February 6, 2014

17 Things Feminists Need To Stop Complaining About

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What is the issue?
I am either a femi-nazi or setting the woman’s movement back 30 years depending on who’s reading. Pick which label you choose.

1. Liking rough sex

“I like it when a guy takes control in bed and we have rough sex, but I’m supposed to be a feminist!” This statement is usually announced at brunch and followed by a feigned giggle and a lot of pearl clutching about what it “means.”

To phrase it a different way:

“I like the way ice cream tastes, but I’m an episcopalian, how could a sensory preference and a vague philosophical idea POSSIBLY co-exist?!?!?”

Bro, maybe all it means is that it feels good. Calm down.

2. Someone who wrote something on the internet you didn’t like

Let’s be completely honest about what internet feminism has come to for a minute: we love to find examples of people who do something we judge to be anti-feminist, homophobic, racist, etc and publicly shame them because outrage makes us feel good. We love a good lynching. If sitting behind your computer asking for this or that woman to lose her job and be publicly humiliated for not being as knowledgable about political correctness as you are, that’s a bleak ass life.

3. The pay gap

The pay gap is not real in the sense that men and women do the same work and don’t get paid the same amount.

The pay gap is kind of real in a more meta sense, that we value work men have traditionally done more than the kind of work women have traditionally done. So, on the whole women being attracted to those traditionally feminine jobs hurts their income. Yes, that means there is income inequality. However, we need to make this clear, that this is what we are addressing.

Next we need to determine why we pay people the rate they get paid for their job. Just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it’s wrong (or right). What does an engineer bring to the economy, and how difficult is it (therefore needing to pay more to find qualified workers) vs. what does a social worker bring to the economy and what can you get away with paying before no one will work for you?

4. People who aren’t outraged

I know for the if-you-aren’t-outraged-you-aren’t-paying-attention set it can be difficult to understand people who have some modicum of restraint when passing judgement, but they do exist. A lack of outrage doesn’t equal a lack of passion or lack of knowing the facts around an issue. It’s preferable to gather more facts about a situation, not jump to conclusions, give people the benefit of the doubt, realize humans make mistakes, or just think: maybe there is a better, less emotional way to use this situation to the advantage of women.

Or, maybe people are just getting outrage fatigue.

5. Mens Rights Advocates / Pick Up Artists

This is America and they get to exist. Engage at your own risk.

Also we need to stop saying that MRAs are MRAs because they can’t get laid. That is an ad hominem, and using a logical fallacy to make your argument should embarrass you, your parents, and every teacher you’ve ever had.

6. Slut-shaming

This word has lost all meaning. Any time someone makes a comment about either sex or a woman it’s “slut-shaming.”

7. Privilege

The privilege thing is just a joke right now, it has been reductio ad absurdumed to a complete and irreversible demise. Let’s think of a better way to explain our differences than “check your privilege” moving forward.

8. Lack of trigger warnings

I don’t believe trigger warnings are actually helpful to people in the long run. Additionally, since the world will never be free of triggers, attempts to spread the use of trigger warnings beyond recovery focused circles is just a waste of time.

9. Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian

I remember Tina Fey talking about Paris Hilton’s appearance on SNL and working with her, as if Paris was like, the most vile celebrity in the world (unlike, you know, Alec Baldwin). It came across as very mean girls. Like, Tina was really proud of her nerdy girl image so she put down girls that didn’t embrace her same values. I would actually be fine with her doing that, if we recognized that that was the case but feminists don’t call it out the way they’d go insane if the roles were reversed.

If you use Tumblr, you’ve probably seen this meme floating around that compares geek world women to pop culture women. The whole point of it is that the “geeky” women were well covered in neutral tones while the pop culture icons wore more revealing, feminine clothing. Boobs don’t make you a bad role model. Being flat-chested doesn’t make you a good role model. Got it?


10. Women criticizing other women

Women do not have an obligation to support other women just because they are women. This is infantilizing and gross. Stop it.

11. Sarcastically telling women they’re “not like other girls.”

Every time a woman talks about the things that set her apart from other people, everyone jumps on her about her “special snowflake” narcissism because it’s apparently such a huge insult to womankind to say “I’m not like other girls.”

Here’s some perspective: no one wants to be just like everyone else. We strive to be special in our own eyes and the eyes of the people we care about. When a guy says “you’re not like other girls” he doesn’t mean, necessarily that all women suck except for this one, but that her unique qualities are why he selected her rather than any other female on the planet. And that road works both ways. Why would she want to be with him if he was not differentiated from every other man?

12. Arguing that all choices are equal

There’s a shit ton of pressure for people to accept whatever choice a woman makes “as long as it makes her happy.” Am I on glue or is the content of someone’s decision actually kind of more important than how it makes her feel?

13. How other feminists talk about feminism

If I never hear another person say “you’re doing feminism wrong” or “there’s no wrong way to do feminism” again, I don’t know, I’ll probably get less migraines.

Since feminism isn’t a singular narrative with one set of rules and ideas you must adhere to, everyone is going to interpret it differently and they can’t really be judged as good or bad feminism, because feminism itself doesn’t have criteria to hold it up to for comparison. Disagree with people, talk about your opinions, share them– but argue about the content of what people are saying not the irrelevant detail of how well you think they match up to a philosophy that doesn’t exist.

14. Whether X celebrity identifies as a feminist

Is Beyonce a feminist? Is Tina Fey? Is Michelle Obama? If the conversation takes the form of “I consider this song to be empowering” or something, more power to you. However, typically this conversation takes the form of a witch hunt where we try to figure out where each female celebrity stands on women’s issues so she can be unpopular with either liberals or conservatives.

15. Which pop culture women are allowed to enjoy

I loved Blurred Lines. Tons of (mostly male) feminists tried to tell me the song was degrading to me. Guess what? I decide what is degrading and what is empowering to me. Not you. Stop talking.


16. Pubic hair

A woman who gets a Brazilian or a man who prefers a Brazilian isn’t “more” or “less” feminist than their hairier counterparts. Yes our culture informs which things we think are more aesthetically pleasing, but some women need to (or want to) look like the culturally worshipped woman, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

17. Which celebrity’s body is empowering to women, and which is not

Every woman has a body. One body type is not “more empowering” than any other. TC mark