This Week in Feminist Politics: Apparently Feminism is a Serious Mental Illness
- “Feminism is a serious mental illness,” wrote one anonymous user on DC Inside, one of South Korea's most popular online gaming communities, which boasts 70 million daily page views. “Get counseling at the nearest psychiatric clinic.” There is an awakening of feminism as anti-feminism grows in South Korea. The struggle took an epic turn two years ago, with the publication of the proto South Korean feminist text Kim Ji Young born 1982. The book has sold over 270,000 copies. K-pop idol Irene has taken to reading excerpts of the book to her fans, which has caused an uprising among some of the more Neanderthal elements. “Are you taking male fans for fools when we are spending so much on you?" The furious fan wrote online. Charmed, I’m sure.
- Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency took many fronts. On the one hand the administration and sympathetic Republicans sought to portray her as a feminist. “Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security, but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders said from the podium as White House spokesperson. Haspel, a 30-plus year CIA veteran, is certainly well qualified for the post. She would be the first woman to serve as CIA Director, which would be historic. However, Haspel’s moral qualifications are still opaque. She ran America’s torture site in Thailand and had a part in the destruction of tapes that were allegedly incriminating. Finally, she will probably win the nod anyway, open questions notwithstanding. Two Democrats have already defected, saying they will vote for her and the New York Times has endorsed her.
- Saturday is the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. How are feminists supposed to feel about that? While the love story of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle goes against all stereotypes, should a successful, enlightened modern woman like Meghan Markle go in for the whole Princess lifestyle? Is that something a feminist in this day and age should even aspire to anymore? Maya Rupert penned a thoughtful piece in the NY Times called How A Black Feminist Became a Fan of Princesses. “I didn’t grow up feeling locked into the princess role, but rather locked out,” she writes. “And as I realized that, my anti-princess feminism began to give way to something more nuanced. Princess culture — the celebration of a fairy tale version of femininity and romance — damages girls because it offers a limited vision of the roles girls can play, but also because it offers a limited vision of which girls can play those roles. Maybe instead of rejecting princess culture, wholesale, I could embrace different princesses.” Rupert accepts anti-Princess feminism as well as the pro-Meghan Markle perspective, which she defends, in this piece.
- “Some of the most astonishing disclosures about what he uncovered are still to come," said Publisher Reagan Arthur. Arthur was talking about the upcoming book by Ronan Farrow, which sheds further light on his investigations into powerful men who abuse women. Little, Brown and Company has acquired the rights to Ronan Farrow’s new book titled "Catch and Kill." "It's been important to me to keep the spotlight focused on the survivors of sexual violence who risked so much to speak to me and other reporters whose work I admire," Farrow commented. "I've also always said that the questions about the behind-the-scenes mechanics that suppressed these revelations are legitimate — and that, when enough time had passed, and once I had marshaled the evidence needed to tell this story, I would find a way to do so. Catch and Kill is that story."
- The English actor Benedict Cumberbatch has said that he will turn down any role that does not pay women costars equally.
- Human rights attorney Amal Clooney told 2018 graduates at Vanderbilt this week: "be courageous. Challenge orthodoxy. Stand up for what you believe in.” She was speaking about #MeToo movement, imprisoned journalists around the world, and LGBT issues. “Courage, as they say, is contagious,” the British international human rights lawyer told the Tennessee University’s 2018 class in a 30-minute speech, according to the Tennessean. “People who have had the courage to change their societies, in India, in South Africa, in the United States, inspire each other and create rights for future generations ... there is still much to do.”
- Rape revenge fantasy movies are being re-examined in light of the #MeToo movement. “Traditionally associated with grindhouse misogyny and BBFC-vexing video nasties, it’s a format that by its very nature hinges on sexual violence.” Anne Billson examines the genre – which includes films like I Spit on Your Grave, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Virgin Spring -- with a jeweler’s eye and a scholar’s patience. "On the one hand, what could be more empowering than watching a woman wreaking violent vengeance on her abusers?" she writes, citing examples, peeling back the layers. “But the rape-revenge movie is a game of two unequal halves,” she adds. “The thrill of vicarious empowerment is backloaded into the latter part of the movie while the earlier instigating sexual violence is often teased out in harrowing detail, unbearably grueling to watch or, worse, filmed salaciously.” Check out this smart take here.