Why Anyone Who Says We Live In A Post-Feminist World Should Be Cuffed In The Head

July 8, 2008

Because, seriously. The Jezebel Apocalypse (discussed HERE) makes my worrying about my daughter’s possible exposure, someday, somewhere, to a Bratz doll seem the equivalent of worrying about one day getting a hangnail, oh my god.

(What apocalypse? The one where influential young women – ‘feminist role models’ to at least some impressionable girls – get up – or slouch down, drunk – in a public forum and say shit like ‘only stupid girls get raped’ and ‘pulling out is the funnest birth control omg!’ and ‘I was raped once but I like didn’t do anything about it because I had better things to do, like get drunk.’ FOR SERIOUS.)

(Weeping a little bit.)

All I want for my daughter is a world in which she gets to decide, always, when, where and how she takes her leaps, and for her to recognize that that world was – and continues to be – hard-won, and to never, ever take that world for granted. I want her to be a feminist girl in a feminist world, always fighting with and for and because that feminism. I want her to fly, and to know and appreciate that she flies because being a strong, smart woman gives her wings.

And I want her to never forget that those wings can be torn. I want her to never tear them, to never be tempted to tear them.

Because the tearing of those wings? A hideous, terrible, tragic thing. I so want to spare her that. I so want her to grow into the sort of woman who will spare herself that.

That is all.

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    flutter July 8, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I want that for everyone’s children.

    Her Bad Mother July 8, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    flutter – WORD.

    Maternal Mirth July 8, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    HBM … if I could sing, I’d be your back up with a chorus of “amen sista!”s.

    Sadly, I am completely tone deaf.

    jen July 8, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    the sisterhood is really taking a beating lately, isn’t it.

    talk about eating our own heads.

    kittenpie July 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Ugh. Thank goodness she has the mother who will tell her, show her, teach her to look critically at such displays.

    Anonymous July 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    Woh! That is all I can say. That, and I have goosebumps. Thanks for your post.

    ScientistMother July 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    My head is bowed in shame, though I am right behind maternal mirth sinking amen sista!

    Kyla July 8, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Amen and amen.

    Mommy Melee July 8, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I don’t have a daughter, but your wishes resonate deeply with you.

    I have a son and another son due in November. I always imagined myself as a mother to a daughter. I’m very close to my mom and I’m just–well, I’m not girly. But I guess… I like being a woman, damn it!

    Anyway, it’s endlessly important to be to raise sons who are going to respect women. It seems so simple, but I know it’s not simple, or easy.

    I have to start with remembering to respect myself, at any rate.

    Theresa July 8, 2008 at 4:26 pm


    Candygirlflies July 8, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    “…being a strong, smart woman gives her wings.”

    What I see as one of the keys to your daughter’s future success in life, is the fact that a strong, smart woman is GIVING her wings.

    You’re awesome, HBM.

    xo CGF

    Backpacking Dad July 8, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I want my daughter to remember that it’s easier to destroy the legacy of feminism than it is to live it, and that she gets to choose for her daughters whether they will inherit that legacy or live blinded and bonded.

    Carolyn...Online July 8, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    That was so well said HBM. There are so many brillant, wonderful, meaningful, smart, funny women’s voices out there right now WHY do we keep handing the microphone over to the one’s that chose to use the spotlight to smash something that is more important and fragile than they realize? Whew – sorry for the run on. I was trying to find a way to be productive and not use the word “stupid.”

    sweetney July 8, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    you are teh awesome. always.

    Syko July 8, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    She will grow up into a strong, smart, beautiful woman. She has you to teach her how.

    Yazmena July 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    You always have the words to explain how I feel. I hadn’t heard of all of this and after watching the video all I want to do is climb into bed and wrap myself around my 9 month old daughter and hope that I too will teach her how precious and hard won her wings are.

    CaraBee July 8, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Add my “Amen” to the chorus.

    toyfoto July 8, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Ok. Sorry. I couldn’t get through the whole video thing with the two Jezabels. They had nothing of interest for me. I really can’t believe THEY can really influence anyone. Seriously? I know so many young women of substance. I am not worried.

    Michelle July 9, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Great post. The Jezebel fiasco is dis. turb. ing.

    Dondi Tiples July 9, 2008 at 8:57 am

    We all want so much for our children. All our best hopes. All our good intentions. And we wish, and we pray, and sometimes we do some underhanded manipulations of our own, and we cross all our fingers that somehow everything turns out as well for them as we intend them to.

    Alas. They do make their own way, don’t they?

    Vicki July 9, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I also throw my “amen” in there because you said it so wonderfully. I really want my children to grow up and be strong individuals. I have twin sons right now but am hoping for another healthy baby in the future, be it boy or girl. Either way I will teach them to respect others as much as they will respect themselves.

    I can’t believe these girls were allowed to go on this show as drunk as they were and no one told them to stop making such *insert very bad word here* statements. I am disappointed for their mothers because if they were any kind of parent at all they should be ashamed. VERY ashamed.

    Aprylsantics July 9, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I watched as much as I could of that train wreck and might easily be outraged at such a display, but I know those women did far more damage to themselves than anything else.

    It seems to me they GREATLY underestimated and disregarded their interviewer and audience. Their overblown egos convinced them that their readership loved them so much, they would even pay money to see them throw rocks at zoo animals. Big mistake.

    I would like to think their ridiculous commentary, while inciting anger in a lot of us, will bounce from our deaf ears and attach itself to them like a giant scarlet letter “S” (STUPID judgement call).

    I’m sure they will pay for this and maybe some day have the maturity to realize why.

    lavandula July 9, 2008 at 10:34 am

    catherine your post was beautiful and heart touching as it always is.i have 3 daughters and i want their wings to take flight and soar.they know its ok to be who they are…wonderbaby will thank you for so much when she is fully grown.you give her great gifts and she will appreciate them all…..as for those 2 jezebels how sad that they percieve feminism in that f***ed up way.they can’t honestly believe that shite they were saying. and if they do lets hope and pray that other young women don’t feel the same.we are women let us roar or whisper but let us be heard! and not like them.

    justmylife July 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Amen! I want that for all little girls.

    Rachael July 9, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Well said. Your daughter is lucky to have a mom like you.

    Janet July 9, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

    Anonymous July 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Then just raise her that way, you moron! Quit using excuses about “the country” or “world” keeping you from doing so.

    My Mom is the greatest and strongest ‘feminist’ I’ve ever met. She has never accepted shit from anyone.

    Quit making excuses and stand the fuck up.

    Mimi July 9, 2008 at 4:56 pm


    And hey, there, Anonymous? Blogs are for thinking these things through together, and you probably don’t come here very often if you think Bad is just making excuses. Yeesh.

    Jenn July 9, 2008 at 5:13 pm

    So I initially came to write my praise for this post really spoke to me (and clearly many others) – but then I read that stupid comment by anonymous (how cowardly) and am left with a bad taste in my mouth.

    Unfortunately your mother didn’t do as great of a job as you think she did if you’re putting the word “feminist” in quotations, and have clearly misunderstood this post entirely. Pfffft!

    Canuckedup mama July 9, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    Like Jenn, I too was going to add my praise of HBM’s post. But then I read anon @ 4:53 and thought “why didn’t I think of that?” *slaps forehead*

    I mean really – children ALWAYS listen to their parents, who are their only heroes & role models. They’re never influenced by anything externally, especially not pop culture, and so our job as parents should simply be to “quit making excuses and stand the fuck up”.

    That’s some quality parenting advice. I’ll be adding that, and the importance of calling people names under the guise of anonymity, to my list of things to teach my daughter.

    Ben & Bennie July 9, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    Ditto on Jenn’s comment. To answer the the fucking scum coward I do believe HBM just did “stand the fuck up.”

    And as the father of a daughter, I think that was a brilliant post, HBM.

    womaninawindow July 9, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    Wonderful, your words and your photos!

    IRISHKAT July 9, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    One again you said it beautifully.

    A Mom Two Boys July 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    No daughters here, but a beautiful post!

    And simply delete that moronic comment and move on. There’s no need for that here and they don’t deserve the attention they’ve already received. Don’t let it cheapen what you so beautifully wrote.

    Kelley July 9, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Fabulous post. I am raising teenage girls right now…

    Keep anons comment. She was probably drunk.

    Kimblahg July 9, 2008 at 8:56 pm

    holy shit. i hadn’t seen the debacle into you linked to it. i am stunned by how stupid they sounded. that is not feminism and i would be embarrassed to have them associated with my web site if i were the other members of jezebel.

    I'll never tell July 9, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Nasty anon is probably one of those clueless moronic Jezebels who is clearly horrified by her own self. I have three daughters, 8 sisters and my mom is the oldest of three girls. Girls to boys in my family are 9 to 1. Girlpower rules here in my family and I truly believe that women who make such fools of themselves as the Jezebels OBVIOUSLY did, aren’t as powerful as they like to think they are. In fact they are VERY SAD individuals who speak for only a few.

    Julie Pippert July 9, 2008 at 9:51 pm

    *rubbing eyes*

    Okay things I wish I hadn’t seen and things I didn’t see.

    That, for the former.

    Anyplace in this post where you made any excuses, for the latter.

    Anon has perplexed me, and so late in the day.

    Anyway, word, and word to flutter and Jen too.

    daysgoby July 9, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Power to the Mother.

    Anissa Mayhew July 9, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    As the mother of 2 girls and 1 boy, I will feel like I did a good job as a mother, not when my kids graduate, or get their first job…but NOW when I see them making choices based on their understanding that they don’t have to do what the other kids do, that no one has the right to break them down. I have respectful and polite kids, but they are firm in themselves and I want to teach those girls that their body is THEIRS, to treat it as the gift it is. Just as importantly, I’m raising a son that I want to understand that as well.

    Good for you! It’s not about excuses, but about wishing that the world at large could support things that would seem to be a common goal of parents.


    Mom101 July 9, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    I just spent the last hour following links and links and links…

    I will just say wonderbaby is lucky to have you. And those Jezebel chicks should have been so lucky.

    nomotherearth July 9, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    She will, no doubt.

    Jim July 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    That’s a pretty despicable attitude. You want to respond to verbal disagreement – wait, not even verbal disagreement, just the implication of something that doesn’t line up with what you believe – you think that should be responded to with violence?

    You are exactly the type of person that gives feminism a reputation for being overzealous, full of hate and intolerant of dissent. I just hope you don’t teach your daughter to “fly” by stepping on other people to get up there.

    Her Bad Mother July 9, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    Jim? DUDE. You seriously think that I plan on going around flicking people in the head with my finger (note that I said cuff, which has the connotation of a non-violent ‘wake-up’ shove – not punch or beat BUT WHY THE FUCK AM I EXPLAINING THIS) – I was speaking figuratively.

    But yeah, basically, I think that anyone who claims that we’re past feminism needs to give their head a big ol’ shake, and that the Jezebel spectacle proves it.

    That you think that’s hateful and overzealous is just, I don’t know, kinda hateful and overzealous.

    Aimee Greeblemonkey July 9, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Wanted to add my Amen. Great post, sister. Don’t let anyone tell ya different.

    Mrs. Davis July 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Have not watched the video. Will not watch the video. But have read plenty about this. It seems the perfect example of why I don’t *get* third-wave feminism and why I feel like an old-school contemporary of Betty Friedan. Even though I’m only in my 30′s. (Okay LATE 30′s. Almost 40, but STILL…)

    Also, I think people (namely these two Jezebel writers) should realize that it’s best to leave comedy to the experts. What a lost opportunity for them.

    And exposure to Bratz dolls? Sooooo not a hangnail.

    Kara July 9, 2008 at 11:45 pm

    Saw the tweet about trolls… could it be that you’ve blogged about two high profile blog dramas recently? That seems to invite the crazy. I firmly believe that blog drama makes us all a little stupid.

    Loralee Choate July 9, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    It’s mind boggling that anyone could be asshattary regarding this post.

    Asshats are icky.


    Jim July 9, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    > You seriously think that I plan on going around flicking people in the head with my finger

    No, I think you are advocating it. There’s a lot of people who are all talk when it comes to slapping people they don’t like around. They tend to phrase things the way you chose to, the suggestion of violence without committing to it themselves.

    Just because you don’t have the guts to do it, it doesn’t mean the sentiment is any more pleasant.

    > note that I said cuff, which has the connotation of a non-violent ‘wake-up’ shove

    Uh, no. It’s a slap. It actually used to be stronger than that; it originally meant to thrash or fight. Example dictionary definition:

    “To strike with or as if with the open hand; slap.”

    If I, as a man, suggested that feminists should be slapped for thinking that the feminist movements work is complete, what do you imagine the response would be? Do you think the word “sexist” would come up? “Violent”? “Misogynist”?

    And yet you, as a women, suggest the same for people who imply that the feminist movement’s work might be complete, and you shake it off as “I didn’t mean it!”

    Could I get away with that excuse? Would you read “Why feminists should be slapped” and think to yourself “Oh, it’s okay, he’s only speaking figuratively”?

    > That you think that’s hateful and overzealous is just, I don’t know, kinda hateful and overzealous.

    Disagreeing strongly with somebody advocating violence is not hateful.

    Jen July 9, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    I don’t know if you’ve read this: http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2008/07/on-being-role-model.html or not but I thought it was a pretty interesting take on the whole Jezebel affair. It’s the only piece I’ve read about the whole thing that takes that side of the “argument”.

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