Beyond April Fools: Everyday 'Feminism' Again
April 2, 2015 1:10 PM   Subscribe

"The cartoons show a variety of women (and one man), mostly, by implication, constructed as members of marginalized groups within feminism. The first is a Black woman, another wears a headscarf, another proclaims herself as a transwoman, yet another locates herself within indigenous culture. There's finally, for good measure, the scapegoat: the woman who refuses to recognize her privilege."

"All stand underneath the same two captions. Firstly, there's 'what they say', under which each cartoon character proclaims that feminism is not for her, does not fit her identity, and so on. Secondly, there's 'what they mean', under which each character gives her reasons for struggling to identify with feminism, or rejecting it entirely." - Beyond April Fools: Everyday 'Feminism' Again, blog post by Jeanne de Montbaston.

A direct link to the comic discussed in de Montbaston's piece: What They Really Mean When They Say They're Not a Feminist by Ronnie Ritchie at Everyday Feminism.

Why the "again" of the title? Here's the previous critique of Everyday Feminism's content by Jeanne de Montbaston: 'Everyday Feminism': Masculinity is a universe, and we're all stars. Except the lesbians. Snippet:
"It has taken a very long time for society to begin to entertain the idea that women might be attracted to other women (and men to other men) not through some kind of deviancy or defectiveness, but for positive reasons: because they actually liked other women and wanted to be with them. This article takes a step back towards the 1920s, and in doing so, it erases something that is particular to women, labelling it as a form of masculinity (in some lesbians), or a form of attraction to masculinity (in some women who’re attracted to them)."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (6 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: These articles are a bit weak and seem to be maybe a proxy for a different, uglier fight? -- LobsterMitten

Not that Jeanne de Montbaston doesn't have valid points, but this seems like another example of unnecessary feminist infighting/callout culture that weakens the feminist movement as a whole. I thought the comic also makes valid points about why some people might not identify with feminism even if the presentation might be othering.
posted by Librarypt at 1:26 PM on April 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

I am so confused. I honestly do not understand what's wrong with the two Everyday Feminism pieces that de Montbaston calls out.

Like, of course the cartoon uses "they," the artist is a person who considers themselves to be a feminist, and is depicting people who don't consider themselves feminists. Of course they are "others," in that respect.

And the "masculine" women thing? It's kind of a gender-is-a-social-construct-and-a-spectrum-101 thing, using the not-so-great language that someone who would even think to ask that question would use.

This is honestly the kind of stuff that kept me in the "not a feminist" camp for years.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:36 PM on April 2, 2015 [4 favorites]

I am not going to get too far into a comment here, other than to say I've spent some time just now following the writers Jeanne de Montbaston mentions as influential to her own writing and it does not leave with me a good feeling at all.
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:39 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

That callout culture bit Librarypt linked is definitely worth a read.
posted by brennen at 1:50 PM on April 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

This is maybe tangential, but this

And, you know, we are talking about women who’re attracted to women, I have this tiny clue that maybe ‘lesbian’ would be a more obvious term. Right?

and this

I feel sad that, increasingly, people seem to be embarrassed about using the word lesbian, preferring to use ‘queer’ or ‘gay’.

definitely give me the feeling that Jeanne de Montbaston doesn't know that bisexuals exist.
posted by zeptoweasel at 1:58 PM on April 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

This person (Lucy Allen) was one of the people who signed this letter to the Observer decrying the "no platforming" of transphobes like Julie Burchill and Germaine Greer as "censorship". (Some of the better responses to this open letter are here and here). Considering this, and the fact that she follows quite a lot of the other signers of that letter on Twitter and retweets them pretty regularly ("gender-critical", that is to say, virulently transphobic, "feminists"), I think it's pretty clear what sort of "feminism" she believes in. (NB also that the cartoonist is genderqueer/agender and uses the pronoun "they".)
posted by Pseudonymous Cognomen at 2:01 PM on April 2, 2015 [3 favorites]

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