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Acting Like a Rectal Polyp Does not a Feminist Statement Make

Any good idea can get hijacked for the sake of advancing asininity, and feminism is no exception.

Back in college, flyers tacked up on the walls of computer labs read that “feminism is the radical notion that women are people.” I agree. I’ve always felt human (except for that one year when the immortal genius of Arnold Schwarzenegger had me wishing that I was a cyborg), and believe that female friends and relatives are human as well – with the right to make reproductive choices, go to college, join the army, make a decent wage, be safe from rape and other forms of assault, wear overalls and sneakers instead of high-heels and frou-frou (thought I do like me some frou-frou), and so on.

However, I have recently been told that feminism is actually the radical notion that cheating and verbal abuse are OK, as long as it’s a woman who’s engaging in both. Apparently, because men abuse women, it’s morally defensible for a woman to abuse a man. It’s called “subverting the dominant paradigm” and any woman in a heterosexual relationship is entitled to it.

So, let’s wrap our minds around this illustrious bit of logic: abuse is a bad thing, and we will “subvert” it by actively engaging in it? Color me unimpressed.

Abusers are brilliantly manipulative. If an abuser could figure out how to use superstring theory for his or her needs, they would do it. In a similar vein, feminist theory can be a warm, safe refuge for someone looking for an excuse to stomp on the soul of a male partner, or anyone deemed not feminist enough, for that matter.

How else can feminist blogger Twisty Faster get away with condemning the “pornstitution” industry and using creepy, sexist language when describing other women (am not a fan of heart-shaped candy boxes or “pajamagrams” either, but that entire post reeks of salacious shaming and a hefty dose of class-based contempt)? Of course, if you criticize, you’ll get accused of being a “woman-hating cave-person,” as one other friend who’s been burned by wolves in feminists’ clothing recently remarked.

If, for you, feminism boils down to “woman can do no wrong because she is woman,” you are not advancing the cause of women. This is what I struggled to convey to the person who informed me that the boyfriend whom she cheats on is also “oppressing” her by daring to have emotional needs. The entire exchange left me feeling that the “oppressed” woman in question should get to know a female relative of mine who recently fled her alcoholic, emotionally sadistic husband whose idea of dinnertime conversation involved smashing a couple of plates next to her head, and stop trivializing real instances of oppression.

The “oppressed” individual is, by her own admission, a bit of a selfish brat. It is not unreasonable to infer that selfish brattery, and not nefarious patriarchal impulses, are wreaking havoc in her personal life.

Now, heterosexual relationships in general are often criticized as a recourse for deluded women who do not wish to face the fact that men hate them. Considering the sheer number of perversely sexist men currently tromping about on this good Earth of ours, I don’t always disagree wherein individual relationships are concerned. Yet, neither do I think of heterosexually involved women as passive victims who don’t know what’s good for them. When men patronize the “little ladies” (as we are so often called), I shudder in disgust. I am equally disgusted by the same behaviour when exhibited by other women.

Furthermore, all manner of non-heterosexual relationships can serve as breeding grounds for abuse. An old friend of mine used to tell me that women could never treat other women badly, and pitied me for being attracted to men. Then she met “Christy.” Christy survived an ordeal of being involved with an older woman who isolated her from her friends, usurped her finances, and repeatedly made denigrating comments about Christy’s appearance and intelligence level. When Christy decided she’d had enough, the older woman pulled a knife on her. The authorities got involved.

Women can’t abuse other women? Yeah right.

We live in a messed-up world. A world where rape of women is commonplace (and rape of men is treated with stony silence), trafficking is estimated to be a multi-billion dollar industry, and Christian males gleefully toss off the word “slut” at women who are not sufficiently virginal. But if you think that the solution is replacing Big Brother with Big Sister, “you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.”

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Natalia Antonova

Natalia is a writer and journalist. She’s the associate editor of openDemocracy Russia and the co-founder of the Anti-Nihilist Institute.

22 thoughts on “Acting Like a Rectal Polyp Does not a Feminist Statement Make

  1. “I have recently been told that feminism is actually the radical notion that cheating and verbal abuse are OK, as long as it’s a woman who’s engaging in both.”

    Holy crap… that’s like everything feminist ISN’T. Feminism is about equality. Regardless of the direction of abuse, abuse is wrong, as is injustice, discrimination, oppression, etc… My feminism isn’t about trying to get vindication for the years of oppression but about the focus on equality and justice… what a crazy notion that it’s ok for women to do wrong because they “can never do wrong”… hm…

    Interesting post, found you via Feministe 🙂

  2. I am sick of you perky-titted third-wave defectives. Go ahead and enjoy your rape-culture… Just don’t go crying to the actual feminists when you are replaced by the next generation of willing slaves.

    You and your friend, Jill Fillipovich, both.

  3. what? you mean you don’t find sneering at women who wear lipstick and enjoy giving head sisterly or loving? you don’t -want- to be called “Ms. Plastic Tits” or “sex pox” or accused of pandering to men by “dressing up like a fuckbot?” what’s wrong with you, anyway?

  4. Perky-titted? Is that a “radical” agenda in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

    Oh, and it’s Jill Fillipovic. If you’re going to fling useless insults, at least pay attention.

  5. okay, the irony layers are just getting too deep for me. is that an MRA troll parodying ginmar, or is it actually…? someone’s been following along closely, anyway.

  6. “I am sick of you perky-titted third-wave defectives.”

    No, that’s not misogynist at all.

    Please, show us more feminist ways to mock women based on our anatomy, and perhaps how feminine we may be. I want to understand how a significant minority of the second wave went so thoroughly wrong.

  7. Since there are real feminists who say these things, I’d love to know what makes it okay for them to engage in misogyny, though. Maybe a troll would have a better answer.

    No, wait, that’s zany moon logic.

  8. I have deleted a couple of similar comments from my blog over the last few weeks.

    I think someone has a little too much time on their hands…

    Or is drinking copiously in front of their computer.

  9. Wow, you really can’t make shit like this up. “Defectives”? Hey, maybe she meant to call us “detectives” but she was too drunk to use spellcheck.

    When feminists are attempting to shut other women up by throwing sexist insults at them something has gone very, very wrong.

  10. aaah. feminists. why cant you understand that everything will be solved when you start thinking as human beings, rather than men or women. tch tch.

  11. It’s funny when people tell women that we can end sexism by thinking as “human beings, rather than men or women.” Not unlike when white people tell people of color that they can end racism by not making an issue of race.

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Ignoring differences doesn’t even make sense, and if I ignore my womanhood it doens’t mean any man who’d care to take advantage of it would also ignore it.

    This isn’t advanced thinking, it’s sticking your head in the sand.

  12. wqah,

    while your idea, in theory, is perfect. why can’t we just think of people as people? however, then you would forget to recognize the differences in people, men, women, people from different cultures. we aren’t all exactly alike.

    but i struggle with this…it is just difficult to think of everyone as the same while different at the same time.

    i personally think it is best to think of each individual person as a blank slate. let them tell you who they are, instead of trying to project who they are before you let them. that’s when things will get better… not when we are better at “categorizing” people.

  13. I think this is an incredibly myopic article. It is too impassioned be considered objective and is, thus, full of sweeping generalisations. This seems like an attack on homosexuality than feminists or feminism. Haven’t you ever met a heterosexual feminist? There are many out there.
    By the way, isn’t ‘advancing asininity’ an impossibility? There are a lot of big words in this text that you seem to not know how to use. And your attempts at wit are really quite upsetting. Very very bad form.

  14. No, calling Twisty Faster out on her bullshit and pointing out that non-heterosexual relationships can also harbour abuse does not an attack on homosexuality make. I am speaking as a heterosexual feminist here, of course. We can all be as blind to our own privilege as anyone else, but I am personally really, really tired of the “it’s OK to demean women if you’re Twisty Faster” routine.

    And advancing asininity is a definite possibility. Just look at some of the comments on this site! 😉

  15. In fact, I think “advancing asininity” is the psychological condition that accounts for most blog retirements.

    Although, CassandraSays, you might be onto something with the “detectives” thing. I can almost see the faux-noir comic book of a feminist private investigator agency digging into hypocritical lip-service to womens’ issues.

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