Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Feminism: the Cause Du Jour

feminism is cool
Maybe it's my inherent hipster cynicism to dislike anything that becomes really popular and over saturated in mainstream media, but it's starting to seem like feminism is incredibly on trend. Suddenly, every third or fourth female (usually white) celebrity is 'coming out' as feminist, Tumblr is chock full of glitter feminist badges and anti-misogyny mini-skirts and the angry Twitterati is picking fights constantly over T-shirts and 'females these days' comments. While I'm glad feminism is no longer the angry lesbian third party, I'm not sure this is necessarily a good thing.

Hipsters always get a bad rep for "liking [things] before they were cool" but they are onto something with that. The moment a cause gains notoriety (think Kony 2012 and #BringBackOurGirls) it means everyone's quick to adopt it and tweet their blessed little hearts out but without any genuine sincerity, but more a desire to be a part of the crowd than actually research and identify with the cause. What's the point of Becky, Sue and Sally all identifying as feminists when they're quick to applaud faux-feminist events, see Chanel's runway last month, or do very not feminist things in the name of feminism (like this) or perhaps when it's time to do something very difficult or uncool; drop feminism altogether. And that's the thing about trends; they fade.

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Perhaps it's not feminism itself that is becoming trendy but more the breed of white, cisgendered oriented feminism that's becoming popular. To quote a recent Tumblr post I saw, "Yeah, she's cute but is her feminism intersectional?" It's great that you want gender equality and equal pay but none of that means squat when you're quick to praise Miley Cyrus for embracing her sexuality and Emma Watson for trying to accommodate feminism for men while dismissing Nicki Minaj and Rihanna as pandering to the male gaze and passing a blind eye to Lilly Allen's use of black female bodies as sexual objects.

However, yesterday I attended a debate of feminism and gender relations in South Africa (here) and a recurring throughout the discussions was that there is no such thing as a perfect feminist. And, you know what? Does it really matter that a celebrity donates millions to an orphanage to appease the press but that progress and awareness comes out of their selfish act? What I'm saying is: not all of us arrived to feminism through reading The Second Sex or listening to Pussy Riot before it was cool, some of us learnt about it through trashy teen lit, our boyfriends or Tumblr.  We've at least arrived to the party. It doesn't matter who invited us, just that we're here and we brought dip.

Maybe it's going to have to take feminism being hotter than those stupid Chanel espadrilles everyone bought last year to bring about some serious change. Trendiness means awareness. Trendiness means we're having conversations about street harassment and rape culture, we're creating spaces to talk about our 'bad' feminist woes (see: like all of Rookie). Trendiness means we're a little closer to progress.

I just hope that feminism's coolness right now doesn't mean capitalist (therefore patriarchal) debasement and spark up a greater need for people to take it off it's pedestal and create a counter-culture (see: #IDontNeedFeminism and, like, 70% of Twitter and its trolls).

I hope feminism remains cool, like it has always been, and y'all take this wicked ideology to the streets and pledge allegiance to pro-choice and anti-anti-mini-skirt legislation.
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But, hey, do you think that the rise in feminism in popular culture is due to it's recent trendiness, like Beyonce's ***Flawless and Emma Watson's He For She campaign or a part of the natural timing of things wherein something always has to give? Or do you have any other thoughts on this topic? Or do you maybe want to send me a cookie? (Yes, you do.) My comments section is always open for rants. So is my Twitter.

11 comments:

  1. "Perhaps it's not feminism itself is becoming trendy but more the breed of white, cisgendered oriented feminism that's becoming popular."

    You hit the nail on the head. White feminism ideologies seem to be the thing everyone is paying attention to these days. It's incredibly frustrating. Have you read the book Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay? She does an excellent job of explaining why feminism isn't perfect, but still absolutely necessary.

    Raissa | The Leather Fanny Pack

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    1. I'm adding that to my wish list right now. My feminist reading list is seriously lacking.

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  2. YES. that's all.

    http://www.lexilikes.com/

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  3. Some really interesting points here. Had not though of feminism this way before, being 'trendy' that is, but it does make sense!

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    1. Glad I'm not sounding like fool. Thanks for visiting, Catherine.

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  4. I honestly think the celebrities that are endorsing the feminism movement are goddesses, aka not Kim Kardashian type but rather the Emma Watson's of the world & I believe that is such a powerful thing and it definitely is helping the movement. Feminists unite!

    www.thejuiceboxqueen.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, definitely. Celebrities endorsing feminism has made it more accessible and less of a bad word and scary group of bra-burning lesbians. I don't know, I don't mind Kim Kardashian too much I just think she's a little bit, eh, misguided, you know? But I also think her cellulite is probably gorgeous so I'm a bit biased. But rock on feminists!

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  5. I really love this post! What we need to do as a worldwide population of females is define what feminism is to and for us as young girls and older women and work together to creating a world where rape culture is not something that we tolerate. We should not have to look to celebs to make it 'cool' or popular, we should want this for ourselves! Really a great post!

    zeexonline.blogspot.com

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  6. 100% YES to this entire post. When I think about celebrities saying they're feminists, I think about how it's great that they're contradicting the standards of feminists being evil and scary women that a lot of people are influenced by, and how it might inspire a fan to google feminism if they don't know what it is. But I also end up thinking about how stars like miley cyrus who've proclaimed themselves feminists but continue to act like they don't care about women who don't look like them are perpetuating the ideal of an unreal brand of feminism. I completely agree with what yo

    I completely agree with what you said about how the increasing popularity of feminism allows people to drop it when it's no longer trendy- but (i physically can't say it better than you did): "Trendiness means awareness"!

    Thank you for this post.
    //kani

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  7. This post practically read my mind! I've found myself cringing a bit every time I hear that a new celeb is a feminist. I think it's because, as you said, it's often a very bland, white, cisgendered version of feminism - I think I read somewhere it's 'bubblegum feminism'. It's great that it's becoming more well known and that stereotypes are being broken though! Yet, we still need more awareness of the nitty-gritty issues of feminism.

    http://sewoverdressed.blogspot.com.au/

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We can also talk about the overweight, grey cat I'm gonna name Atticus one day or how you're feeling.

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