People keep suggesting* that I shouldn’t be referring to certain marginal feminist factions as “fake feminists” or “pseudo-feminists.” According to such folks, it is not my place to decide who is a real feminist and who isn’t. To me, this says that they are terrified of having their own beliefs and actions questioned. Since I don’t experience the same fear, I will continue referring to anybody the way it pleases me and everybody who disagrees can go stand outside.
So here is a list of certain marginal feminist factions that don’t do anything to advance the cause of gender equality. As a result, they have a lot of free time to make noise and try to convince everybody that they are what feminism is really all about.
“Whenever a woman sneezes, poops or yawns, it’s a deeply feminist act because she is a woman. Women are infallible.” This school of feminism doesn’t even notice how neatly it plays into the patriarchal myth that women are divine, perfect creatures who don’t need to sully their perfection with nasty mundane things like politics, work, etc.
“All choices are sacred. As long as they are not made by a man. Because every choice that nasty creature makes is by definition vile and suspect.” This is, of course, choice feminism, the dead horse that I especially like to beat.
“Women are victims. Breathing while female? Victim! Speaking while female doubly victim!! Refuse to see yourself as a victim? That’s because you are a total victim!!!” This is the perfect way to beat women down and prevent them from enjoying any aspect of their lives and achieving anything.
“The essence of womanhood lies in a woman’s physiology. So let’s police each other’s bodies to ensure that everybody who calls herself a woman fulfills her physiological duty to humanity. Step away, you scary trans person! Don’t mess with my right to celebrate my genital area!” Only 20 years ago, nobody would have believed that essentialism could make such a strong and vocal comeback. We can now see, however, that for some pseudo-feminists their hatred of trasngender identities is more important than the damage they do to all women by resurrecting the patriarchal myth of womanhood being ruled by women’s physicality.
“Women are profoundly different in nature than men. Reason and logic, those nasty male qualities, are not for women who are intuitive and animalistic. Women hate numbers and can’t understand them because they prefer to roll in the grass, worshiping the Earth mother.” Oh, Clarissa, you are so sixties, you’ll say. Then I will know that you haven’t taken any Gender Studies courses for a while and haven’t been to many feminist theory conferences recently. This is what North American academic feminism is about.
“Have to wear a burqa? Lucky you! This is SO liberating. You don’t have to be victimized by the male gaze, how nifty is that? I wish I were from your culture! Were subjected to genital mutilation? This is SO liberating. You don’t have to be victimized by all those boring sexual desires. Oh, I love your culture! Given away in marriage against your will? Oh, how cute and exotic of you! You don’t have to be victimized by the need to date! Have to work as a stripper to feed your children? Oh, how liberating! You don’t have to be victimized by the need to be stuck in an office 8 hours a day!” This is a trend that arose in response to the well-deserved charges that the former generation of feminism only concentrated on the needs of middle-class WASPS. In response, these same WASPS started fetishizing every experience of women from other cultures and social classes in their obviously fake, “Oh, I so want to be you!” This is not only narcissistic as hell but also even more dismissive of any alternative experiences than anything 2nd wave WASPS could imagine.
“Feminism is all about pregnancy, giving birth and breast-feeding. Unless you are constantly engaged in these activities, talking about these activities, and policing everybody who dares not to dedicate 100% of their time and effort to these activities, you are a dangerous, horrible creature. A woman who is not currently breastfeeding, is a freak. Why are you sitting there? Just go breastfeed already!” I call this school of thought, “If you feel insignificant and useless, go eat a baby.”
Of course, I will continue ridiculing these pseudo-feminist factions because it is both useful and fun.
* See the linked post and scroll down for the discussion, as well, if you need proof.