Well, I guess it’s because I think it’s important to get a handle on what’s going on in “mainstream feminism” from time to time. I still get their email forwards and give them a glance occasionally. I opened one particular post today entitled “What We’re Really Talking About When We Talk About Hillary Clinton Without Makeup.” Hey, guess what it’s about?
Now, I know you might find this surprising, but right-wing pundits defamed Hills for her lack of makeup. I know, I don’t know what I would do either if it weren’t for Jezebel to cover stories on women who wield so much power to “run” global empire — as a commenter notes:
You know what Hillary Clinton looks like without makeup?
One of the most powerful, successful, and respected women in modern history, whose policies and accomplishments have by and large gotten better over the years, and a woman who realistically stands a chance at being the first female President of the United States.
Oh, really? Because what she discussed at the Women in the World Summit doesn’t give one that much confidence she gives a shit about the classes of women she steps on to hold this power:
I know both of them and I think they are worthy of our appreciation and admiration, because boy, do they have hard jobs. Christine, who was here, is demonstrating not only her leadership at the IMF but also sending a message that there is no longer any reason that women cannot achieve in business, finance, the economy. And Chancellor Merkel is carrying Europe on her shoulders, trying to navigate through this very difficult economic crisis. […]
Why extremists always focus on women remains a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in or what religion they claim. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they even want to control the decisions we make about our own health and bodies. (Applause.) Yes, it is hard to believe that even here at home, we have to stand up for women’s rights and reject efforts to marginalize any one of us, because America needs to set an example for the entire world. (Applause.) And it seems clear to me that to do that, we have to live our own values and we have to defend our own values. We need to respect each other, empower all our citizens, and find common ground.
Why it’s so difficult for Clinton to connect the state terror that men enact on the behalf of the power they vie for, in a structure that benefits them for doing so while keeping women at the bottom, filtered from organizations from the IMF on down and distributed to multinational corporations that prompt the formation of militias to secure and war over resources remains a mystery to me. (Sarcasm. I’ll be sitting here waiting for my applause.)
Why is this important now? It’s integral to the democrats’ strategy to keep up with their appearance as the progressive group that cares about human rights, and coupled with the framework that they are presenting to the public it works in this way: they are progressive in their actions as the capitalists’ puppeteers in charge of the apparatuses that govern the flow of capital, and they want human rights within the structure for certain peoples, at certain times, as it works for them in a politically advantageous way. This reminder that Jezebel is publishing proves their complicity with how these work — I feel remiss in even deeming it liberal feminism as feminism is attached to their politics at all. More over, it’s imperialism that has co-opted feminist movement.
There are two pretty sloppy pieces of writing in this piece that are very telling of Jezebel’s overall intentions.
It’s not just men who go right for the fugular, either. You can tell a lot about what a person values in other people by what they insult, and women whose first line of attack is “Oh yeah? Well, you’re fat/ugly, so I win” are often the sort of women who value their looks above every other trait, women who believe that the highest function of a lady is a decorative one. But when we leap to Clinton’s — or any woman’s — defense, are we buying into the flawed notion that a woman’s aesthetic appearance is something worthy of defense? Are we granting it more legitimacy than it deserves?
I wonder if Jezebel might have a chart in their archives that can pinpoint all these “sorts” of women who make these untoward judgments of the “good women” who get that, wow, we’re worth more than our looks! Yes, we are, but we are surrounded by a culture that tells us otherwise, and the last I checked, there aren’t “sorts” of women unless you’re constraining yourself to the mindset that is amenable to the maintenance of patriarchy.
The author of this piece has good reason for doing so if their aim is to stick to the ideological framework that makes Jezebel what it is, a popular mainstream rag — good women already realize this, and it’s those bad women who don’t (even though we all have varying experiences under patriarchal rule which has different effects on different individuals) who really don’t deserve any kind of representation from someone such as Hillary for their human rights.
Additionally, it’s quite a jump to think that women make those judgments about other women because they truly believe that women’s highest role in society is a decorative one. This has been pounded into our heads, and if you don’t move beyond that, you stay as a “sort” of woman who doesn’t, who falls behind? How is that for solidarity? It’s as if the “other women I’m not like because patriarchy tells me I have to be above my worthless class to be recognized” has been co-opted as this neoliberal selling point in the guise of feminist empowerment — “what feminist 101 talking points do you understand over those other sorts of women?”
Similar liberal grumbles about the apparent stupidity of the blonde brigade that occupies the Fox News anchor desk have rubbed me the wrong way, too. Yes, Megyn Kelly probably wouldn’t be an anchor on Team Ailes if she were not conventionally attractive, but she’s not bad at her job. And the other week when Fox personality Monica Crowley made a really dumb Sandra Fluke lesbian joke, a disturbing amount of the Twitter backlash against her was liberal dudes calling her a talking pair of tits, or telling her she was a bimbo. What does her physical appearance have to do with her stupid sense of humor? Nothing, folks. Nothing at all.
Now, I have recently defended against headlines that have mentioned “Hillary Getting Shafted” and I was ready to defend Sarah Palin when she first came on the scene and thereafter. This was not in a way, however, that meant “dope dee doo, we’re all just ladies trying to get ahead and doing our jobs, it takes all kinds and the truth is somewhere in the middle with all of it!!” It was that the sexism coming from “progressives” in 08 prevented us from even looking at her as human and how they used her as a pawn who had all of the Othered features that her male counterparts could revel in while she carried out their messages for naught. Kelly, here, isn’t “bad at her job,” her job that also entails maintaining the “other side’s balance” to the godsend of liberal democracy we’re so blessed to have because of Our American Birthright.
Never once does the analysis go any deeper than what is good for “our side,” which isn’t ours at all — Clinton feigns this symbolic representation for American, western women when we hold more in common, and will continue to hold more and more!, with those women whose oppression she is mystified by in regions of the world American imperialism has wreaked havoc on.