Thursday, January 30, 2014

Taking a Break From Feminism

When The Onion starts mocking you, you have a problem.

Last week, The Onion offered a sardonic view of the difficulty in being a full-time feminist.

It chose the case of feminist, Natalie Jenkins and showed what happened when Jenkins stopped thinking like a feminist for thirty minutes.

To be perfectly fair, Jenkins sounds less like an everyday feminist and more like a member of the feminist thought police.

Undoubtedly, some will find The Onion version of an everyday feminist to be a caricature. If they take offense they should write directly to the editors of The Onion.

The Onion reports:

PORTLAND, OR—Saying that she just wanted a little time to relax and “not even think about” confining gender stereotypes, local health care industry consultant Natalie Jenkins reportedly took a 30-minute break from being a feminist last night to kick back and enjoy a television program.

Jenkins, 29, told reporters that after a long and tiring day at her office, all she wanted to do was return home, sit down on her couch, turn on an episode of the TLC reality show Say Yes To The Dress, and treat herself to a brief half hour in which she could look past all the various and near constant ways popular culture undermines the progress of women.

“Every once in a while, it’s nice to watch a little television without worrying about how frequently the mainstream media perpetuates traditional gender roles,” Jenkins said before putting her feet up on her coffee table and tuning in to the popular program that follows women as they shop for wedding gowns. “No mentally cataloging all the times women are subtly mocked or shamed for not living up to an unrealistic body image, no examining how women are depicted as superficial and irrationally emotional, and no thinking about how these shows reinforce the belief that women should simply aspire to find a man and get married—none of that. Not tonight. I’m just watching an episode of Say Yes To The Dress and enjoying it for what it is.”

And then:

Jenkins confirmed that she watched contentedly for the entirety of the television program, telling reporters that she never once allowed herself to grow indignant as the adult, employed, and presumably self-respecting women on screen repeatedly demanded to be made into “princesses.”

Additionally, Jenkins acknowledged that she witnessed dozens of moments in which the brides-to-be abandoned the notion that they should be valued for their personalities and intellects and instead seemed to derive their sole sense of worth from embellishing their appearance. However, she said she was able to consistently remind herself that this was “Natalie time” and that the feminist movement “could do without [her] for 30 minutes.”

Happily for the feminist cause, Jenkins remains committed:

While affirming that she had fully recommitted herself to the cause of gender equality as soon as the show’s credits ended, Jenkins admitted she was already looking forward to the next time she could let herself disregard the many ways women are reduced to stale caricatures on national television.

“Honestly, it’s pretty exhausting to call out every sexist stereotype or instance of misogyny in popular culture, so sometimes I have to just throw my hands up and grant myself a little time off,” Jenkins said. “And given the state of modern media, momentarily suspending my feminist ideals is the only way to get through a night of TV without becoming totally livid or discouraged.”

The moral of the story: it’s not easy being a feminist. Imagine what it's like living with one.


Lastango said...

Actually, if I was a "full-time feminist" I would applaud this piece of misdirection. It gets us laughing at feminists, when in fact we should be horrified.

By focusing on feminist views on body shape, how women are portrayed in TV commercials, and other aspects of popular culture, it positions feminists as observers and critics contributing their perspective to the human dialogue.

The truth is much uglier. Feminism is Marxism-by-other-means... savage, coercive, abusive, tribal, exploitative, destructive, intolerant, and parasitic. Ordinary women are mere pawns in the gender/political feminist's powerplay.

So, if you're a feminist and the Onion starts mocking you, you don't have a problem. You have an ally and an enabler.

Anonymous said...

What's really funny is to see the nerdy freelove Atheists upset when the Feminists start invading their turf and telling them that its not okay to objectify women, making them feel uncomfortable for wanting to be free from sexual harassment, i.e. talking without being attractive.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

We should not underestimate the power of ridicule. After all, Jon Stewart influences many, many young voters by making Republicans and conservatives look ridiculous. If feminists start looking ridiculous to people who probably support them, it's a sign that the movement is losing credibility.

Lastango said...

I agree on the value of ridicule. It's a key Alinsky precept, and the Left has made an art form of it. One common manifestation is for a feminist to work an internet comment thread by throwing witty barbs and brief smears at conservatively-oriented commenters. It's a bugle call to a punk-swarm of readers to pile on with ridicule. For lefties, piling on is popular and fun. It sends a message to other conservative commenters -- and to any lefties tempted to think for themselves -- that they had better shut up or face abuse and ostracism.

It's just that I don't perceive the Onion piece to be an example of effective ridicule. It's more like the Left straining to show it has an ingratiating sense of humor about itself, and an instinct for fairness and balance. Of course, it has neither; hence the need for pretense.

A couple more thoughts, to flesh this out a bit: The Onion piece seems daring, but is in fact the opposite. For instance, the "full-time feminist" is not that at all. She's a health care consultant, a profession that might have been selected because it is nowhere near the feminist leadership core. It would take more nerve than the Onion possesses to make the central figure, say, a gender-feminist, politically active university professor. Somebody call me when the progressives start ridiculing those people, or instead of riffing off of watching silly TV shows decide to lampoon the spectacle of feminist organizations actively opposing equal rights for husbands and fathers in family court.