There's a Feminist Propaganda War
Jan 9 2013
Hello, I’m Bertie. This column is basically a place for me to call bullshit on girl related stuff that I think is dumb. While I appreciate the importance of girl talk, I’m not about to braid your pubic hair or send you the results of my latest smear test. Instead, I will pass on any remotely useful knowledge I happen to discover re: being a FEMALE. Trust me: I’m not a doctor, but I do have a Ph.D in pretty girl bullshit.
PRETTY GIRL BULLSHIT #31: THERE'S A FEMINIST PROPAGANDA WAR
After Katy Perry was named Billboard Woman of the Year 2012 because the Illuminati's press agent needed the column inches, she was careful not to alienate the hyper-macho swathes of her audience by assuring them that she's “not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women”. Her decision to tweet such a strangely useless piece of information was undoubtedly also part-inspired by her run-in with feminist author Naomi Wolf earlier last year.
Wolf criticised Perry for her video “Part of Me”, which sees Katy chop off her hair like a maniac, bind her breasts down in a petrol station restroom and then join the marines, after breaking up with a cheating boyfriend. I have to say, Wolf pretty much called it on this one, KP: Making a video in which you have a total breakdown, repress every element of your female sexuality and then dance around a massive American flag holding a machine gun was never going to win you many liberal feminist fans, was it?
Unfortunate video aside, Katy’s tweet seems to be driven by a (perhaps misguided, perhaps not) aversion to the aggressive reputation associated with the word “feminism”, which was largely discussed in the media last year. Why should people align themselves with a catch-all, umbrella term that they feel doesn't represent exactly what they're about? I kind of get it, to be honest. It's dull talking about how important it is for everybody to identify under the same huge title of "feminist" all the time.
The word itself has also gone out of fashion, which is a real shame, and probably has a lot to do with smear campaigns from groups of people who want to quash female empowerment. However, when things go out of fashion, do we just shout at people that they're DEFINITELY NOT UNCOOL and that they're idiots, until they believe us? Or should we be finding new ways to encourage people to identify with gender equality and women's rights?
Ways like these, for example:
1. People might be scared of the word "feminist", but “in favour of Equal Rights” is a phrase that absolutely nobody can argue with. Find All, Replace.
2. Let’s make Katy Perry go a week without birth control, property rights, sexual freedom and freedom of expression. Kind of like I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, but I’m a Woman, This is a Fucking Nightmare.
3. Yeah, casual use of the word “slut” needs to die. Someone should convince Justin Bieber to make a video damning it forever; that should work for like, 98 percent of America’s young female population, right?
4. Air a special edition episode of Gossip Girl (RIP) where Serena and Blair disagree about the meaning of “feminism” and Dan Humphrey schools them both in the importance of gender equality via a well-received but morally questionable novel set on the LES.
5. National “Get Paid Less Than Men” day. That one would really sting.
Sure, on one hand changing the way we discuss feminism is a submission to the power of those shitty people who made it their goal to fuck it up for everybody. But isn't the whole point of equality that it celebrates each and every person for their differences, and doesn't blanket everyone together under one term? So Katy Perry's not a "feminist", and she made possibly the worst video in the history of pop music, but she also publicly exercises her right to work, marry, divorce, fuck up and shoot cream out of her boobs. That's powerful.
PS: I RECEIVED SOME FANMAIL
I should be getting more of this, guys
Thank you Edu! I’m glad that you have managed to turn your life around through our shared love of Aliya Mustafina, that incredibly stretchy, perpetually heartbroken Russian gymnast. While I almost definitely won’t be stalking her at her training grounds (but thanks for the tip), I’m happy to know that from her eternal sadness we have both managed to squeeze a flicker of joy. Sigh.
Anyway, listen: Lots of people spend much time obsessing like a dog for the money and pretty girls but the trick is to work out why you're distracting yourself from reality, and then move forward from there. I'm not sure what the toilet bit is about – I think that might be Google translate – but hey, I won't let it get me down. Let's just hug it out. You, me and Madrid, forever. Xxoxx
Follow Bertie on Twitter: @BertieBrandes
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