the baggy trousered misanthropist

missives issued from the lair

Image: AP Photo

Am I less of a feminist than Julie Bindel because I wear make-up? And while we’re splitting hairs, is the girl I just saw struggling down the High St in her five-inch heels less of a feminist than I?

Oh bloody hell. It’s that time of year again.

Those who believe that feminism is about the complete rejection of the social constructions of gender might be willing to have a
crack at answering that incisive question (and if you’re reading, please do so), but quite frankly I prefer to take my education from people who aren’t actually criticising others for doing the very thing they write sarcastic articles about.

Yes, I get that high heels and short skirts are evil devices that render women helpless and vulnerable in the face of such devious enemies as cobbled streets. I understand (through both practical experience and walking around with my eyes open) that even if I don’t care that some women choose to wear these clothes, cover themselves in provocative pastel pink lipstick and pretend to have an apoplexy at the very thought of lifting something heavier than their own hair, it impacts upon me because it teaches men to think of women as helpless, sexual objects.

I’m right wit’cha there, sistah Julie.

But, and forgive me my ignorance, by writing a critique of World Femininity Day in the form of a spoof ‘speech’ you might read if invited to speak at such an event (perish the thought), isn’t Julie Bindel implying that every single woman who embraces these ‘socially constructed concepts of femininity’ is a moron? That kind of notion pisses me off, and I follow Bindel’s work with interest. When you imagine what kind of feelings it prompts in those who don’t concern themselves with matters of gender identity and their impact, it’s no wonder most women have turned against feminism as an ideology.

At least men pretend to like them.

For me, civilisation means overcoming one’s personal revulsion at things you do not understand and learning to respect other
people’s choices. I admire Bindel’s strident activism when it comes to drawing attention to issues of violence against women and her insistence upon forcing these issues into the open but there are better ways to get people on side than criticising their footwear.

Like engaging. Like talking. Like demonstrating.

The only way the feminist movement is going to survive is if women embrace it. All women. Especially the ones who like to look puurty for their men. Wading all up into their business and dismissing them as agents’ provocateur or idiots simply because wearing ‘feminine’ clothing makes them feel good about themselves is offensive to their, and your intelligence. .

They’re never gonna buy into a philosophy that is currently perceived to be so dour. Apart from anything else, frowning gives you terrible crows’ feet.

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