Saturday, January 30, 2010

Faster than a Speeding Blog

I finished The Light Fantastic, and I'm now half-way into Equal Rites. I am reading faster than the speed of blog.

I don't have much to say about The Light Fantastic. It was good, it was funny, it made me want to start the next book in the Discworld series, and so I did.

I think I will have a bit to say about Equal Rites, especially regarding how it reminds me of Good Omens, the book that Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman co-wrote. Perhaps also regarding feminism, which has been on my mind a lot lately.

Specifically, Neil Gaiman was quoted, perhaps incorrectly, by the New Yorker as saying that he was "nobody's bitch". This resulted in him being accused of using a misogynist slur and of being a part of the "rape culture", which led to lots of emails sent to Gaiman explaining that "having used that phrase undid all the good I'd ever done by writing positive women, supporting RAINN etc, because it showed that I was minimising the horror of rape and revealing my underlying misogyny."

In the world of the Internet, it's a dead issue. It was talked about over a week ago, and in Internet time that's about 6 months. I bring it up now not in the hopes of you all rushing over to the apparent source of this mess to add your own comments, but because it's an intro to my own essay, titled What the Hell has Happened to Feminism?

Actually, "what the hell has happened to feminism?" is the title, the introductory statement, the full argument, and the closing statement of my essay.

I've used the "not your bitch" phrase a few times in my life, and I've never been accused of perpetuating the misogynist culture. I'd be really offended if I was accused of that. I don't think you can rightly accuse one person's words of determining another person's actions.

Mostly, I keep wondering if we feminists don't have better things to do. This seems like a classic example of a group being so busy arguing amongst themselves that they never accomplish anything. Here in America, women still don't always get equal pay for equal work. Prison sentences for rape are still ridiculously short. I think the important issues are the ones where you can actually change the way things are. I am also not into the whole "changing the dialogue" method of feminism, because that's just a touchy-feely way of saying "changing the way people talk," which is just a friendly way of saying "speech and thought control." Change laws, and hopefully a few people will stop to ponder why it was important that they be changed. Tell people what to think and say, and they will only get pissed off at you.

Not to mention, if feminism wants me to choose between them and free speech, they are going to lose me.

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