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May 01 2010

Why boobquake isn’t destroying feminism

Greta Christina, a wonderful feminist writer who I respect immensely, has written a piece called A Feminist Defense of Boobquake. Greta perfectly summarizes how I feel in regards to all the women who seem to think I’m single-handedly destroying feminism. Just to give you an idea what it’s about, here’s a bit of the piece:

The main feminist objection to Boobquake seemed to be that the women who participated were letting ourselves be exploited. They argued that many men reacted to the event with sexist, “Show us your tits!” idiocy—a reaction McCreight should have foreseen, and was therefore responsible for. Even if the intention behind the event was good (a point on which anti-Boobquake feminists differ)—even though the event was initiated by a woman and voluntarily participated in by women—the result was simply another round of female bodies being objectified by men.

Ah. I see.

Women ought not to display our sexuality—because men can’t be trusted. In the presence of a display of desirable female flesh, men will lose control of themselves. Women ought to dress modestly, and ought not to encourage other women to dress immodestly… and if we persist in our immodesty, and men respond by behaving badly, it’s women’s fault.

It all makes sense now. I just need one question cleared up:

How, exactly, is this “feminist” response to Boobquake anything but a more moderate version of the statement by the Muslim prayer leader? (Minus the supernatural idiocy about earthquakes, of course.)

How is this “feminist” response anything but an attempt to squash female expressions of our sexuality, for fear of whipping men into an uncontrollable frenzy?

How is it anything other than blaming women for the fact that many men behave badly?

Hear hear.

I’m not going to spent much more time defending my feminism, mainly because I have better things to do with my time. If you want to assert that I’m not a real feminist, go ahead. I don’t care if you want to turn your allies into enemies. If you want to assert that I’m falling into the trap of “cute” feminism because I dare to joke about my body, go ahead. I may laugh a bit, since I’m one of the least stereotypically “feminine” people I know, but judge away. If you want to slut shame and think embracing my sexuality is giving women a bad image, go ahead. I know that doing so doesn’t mean I’m ditzy or brainless – I know I’m a smart cookie, regardless of what you think.

But when you’re doing all of these things, just remember: Feminism is about choice. I never forced you to wear a low cut shirt. I won’t judge you if you abstain from sex. I won’t sneer when you say you’re a stay at home mom. And likewise, you shouldn’t have disdain for my choices. Feminists always wonder where all the “young” feminists are. We’re here, but we just hate calling ourselves feminists – because when we do, you have to come squash our actions and say we’re doing it wrong.

I’m not upset. I know that whatever you say, someone, somewhere will be offended. If the cleric had said eating pork caused earthquakes, and I suggested Baconquake, I’d probably be getting nasty emails from vegans or PETA. If the cleric had said drinking alcohol caused earthquakes, and I suggested Beerquake, I’d probably be getting nasty emails from teetotalers. But if I lived my whole life in constant fear of pissing someone off, I would stay silent and accomplish nothing. And what good is that?

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