I am wondering — and not in an arch, baiting way, but in a serious way — if this silly, trivial mock-philosophy we recognize as “feminism” of the current configuration isn’t seriously retarding bright women’s abilities to think and actually make their mark on the world.
I think it’s difficult to argue against the point that feminism — whatever it was in the past — has entered a long, dreary Decadent Phase, largely focused on the past glories of a long-faded golden age, now rehashing the same three or four themes endlessly into (very slightly) different configurations.
[It strikes] me that a bright, insightful woman is inflicting something akin to intellectual lobotomization on herself, filling her head with constant trivialities.
I think most people would concede that the question “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” is a terrific waste of time that accomplishes nothing except, perhaps, distracting the mind from more important questions with more tangible implications.
Which is how I feel about feminism (Frankfurt School version). A philosophy — and feminism is put forth as a philosophy — should engender interesting questions, further avenues of exploration, rather than a stultifying and stupefying its adherents in a warm bath of easy, predictable answers.
And not just easy answers — but utterly inconsequential ones.
In this feminism seems to me to be a flight from the world, not an engagement with it. Just as monks cloistered themselves away to ponder upon pins and dancing angels, so too do Frankfurt Feminists cloister themselves — or at least large parts of their intellects — in monasteries of the mind, protected from challenge, relentlessly reinforced in the same old dogmas.
It’s comforting to revisit and revisit and revisit again the same well-known corridors of information. I keep saying that there should be a word for this phenomenon — preferably German, I think — to describe “the pleasure one feels by hearing something one already knows to be true.”
But I would contend that when a philosophy, or an alleged philosophy, is chiefly made up of the “philosophical” equivalent of Shark Week [by which I mean taking pleasure in simply re-hearing things one already knows or believes] it has ceased being a philosophy and simply become a crutch, an escape. A Woobie.
There is no doubt that the Frankfurt Feminists know everything there is to know about the Male Gaze, the Vagina’s para-mind, the philosophical implications of eyeshadow, and the New Holocaust known as “slut-shaming.”
As humans we are not required to delve into the Most Important Things at all times. Escape is an underrated thing. A simple pleasure is no sin.
Nevertheless, a fundamentally trivial pursuit ought not be elevated to the plane of a supposedly rigorous philosophy which substantially defines the core of one’s intellectual being.
We chuckle at people who wear Star Trek uniforms on the street, but when women dress as Singing Vaginas it is put to us, quite seriously, that we are to take this as a Political Statement.
It’s not. It’s arrogant geekery, the geekery of the geek who doesn’t realize his passion is, while understandable enough on a human level, rather silly.
This is my problem with currently-configured Frankfurt Feminism. I don’t fear it as an ideology. Just as I don’t fear the Trekkie ideology.
But when I see a woman whom I rather like and respect filling her head with such nonsense — thinking about Gender Issues, as it were, once every seven seconds — I feel bad that she’s been conned, and that her brain is simply not firing on all cylinders, clogged, as it is, with bubblegum and sillystring.I guess it’s not really my place to tell anyone else “You can be more than this. You can cast your gaze further than these comforting, but cramped, nearby shores.”
So I won’t tell them this.
But this is what I think about them. I think it’s frankly sad, and I think it’s actually a betrayal of women to fill their heads with this Cosmo Confuscianism — and to insist to them that they’re Not Really Women unless they are constantly deranging their thoughts with sabotaging their intellects with Meditations Upon a Bra-Strap.
I don’t find it so terrible when I see dumb women do this — fine. Dumb things for dumb people. Fools need their foolscap, too.
But when I see smart women so trapped in trivia, I do cringe a little. And I do nod — very condescendingly — when I hear assertions like “I am a serious, intelligent woman, and therefore I will now write about the silliest bubblegum mock-politics imaginable for the next hour, or the next ten years of my career.”
At some point it’s just hard to take someone seriously as a thinker when all they’re ever “thinking” about is TV sitcoms and Taylor Swift Teenage Love Ballads.