There are few things in the world I hate more than when the words “prominent,” “feminist,” “icon,” and “won” are jumbled together in a feminist context.
I don’t know why I do this to myself. I have long sworn off mainstream feminism and yet, like a moth to a flame where I know I shall burn myself to death, still, I am drawn to read articles that ponder whether Angelina Jolie is “the next feminist icon.”
Let’s skip the whole song and Hollywood dance of her celebrity and take a closer look at what Naomi Wolf says of her,
“Against every Western convention, she has managed to draw together all of these kinds of female liberation and empowerment. And her gestures determinedly transgress social boundaries — boundaries of convention, race, class, and gender — giving many of us a vicarious thrill.”
Um, pardon me, but am I the only one that nearly puked up colonialism when I saw her adopt children all over the world, bringing more wind to the Oprah theory that we, those with money and in industrialized countries, should feel free to “save” these other children from the violence and poverty they would be otherwise subject to?
It’s not as if I expect Bazaar or Forbes to take that kind of approach to celebrity analysis. Far from it, I expect mainstream media to further confuse the notions of liberation with colonialist domination. But from writers, thinkers, and philosophers teaching from the walls of feminisms (yes, read it, again my friends – it’s plural) — in what orbit are you circling where you think Ange-freaking-lina Jolie is the “next feminist icon?” What kind of sound minded, socially-just conscience gets a “vicarious thrill” through ethnocentric, heteronormative practices and then sings ignorant praises and files it under Liberation, Best Practices?
From the same brand that said Sex and the City was a cultural phenomenon that further liberated US women, that also denounced Obama during the primaries because Hillary Clinton was the first women to potentially clinch the White House, which also says NOTHING in celebration of or in defense of Sotomayer — comes the newest installation of mainstream feminism: the (slightly) nuanced message that tells women that, YES, we CAN have it all. By golly, if a big boobed and heavy lipped white actress who makes millions off of her sex appeal can fly a plane, snag a handsome and doting beau, and have her pick of the world’s poorest children, well, shit! I CAN HAVE IT ALL TOO!
Ah, mainstream feminism…how many times must I say this? The demise of our efforts will not be neoconservative right-wing bats who look an awful like Dick Cheney. It won’t even be the machismo. I’ll even go as far to say the collapse won’t come from a thousand reincarnations of Ann Coulter.
The damning crack in the great wall of feminisms is caused by the mainstream feminists, the “prominent” writers and thinkers who jump and down on the wall, throwing praise to other White women who have money, small waists, and heterosexual sex. They continuously and knowingly break the backs of the women and daughters who need more advocacy than they need to hear about a wealthy, country-jetting actress. This wall will certainly cave from the Utah-sized egos that ignore race and colonial theories and teachings, who offer their souls to Hillary Clinton and nothing to Sonia Sotomayer. And when this wall crumbles, the dust will settle and reveal two things that mainstream feminism has caused: the majority of women are trapped under the wall and are dead while the women who walked the the top and caused the crack are still alive.