Home > Literature > If You Play the Game of Internet Feminism, You Win or You Die.

If You Play the Game of Internet Feminism, You Win or You Die.

This article on feminism in George R R Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series – subtly entitled “Enter Ye Myne Mystic World of Gayng-Raype: What the “R” Stands for in “George R.R. Martin””  has irritated me ever since I read it and I’ve been wondering why I should even continue to think about and consider a piece of criticism on a book that seems to me to be so blatantly incorrect in both its assumptions and conclusions about a book. After all, it’s not even as if I’m married to the idea that ASOIAF is a flawless masterpiece that cannot be spoken about or considered with any sense of negativity. It’s a work of narrative and popular excellence, but it also has its share of flaws, slips and bad prose writing. It’s certainly also very valid to question the political assumptions behind a text and I’d be the first person to encourage people to do so, and to go ahead and write about it.

I don’t think that the author’s bullishness really helped, though I’d probably have been applauding her aggressive attitude if she’d actually been correct in her argument, or at least appreciated the complexities of engaging a text in this way. I didn’t take kindly, either, to the way she so brazenly censors the comments of others or shuts down conversations she doesn’t care to engage with. (“we’re hogging the conversation, we need to let others speak” in internet terms means “I’ve either lost this argument quite badly and need to save face, or I got bored with it.”) I would never do that, although at the end of the day it’s her blog so I guess that she has every right to respond and censor it as she sees fit. Neither are some of her observations all that terrible. I actually agree with a lot of her individual points and comments regarding the female characters, it’s simply the way she ties them all together badly, drawing absolutely terrible conclusions that makes her overall “I don’t like your toys – I have higher ground” demeanour grating to my nerves.

None of that helped but then, I thought, this is the internet. And that’s when it struck me why the existence of this piece was so irksome to me. This is the internet and this piece of critical garbage has garnered thousands of views, and reaped the benefit of many comments from feminist women of the “thank you so much, you said it in a way I couldn’t” variety that made me realise that this woman’s voice was influential whilst a clearly much smarter guy profoundly demolished the author’s arguments in the comments section to little applause or congratulation. I support feminism enough to not just openly label myself a feminist, but to regularly preach it to everyone I know, so one should assume that I could in some way get behind at least the intention of this writing. But I can’t, I loathe it. I loathe it because feminism if it’s going to progress beyond the point that it is now and be taken seriously by the patriarchy, needs to be serious and more importantly it needs to be credible. We’re beyond the stage of women shouting “give me a voice” in the most perfunctory, basic way. Men already think that women have a voice, but they still need to be convinced that voice is continuing to be manipulated and challenged by years of privilege and assumption. We’re beyond the point of saying “this text features rape, I find it repugnant and misogynist”.  I admit a person’s right to not enjoy watching something that features rape, if they find it too disturbing to watch (although if their reactions to a text are this primitive and emotive, they shouldn’t really be attempting to analyse or converse about it), but that categorically does not make it an anti-feminist text. If anything, the more brutalised and physically assaulted women tend to be in a text the more that text is commenting on the negative effects of a patriarchal society.

Dragons. An obvious symbol of feminine weakness. Right? Oh yeah, she’s butt naked too. Again.

We’re at the point where feminine discourse needs to be challenging masculine discourse in a considered and intelligent way. Don’t get me wrong, this has been happening. A lot. And it started as far back as 1949 when Simone de Beauvoir destroyed the foundations of Freudian theory in the Second Sex and she did so by writing intelligently and with knowledge about her subject. Feminism his been hotly debated in Academia ever since and it’s produced its share of good and bad writing, but a lot of it is good and ultimately that’s how I’ve come to consider myself to be a feminist, because I have no cause to deny the veracity of the position and no reason to feel threatened by it as a philosophy. Yet, I find modern trends in internet feminism a little threatening nevertheless. Some of it is good, but all too often I read online “this text has rape” style arguments that make me grit my teeth in frustration, but are showered with “you’re such a wonderful feminist” responses. These people are, however, unwittingly either alienating a lot of people from wanting to associate with feminism as a brand or they’re stifling them from wanting – or being able – to think critically about these issues since the response is so overtyl emotional  “Alas, I don’t like that x is raped, x is killed, x is sexualised in the text”. “Male gaze, male gaze, male gaze, male gaze” (see my piece on Sucker Punch) is brandished around like the ultimate slayer of all the male, patriarchal Gods and one ultimately cannot argue with a feminist who embraces those words because she must be right because she read about the “male gaze” on wikipedia somewhere….1

Feminism is not about emotion. It’s about fighting for equality where that equality doesn’t yet exist.

The point I’m making here is that, although it’s great that people can debate and discuss things on the internet in ways they couldn’t previously do, it’s also having a detrimental effect since it’s helping to spread terrible ideas like wildfire. These ideas look attractive on the surface and since they’re simple and easy for people to grab hold of and since they often key into people’s emotional reactions to a work, they get disseminated more quickly than the more intelligent and interesting ideas which also tend to be convoluted and difficult. In her article Sady makes a fairly horrible critical slip in her reading of ASOIAF in that she underrates the centrality of Daenerys story and writes it off because it’s “racist” (one has to ask if racism is the same thing as sexism and one has to answer that it isn’t. I also happen to find Buffy the Vampire a little racist at certain points… but that’s another story) In doing so she concludes that there are no empowered or convincing women in the text since all of the others are continually punished for being female and repressed.  Given that Brienne, Catelyn, Arya, Sansa and Daenerys et al are all still firmly in the middle of narrative arcs that – seems to me at least –  to be leading them from oppression to empowerment in different ways, it’s surely somewhat premature to speak about this text in such strong, conlcusive terms. One can speculate and surmise that the narratives aren’t feminist and one can question, for instance, Martin’s attitude towards women if one happens to feel that they are overtly sexualised, but one needs to seriously consider the evidence for and against before condemning both a work and its readership.  I don’t know if one can ultimately argue that ASOIAF is feminist or not. I personally think it is in many respects, but I’d have to work pretty hard to put that argument together, but one can certainly say that it’s a murky, complex text with so much depth and detail that it’s simply foolhardy to try and shout out to the world that it’s so obviously disgusting and full of rape and murder of women that one can easily pinpoint its misogyny2.

I really loathe these kinds of internet arguments and truly wish they would go away.

1The concept of the male gaze was extremely important in the development of feminist film criticism and it’s an extremely important one, but that doesn’t mean one can necessarily simply apply it in it’s most basic form to everything in every situation and automatically be right.

2Since I wrote this “Feminist Frequency has chimed in by stating that “I am now completely caught up on Game of Thrones and I do not understand how anyone with a critical bone in their body can look past all the obscene misogyny and grotesque violence. It’s repugnant. I realize there is a serious lack of good quality television, but at what point do we draw the line and recognize that the oppressive values and representations are too overwhelming to make any kind of justifications” Again, as someone with a lot of critical, internet-wide influence it’s extremely disappointing to see Anita Sarkeesian propagating the idea that one shouldn’t examine a text critically and with nuance. For her there’s simply a “right” and a “wrong” here. Worse, feminists that disagree with her don’t have a critical bone in their body, apparently.

Categories: Literature
  1. July 17, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Great stuff, Alex. I didn’t want to read or comment on this post until I had at least seen the first season of the HBO series. (It’ll be a long time till I read the books, I’m afraid, but I look forward to it!)

    1. I took issue with this particular phrasing: “I admit a person’s right to not enjoy watching something that features rape, if they find it too disturbing to watch (although if their reactions to a text are this primitive and emotive, they shouldn’t really be attempting to analyse or converse about it)…” We’ve had iterations of this discussion umpteen times before, of course, but even if it’s legitimate to say that a more considered, intellectually-biased opinion (as opposed to a gut-level, emotionally-biased one) is more valid in terms of discourse (I dunno that it is, but I’ll grant it for convenience’s sake), I think that any honest discussion will acknowledge and incorporate “primitive and emotive” responses. You do this yourself in this post, since the impetus for writing seems to be your loathing for Sady’s type of critical reaction. I’m not criticizing your for admitting as much or incorporating it — obviously, I think you were right to do so, and I think you did it well. I just wanted to bring it up.

    2. The role of the Internet in public discourse is a fascinating subject to me. I agree with you that it makes it so much easier for bad ideas to proliferate, and that this can be rather terrifying. At the same time, it also makes it easier for good ideas to proliferate. I’m not sure that the problem is the Internet, per se, so much as the fact that logical fallacies and pathetic forms of rhetoric are the most effective weapons in the arsenal of demagogues and populists. Or anyone, really, interested in swaying public opinion more than persuading a thoughtful public. I don’t know if this is a fault of the world’s education system or if it’s simply human nature to fall in line with emotional appeals, even if they don’t pass the smell test. We’ve all done it — both falling prey to these fallacies and employing them for our own uses. That doesn’t make it right, but it does mean that a tool designed for mass communication (such as the Internet) makes it so much easier for those tactics to be used by more and more people. The “Gayng-Raype” article might be an example of the Internet disseminating bad-but-effective rhetoric, but my own experience of maintaining a blog has brought me into contact with many thoughtful, intelligent people with whom I’ve had very rewarding conversations. We’d probably both agree that RT is full of morons, but I never would have met you if I hadn’t posted there. So there are pluses and minuses.

    3. I’ve never identified as “feminist” since I have no idea what that means. Like most labels, there seems to be no commonly-accepted definition. Maybe I’m one of those people who are put off associating with it as a “brand” precisely because of the groupthink you’re attacking here. Maybe I’d be more comfortable with it if “feminism” as a brand were much older, with more conventions. As it stands, it’s pretty young, and constantly in flux. I don’t like using any label — including the few I apply to myself, such as “conservative” or “Christian” — as a cudgel against opponents, which is what it seems you’re opposing here. I’m incredibly sympathetic to that. One thought that has occurred to me is that perhaps because feminism, being relatively young as an ideology, appeared so coincidentally with the arrival of instantaneous mass communication, it has had a much harder time codifying itself as a brand. In times past, it was easier for a few leaders to take hold of a platform and mold it along certain lines. When you use the term “feminist,” I have an idea of what that means, because I am familiar with how you think about the term and the implications it has for your beliefs and actions. When a random Internet blogger I don’t know uses it, it could mean anything. And if feminists are so busy taking swings at each other over the very use of the term “feminist” (using it as a nuclear option) I think you’re absolutely correct: challenging years of patriarchal privilege and assumption is not just more difficult, but not being accomplished at all.

    4. Aesthetic representations of rape are a thorny topic for me. I’m so hyper-aware of my visceral (primitive, you might say) reaction to it that whenever I do write criticism of a film/book/whatever that does prominently feature rape, I find that I frequently write about the act of writing about rape. I’ve gotten to a point where I don’t have any hard and fast rules about how I react to it or its legitimacy as something that can be represented. (I’m pretty sure that re-watching The Wayward Cloud for instance, would be a much different experience now than it was back in the Icine days.) The only general observation that I can make is that if I feel that it is being used exploitatively and cheaply, I find it to be distasteful, whereas if it’s used more deliberately and thoughtfully (even if it’s for shock, the shock can perhaps be useful), I’m more open to its legitimacy. I may be offended or sickened either way (or not), but I try my best to consider if it can in any way be justified. Perhaps not always successfully, but I’m willing to engage in dialogue with it and about it.

    5. Re: A Game of Thrones itself… Speaking only of the first season of the TV series, I thought that sexual violence (or the threat of it) was handled mostly pretty well. The world of the show felt plausible and consistent to me, and I felt that most of the people in it were treated like characters, rather than cannon fodder or victims for “male gaze” sickos. I won’t lie: I did think that some of it was typical HBO gratuitousness, but it seems to me that the victims in the show were portrayed as victims, rather than avatars of voyeuristic thrills. Daenerys herself was an extremely compelling character. In one season, she was victim, survivor, and victimizer. The world of Westeros seems designed to emphasize how patriarchal privilege shapes the views and actions of everyone in it, and how dehumanizing that can be to both men and women. One thing that struck me about Sady’s article is that she finds no room for men in it. (I didn’t read the “scorecards” and synopses for the future books/seasons for spoiler reasons, so maybe I’m wrong on this.) It’s true that women are the ones who are treated as sex objects, but men suffer very violent and sadistic fates as well. The way that Lady Stark (and her psychotic sister) treats Tyrion shows that men who don’t live up to ideals of patriarchal “masculinity” are also frequently victims of assumption and physical coercion. Yes, the sexual nature of the violence against women has an edge to it that is not present in violence of men against men, yet I think you could argue that it’s not a difference of degrees (i.e. one is worse than the other) but a difference of kind. I tend to regard rape as a very special kind of violence, often worse than murder, yet the world of Game of Thrones presents violence and oppression of every kind as exacting a psychological toll on the minds and bodies of its characters, and ranking them would be almost as dehumanizing as suffering those injuries in the first place. I like the swashbuckling action, the political manipulations, the overripe high fantasy dialogue, and the rest. But it reminds me of John Woo’s The Killer in that, just as you’re grooving on all the awesome nasty stuff that’s going on and your adrenaline is flowing, something truly tragic and/or awful happens that hits you like a bucket of ice water. That kind of storytelling is extremely manipulative, and perhaps often in bad taste, but once in a great while it is done with enough nuance, conviction, and emotional plausibility that it dodges being exploitative and becomes authentic instead. I would probably agree with anyone who said that Game of Thrones is problematic, but I think it’s problematic in an interesting way, and I certainly would not say that — as far as I’ve seen so far — it is flat-out anti-feminist in any way that I understand the term.

    I really appreciated this blog post, and one of the reasons I prioritized watching that first season was so I could read it and comment. Some really chewy grist in there, Alex. You don’t disappoint.

  2. Alex M
    July 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Some quick off the cuff comments back (thanks not only for the comment but for so conveniently numbering your points up, it makes responding without lengthy quoting a lot easier)

    1. My point was not that one cannot incorporate emotive responses into an argument or to attmept to understand or explain them, my point was that if you’re going to respond entirely with your emotive, rather than critical faculties then you’ve got no place in an intellectual discussion. I was annoyed by Sady’s arguments for a number of reasons I hope that I’ve explained, but I haven’t – I think – been led to argue from a point of overt emotion. Likewise, I think this kind of debate came up when we were discussing Alan Moore’s Lost Girls, but then, you backed away and said “I’m never going to read the book and so I’m not going to discuss it” I think you argued that the book was immoral from a political point of view which I disagreed with particularly emphatically, but you stepped away from making actual comments about the content of the book in favour of a “teenage sex oughtn’t be shown, period” argument. Is that different? I dunno, but I disagreed with you then and still think that you should read the book before censoring it. 😀
    2. Heh, as much as I enjoy talking to you, Matt, you’re one in several million and unfortunately I don’t meet Dade Devlin’s every day during my internet life. You’re right, of course, good ideas do get disseminated as well and there’s a notable trading of feminist ideas and that’s definitely a positive thing. Yet it feels a lot less than it ought to be and it feels like the level of obnoxiousness is still very high. Maybe I’m just not hanging out in the right places?

    3. I think that you should call yourself a feminist if you agree with the ideas that a) women should be equal to men and b) that’s not the case right now. I’ve had very long debates with women online who won’t identify with the feminist label because they see themselves as independent free-spirits and don’t want to be chastised as a 70s style bra-burner. I think it’s sad that one powerful image of feminism as a brand can destroy its intellectual credibility so strongly.

    I very much doubt that I’m a typical feminist but I call myself one anyway based on my reading and my experiences and what I feel I believe in. I try to use the word in an empowering, positive way. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but that doesn’t stop me fighting for or debating ideas that seem important. To not call yourself a feminist says that you don’t see that struggle as important, IMO. I hope that feminism never stops being in flux and I hope to meet someone, someday who demolishes all of my arguments and comes up with something more forward thinking and exciting. The day ideas settle down and stop changing is probably the day to drop them entirely.

    4. I agree with what you write entirely. I’d forgotten about the lively debate we had around The Wayward Cloud. I think if anything I’ve gotten a lot more tolerant of depictions of rape, having watched a lot of both arthouse and exploitation movies that feature it. Every usage is different and dependant on the context in which its presented. I don’t really understand why rape is harder to watch than murder for many people. It’s physical violence committed towards another person. I think that a lot of women feel that rape is taken seriously as a crime by men and that we need to be made aware of it as a crime. Actually, I think that the brutal rape one tends to see in movies is well noted as being “wrong” by guys, it’s the date-rape, pressuring and peer-pressuring women into sex that they don’t want that I think awareness needs raising about.

    5. I think your reading of the season is fantastic and spot on. I’m particularly behind what you say about Tyrion and violence against men. I think you’ll find that Tyrion’s story only gets more fascinating as you move through through the series (A Storm of Swords in particular). I hadn’t thought of the John Woo connection. I don’t think that GoT has the same kind of all-out machismo but that sense of violent tragedy is definitely there and they are both examples of how to use brutal violence effectively as a narrative weapon.

    Thanks so much for your comments 🙂 I think you should head on and read the books rather than waiting for Season 2 of the show because, yeah, they’re awesome.

    • July 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm

      1. I suppose I misunderstood/misread the thrust of your comment in this post, because I agree with your clarifications in this last comment. Saying, “I hate this and I loathe it and I want it to die in fire!” isn’t an argument, and it certainly has no place in intellectual discussion. Yet I think it’s fair — and responsible — to grapple with that emotive response in a thoughtful way, and even if Sady’s argument ends up being rather poor, it seemed to me that an attempt was made to justify the emotive response on intellectual grounds. As far as Lost Girls goes, I seem to recall that we discussed it, and I don’t recall advocating censorship (a position I would now utterly repudiate), but I don’t recall any other details. I still don’t plan to read it, but I’m not terribly interested in condemning a work I haven’t read.

      2. Low quality almost always overwhelms high quality in terms of sheer volume. But I think it’s a positive thing that, well, more positive things can happen more easily now, even if more negative things happen as well. You might be hanging out in the wrong places, or you might just have to accept that there are more wrong places than right ones, and by force of sheer probability, you’re bound to run into more of the former than the latter. 🙂

      3. It’s interesting to me that even the way that you frame the two criteria for being a feminist have problematic or complicated aspects. I realize that this is a much, much larger issue than can be decided by two people conversing over Game of Thrones, so please don’t think I’m chastising or critiquing your overall approach here. On one level, I’m inclined to agree that women should be equal to men and that that’s not the case right now. On another level, I’m not sure what it means to be “equal,” since I think a lot of self-described feminists define that as “sameness” or “total lack of difference.” On yet another level, there’s a way in which I don’t want women to be equal to men, if maleness is defined in terms of a certain code of masculinity or attitudes that I don’t think are terribly beneficial for anyone, regardless of sex. To me, it’s something that is broader than a fight on behalf or or with women; that’s part of why Tyrion stands out to me in Game of Thrones. He’s male, and exhibits traits that typify misogynist behavior, but it seems to me that they are responses to psychological (and probably physical) victimization, all of which has its roots in what feminists call the patriarchal order. (A very apt term, as far as I’m concerned.) What I’d like to see is a culture in which individuals and groups are not denigrated or falsely valorized purely on the basis of their sex, gender, or other identity markers. I see that struggle as important, and it’s something I try to fight for, but I don’t know if that makes me a feminist. Maybe an anti-paternalist? Anti-patriarchalist?

      4. I agree with everything you say on this point. And I think it relates to what I tried to get at in point 3, in that forms of sexual control (especially the kinds exemplified by men or figures of authority) are romanticized, fetishized, or represented as harmless fun. It’s a big reason why I despised Twilight and Superbad. It’s a reason why responses to the relatively stupid Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy sort of ticked me off. Women are just expected to put up with all this crap, ostensibly on the basis of, “Well, you were born a woman: it’s your lot in life, so suck it up.” Nobody gets physically raped in any of these things or even legitimately threatened with said crime, yet their sexuality is presented as something that belongs properly under the jurisdiction of male jackasses. By the same token, the same pressure that is exerted upon women to “give it up” or to feel that they somehow “deserved” to be date-raped is duly exerted upon men to be the ones who take what they want, or to treat women as objects, or to dominate them, or to pressure women because it’s a guy’s calling to be the hound. I won’t say that the effect is as damaging to men as it is to women, but there is a toll. The frustration, sense of inadequacy, the fragility of social status — these are all things that, in my opinion, harm men, just as the repercussions are felt on women. Not to mention the obligation to be aggressive and even violent, which can cause more immediate problems for men who give into that pressure. It’s nothing new. Hamlet Sr. pressured Hamlet Jr. into exacting revenge, which resulted in tragedy for everyone. Yet Hamlet is the hero of the tale, the “sweet prince.”

      5. I look forward to reading/seeing the rest of Tyrion’s story. Dunno if I’ll have the time to read the books anytime soon, but I’m sure it’s good stuff. I’m sure there are better parallels than John Woo’s work, but it was the first thing I thought of, especially in how he draws contiguities between cops and criminals and their codes. There are bad people in Game of Thrones, and it doesn’t hold back from allowing us to judge their actions as villainous, yet the characters are never simply “villains” or “evil.” It’s all rooted in a plausible emotional context, which makes it more tragic.

  3. Alex M
    July 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    1. I think that primarily one should seek to understand how one’s emotional responses might be clouding their intellectual judgement and not attempt to build up an intellectual position around the idea that your gut reaction happens to be something. There’s a huge difference and Sady does the latter. One is socialised into having certain emotional responses to things and if one seeks to justify the way one has been socialised through argument rather than to argue in order to find the truth then you’re never going to get anywhere… any fact any feminist that does this is playing right back into the hands of the patriarchy that socialised them in the first place.

    2. Which really brings us back full circle to the problem I feel that we have. Bad thought spreading like wildfire. I suppose my hope was that, with the internet, all the good would come out of the woodwork and slowly and surely it would start to spread and, if not overtake, become a dominant force alongside the stupid. I was catastrophically wrong there as over the years I think that stupid thought has flourished and prevailed. It’s unfair to put Sady next to 4Chan … she’s arguing reasonably fluently, has a grasp of English and doesn’t just insult people, but it’s still deeply disappointing.

    3. I find it very strange that you, or anyone else (I’ve heard this argument a fair few times) would take one problematic aspect of feminism as a reason to dismiss the thought of being a “feminist”. Obviously feminist critics have been debating what it means to be a feminist in some depth for many, many years and notions of what it means to be feminine and what it means to have equality with men are at the centre of the debate. In essence the question is “sure women should strive for equality, but what exactly are they striving for” It’s undoubtedly a tough question but I think slinging it aside and saying “therefore feminism is not for me” is categorically the wrong response to it. I’m lucky because I read Beauvoir early in my career and her approach was convincing to em and I’ve been guided by it ever since. A lot of people don’t like her, seeing her brand of feminism as women trying to be like men etc but this is another conversation! I don’t want women to be like men either since I abhor most of what masculinity stands for. I think the point is rather that an individual woman is capable and permitted to define herself in the range of ways that a man is capable of doing so and should have the freedom to do so. I see the patriarchy as trying to code and define women (and – crucially – men) in certain ways and the fundamental inequality being that women aren’t free to live their lives to define themselves without being “othered” by man. For me it’s not about women taking on masculine traits or defining their own brand of femininity. For me equality is about freedom from constraint, I suppose.

    4. I agree with you here completely. Not sure I’ve got anything more to add there 😀

    5. Obviously you don’t have enough time to read everything that you want to, but they’re worth making time for if you can. They are certainly not without their faults. George Martin isn’t the most amazing stylist out there and the sheer bulk of prose he’s writing means that his description can be formulaic at points and there are sections that I find meander with too little payoff. But reading the books gives you a sense of depth and world-building that the TV series can’t and I think some of the tragic pay-offs are extraordinarily exquisitely handled in Storm of Swords.

  4. July 30, 2012 at 1:31 am

    1. I like interrogating gut reactions, along the lines of what you articulate. My final judgments are always impacted by my emotional response (I don’t know how I could be honest otherwise), but when I write criticism, I do my best not to be ruled by gut instinct, since further consideration often turns out to alter my opinion.

    2. Disappointing is a good word. I’ve come up with a catchall phrase for anytime I come up against something in my culture that profoundly baffles or disappoints me. Before I haul off on a rant, I draw up short and simply say, “Well, they all watch American Idol.” That usually does the trick.

    3. I certainly don’t dismiss feminism or sling it aside. Just because I don’t take an identity marker upon myself doesn’t mean I don’t take the ideas associated with it seriously, and it doesn’t mean I am not sympathetic or even proactively in favor of whatever that identity’s agenda may be. I tend to be very cautious by nature when it comes to intellectual positions, and I don’t adopt them lightly. Keep in mind that, by virtue of identifying myself as a Christian (for example), I have been called misogynist, homophobe, anti-Semite, hatemonger, fascist, asshole, Republican, close-minded, anti-science, and, yes, anti-feminist. By people who don’t even know my name. (Then there was one guy who said that, by virtue of being born male and white, I am automatically racist. That was a fun conversation.) You can perhaps understand why I adopt labels very, very slowly. Before I can do that, I feel that I must have a firm grasp of what that label means to me, so that I can adequately explain it to someone else or defend it if necessary. If your definition of feminism is an opposition to imposed constraints and a fight for freedom from them (with the caveat that I think individuals should still be free to choose to live by those constraints, provided they have been made aware of those constraints, the nature of them, and the consequences of perpetuating them) then I suppose that I may very well be a feminist. If you’ll accept that definition, then maybe, in time, I might accept being a self-identified feminist.

    4. Well… okay then. 😀

    5. Maybe I’ll try to tackle Game of Thrones at Christmas break. It might be a nice break after wading through a semester of neo-Marxist lit crit. 🙂

  1. July 19, 2012 at 2:29 am

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