to educate herself and find out that her “feminism” is in no way different from the ideology of one of the most anti-women regimes of the XXth century.

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31 thoughts on “Daily Dose of Annoyance”

  1. Christ, what an annoying woman.

    “As my spirituality has evolved,..”

    I suspect people like her use the word ‘spiritual’ because they find ‘religious’ too icky.

    Perfect harmony:
    Late twenties yoga teacher, organic food, vegan, alternative medicine, the daily show, spiritual.

    One of these brands is not like the other:
    Late twenties yoga teacher, organic food, vegan, alternative medicine, the daily show, religious.

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  2. I’m at a disadvantage when it comes to recognizing American types. I get the impression she thinks the Universe Itself literally shoved her places. I’m too old fashioned to understand what this means.

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  3. I love that you are so unapologetic. I am a wuss when it comes to writing these things online and I cowtow to political correctness more often than I should.

    Bottom line: I strongly feel that everyone should work, and that financial independence is key to an equal partnership and remaining connected to your partner (because if you wipe snot all day and he is at work, there is little understanding of how tired each one is… Have been there for a few months postpartum with each of my kids, would never do the housewifery full time). My husband says many women simply don’t want to work because it’s so much easier to be kept. I don’t think taking care of kids is easy, not by a long shot, but as someone who is an ambitious woman I cannot understand a woman who spent tear on training and education only to stay at home. I just don’t. What a waste of her time and money.

    Btw, my husband has an MS, I have a PhD. I make twice what he does and we could easily live on my salary if he were to stay at home. But I would never want him to and he would never want that for himself. We are both working and both raising the kids. If they are screwed up, we are both to blame. And no one is smothered by 24/7 hovering parents.

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    1. I agree with this comment so much that I want to kiss every word of it. 🙂

      The funny thing is that people who bash working mothers and suggest that women who don’t have children are not fully feminine are never apologetic about their ideas. So why should I be about mine? There are so few people who actually promote my brand of feminism that I’m convinced that voices like mine and yours are crucial.

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    2. ((Bottom line: I strongly feel that everyone should work, and that financial independence is key to an equal partnership and remaining connected to your partner))

      Right, cause feminism isn’t about giving women choices, or anything. No. Everyone should work. Everyone. Got it!

      And obviously someone who doesn’t bring home the bacon can’t remain strongly connected to their partner who does. I mean, obviously. If it wouldn’t work for you, it can’t possibly work for anyone. Right?

      Gah.

      I agree that gender essentialism is crap and this daily dose of annoyance is indeed very annoying, but can we please tell the gender essentialists to knock it off without disdaining the lives and choices of stay at home moms? Is that so hard?

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      1. “Right, cause feminism isn’t about giving women choices, or anything. ”

        – On this blog, we do not support “choice feminism.”

        “And obviously someone who doesn’t bring home the bacon can’t remain strongly connected to their partner who does”

        – If “strongly connected” means “completely dependent and infantilized”, then they sure can.

        ” If it wouldn’t work for you, it can’t possibly work for anyone.”

        – The patriarchal model does, indeed, work for many people.

        “but can we please tell the gender essentialists to knock it off without disdaining the lives and choices of stay at home moms”

        – No, we can’t. These “choices” are horribly cannibalistic and damaging to their miserable children who have to bear the cross of a socially unadapted, permanently depressed and clinging Mommy for as long as they live. If they can choose to castrate their existences, I can choose to say what I think of that choice.

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        1. “1st, 2nd, 3rd wave feminism. I cant wait for the 19th version. It should be real interesting by then.”

          – I’m planning to come up with the final and best version. Stay tuned. 🙂

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  4. You make some valid points about this woman’s ideas, but there is a harshness to the tone in the writing that seems dissonant with educating people. I feel as though I have been yelled at and chastised for even reading Mamafesto’s blog even though I wasn’t the interviewee to whom you refer.

    In a world where the feminist pendulum has swung from fighting for equal rights to make our own choices, to hating men, and now coming back again, many women struggle with what it means to be a feminist and a woman. As such I have enjoyed the series and appreciate that we are all at different points on this journey.

    We should be educating each other that we fight for freedom of choice and equal treatment and pay no matter the choice we make. Browbeating gets us nowhere and is exactly what earned the term “Femimism” the definition of “Man-hater.”

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    1. I have no idea how anybody could have arrived at the conclusion that I’m a “manhater” from this post. I also don’t understand why anybody should feel bad about reading the series when I obviously also read them.

      Yes, I’m aggressive. This is the brand of femininity I practice. And I’m really over the fear that people will see me as too shrill and angry. If I want to be shrill and angry at my own space, that is what I will do. I do not consider smiling and batting my eyelashes in attempts to persuade everybody that I’m nice, harmless and conciliatory to be a valid political or ideological tool.

      The world needs more aggressive, powerful women who express themselves honestly, strongly and directly. This entire idea that women need to manipulate others to accept us and hear us by being as unoffensive as possible is deeply patriarchal in nature. And the fear that people will not like me if I say what I want is very childish.

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      1. //Yes, I’m aggressive. This is the brand of femininity I practice.

        LOL! Clarissa, your blog probably is the only place on Internet to read such a sentence.

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        1. “LOL! Clarissa, your blog probably is the only place on Internet to read such a sentence.”

          – Oh, thank you! I dig the compliment. But I’m sad that we don’t have more places where “feminine” and “aggressive” happily coexist in one sentence.

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      2. Oh good Lord we have gone backwards if we have to have women always being softspoken and gentle so as not to hurt anyone’s delicate fee-fees. What is this, 1962? FFS, this is the internet, if what Clarissa said and the way she said it is too “harsh” then don’t read any other feminist websites! Or any other websites for that matter. (And avoid, above all, any website dedicated to My Little Pony fans. Those people can be brutal. I am not joking.)

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      3. Yes, I’m aggressive. This is the brand of femininity I practice.(Clarissa)

        Your personality type has nothing to do with your gender or does it? For all we know out here in never never land, you could be a man getting ready for a sex change. 😉

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  5. Sigh. Every time I read stuff like what this woman spews, I just know I can’t be a woman, even though I have all the parts. I mean, I am not “nurturing” at all, and any time I’ve had someone try to force me into performing to some sort of traditional nurturing role, or any time I’ve found myself having to do so because no one else would, I felt awkward and unnatural. For example: I helped my father take care of my mother when she was dying of cancer; I don’t regret it, but it wasn’t something I was happy to do and I didn’t feel “fulfilled” or more “feminine” or any of that jazz. Another example: I drove my friend to get some oral surgery. He had to be knocked out, so when he was done the nurse came over to me and started telling me all these things I would have to do to take care of him. I was freaked out because neither of us had any intention of letting me do that. The woman just assumed that since I was female I was the caregiver — I had only come along so I could drive him back! (And he ended up having to drive because his car was automatic and I’d been driving a manual shifter for so many years I had forgotten how to drive an automatic!)

    One more example. I had a friend who kept trying to make me into some sort of nurturing caretaker. “Friendship means being nurturing” she’d tell me. Ugh. And as for children, don’t get me started. Let’s just say I’m not interested and have no regrets.

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    1. How come I’m getting one brilliant comment after another in this thread? 🙂

      This is precisely what bugs me about such pronouncements, too. It’s one thing to question a person’s politics. But how dare anybody suggest that I’m not “woman enough” or that there is something wrong with my womanhood because I don’t possess a certain set of personal qualities? I’m the opposite of nurturing. That’s just who I am. So what? How has it made me less of a woman, exactly?

      And since when not having children has anything to do with one’s femininity? It’s just a choice that everybody is entitled to and that has nothing whatsoever to do with femininity, masculinity, or anything of the kind.

      Feminism’s only goal is and has always been to ensure that people’s genitals do not translate into anything ideologically or socially defined. Does this simpleton even realize that?

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    2. //I helped my father take care of my mother when she was dying of cancer; I don’t regret it, but it wasn’t something I was happy to do and I didn’t feel “fulfilled” or more “feminine” or any of that jazz.

      My grandmother also died from cancer and I don’t see any connection between caring for a dying relative and being “fulfilled”. Sad, tired, going through a very hard period, yes. Fulfilled? I never heard of such cultural idea of being happy because of caring for a dying relative.

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      1. I’ve heard it. “Caring for my (insert dying relative) brought us closer together, in a deeper, more spiritual, fulfilling bond.” I’ve heard stuff like that all the time and it’s one of the main tropes of so-called “women’s tv” channels like Lifetime. It’s all propaganda, though, to try to guilt women into always being everyone else’s nursemaids.

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      2. //propaganda, though, to try to guilt women into always being everyone else’s nursemaids.

        If it were applied to men equally, it wouldn’t be bothering me since practically anything helping people in very difficult situations (caring for a dying relative) not to mentally break is great. I guess men are never saying such? In RL men too sometimes are the ones caring for parents, but you probably haven’t heard them talking about their experiences. Which in turn could hurt men doing the caring: feeling alone in the situation even more, without anybody on TV caring for their experience enough to air it.

        Btw, I have never understood what spirituality means, if not religion, and view the word with huge suspicion. Can anyone explain the meaning, please?

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        1. “Btw, I have never understood what spirituality means, if not religion, and view the word with huge suspicion. Can anyone explain the meaning, please?”

          – It’s when you light candles, sigh profoundly and blabber endlessly about yoga, the “Eastern wisdom” and your deep essence while listening to New Age music.

          As you can see, I share your huge suspicion. 🙂

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  6. I am so glad you wrote this response. I just find the whole entry deeply offensive. “This is what a feminist looks like.” No. It’s not. That woman is very heartily NOT a feminst. If you are a) a housewife or b) change your last name to your huband’s, you are not a feminist. You are a tool of the patriarchy. That’s it. No arguments. You have several times on this blog critiqued what you term “choice feminism.” I can’t agree with you more on that point. “Choice feminism” allows patriarchy to operate in particularly insidious ways. Grr.

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  7. I noticed that almost all the other feminists on the site are 20-25 year old students. Is this really a representative sample of feminists?

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