Types of Feminists

by Lenore Levine

	I recently read the classification of feminism's different subsidiary 
	movements, which is part of soc.feminism's FAQ. I would like to submit 
	my own, instead. 

	1) Moonbeam Feminism. Utopian idealists have been involved in feminism 
		since the beginning. They do not believe in making any compromise 
		with current reality; instead, they believe that society can be 
		made perfect, and, hence, that individual women can be made perfect. 
		The way to achieve this perfection is to follow some set of rules 
		exactly, and not to stray outside it 

		Moonbeam Feminists love to tell women what to do. As a matter of 
		fact, Moonbeam Feminism can be delineated in the following manner: 
		Make a list of your favorite wholesome pleasures, and you can find 
		some Moonbeam Feminist to speak out against them. (As a matter of 
		fact I tried this, and achieved success with every activity except 
		swimming. Takers, anyone? Are you sure my love of the pool isn't 
		politically immature?) 

		This school of thought was founded in the 70's by female separatists, 
		who told women to give up having sex with men. I even knew a woman, at 
		the time, who complained about the filthy toms trying to sexually 
		assault her cat! (Meanwhile said animal was trying to climb up the 
		chimney to get at these toms.) 

		The torch of Moonbeam Feminism has been passed, in the 90's, to 
		soc.feminism's more aggressive male posters. These self-appointed 
		ideologues seem awfully eager to tell women to give up marriage and 
		other monogamous relationships. And, sometimes, of course, to offer 
		themselves as the person to give up monogamy with. Are you surprised? 

	2) Co-Opted Feminism. While Moonbeam Feminists ignore reality, Co-Opted Feminists 
		let it impose on them. This movement was started in the late 70's by the 
		old new Ms., and its imitators (Working Woman and the like). They told us 
		we should do whatever it takes to succeed in the boardroom, even if it 
		means wearing panty hose that bind and high heels that pinch, and spending 
		half an hour fixing our hair each morning. 

		Co-Opted Feminists never answer the following questions: 1) If women can 
		change reality enough to get jobs they never could have gotten thirty years 
		ago, can't they change it even further, in comfortable clothing? 2) Isn't 
		it more fun to hang out with four-year-olds than backstabbers in suits? 
		3) How many of us really want to sell aluminum siding the rest of our 
		lives? That is, are men really happy doing this, either? 

		Co-Opted Feminists can, of course, give some good practical advice, which 
		is certainly ethical to follow. But if they only talk about how to get 
		along in a corrupt system, and not about how to change it, is this advice 

		Co-Opted Feminism contains the following commercially oriented 

		2a) Mary Kay Feminism. The idea that a woman can do anything she wants, as 
			long as she wears the right makeup. 

		2b) Jenny Craig Feminism. The idea that a woman can do anything she wants, 
			as long as she isn't fat. 

		2c) Carole Shaw Feminism. The idea that large women should learn to accept 
			their own bodies, and recognize their attractiveness and personal 
			worth. And, that this self-acceptance is shown by buying large 
			quantities of grooming products. 

	There are also other, minor schools of feminist thought, which offer their own 
	perspective on the relationship between Woman and Reality. Among them are: 

	3) Dominatrix Feminism. Dominatrix Feminism arose in an error of logic: the idea 
		that because feminists are strong, all strong women are feminists. Now, what 
		is the most popular media representation of a strong woman? The dominatrix. 
		That is, a woman in a tight leather jumpsuit and spike heels, who "forces" 
		men to perform sexual activities, and pretends to enjoy this, for money. 

		Dominatrix Feminists have made a hero out of Madonna, for wearing a leather 
		brassiere on stage and pretending to masturbate. They love women of dubious 
		character who come on strong, such as Leni Riefenstahl, and just about any 
		female who appears on stage or screen in a tight leather jumpsuit. I'm 
		surprised they haven't said much about that female serial killer featured 
		on 60 Minutes; but I suspect she's next. 

		(I sometimes wonder about men who call themselves male feminists. I don't 
		mean men who are kind, or perceptive, or supportive of women's legitimate 
		interests. Believe me, I don't! No, I question the men who post on feminist 
		newsgroups, advocating a female superiority I don't accept, or expecting me 
		to assume a hatred of men I just don't have. Some of them may just be 
		ideological sheep. But I wonder if there are others who don't care that much 
		about women's liberation, in any true sense of the word -- but just want to 
		be dominated!) 

	4) Honorary Man Feminism. Honorary Man Feminists do not question the separation of 
		male and female social roles, or their nature. They just believe women 
		should have the right to assume the male one. Honorary Man Feminism may have 
		been the only kind around in the 1930's -- which may explain why Honorary 
		Man Feminists adore butch 30's movie stars (like Dietrich and Hepburn) so 
		much. Honorary Man Feminists are typically annoyed with the post-1968 
		movement, since by blurring gender roles it's taken away the privileges 
		they worked so hard to earn. 

		The noisiest propounder of this movement is, of course, Camille Paglia 
		(though Florence King does the whole schtick much funnier, and with a lot 
		more honesty). And yes, I really think Ms. Paglia is sincere when she calls 
		herself a feminist. It's just that her definition of feminism goes back to 
		her youth, and is not very compatible with the current one. 

		Note that the Native Americans of the Great Plains were also Honorary Man 
		Feminists. That is, their culture made quite rigid distinctions in gender 
		role: males were fierce warriors, and females gentle homemakers. But they 
		allowed each individual to assume the gender they wanted. 

	4) Nicey-Poo Feminism. Nicey-Poo Feminists have taken the sensible idea that women 
		should be supportive of other women, and distorted it almost out of 
		recognition. That is, Nicey-Poo Feminists believe that feminism means never 
		saying anything controversial (at least in their own circles), and never 
		saying anything about another woman that isn't nice. 

		Nicey-Poo Feminism has been promoted by the new new Ms. (post-1990). This 
		magazine is afraid to print anything which any segment of their audience 
		might find offensive. After all, if they actually said anything mischievous 
		or funny, their circulation might increase. (A fate they seem determined to 
		avoid at all costs.) 

	5) Me Too Feminism represents the male wing of the Moonbeam Feminist movement (at 
		least, its proponents seem to be most active during the full of the moon). 
		Me Too Feminism is not the concept that men have their own problems with 
		stereotyped sex roles, or that many abuses typically inflicted on women 
		(such as sexual harassment) are also carried out on men. No, these ideas 
		make too much sense for Internet's Lost Boys, the Me Too Feminists. What 
		they are saying is quite different: that whatever problems women have, men 
		have to the same degree, or more. And that, therefore, the feminist movement 
		should be disbanded. 

		Me Too Feminists are quite inventive; but I would really like to see their 
		equivalent for menstrual cramps. 

Back to Lori's Humor Page