Women Again Demanding To Be Treated Like Eggshells, Not Equals
That's my description, as of late, of the new feminism, the one that sees men as perps (guilty of something or other, surely) until proven otherwise (by their standards of proof), and that sees "safety" no longer as something physical but protection from hurty words.
Ashe Schow writes at the Wash Ex in concord with this, "Feminist hysteria is causing the infantilization of women":
Women once were encouraged to be strong and independent, to brush aside insensitive words and actions and to emerge stronger. But now, politicians, pundits, even celebrities are feeding an outrage machine by telling women they should be offended by anything and everything.
The latest example comes from actress Lena Dunham, famous not only for her HBO show "Girls" but also for a 2012 political ad comparing voting for the first time to losing one's virginity. Last week, Dunham told NPR that the phrase "too much information" -- "TMI" for short -- is a sexist phrase that "trivializes female experiences."
What Dunham doesn't appear to realize is that by claiming common phrases are sexist, women are actually being told that they need to be protected from free speech and that they should be offended more often because they are somehow being oppressed by that speech. This reinforces the idea that women are overly fragile and sensitive -- an image that feminists supposedly have been fighting for decades.
TMI is just the latest word or phrase being flagged as sexist. In 2012, the Women's Media Center created a list of more than 100 words and phrases that are harmful to women, including "aggressive" and "complain."
Singer Beyonce and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg added a new word to that list in March -- "bossy." Suddenly women were told they were being marginalized if they were called bossy, even though some men are called far worse (far too colorful to mention here).
I'm "bossy," and proud of it, and I use the term as a compliment to describe my friend KateC, who, after my boyfriend's boss died, pushed him and a magazine editor together at a party and said, "Here's the late Elmore Leonard's researcher; you need to have him write for you."
When I saw a friend who's an entertainment editor at a cafe -- when a former movie critic friend was there -- I copied her. I hope it results in some work for my friend and a great freelancer for my other friend.
If you aren't a wounded duck of a person, words don't wound; in fact, you can take possession of supposedly negative words and use them as positives. As I did with bossy. It never occurred to me to get all butthurt about the word. And wouldn't. Because my orientation to the world isn't as a woman who's walked on by men or anyone, but as a person who has power because I present myself that way.
And the notion that TMI is a woman-bashing term -- if you feel that victimized by an innocuous bit of slanguage, well, we'd best shove you back in the kitchen where none of the muffins you bake will do anything to offend your terribly tender-ass self.