Bitch Magazine recently produced an excellent series on the various ways sexism gets embedded in pop culture. This particular one hits especially close to home for me. It’s about a trope that gets inserted into movies time and again in order to make fun of anyone who cares about fighting for equality. That’s right, I’m talking about the “straw feminist.” (“Straw man argument” + “feminist” = “straw feminist.”)
This hairy and shrill figure pops up in all sorts of different places to remind us that although the female protagonist may be a strong, independent woman, she is not (God forbid) a feminist. I was especially taken aback by its appearance in Veronica Mars, which had hitherto been a fairly woman-positive show. I mean, campus safety and sexual assault are actual problems that exist in the world, not something evil feminists are lying about to try to make women hate men. We know this, right?
Other topics this series has covered include “the mystical pregnancy,” the fiction that we live in an egalitarian society, and “the manic pixie dream girl.”
Would it completely undermine all this glorious feminism to say that I think the woman delivering the segments is totally hot? I hope not. That hotness is at least partially composed of the smart things coming out of her mouth, so I think it’s okay.