Imagine, if you will, that you are a blogger who got famous by making anal sex jokes, pretending that Washington D.C. was a sexy town, and having a drawing of your average poli-nerd boy’s fantasy woman in your banner. Now imagine that you’re trying to become a “real” journalist and find yourself having to overcome the fact that the morons in the industry actually believed your silly embellishments about what a real hip young thing you pretended to be. How do you kiss some ass and get on the good side of the men who are handing out the writing jobs?
Well, you disavow feminism and bash other feminists for going “too far”, of course. Everyone knows—so I’d imagine the former Wonkette especially knows—that the NY Times, for instance, eats that shit up. Ka-ching! (Hat tip, the Heretik.) Ana Marie Cox has decided to prove her worth to her sexist overlords by bashing Katha Pollitt’s new book Virginity or Death.
Shorter version: Fuck women’s rights! Katha said mean things about my expensive 3 Minute Blow Job shoes!
I swear to god, Ana Marie must have been using the NY Time Feminist Bashing Checklist. Is the word “strident” in there? Check. The assertion that the writer used to be a feminist? Check. The implication that any assertion that women are full human beings instead of animatronic sex toys to be used as men see fit is nothing but a cute, childish affectation? Check, and how.
I’ve called myself a feminist for years. I’ve elbowed my way into more boys’ clubs than I care to remember and I once participated in a piece of street theater in support of Anita Hill — something else I’d just as well forget, actually.
Translation: Tee-hee! Oh, I was so cute back in the days when I thought women should be able to have a right to do their damn jobs without being constantly harassed by male co-workers for the nefarious act of being female. I’ve since then learned that the real way to get into the boys club is to pretend I’m a boy and spend all my time bashing other women for being so dreadfully female.
Well, one thing I’ve learned that Ana Marie apparently has not is that if you smile at sexist pigs and play their games, they may be nicer to your face, but they’re still going to call you a “cunt” behind your back. I like it better when they say it to my face, because you can see the sniveling self-hatred behind it for yourself and they suddenly don’t seem so damn scary anymore. However, the “chivalrous” men who’ll keep the word “cunt” out of your face if you do a little soft-shoe about how much you dislike other women do own the purse strings at places like the NY Times, so I guess I can begrudgingly accept that women like Cox are selling out their dignity for some cold, hard cash.
But what is the source of Cox’s antagonism? Well, I shit you not, she really does say that her hesitancy came from reading Pollitt’s essay condemning the idea of amputating your toes to make your shoes fit better.
But the first thing I thought when I read Pollitt deride the false consciousness of pink-ectomy patients (O.K., maybe not the first) was “Does it really work?” While I hesitate to consider myself representative (and no, I would never actually do it), the ability to hold a predilection for stilettos and support for abortion rights in one’s head simultaneously seems suggestive of today’s compromised, complicated feminist mind-set.
On one hand, we want to wear painful shoes to please men. On the other hand, we support keeping certain rights as long as a solid majority of men feel it benefits them, too. Needless to say, if there’s some rights that women might want that could conflict with male privilege—say, the right not to be sexually harassed coming into conflict with some dude wanting to sexually harass you—well, we are embarrassed for ever supporting that right. Worth noting is that the guy who sexually harassed Anita Hill and caused Cox to protest him much to her now-embarrassment is one of the definite anti-choice votes on the Supreme Court.
I think Ms. Cox is who they really mean.
Some people want to do work. Some people who want to be famous. Some people will say and do anything to be famous.