Thursday, 26 August 2010

An introduction

Why did I call this blog 'tales of a bad feminist'?

I don't, as it happens, really believe that there is such a thing as a good or bad feminist. We all have our contribution to make. There are no top trumps. Rather, this is a tongue-in-cheek response to the conversational clichés one encounters as an "out" feminist. And you know, most of the time we disguise ourselves as ordinary people.

Typical expectations run from something like a devout nun, to the classic "not being able to have a laugh", to that old chestnut – hating men, and so on and so on (repeat to fade..). Even disavowing these clichés is itself a bloody great cliché. I've said cliché so many times it's starting to not make sense as a conglomeration of letters.

Anyway, I'm not a cliché. At least not a fully formed one. Nor is anyone I know – apart from the feminist book groups, the knitting, and the houmous... oh wait.

I like stand-up comedy: the naughtiest, the most offensive, and oh yes, Russell Brand. I read magazines. I have been known to watch Britain's Next Top Model, X Factor and Big Brother (too middle class to vote though). I like Beyoncé. I like 'The Time Traveller's Wife' (the book, obviously) and Cheryl Cole's face*.

I also believe that women live in objectification like fish live in water (thanks Catherine McKinnon) and that all women are controlled by the eponymous 'whore stigma'**. I believe that the abuse of women is sanctioned by most, if not all, states in the world. I believe that the extent of violence against women is tantamount to genocide, and it's attendant misogyny tantamount to a global epidemic.

I read some excellent feminist media analysis that said, in sum, you must know your enemy. You must know what it is that hurts you if you are to confront it. I need not feel bad for consuming misogynist media and popular culture (and by jove, such a lot of it is misogynist, this much I know), so long as I keep a critical eye***. At least that's my excuse.

So I think it's OK to mix a bit of low-brow with your high-brow, and incidentally, to pluck your eyebrows. I enjoy many of the things I am, by definition, not meant to enjoy. I embrace being a "bad feminist".

And, I as yet, am not lucky enough to have the privelege of living in a feminist vacuum (although my year of studying a Masters in Women's Studies came pretty close). I can only live within the confines into which I was born. As it is, I only have my false consciousness to get me to sleep at night (that's an academic joke by the way).

*I think they call it Stockholm Syndrome.
**More on that later!
**And so will follow those glorious insights, hopefully. (This will most likely look like the feminist alternative to the TV Times).

Why am I starting this now?

Because I'm unemployed and started thinking watching Dinner Date on ITV is a good idea. But, really, not until now because I've never really thought that I had much to give the world; why would anyone give a toss about what I have to say? Well, they probably don't. But this doesn't seem to stop millions of other people giving it a go.

That said, I will probably cry if I get a hate-comment.

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