Posted by LOL on October 14, 2013 at 05:15:11
In Reply to: Re: What TF did to us? posted by Passing By on October 04, 2013 at 09:41:53:
Open Letters are for Passive Aggressive White “Feminists”
There are so many things wrong with Sinead O’Connor’s unpleasant, condescending ‘Open Letter’ to Miley that it’s hard to know where to begin. Sent with “motherliness and love”, Sinead claims disingenuously, ignoring the plain fact that a mother’s love would have picked up the phone and had a private conversation, not denigrated and shamed a young female artist extremely publicly. I hate Open Letters as a rule. There seems to be a fad for them at the moment, as if people in the 21st century aren’t quite confident enough to be a douchebag without framing it in a faux epistolary form which feigns a dialogue. People who write Open Letters don’t want a dialogue. They don’t want a conversation. They don’t want a response.
They want an audience.
People who write Open Letters want to ejaculate what they think about a particular human being all over the public domain, whilst maintaining the appearance of propriety and concern by pretending that they’re actually writing to the addressed human being. While I’m a fan of the epistolary form, if another passive aggressive, attention-seeking, earnest, celebrity obsessed idiot writes another fucking letter to another fucking star and posts it all over their fucking blog, I think I might have to stab myself in the uterus with a virtual envelope cutter.
Amanda Palmer makes some great points in her own Open Letter, but loses kudos by unimaginatively using the epistolary form and a fawning tone to Sinead who, quite frankly, comes across as patriarchal, paternalistic, ragingly conservative and a bit of a cunt. I’m sure Amanda is just acting out of concern for Sinead’s mental health problems and severe decline after a once brilliant career, but I can’t help thinking if you’re mentally fit enough to write a particularly patronizing and unpleasant takedown of a fellow female artist who is younger than you, more successful than you, more attractive than you, richer than you, and has expressed nothing but admiration for your work up until that point, you probably deserve a kick up the vagina, not some reassurances that Amanda Palmer’s fans still like you on twitter.
I, too, am fed up of Miley’s ass and Miley’s tits and Miley’s tongue slithering across my daily internet life. I don’t like Miley’s ignorant and offensive appropriation of black culture and find her twerking rather pitiful and banal. However, I find most female music artists and celebrities pretty goddamn ridiculous, whether they’re dressing themselves like human popsicles in candy pink hair like Katy Perry, wearing conical bras and sensationalizing their contempt for the Catholic Church, or walking around like inflated, airbrushed Kardashian dolls™. It’s not my thing, but I support all women who make informed choices about their lives, from those who choose to wear the hijab or niqab and cover their bodies, to those who want to flaunt their bodies in an overtly sexual manner. I don’t, like Sinead, see the word ‘prostitute’ as an offensive slur, having met many female sex workers who freely choose to participate in the sex industry and have found this industry has given them a greater sense of freedom and agency than any other employment.
I’ve written before about my despair with feminism in the 21st century, and I’ve clashed with so called ‘feminists’ such as Julie Bindel who have made a career from conflating violence against women with those women who freely choose to work in the sex industry. I’m still shocked that supposed ‘progressive’ media outlets like The Guardian publish such astoundingly misguided views, which infantilize and patronize sex workers and women who unashamedly express their sexuality. Only last year The Guardian, amongst other newspapers, expressed its support for a campaign to remove ‘Page 3 girls’ from Britain’s tabloid newspaper, The Sun. Page 3 girls are usually heavy breasted glamor models with their tits out on the page of a newspaper whose predominant audience is working class British men. The arguments against Page 3 suggested that the women were being exploited, that The Sun was a newspaper and should report news, that children could see these images and be permanently damaged by the sight of bare women’s breasts, and that such images are responsible for sexism, and by extension, violence against women.
The campaign gained a tremendous amount of momentum – from middle class educated people who did not read The Sun and were not glamor models, and would probably never read The Sun or wish to become glamor models. The paternalism, combined with the aggressive classism at work, went unnoticed, and the left wing eagerly took up the fight against Page 3 girls, as if they were single handedly responsible for every single rape, every single airbrushed anorexic model, and every single issue of sexism in the United Kingdom. It didn’t surprise me. Britain is still stuck in the era of Andrea Dworkin, disgusted and ashamed by porn, sex and female bodies. I’ve been called, disparagingly, a “happy hooker” by “left-wing” “feminist” Laurie Penny, who offered a similar opinion to Sinead’s when she wrote about my time as a stripper:
“This is all we’re good for’ – that’s the only subtext, every time a well-heeled young woman decides to rent her ‘pert little academic arse at a hundred for hire. Johns everywhere must be rubbing their hands with glee: even the clever ones, the posh bitches who think they’re better than you, will turn into the willing nymphettes of your stickiest wet dreams at the flash of a fiver, is the implication. We’ll let them into our elite universities, but under their scholar’s gowns they’ll always be slappers.”
The problem is that Sinead’s attitude is simply regressive. There is no room in feminism for the judgment of other women based upon their attitudes towards sex and how they relate to sex sartorially, and with their bodies. Every woman has a different standard of what is acceptable. Shaming and trolling women for their choices, assuming those choices are dictated by men, is not only vicious, it perpetuates the divisions within feminism which lead young women to feel alienated from its ideals. For many young women, Miley is their feminist role model. She’s young, fun, rich, successful, outspoken, fiercely progressive and confident. She’s sexual, and she’s sexy. She works hard. She’s never, to my knowledge, been photographed fucked up. Even if she had been, this new era of feminism doesn’t allow us to make disparaging comments or judgments about another woman because of what she imbibed. This new era of feminism is heading into shaky ground though, if it allows Sinead O’Connor to posit herself as a role model for female empowerment (which she does by suggesting others view her as such), dictating to another woman how to empower other women, and thus making herself the gatekeeper of who is or isn’t a suitable candidate to be a feminist.
While Sinead snickers at Miley’s choices (disparagingly calling her a “young lady”) and tells her she’s being exploited by men (as Miley looks like she’s having the time of her life and completely in control), as Bindel dictates to muslim women that their desire to wear the niqab “is a clear, physical representation of a patriarchal culture of a fundamentalist minority that treats women as second-class citizens.”, as Penny dismisses any sex worker with agency as a “hooker”…. women out there, in the big wide world, are being raped, beaten, attacked, humiliated and exploited. These are women who were not born with Miley’s silver spoon in their mouth. These are women who do not have the privilege of choosing whether to wear the niqab or the bikini. These are women who cannot go from Oxbridge, to the stripper pole, to Hollywood, and end up on the pages of CounterPunch writing about feminism. These are women who are not wasting their lives judging other women, but probably waiting for a chance to escape, hoping that their feminist “sisters” might pay them a bit of attention, show them some solidarity, instead of squabbling over Miley Cyrus and her tongue. These women will probably consider feminism as the realm of women who are white and privileged, like all the women mentioned in this article, women who still don’t get that feminism is not about them, it’s not about what they think, it’s not about what they don’t like, it’s not about blame, or judgment, or someone making the wrong or right choice. Feminism is about us.
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