Sunday, August 22, 2010

Anti-Feminism Everywhere?

Remember the cute little video poem about being alone I posted a while back? Well, apparently it is now an international internet sensation and kicking up a bit of a critical storm! Russell Smith, of the Globe and Mail, wrote that, while he didn't want to come down too heavily on such an "innocent piece of diaristic vlogging," he nonetheless felt "this kind of pair-bonding-obsessed weepiness to be anti-feminist, retrograde and disempowering to women." Wow! I know op-ed pieces are supposed to stir things up a little, and it looks like Mr. Smith has succeeded. There has been at least one letter to the editor in response, with more on the way.

I dunno--what do you guys think? I honestly didn't read it as a pre-second wave feminist commentary, as the idea that anyone would think that a woman would literally be afraid to go to a coffee shop or a movie on her own didn't really cross my mind (and how post-third wave is that!). I also didn't read the "advice" given in the poem as aimed solely at any particular gender. Oddly enough, Smith's description of the piece--a collaboration between a professional poet and a professional director--as an innocent, diaristic vlog smacks somewhat of a dismissive patriarchy to my mind. Yikes!


Anonymous said...

There is nothing in the poem that is female specific, except for the poet being female.

My 2cents is that Smith saw a female poet, and automatically assumed this was poem directed to females. The irony is that his diatribe was supposedly inspired by his feminist views, yet was based on a a patriarchal assumption that anything written by females is meant exclusively for a female audience. This is why men typically don't read fiction written by women too!

Jezebel thought pretty much the same thing:


Mia said...

Fascinating! I didn't read this little video as anything with a particularly feminist bent, and I think I agree with R. in that Smith made the assumption that female writers write for an exclusively female audience... How narrowsighted!


Erin said...

I know! You guys basically summed up how I feel about it. I totally didn't see any gender specificity in it at all, either. I guess that's why his critique seemed so weird and out of left field to me.

Further to your point, R., sometimes I totally catch myself making assumptions about the gender of the writer while reading articles or short stories; it's always so interesting to flip to the beginning and check the author's name, then try to figure out why I thought they were either female or male in the first place.

adell said...

I think that when Russell Smith, of the Globe and Mail labeled your poem 'anti-feminist' he illustrated what is wrong with feminism today!

The idea of feminism was defined so long ago, during a time when womens voices were desperate to be heard. But here we are today, in a different world, still struggling to define what being a woman is.

Mr. Smith is in no way defending the ways of women when he critiques your personal exploration of attitudes towards self and uses the virulent moniker 'anti-feminist'.

The history and development of feminism, while valuable, no longer serves women in the world we live in! If your sweet little poem is 'anti-feminist' then I plead and encourage women everywhere to redefine what feminism actually is.

I also invite Mr. Smith to a reality check. New Feminism needs to include the world of men but those men should also show respect to women by not throwing around such bold accusations.