Thursday, December 27, 2007

How To Be A Postfeminist In 5 Easy Steps/many many links

Some time ago now Verte began musing on 'postfeminism': I went back to that now because of the way the word is used in the introduction to this book which I am reading. It's a collection of women's Telegraph obits - fun, quirky read so far, but here's how the two editors (both women) used the word 'postfeminism' in the intro:

As they explored new opportunities, some women went a little over the top in their efforts to prove that they could be as good as their male counterparts. [...] The sex war is only a s mall part of the story. With one or two exceptions (notably the splendid battling feminist Bella Abzug) few of these women had time for 60s-style Women's Lib. [...] Almost to a woman our subjects would have been horrified by today's 'victim culture' and would have taken a dim view of introspection. [...] Nor is there any whingeing about male chauvinism, though most of them faced it to a degree that would be almost unimaginable now.

But this collection is not some worthy litany of women's achievements played out to the accompaniment of shattering glass ceilings. In these post-feminist days we can welcome the fact that freedom for women means not only freedom to be good, brave or clever, but freedom to be mad, bad or dangerous to know - sometimes all three. [...]

None of the women whose lives are chronicled here had their careers mapped out for them. They could not follow their fathers into the family regiment - or inherit a title. No rich uncle would take them to his club to introduce them to his contacts in the City. As a consequence their stories often have a free-wheeling, anarchic quality, full of surprises and sudden changes of direction.

5-step recap there:

1. We're the Telegraph, dummy. It's like printed Fox News.

2. We want women to continue to be special cases of people rather than people, just as things have always been.

3. We are poutywahwah with everyone who has tried to make the world otherwise, and will make disparaging comments about them at every opportunity.

4. We will make vaguely feminist sentiments - freedom to be mad, bad or dangerous to know - but we will use a magic word to make these sentiments safe rather than challenging to the white guy overlords.

5. This word is 'postfeminism'.

This is just one instance of the word, and an instance with a particularly strong dose of wingnut behind it, but these things are starting to pile up. I've seen Tricia Sullivan's works referred to as 'postfeminist' too. They are not. They are feminist. Perhaps 'third-wave' was the adjective the reviewer was looking for. I do not know. Is postfeminism an attempt to pretend feminism (like punk) never happened?

Now, links: The Debate Link: Why is the Only "Good" Civil Rights Leader a Dead One? makes many interesting points that I think run parallel to the whole postfeminism hoohah in one sense; privileged people desperately trying to deny that the civil rights movement was what it was but at the same time having to give brownie points to what it was because if they didn't, they'd look like the assholes they really are.

Irshad Manji explains why Benazir Bhutto sucked all along.

RenegadeEvolution comes bearing win: Creepy Dudes and
Creepy Chicks.

Qaequam on intellectual property. I love this topic, because it's unusual in human history, completely broken and also the backbone of the popular culture industries. One of my favourite instances of it is the Rider-Waite-Smith Copyright FAQ, which should generate much fun in 2012, but that is by the by.

David Wong et al explain in gruesome detail why we should all pretend 2007 never happened. I for one would cheerfully do that.

And, Erin at projectdownload has found an unexpected happy ending. Which is great but it didn't have to be that miraculous and the only reason it is is because a bunch of cruel, violent assholes with pretend respect for human life decided it should be so.


Daisy said...

Oy, I used two of your links and didn't even realize it! SORRY! (Well, I think Ren's 'creepy' posts will get linked a LOT.)

Great post... and I must ask if "poutywahwah" is some great British slang or what?

thene said...

Other way round - I stole the Bhutto link from YOU. :P And no, I just like making new words up by putting old ones next to each other in silly ways.

Johnny Pez said...

Is postfeminism an attempt to pretend feminism (like punk) never happened?


(This has been another edition of Simple Answers to Simple Questions.)

Btw, I have it on good authority that poutywahwah is actually a Narragansett Indian word that means "infant dropped on head by careless mother".

Toni said...

Feminism, (like punk), never changed anything. The new music industry is more sanatised and commoditised than ever and the bands that the punks hated like the Stones and Led Zep are bigger draws than ever. Didn't Germaine Greer appear on some reality TV show alongside Johnny Rotten?

Bit harsh about old Benazeer though. OK she and her husband, (Mr.10%), may have been crooks but that is the way of the world, maybe this time she really was going to try and make some changes and not just steal the crown jewels. I mean it isn't like she needed the money anymore - maybe she wanted to leave a legacy. Mind you since the friendly Americans wrote-off $15bn of Pakistans debt maybe she was just going back for another bite at the cherry.
Talking about (potential) women leaders in intolerant, racist societies I am surprised you haven't had much to say about Hilary Clinton.