Harmless (Post-)Feminism?

Sometimes I post too fast. As @lantzschi pointed out to me, the Kate Nash quote I posted is problematic, at least in part.

First off, I generally welcome it when fairly successful pop artists speak out in the name of feminism.

 But here’s the but:

Its rhetoric is exclusionist, negating valid feminism(s). One of problems is that it apparently does believe there is one feminism.

I’d actually prefer it if the “does” were replaced by a “must” – it must not mean you hate men, must not mean you hate (conventionally attractive) girls, it must not mean that you are “a bitch or a dyke.” But it can. Where I definitely agree with her is that feminism isn’t a dirty word. But for the rest? I obviously don’t think feminists “have to” hate all men, but hating chauvinist fuckwits? Sure.

“Hating" conventionally attractive or super-feminine women isn’t feminist in my book either – it’s rather a form of lookism. But her inclusion of the conventionally attractive, non-"bitchy” girl is part of the next issue one can have with the quote: Statements like this can be seen as placating, well, mainstream men and the patriarchal system as a whole. As if a shorter Nash could be: “Don’t worry, we’re feminists, but we’ll still be pretty and cute.” (Maybe I’m misreading her totally, but it’s there, I think.)

While it’s horrific what women* bloggers, especially but not only women* feminist/progressive bloggers have to endure in terms of hate mail/hateful comments (as shown by the #mencallmethings twitter meme or hatr.org) sometimes it’s “good” (for the lack of a better word) to be what people would call a “bitch.” To be loud. To be recalcitrant, inconvenient. 

Quotes like this can be seen as a subdued feminism, with retracted claws and a harmless purr instead of a bellicose roar. The roar is even more subdued in the case of an alleged “postfeminism”, that not only placates men, but rather actively upholds a heterosexist (neoliberal) system.  Prof. Sabine Hark has written much more eloquently about this (unfortunately in German) than I ever could. In claiming that “equality” has been achieved (edit: or, at  least, is very near), postfeminism puts women back in their spot. Pretty and harmless. 

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