Feminism Friday: Stepping Out Of Stepford

Towards the end of 2012, a rather momentous occasion occurred: a bottom published a book. That’s right, a derriere, rear end, rump, arse or ass achieved status as a published author. I can see that look of head scratching incredulity on your face: why didn’t you hear about this? Surely this is something that should have made greater news. Why, this is really quite something – the logistics of pen-holding alone must have been a veritable nightmare to navigate. Funnily enough, we could probably look to said book for our cues on how this should be properly celebrated.

Oh except, it wasn’t actually just a bottom that got published. Instead, it was actually published by that rather nice looking Pippa Middleton. You know, the one with the shiny hair and pert bottom. Oh what fun! She’s slightly less than one dimensional, even with her back against the wall. What a wonderful role model that Pippa is.

But hang on a second and forgive me if I’m wrong here, but maybe a woman who is famous for her sister’s ability to catch a husband, and her rump – and whose Google-ability leaves me with a browsing history of ‘pippasass.com’ – might not actually be considered by all as a shining example of what young women today should be aspiring to become. It all rather smacks of Austen, except without Austen’s overtures of snide humour. Yet it is this breed of womankind that is increasingly trotted out as something to emulate. And let’s face it: that’s the more positive side of things. After all, it is the right of any woman to eschew a life beyond their husband’s home. Such is the beauty of feminism.

At some point, feminism took on a rather acrid aroma and, in due course, women began to retreat accordingly. This is hardly news. There was outcry a plenty when both Taylor Swift and Katy Perry respectively declined to call themselves feminists – the latter choosing the awe-inspiring moment of being crowned ‘Woman Of The Year’ to do so – mainly on the basis that they like men. Nor will intelligent, powerful women posing near-naked on the covers of men’s magazines cause the batting of many lids. Beyoncé, aka Queen Of Everything, did so recently with her interview for GQ – peppered with such journalistic turns of phrase as, “bodaciously thick, hush-your-mouth body” – in which she commented on gender equality and speculated on just how powerful she really is. So far, so faithfully decried.

A slightly more disturbing phenomenon, however, is celebrities being actively discouraged from so much as answering the question of whether or not they consider themselves feminists – as happened to X-Factor starlet Ella Henderson by her male PR, presumably out of fear that to do so would result in alienating fans. Ah yes, that sad absence of rhetoric has not only left women seeking to distance themselves from feminism and the woefully ignorant association of ‘men haters’, but now makes the very term taboo.

If, like me, all this has left you wondering how that heinous genocide that wiped out all the empowered and successful women out there passed you by, fear not: I have it on good authority it never happened. They’re still out there so, while it may be futile to hope we could shake a bit of gung ho common sense into Taylor Swift’s pretty little head, perhaps more of us could do our bit to spread the word that that hey, it’s actually okay now to have a penchant for women’s rights! You can go ahead and say so too, without being labelled a militant, man-hating lesbian when you’re nothing of the sort. Ladies, did you know that there’s more than one type of feminist out there? I know! What a game-changer.

This post was written by a RWL Guest Blogger – This week’s Feminism Friday post was written by keen fashion addict Amy Lavelle. Amy writes for UK fashion comparison site Style in View and is a firm believer in the power of red lipstick.

Images from duncan and asterix611‘s Flickr photostreams.