There’s been great controversy concerning the new, self-described twenty-something feminist author, Anne Gus here on Thought Catalog. An article she wrote on the 15th of March has garnered a lot of attention around the web and has brought about a slew of questions as to the purpose of the article and the identity of Anne Gus. Scroll through the comments, and you’ll see a stark diversity of opinion.
Many commenters on the article believe it is a witty piece of satire, some deem it a distasteful parody and one website even goes as far as to claim that Anne Gus is in fact a misogynistic bodybuilder from a bodybuilding website who wrote the article in an attempt to poke fun at some of the more vocal factions of feminism.
I have a feeling that most people let frothing emotions take over in trying to process this entire thing. Some have a tendency to hear a theory and run with it. I think we have all overlooked the most obvious explanation to the mystery that is Anne Gus–She might just be a naïve twenty something (Boston?) girl. You know the one who sits next to you in class wearing uggs, fondling a water bottle she never seems to drink out of, or that crazy girl you met in Cancun last spring break, whose views of what modern feminism stands for, are a little extreme and in some cases, a tad problematic.
What a girl like Anne needs is guidance, not the guillotine (like many male chauvinists seem to advocate). Anne needs to be taken down a notch and adopt a more sound attitude towards modern feminism and maybe I am the woman to help her do it. I will address the list in her debut article and give my brief and thoughts on each point.
1. Women should mess around
Yes Anne, you’re right. Sexual liberation has made women’s life so much more fulfilling. We are allowed to sleep with whoever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, without patriarchal intervention (save for slut-shaming).
I am very enthusiastic about your strong, adventurous, a side that seeks thrills and fun wherever you go. It’s refreshing and daring, and it makes me optimistic for the future of feminism. However, you adopting this completely carefree attitude when it comes to sex, is, to put it lightly, troublesome. In your article, you mention nothing about protecting yourself physically or mentally. You don’t seem to reflect emotionally upon your encounters, something that may bring you more harm than good in the future. Sometimes being wild has consequences, of this you need to be aware.
I am not trying trying to limit you, or fun-shame you in any way.
By all means, go get what you want, go get yucky with cute guys in bars, let them “eat you like a pringle”, but remember to think about what you’re doing and be cautious.
Also, when dealing with undesirable men, don’t let them get to you, instead of being hard on yourself for them bothering you, try to shut them out. Don’t give the men’s rights movement for fodder by lashing out at the sad cretins.
2. Women should party
“Anyone who doesn’t let loose and party in their twenties is probably not worthing even talking to. Like. Ever.” -Anne Gus
I don’t have too much to say about this point. Whilst I kind of agree that people who don’t party in their twenties have probably caught a bad bout of boooooring, partying Anne Gus-style is not something I would recommend.
Anne, I am not even sure what your particular brand of partying has to do with women’s’ liberation or feminism? I mean, you’re a strong independent woman and if you and your (ex?)friend Gemma want to try every drug under the sun and get down and dirty with sexy band members every night, then all the more power to you. Yet, I can’t help thinking that sending this message to other women is encouraging great irresponsibility. I know this is junkie-shaming, but still, why can’t you just stick to dancing like nobody’s watching. Molly doesn’t have to be in the picture. Right?
3. Women should major in Women’s studies
This is probably the item on your list that I most agree with. I myself majored in Womens’ studies four years ago and my life has become so much richer as a result. Sure, due to some personal reasons I haven’t been able to enter the job market yet, but I feel that I make up for the lack of occupation by being a social justice sensation! (My hubby loves that expression).
I find myself acutely aware of the structures in society that hold women down, and it is truly empowering to be equipped with profound tools of critical thinking. I don’t know where Anne went to college, but I am sure we would have had many a heated, passionate and fierce debate over interesting and thrilling topic pertaining to women’s stance in society.
Annes detractors have launched an especially brutal onslaught of mockery against this particular reason on her list. I think this just goes to prove this point:
“3. Major in women’s studies
This one is a no-brainer. If you don’t agree you’re probably an ignorant, sexist, transphobic, slut-shaming mysogynist cis white male and possibly a rapist.” -Anne Gus
4. Women should run a Tumblr
When Ms. Gus calls Tumblr the most important website of our generation, she’s not exaggerating. Say what you want about Tumblr, but its vast user base and rich and diverse content is unique and can’t really be found anywhere else on the web. Also, It is no secret either, that Tumblr is a mecca for social justice fighters, something that contributes to its overall awesomeness.
It is a great place to post strong articles about women, transpeople, intersexpeople and anyone else who doesn’t identify within the gender binary. Posting a lot is definitely a great way to fashion swords of justice, to shape the bane of Patriarchy.
What I think the problem with Anne’s, ostensibly distressed attitude towards those that oppose her on the popular website is that she lets them get to her. Feminism as an ideology is pretty much impervious to critique, due to the the sound logical foundation and common human decency that it rests on.
Young, wild feminists have a tendency to take trolling and general online misogyny to heart. Just try not to. You’re right. They’re wrong. There’s nothing they can do about that. There’s no need to be upset Anne.
5. Women should travel
Here Anne talks about being carefree and travelling. I don’t see any problems with this point actually.
The critics have attacked the fact that she relies on her boyfriend to finance the trips. This is kind of infuriating to me. We live in a world where women make 70 cent for every dollar that man makes, isn’t it just common sense that the man should pay his fair (fare) share? Oh and in case you didn’t know, it’s Patriarchy’s fault anyway that men are seen as providers, so don’t you dare complain about feminism.
What I don’t like about this point is the racist, mexican-shaming she resorts to. I hope you all understand that modern feminism does not in anyway affiliate with any racist attitudes or ideas. A true, modern feminist would never express racist sentiments in any fashion. Anne Gus is misguided here and I am not averse to lock horns to her if it came to it on this issue.
If you read this Anne I invite you to have a dialogue with about why you think it is okay to demean a certain race? The fact the the individuals you shamed were men does only little to assuage the severity of this. Not okay.
To sum this rather confused defense of Anne Gus, I would like to say that Anne Gus impersonates modern feminism–to a certain point. She doesn’t let the vulgar white men who oppose her, hurt her sensual spirit. She is a strong young woman with a liberated mind and she doesn’t let Patriarchy hold her back. She does however, alienate herself from the movement by expressing some naive (maybe I’m just getting old) attitudes and generally being too forceful on some sentiments.
I wish Anne all the best.