Friday, September 14, 2012

Feminism vs. Naomi Wolf

I've been saying for many years that a good way to predict whether something or someone on the left will be condemned by the rest of the left is whether I start sympathizing with the person or thing.  (Not asserting causality, just amusing correlation.)

No sooner do I start thinking Naomi Wolf -- who is undeniably odd -- shows some admirable transpartisan and libertarian tendencies (not to mention a willingness to talk to me and diverse others) than she is condemned for obsessing over personal sexcapades and anger instead of serious politics -- as if countless farther-left feminists (especially young Third Wave types, many right here in NYC) aren't even more guilty of that.  

But the real reminder (in this piece by Wolf critic Laurie Penny) that the default feminist agenda these days is not liberty-friendly (despite its desperate attempt to co-opt the language of liberty) is probably this passage: "Our autonomy and freedom are being attacked on all sides by a neoliberal consensus that venerates sexual repression and the bourgeois family even as it celebrates fiscal feudalism and cuts vital services." 

If, unlike Wolf lately, you condemn "fiscal feudalism" and "cuts" to the budget, I strongly suspect your fellow feminists will let you vent and talk about your vagina all you want without ever declaring you shallow for doing so.

P.S. Speaking of objectification, though, I was honestly looking for that old Snickers ad where the disgruntled stadium groundskeeper says “Great googly moogly!” and I found it...but not before finding this item of lesser art (and the weird thing is, you have to suspect the first item had some real influence on the second).

P.P.S. And for all my griping about David Brooks, at least he takes note of one analysis of women’s rise that ditches the usual oppression/affirmative action/everyone’s-the-same narrative.  (I predicted a couple decades ago things would work out this way, but I was at Brown, so no one listened.  Don’t pity me.)

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