here's an example of something that a certain kind of feminist says that i think is really terribly wrong. 'the expectations' on women (in public life, but many argue everywhere all the time) are different than on men. so, for example, hillary clinton is, by universal consensus, globally inauthentic. bernie, being a dude, can appear in a rumpled suit and sincerely profess his beliefs. but no woman can do that in public life, because the expectations are so different.
i'm sorry, but you're going to have to do something other than merely capitulate, appealing to your total involuntary passivity. each of us, i think, has an obligation to fight for some sort of authentic self-presentation in public; we all face great pressure not to. hillary clinton can dress however she pleases and say whatever she likes. really. seriously. her servitude is voluntary. she is one of the most privileged people in the world; if she changed her fashion sense or scrubbed off her makeup mask...whatever. maybe she would have to pay some kind of price; well, i think human beings have to be willing to do that. maybe 'the public' would actually respond well to that. but even if they didn't, at least she wouldn't be nothing anymore.
i remember obama said that hillary had to do what he had to do, but backwards and in heels. then he said that the experience was harder for her, because for one thing, she had to spend an hour and half every morning on her hair and makeup. define 'had to.' i hope i heard the condescension in his voice. maybe that was the advantage that propelled barack to victory, if it really did make it hard for her. chalk one up for the patriarchy. it might have also been harder for her because she had to discipline herself at every moment not to say what she meant and not to say what she thought. if women have to do that, i propose to ignore whatever any woman says from now on. fortunately i haven't noticed that women are any more like this than men, on average. hillary is doing exactly what john kerry did.
not all women who appear in public space have sprayed their hair into total discipline or whatever, whereas the ways men look presidential in their identical suits and ties is also pretty damn prescribed. if women face more pressure than men to create a false appearance, then they're going to have to insist even harder than men on manifesting themselves for real. stop whining and start fighting, y'all, or this whole feminist thing is the merest bullshit.
look, are you really going to just lay there, producing whatever appearance you suppose we demand, until we change our minds or something? if you don't like 'the regime of appearances' you need to tweak it, tease it, move it slightly, parody it, ridicule it, or simply defy it in our faces. ok? plenty of women have been doing that for a very long time. in particular, actual feminists have been doing it in a million ways since wollstonecraft. if you still 'can't', centuries later, that's on you.
i am your oppressor, i suppose. well, i'm not going to be able to free you if you won't make any effort whatever to free yourself, or if you are bent on regarding yourself as conceptually unfreeable, always questing for a set of expectations to fulfill. maybe you need to stop waiting for me to free you. y'all are going to have to teach us who you are and how you actually do want to appear, alright? many of you have, heroically or routinely. resistances, even little resistances, are educational. capitulation conveys no information, just mechanical repetition. we're going to need more, and we're going to need to understand some of the things it might mean to be a woman, or what it is like to be a woman, now. to do that, you're going to need show us who you are now, bring what's inside to the surface in whatever way you deem honest. what that takes: the minimum effective dose of human courage.
'expectations' have formed up into a pretty odd dimension; they seem to float free; they are everyone's, or all men's (?), expectations in general, no one's in particular. if we are talking about heterosexual men's expectations for the appearance of people like hillary clinton, i don't think our expectations are nearly as detailed as you seem to think they are. certainly, we could never have designed hillary's outfits or imposed on her her particular coiffure. as you may know, you're lucky if we really even notice stuff like that. in my view, these are your expectations for yourself, the expectations you are imposing on yourself. or put it like this: to some extent at least it is the us in your head, and not the us in the world, that is imposing all these disciplines of appearance on you. just taking a gander, it seems to me more like you're trying to fulfill the expectations of gay men: the sort of people who, let me speculate, might actually have helped hillary with her makeup, designed her outfit and imposed on her her particular coiffure.
we're apparently in a period of what might be termed morbid sociality, in which what people worry about most or exclusively is what they suppose other people are thinking about them and seem to regard themselves as having no choice but to behave continuously as they suppose those people expect them to. there's a whole wing of 'feminism' - oh, try jessica valenti in the guardian - and also of the social sciences as a whole, which appears to believe that this is the universal human condition, before which each of us is entirely helpless. it's just the way homo sapiens thinks. i propose to prove that false all day every day with my own body and blog.
women had to fight to rock.
they still do.
[actually i wanted this vid; 'embedding disabled on request.'] how do i expect a woman politician to appear? the more like da brat da better.