“Things that look like feminism but aren’t”

I’m so happy to see this wonderful commentary from Irin Carmon at MSNBC about the way columnists have responded to “Weiner’s women.” The whole article is spot-on, but I especially love how she takes down Susan Jacoby:

Susan Jacoby, “Weiner’s Women,” for The New York Times:

“People ask how Mr. Weiner’s wife, the soulfully beautiful and professionally accomplished Huma Abedin, can stay with him. My question is why hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of women apparently derive gratification from exchanging sexual talk and pictures with strangers… Women who settle for digital pornography are lowering their expectations and hopes even more drastically than their male collaborators are.”

“As a feminist, I find it infinitely sad to imagine a vibrant young woman sitting alone at her computer and turning herself into a sex object for a man (or a dog) she does not know… [it] expresses not sexual empowerment but its opposite — a loneliness and low opinion of oneself that leads to the conclusion that any sexual contact is better than no contact at all.”

Things that are not feminism:

  1. Asking a question about why women do or want things and answering with why you do or want things, and calling it feminism. (Or, as Julia Wong put it, “My feminism demands that women be allowed to speak for themselves.”)

  2. Assuming that a “vibrant young woman” (separate from a “soulfully beautiful and professionally accomplished one) suffers from false consciousness about her own sexuality, and that she needs your pity and implicit shaming, and calling it feminism.

  3. Claiming that you are not judging women’s sexual behavior differently from men’s, and then judging women’s sexual behavior differently from men. And calling it feminism.