Sunday, April 05, 2015

Making Sense of Feminism

Tori Amos wrote extensively in her first music album about the nastiness that she had faced in school. To this nastiness, there were any number of explanations given. The most famous ones – made by Andrea Dworkin and Naomi Wolf – implicated either men as such or beauty as such. Both are wrong.

There are many men who are not nasty to women, me being one of them. As for beauty, this was perhaps one of the most wrongful analyses in all of history. Beauty has existed long before 1980s, and it has also existed outside the Western civilization and outside patriarchial society. And within the history of the Western civilization itself, it was the times favoring beauty – the Renaissance, the Romantic era, the early 20th century and 1960s and 1970s – that were most favorable to women.

There is nothing wrong with using something that one is strong in – such as, in these women's case, the brain – to compensate for what something that one is weak in – such as, in these women's case, beauty. But the brain needs to come up with rightful rather than wrongful analyses. Beauty did not cause fascist school cultures; fascism did. And in implicating beauty as such, are attacked many good people, many of whom, as I have discovered, have compassion for those who have less than they do and are willing to do much to help.

The artistic perspective supports both beauty and compassion. Having known two genius-level woman artists who were both also exceptionally beautiful, I've seen in them wonderful personal qualities. They were kind, warm, compassionate and giving. They went out of their way constantly to help people who had less than they did. It is absolutely wrong that they be equated with abusive school bullies or with fascists who have developed these ignorant school cultures.

It is likewise absolutely wrong to equate beauty with stupidity. Russian women are both beautiful and smart. In attacking beauty in the name of intelligence, these feminists create a false dichotomy between intelligence and beauty. This dichotomy is very wrong. There is no correlation between intelligence and beauty. One can be smart and beautiful; smart but not beautiful; beautiful but not smart; or neither smart nor beautiful. Being beautiful does not make one dumb, and being unattractive does not make one intelligent.

People have right to empower themselves against their aggressors, and that most certainly is the case with people at the receiving end of these school cultures. However many of these women became aggressors themselves and have been maliciously abusing the beautiful women, especially ones also gifted with sensitivity. It is important that the less attractive women not be subject to bullying; it is also important that the more attractive women not be subject to bullying as well.

Feminism needs to affirm all women, and that also includes the attractive ones. Being beautiful does not make one an enemy of other women. Many beautiful women are also beautiful human beings, and they should be treated as such.


Post a Comment

<< Home