So. We have this big hit superhero movie. Directed by a woman. Staring not only a woman but a minority woman. And everybody loves it. Audiences flock to it. It had the biggest-ever opening weekend for a movie by a female director. Critics lavish praise upon it like relish on a summertime hot dog. And DC Comics breathes a huge sigh of relief that their otherwise dismal movie franchises are suddenly revived. By Wonder Woman
You’d think the Speakers of the Feminist World would be over-the-moon delighted. That is, you would think so if you did not already understand that over-the-moon delight is not something a current-gen feminist feels, except perhaps when grinding the brains of some poor, working-class guy into the dirt from her superior perch at Harvard or Yale.
Some are indignant because Wonder Woman, who in the film arrives on the real-world scene during WWI, doesn’t immediately begin pumping for contraceptives and universal suffrage. Others are actually body shaming gorgeous star Gal Gadot for being too good looking and … um, not fat enough or something. (Which has apparently been going on a long time. As has criticism of Wonder Woman’s lack of hairy armpits.)
My first temptation of course is to say, “Get a freakin’ LIFE, you eejits!” Get some popcorn, enjoy yourselves, and don’t take it so seriously.
But on consideration (and after reading the Very Heavy review by Jill Lepore, Harvard professor, New Yorker writer, and — whodathunkit? — Wonder Woman scholar), I’ve changed my mind.
Not about the movie, which I haven’t yet seen. But about feminism.
I now hereby DEMAND TO BE OPPRESSED!
Lepore (who enjoyed the film, albeit grudgingly and drudgingly), is pissed off that it took so long for Wonder Woman to get her own movie. She also feels guilty for enjoying a kick-ass movie when her fellow wompersons are suffering so dolefully:
A lot of viewers will come to this film, as I did, after the most ordinary of days, punch-card-punching, office-meeting, kid-raising, news-watching days, days of seeing women being silenced, ignored, dismissed, threatened, undermined, underpaid, and underestimated, and, somehow, taking it.
Women being silenced?
In the day of Twitter, Facebook, and female Harvard profs writing in the New Yorker about a woman superhero in a movie directed by a woman … women are being silenced? Appears to me women have never been louder.
I grant you that women in Saudi Arabia or Iran are being silenced — and worse — by mad male hierarchies. But I don’t think that’s who Lepore means. U.S. feminists have shown amazingly little concern for real oppressions outside their elevated enclaves.
And “ignored, dismissed, threatened, undermined, underpaid, and underestimated”? Sounds to me more like the plight of the poor, desperate unemployed loggers and fishermen who live in my neighborhood. The non-women.
Again, my first temptation is to say that these uber-privileged chicks who whine about how oppressed they are should get their butts out into the real world and see how the rest of us live, men and women alike. Or they should (particularly Lepore who, after all is a professor of history) take a look at how things were just a generation ago, when newspapers listed only low-level drudgery under the classification “Help wanted — women,” and when my mother wasn’t even “allowed” to fill out an insurance application because the form was aimed at men, who would then add subsidiary information about the little woman. Or look back not that much farther to the time women couldn’t own property in their own names. Today most college students are women and we’ve taken over entire professions once dominated by men, nice, clean-hands professions like advertising and PR.
We’ve come a long way, Baby.
But no. I’m not giving in to that temptation to point out the obvious to women who can’t see reality for all the college ivy hanging in their faces.
Now, it’s true that some of us women, along with our brothers in genteel (or not so genteel) poverty, are indeed Just Getting By. That’s life in a world increasingly divided between the privileged and the peasants. That was always life, in one way or another.
But I read all that whining and I observe where it’s invariably coming from: from “oppressed” women who have it way, way better than my neighbors and I do. From “silenced” women who have way more prestigious speaking platforms than I’ll ever have. From “undermined” and “underestimated” women who look down their patrician noses on me and the people I live among.
And here I am, grubbing along reasonably contentedly, but hardly spectacularly. I am supported, I must note, largely by members of the Evil Privileged Male Power Structure, and I suspect mostly by members of the Even More Eeeeevil Privileged WHITE Male Power Structure. And instead of being angry about that I’ve been so blinded I’ve actually been … grateful.
But I have decided — NO MORE! Considering myself non-oppressed has clearly gotten me nowhere. If joining the capital-O Oppressed class is the path to prestigious appointments and lucrative assignments from top-flight publications, then damnit, I DEMAND TO BE OPPRESSED. Hard and fast. Right bloody NOW! Start sending me that Harvard salary and those recruitment letters from corporations terrified that they’re not advancing women fast enough to suit the next-gen feminists of the world. Yeah, send me those New Yorker assignments, you evil, women-stomping system.
OPPRESS ME. OR ELSE!