Alright ladies, let’s get this blog thing kicked off. So, Ming and I already had a quick convo about the article above.
Since the piece is somewhat tediously long, I’d recommend skipping to the paragraph about Hairpin (Ming’s fave website!) and the final paragraphs starting with “The appeal of women’s magazines.”
My immediate feelings - this piece brings me back to all the things that used to irritate me about irrelevant attempts at critique during literature classes. It basically covers the evolution of various female-oriented blogs (ladyblogs) like Jezebel and Hairpin in order to dismiss them as mainstream propagation of non-feminist ideology masquerading as third wave ironic feminism. It proposes that these blogs, for all their women-centricity, in fact seek to do little more than to please, pandering to stereotypes of giggly girls providing silly advice during slumber parties, ultimately doing the ultra non-feminist thing of telling their readers how to belong.
First off, it never fails to amaze me how people think they can “win” an argument by basically interpreting what you say with utter inflexibility. The author of the article is on a mission to prove the ladyblogs as non-feminist, citing whimsy, frivolity, and general female chatter as evidence. My only conclusion is that the author lacks all sense of humor. Which of us seriously believe that being cute and naive is the way to go ALL the time? Yeah, we all put on that ditziness for a while, but we’ve all got a cynical modern edge whether we like it or not.
Secondly, why is it that so-called “soft” traits are always coded as feminine and BAD? What’s wrong with the need to belong and to exchange small intimacies like make-up tips and advice about crushes? It’s actually what makes women so competent at relating to each other and holding a social structure together. Why is it that being hard-nosed, aggressive and damn unapologetic is the strong female thing to do? These are the classic traits of the alpha male (though I prefer the term “alpha challenged male”); why should women compete with each other and with men by rules that define maleness as superior? Talk about not playing to your strengths.
Personally, I think that being an adult is about fully knowing yourself and learning to be comfortable with that. Depending on the approval of others doesn’t cut it; but devaluing certain traits for being too girly falls equally short. For us lucky women in the modern affluent West, where formal equality’s been attained, I think militant feminism is no longer relevant. We represent a new feminism that is less about fighting to be exactly the SAME as men, more about appreciating our DIFFERENCE from men and nourishing them as our strengths. Jezebel and Hairpin do just that; the fact that they’re mainstream indicate that the female voice finally no longer fears to be female.