Wonkette Syndrome

I wonder if Katherine Rake has been reading Wonkette.

Roll up, roll up, for a spot of that old favourite, feminist-bashing. Anyone can have a go, it’s easy. Trot out that readymade mythological figure of the dungaree-clad, scary, hairy and humourless feminist.

Don’t forget ‘fixated’ and ‘so angry’ – they go with the humourless bit. And as for rolling up – the comments are depressing. Actually they’re more like disgusting. And that’s at the Guardian! So men in the rest of the world are even more misogynist and contempt-filled – how encouraging.

And we now also have to contend with the hypersexualisation of our culture, a phenomenon that has developed and snowballed with hardly a murmur of dissent. Against a backdrop of ubiquitous images of women’s bodies as sex objects, rates of self-harm among young women are spiralling, eating disorders are on the rise, and plastic surgery is booming.

Well there’ve been quite a few murmurs of dissent from me, but I do my murmuring in such a quiet, genteel, whispery, mousy way that no one hears me, what with all that panting and grunting going on. I suppose it’s my karma.

I think there’s some tension there though, and I think it’s a tension you find in a lot of feminists. A bit of eating cake and having.

The stereotype of the mythological feminist, while ridiculous, is dangerous in that it gives the impression that feminism is first and foremost about how women should dress or whether they should wear make-up…Against a backdrop of ubiquitous images of women’s bodies as sex objects…

Well, which is it? It’s no good disavowing concern with how women should dress in one breath and then expressing concern with ubiquitous images of their bodies as sex objects with the other. The two are, unfortunately, linked. I myself have a Talibanish tendency to flinch when I see women ambling around the supermarket with their stomachs or buttocks or tits poking out, for precisely that kind of reason, a tendency which always causes me to ask despairingly why women can’t just wear clothes instead of either tents or bathing suits. I ask that question for feminist reasons, because I think it makes a difference to how everyone thinks of women – so I don’t think it’s much good pretending feminism isn’t concerned with that subject, even to suck up to the Wonkette crowd.

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