As a out, loud, and proud feminist I have a lot of feminist friends. We not only have a ton in common, but it also means that I can generally enjoy the world more. (Feminist bubble, yay!)
I've come to notice a trend within my community, my friends, and myself. It's something Ronald and I have discussed when we see it, it's something I'm guilty of, and it's something I also see online a ton: a feminist likes something problematic and in an effort to justify that liking, said feminist goes to great lengths to try to make said problematic thing seem less problematic. Often this is done by hyper focusing on a specific feminist side to the problematic thing and ignoring all the other bits and pieces.
Here's a concrete example. I like Louis C.K...I find him brilliant and hilarious (something I'm afraid to admit in a feminist space, but it's true, and important for this topic.) However, I am very familiar with his various failures and totally shitty defense of Daniel Tosh. But when I talk about Louis C.K. and feel the need to defend him, I talk about his bits that call out rape culture and advocate for enthusiastic consent or where he advocates for gay marriage. But at the end of the day, this doesn't erase the fact that he also has a lot of concerning material.
So the decision I am faced with is to 1) think critically about his work, try to understand its troubling side, and listen to his critics OR 2) I can go on trying to defend him and ignore the discussion surrounding his work.
To me, the discussion and dialogue invoked by celebrities, TV shows, songs, movies, and other pop cultural artifacts is much more important than just rubber stamping things as FEMINIST because you might like it. Especially because so often the justifications we engage in ignore intersectionalism. We (meaning white women in this context) will talk about how great a white woman led show or a white female celebrity is but then turn a blind eye when she throws people of color, trans* people, disabled people, etc. under the bus. The author of the Tumblr FeminismisPrettyCool recently wrote about this topic and Jennifer Lawrence. She said:
But just because you like someone or something doesn’t mean you pretend like all the problematic aspects of them/it don’t exist...Being a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t like problematic things. It means you critically engage with the problematic aspects of the things you like and go from there.I totally agree. Thing is, we were all raised in the kyriarchy, so we're going to end up liking things that are less-than-feminist. Much more important than trying to ignore the flaws in what we like is airing and acknowledging them...and expecting better, especially from the celebrities we like.
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