Fighting the patriarchy in lipstick – addendum

One thing I wanted to clarify from my two previous posts, but which is kind of a whole other ramble in of itself, and which I felt sure would come up in comments sooner or later.

When I say we need to stop hating on individual women for their choices, which are made in a shitty context of patriarchy and are part of our survival …

Well, I don’t mean we need to lay off on criticising the Bettina Arndts of this world.  Or the Paula Bennetts.  Or the Naomi Fucking Wolfs.

There are the choices a person makes within a wider issue – beauty standards, abortion, marriage – which are largely passive.  Yes, you can argue that the bulk of hetero couples in NZ choosing marriage over civil union makes a difference because it reinforces marriage, or when it’s still routine for a woman to change her name after marriage, all the individual women’s choices added together mean it continues to be perceived as the normal thing to do.

Then there’s saying, as an authoritative voice, in mainstream media, that women shouldn’t feel okay saying no to sex when they don’t want it.  There’s turning your personal rags-to-Cabinet story into a weapon against other solo mothers.  There’s using previously-established feminist cred to say Julian Assange is a nice guy, really.

These things aren’t part of the same choice framework we’re all saddled with.  A pedantic person could say “well, isn’t choosing to gain financial security through high-profile misogyny part of surviving in patriarchy” and yes, absolutely, but … come on.  There’s a conscious choice being made to propagate kyriarchal bullshit in a way specifically designed to reach thousands/millions of people.  It’s not mascara and miniskirts.

So take that strawman out to dinner and go fuck yourself with him.

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