As part of Lily Allen‘s “comeback,” she scored herself an editorial position at ShortList. She’s interviewed in what appears to be her random thoughts on the state of women today, and it’s dripping in misogyny. Not only does Allen display a fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism is, but shows a level of immaturity in thinking that left our staff at a total loss.
Here entire interview is pretty batshit, but here’s the first thing that stood out to me:
“I’m not an archetypal woman. All my best friends are boys.”
This is 10th-grade drivel at best. Distancing yourself from being a woman and playing up the “one of the guys” attitude is pathetic and low, and shows internalized misogyny more than a “cool girl” attitude. If you’re a grown woman who’s still making sure everyone knows you’re not like other girls because girls suck and you only have male friends, then that’s deeply saddening. So you have a lot of male friends? That doesn’t make you less of a woman. She continues:
But I don’t think men are the enemy, I think women are the enemy. I know that when I’m sitting in a restaurant and a really beautiful woman walks in, who’s skinny, I instinctively think, “Oh she’s really skinny and beautiful and I’m really fat and ugly.” Every man I speak to always says they find that kind of woman gross, and they prefer a bit more meat on their ladies. So it’s more of a competitive thing. It’s weird. It’s just really unhealthy and we’re our own worst enemy. We should stop being so horrible to each other.
I’m not really sure that there is a set enemy, but there is a pretty solid amount of cognitive dissonance happening here when Allen expresses her own insecurities by making a whole group of women appear undesirable (according to men), and then asks that women stop treating each other badly. This is elevating one woman on the backs of others, and at the expense of others. I’m pretty sure that woman is the enemy.
Feminism. I hate that word because it shouldn’t even be a thing any more. We’re all equal, everyone is equal so why is there even a conversation about feminism? What’s the man version of feminism? There isn’t even a word for it. There’s no reason for it. Menanism. Male-ism. It doesn’t exist.
If you don’t identify as a feminist for largely semantic issues, I’m not going to tell you otherwise. I don’t care how you define yourself, and even though I strongly disagree, it’s not my business. But I’m trying to unpack this logic and I keep hitting my head against the wall that guards the MRA Fortress Of Adult Virgins. I’ll give her one thing: the debate over equality of the sexes shouldn’t be a thing anymore. It’s appalling that it’s a thing. It’s humiliating. But no matter how much Allen or any other woman may find it distasteful that this discussion still exists, simply not liking it won’t make it go away. Men and women are not treated equally, and to say that if we all shut up about it will make it so is flat out stupid.
There is no male-oriented version of feminism (except for the comical aforementioned MRA) because there is no need for it. It’s embarrassing that Allen doesn’t understand that distinction. Feminism isn’t the intention to elevate women–it’s the intention to treat all genders equally. It’s not some special treatment plan cooked up by women; feminism seeks to correct actual, real oppression and inequality that still exists, as much as we don’t want it to, and it’s hardly a women-only issue.
I kind of like Lily Allen (although, her less than nuanced approach to race make her a lot less attractive and is cause for serious criticism). She always speaks her mind and isn’t afraid of the consequences, whether or not she’s voicing a popular or unpopular opinion. But in this case, it’s not so much a matter of unpopular or popular, it’s that she’s simply misinformed, and using backwards ideology to justify being a mean girl.
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