All or Nothing: My Every-so-often Feminist RantThis story begins with another story. Several months ago, I read an interview with Lana Del Ray regarding her stance on feminism.
“For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept,” she says. “I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested.”
While this enraged me (as I hope it does you, but let's be honest - not everyone is "that interested" in the civil rights of other human beings), I have spent months coming in and out of why this argument bothers me. It's not just that she flippantly enjoys success because of the women who have come before her, women who had to fight tooth and nail to be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry, women pushing the boundaries of what's acceptable and polite, women with real talent that opened the ears of everyone to accept other women as talent. It's not just because she said no to feminism by way of claiming interest in Elon Musk's contributions to society - one of my own passions - thereby polarizing those two interests.
It is the very backs of women that Lana has climbed upon to get where she is today. But that's not my point. After this silly quote was posted to the inter-webs by a silly girl, she got eviscerated by feminists. And let's face it, women judging other women for their choices is pretty anti-antithetical to the feminist ideal.
But it continues to raise a question for me. Can women "opt out" of feminism as if it were a college course or an after-school club? Do we expect too much from famous people like artist and athletes? After all, it's not usually their high moral code or praise-worthy civic duties that have made them famous.
Lana "joins the ranks of Shailene Woodley, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift, all who have recently rejected the feminist label because they “love men,” or “don’t think of things as guys versus girls.” Source here.
That's not feminism at all to me! In fact, many of the most hard-core feminists I know are men. But let's work on my definition, shall we?
One of my favorite British ladies, Caitlin Moran defines feminism with two questions. 1. Do you have a vagina? 2. Do you care who is in charge of it and what happens to it? Congrats! If you answered yes to either, you are a feminist.
So why all the resistance to feminism? On a personal level, the people I love often fight back on my "feminist" posts, somehow excusing or challenging the continued, blatant sexism that still exists. That may be part of the problem, maybe it's just blatant to those of us looking for it. Perhaps in these times, the real danger of sexism is its insidious, hidden, subversive nature. I resisted the label for a long time, but that was mainly due to ignorance and fear of image.
Perhaps we as a society are too inundated with causes and tragedies and cries for help that we can shrug our shoulders and go back to what really interests us.
I recently connected with an old friend and we started talking about gay marriage. She doesn't know any gay people, and she mentioned that she would probably care more if she did. I love this friend, she is smart and fiercely passionate about many causes. I nodded at the time, but later got to thinking - does that mean I can opt out of caring about causes like endangered species? Because I don't know any owls, I shouldn't care about preserving them? It doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
But then again, if someone brings up male circumcision one more time, I'm like STFU. So that must be what Lana felt when someone asked her about feminism. How many fucks can a person give, really? Especially when you are too busy contemplating how to perpetuate the desperate female trope and writing lyrics pleading with abusive men not to abandon you.
"Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)"