Saturday, October 31, 2009

Seeing victims everywhere

(This is not an anti-feminist rant!  Far from it.  It is more a rant on how some women are letting the side down!  So start showing some blog etiquette and bloody read the blog before going off at me. )

She has a look on her face as if she's perpetually confronted by the ghost of Benny Hill. She is convinced that at least one half of the population is out to get their filthy hands on her. That she herself has nothing to fear is not just ironic, but the heart of the matter.

The Constitutional Feminist is a new creature. Germaine Greer is not a Constitutional Feminist, for she can provide opinions that are intelligent. By contrast, the Constitional Feminist feels it her duty to stick her stupid beak in wherever a woman is so much as a bit player in the game. Routinely passing herself off as a "researcher", an "academic" with a "special interest" (that special interest being "women"). She is no different, in reality, to a horny teenage boy - not interested unless there are girls involved. Had she been moved to write anything at all on the events of September 11 2001, it would probably have been a lament for all the dead women, along with a diatribe toward al Qaeda for not trusting females to carry out the hijackings. She views the tale of humanity as nothing more than Adam vs Eve.

A little while ago, one such individual blogged a tense piece, outraged that she was unable to buy clothing for her daughter that was age-appropriate. (I don’t want to tell you who this blogger was because the author drives me to murder with the useless diatribe. I refuse to give the blogger any marketing. But it involves an appendage at the end of a limb and, ironically, a receptacle to observe one’s sexiness). This is normal as the Constitutional Feminist is always ready whenever the issue is the "sexualising" of women (women looking sexy, presumably with the aid of a shiny reflecting receptacle). She has a big problem with females who appear sexually alluring, and it's an opinion one might have thought she herself would surely be too embarrassed to make public. When the anti-sexy lobby is at long last championed by one who is, herself, gorgeous, that is the day I will begin to consider that maybe this isn't all about jealous little girls.

Not that I am unsympathetic. I have strong memories of what it was like at fourteen (indeed, sometimes even now), when I wished my features were as beautiful as those on display in the magazines. My escape hatch, rather than wearing "sexualised" clothing, was bizarre clothing and dyeing my fringe bright red (punk rock from a respectable family), a scene where looking ridiculous was the very point, and from beneath such a deliberately ugly facade I scowled at the "Beautiful People", as if they were somehow lesser than me for simply having won nature’s raffle. I grew out of it – very much so – extraordinarily so - but the ghost of that childish envy still visits me occasionally, when I see Halle Berry and re-imagine my life with her looks upon it. A psychologist might observe the clothing I wear these days - drab, quaint, or boringly sensible - and conclude that such clothing serves the same purpose as the robes of punk.  It is an exemption from the contest I know I can’t possibly win, disguised as my personal preference, which, of course, has nothing to do with vanity, and everything to do with the difficulties of cleaning off dried vegemite.

The Constitutional Feminist is evidence that "adulthood" is largely an urban myth, that one never fully abandons the desires and insecurities of youth, but simply learns to camouflage them among more serious matters and motivations.

Whatever else she might be, The Constitutional Feminist cares very much about the impression she makes. It follows that she cares about how other women are perceived beside her – her daughter, for example - but one shouldn't be fooled into thinking such concern is at all intellectually noble. It is the rage of teenage envy, fermented by years and fortified by time, and therefore seemingly mature, but not. Maturity has nothing to do with years. It is earned, gradually, with each acceptance of little injustices that the young cannot understand. The Constitutional Feminist scratches those itches with feminism, a notional factory that takes sour grapes and turns them into principles. One doesn’t have to grow out of feminism as one must grow out of punk, or a childish inferiority complex.

But the other irony of a life lived in theatrical indifference to the male species is that The Constitutional Feminist does not know men anywhere near as well as she thinks. It wouldn't occur to her that when a man sees a sexy picture of a women he does not necessarily presume her to be without intelligence or honour. Nor would it strike her that men are less likely to objectify the person in photographs than The Constitutional Feminist is likely to disrespect them - that many men, unlike herself, seem to know the difference between a magazine and a woman. It would be totally beyond The Constitutional Feminist to imagine such a thing as a man who doesn’t judge a women by her livelihood. She presumes everyone to be like herself - a freelance magistrate, narrow and shallow, dismissive of those who don’t play by her morals.

Too often, Constitutional Feminism is an opening for a type of politicised evangelism. Take the Australian Women’s Forum, for example. Dig beneath the veneer of feminism that dolls up their website and you find a solid god-fearing bedrock that looks less of a feminist think tank than a conservative Christian lobby group whose overriding priority is to criminalise abortion. Such people masquerade as academics and concerned intellectuals when in fact they are more like products of a politicised nunnery, blindly enslaved to an ancient text and angry at the knights who never came knocking.

Which wouldn’t be worth mentioning if The Constitutional Feminist was a fringe dweller, or just a sister doing it for herself. But feminism has become the bogus justification of power for the thick and envious.

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