Thursday, July 07, 2011

On the stuff women write and the women who read it

Okay, so I’ll admit that the Daily Mail’s “Femail” section is both harmful to women and a guilty pleasure of mine. It’s a place to go to see what hideousness Kim Kardashian wore to a party and what Shia LaBoeuf said Megan Fox said about Michael Bay. Outside of not-entirely-accurate celebrity gossip, though, it’s a wasteland of woman-hate. Margaret Wheeler Johnson has the rundown: “brilliant women” turning into “slummy mummies”; the “truth” that women are responsible for any “glass ceilings”; getting skinny to gain the approval of other women. It delivers 24/7 analysis of how shitty you are, couched in advice on how a woman could, if she wanted to, become less shitty. The worst offender there is Liz Jones, and Johnson pulls a quote from a comment Jones made about the movie Bridesmaids.
The reality of the modern woman in Milwaukee or Birmingham hasn't changed much since Pride And Prejudice's Lizzie Bennet had to walk to visit her sister because she couldn't afford a carriage. Female companionship. Dreary, endless chores. Poverty and a pensionless, uncertain future.
Here’s why I’m a bad feminist. First, I’ll let you guess what you think my first thought was upon reading that quote. Got it? Okay.

My first thought upon reading that quote: The Bennet family had a carriage. Jesus Christ. They had a cook and a maid. They were hardly poor--they were landed gentry. Jane didn’t take the carriage to visit the Bingleys because her mother was scheming to get her stranded by the rain so she could spend more time with Mr. Bingley. Lizzie didn’t take the carriage to visit Jane because Lizzie was a free spirit and whatever who liked walking places. The Bennets’ only problem was that they had tons of daughters and no son, meaning all of their property would go to Mr. Bennet’s male cousin upon Mr. Bennet’s death, which is why they were trying to marry their daughters off as quickly as possible. It wasn’t because the family couldn’t afford to support them; it was because they wanted to ensure a good life for their daughters when the family assets became unavailable.


If you’re going to throw in literary allusions to try and lend some air of intellect and respectability to your self-loathing essays that center exclusively around how much women suck, make sure to read the source material first. And you might want to avoid pulling from Austen to support your anti-feminist screeds--she’s got layers.

And that’s why I’m a bad feminist: because no matter how hard Ball-Busting Man-Hating Feminist charges for the lead, English Geek will always get there before her.

No comments: