Lately I’ve been listening to past shows a radio programme called Media Matters. Two guests I have been particularly looking forward to where Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect and Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women in Media & News (WIMN) (Both links lead to mp3 files). Sadly, I was greatly dissappointed. I was naively expecting a rich, filling feminist feast. I completely forgot that the second you put one feet outside of Teh Feminist Comunity ™, you are inmediately on Feminist Hostile Ground. Silly me! However, it seems that these women have deviced a way for introducing feminist ideas into the “progressive” community, sometimes even reaching the mainstream public space. How? By avoiding any use of the dreaded “f-word”. (I always thought that calling a feminist site “The F Word” was very clever; I never realized the extent to which this was the case). Although their “feminism” is admitedly “mainstream”, it does contain a good dose of core feminist ideas. The male gaze, sexual objectification, competition for male attention, even brushing over topics like violence against women and girls and child abuse. (Keep in mind that these women’s focus is the “media”).
I have the suspicion that this trick doesn’t wash. Feminist ideas sound feminist-y even without the “f-word”. Still, it left me wondering. It sure is a great way to get feminism out there, particularly among the so called “progressive” circles in which feminism is still a much dreaded topic (hence the quotation in the word progressive).
But, to be honest with you, it pisses me off. Isn’t it disrespectful to the many feminists who carried out invaluable work under the feminist label, work that is now at the basis of these women’s criticism of the media? What do you think? Am I being too sensitive over a word? Isn’t it ideas that matter at the end of the day?
For the ones who feel like doing extra work, we could also try to evaluate the ultimate usefulness of these women’s work due to their lack of…, well, teeth. I get the impression that in the end their arguments can be boiled down to
“I have no problem with companies making profits, I just want them to give up the misogyny that works so well in bringing them profits”.
Because for as long as misogyny, violence, sex and all the evils of humanity are profitable, we will always have a misogynistic, violent, sexualised and evil media.