Female Liberation, Argument Against, Counterpoint to.

February 23, 2007

“While satisfied that soft youthful bright matchless girls should bosom into fine silkclad joyous blooming young women is not so pleased that heavy swearsome strongsmelling irregularshaped men should blottout active handsome wellformed frankeyed boys”.

Before I start I want you to consider this:

“A father and his son were driving to a ball game when their car stalled on the railroad tracks. In the distance a train whistle blew a warning. Frantically, the father tried to start the engine, but in his panic, he couldn’t turn the key, and the car was hit by the onrushing train. An ambulance sped to the scene and picked them up. On the way to the hospital, the father died. The son was still alive but his condition was very serious, and he needed immediate surgery. The moment they arrived at the hospital, he was wheeled into an emergency operating room, and the surgeon came in, expecting a routine case. However, on seeing the boy, the surgeon blanched and muttered, ‘I can’t operate on this boy — he’s my son.’”

All Credit to the Magnificent Douglas Hofstadter for the story. I want you to think about this story as you read the following, please don’t skip ahead for the answer — t h i n k.

Ok, I’ll level with you, the day before yesterday I came across a link that really pissed me off, and I swore blind I’d write a rebuttal to it. Unfortunately I lost the link. So this is a reply to the forevergone original. I’ll shy away from saying what exactly the site said, because I have no direct quotes — just a vague haze of idiocy — and secondly because the lack of a link to the original from here is reciprocated on the other end and thus the author has no right of reply, so it’d be a bit unfair to attack his article directly: instead he’ll act as a catalytic kernel of argument. Basically the argument was attacking feminism. This isn’t uncommon in the world, for some reason the restrictions of political thoughtcrime do not extend to women it would seem. But I’m not one to say things shouldn’t be said, I have a faith in the ability of idiots to be trounced in reasoned debate, and so I positively laud their petty contributions. Yes, if this means you by all means contribute a comment or response, and proceed to make a fool of yourself.

There is something deeply wrong with the position and attitudes relating to women in western society (I won’t even begin to discuss what transpires elsewhere). For the longest time women (and to be fair plenty of men) have argued that there is an imbalance between the position of the assorted sexes in society — politically, economically, culturally, artistically, socially, everythingally. And it’s hard to deny this, it’s a pretty self evident fact. Plenty of women gave their lives to secure the enfranchisement of all people regardless of sex, and when we look at today’s world it certainly seems they were successful, that is until we look a little deeper. Now there is plenty of economic evidence that women are poorly treated, and in fact positively (negatively? to emphasise the negativity of the positivity) discriminated against. But I won’t deal with the base economic facts, instead this piece will lie more in the psychological plane.

There is a terrible phrase in language, on which a great injustice is built: “It’s just a bit of fun”, or the more insidious accusatory “Lighten Up”. These are the standard responses to any questioning of female empowerment. Because you see empowerment has come to mean servitude. It’s a truly magnificent case of doublethink. Now — An empirical experiment. Seize a television and turn on a music channel, one of the pop channels. Now wait, stop for five minutes and watch…
Ok now you know what female empowerment is, but first a task:
(a) — Compile a list of the people in the video you saw.
(b) — Add a column to your list, in this record the percentage of the person’s body which was covered by clothes.
(c) — Add another column to your list, in this record the percentage of the skin exposed (according to question (b)) which was covered with a paint like substance.
Now we’ll do something with the list — sort it by the sex of the person denoted by each line. Has a curious pattern emerged? Astoundingly the high percentages have all gravitated to the female end of the list — how curious I hear you chirp shrilly! Curious indeed, queer even, queer enough to merit an investigation.

So what’s going on? Why you ask are the women so scantily clad? Here it comes, echoing, bubbling over the horizon like Joyce’s hundred letter word bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonner
        “It’s just a bit of fun”
                “Lighten Up”.
Lighten Up. Funny, because what that statement really means is: Darken Down. Quell any and all powers of insight and criticism in your body. Surrender to it, just go with it, don’t be a bore. You see there is something very wrong with a world where liberation means the responsibility to self-inflict the very oppression you once railed against. And this stuff is the least dangerous manifestation of sexism present in society, at least this stuff is obvious, there’s little hope in missing the impact overt sexualisation of women has, it’s right there on your television and magazine. What’s much more dangerous is thought, the subtle mental patterns created by language, and culture which create a thriving pool of sexism which affronts women every moment of every day, so much so that they give in to it’s most bawdy characteresque stereotypes. I will return to this topic in my next post to discuss Hofstadter’s ideas on sexism in language. Did you solve the riddle at the top of this post? What happened — the father rose from the dead? The child was adopted at birth but the surgeon recognised him? Transexual Melodrama? Or is it that you couldn’t countenance the notion that the surgeon could be the boy’s mother — a woman.

Sometimes words fail us all.



  1. So you’re saying, if we have to repress women, don’t be so covert about it? Hmm, food for thought.

    To play devil’s advocate for a second, why should i care if (by your own admission) much of it’s self inflicted. If you add another column to that list to record the amount of pride that that scantily clad female has in what she’s doing, you’d probably see that she doesn’t care either.

    And another thing, that Hofstadter riddle/story is flawed; it’s only natural to assume that no woman would waste time going through medical school when she has so much makeup and housework to do.

  2. Lighten up!

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