Just to warn you, I am about to use the f-word: Feminism.
(Straight men everywhere stop reading this column).
Now that it’s just us girls, I am willing to toss out a few more expletives: I don’t see an inherent contradiction between feminine and feminist. I am quite happy to refer to myself as the former, but most people assume I cannot simultaneously be the latter.
I beg to differ, seeing as I have no problem waltzing around in my pink pea coat and heels while lambasting the gender betrayal that is Carmen Electra waltzing around in her pink lingerie and heels.
Okay, so it’s partially because I am jealous of Carmen’s hot body — minus the Dennis Rodman residue. I secretly parade around in pink lingerie and heels in the semi-privacy of my dorm room, making “sexy faces” at myself in the mirror and blasting pre-pregnancy Britney Spears.
(This may be a good time to apologize to the guys on the other side of my fire door — sorry for making a party shuffle that consists solely of “Dragostea Din Tae,” “Both Hands” and “Toxic”).
The difference between Carmen and me (besides the slight occupational variants between international sex symbol and Yale student): I’m not plastered on the cover of a magazine — for damn good reason, since the only time I’ve been called a model was in 8th grade when I got the “model student award,” but that’s not the point.
The point is that impressionable minds internalize Carmen and other such models of feminine perfection gracing the covers of Playboy and Maxim, and these precise images can be powerfully demeaning.
Plus they make me feel bad about not working out.
So while I have no problem being a girly-girl who stands up for girls, the femme vs. the “ism” belief system does present a few problems in practice.
For example: how does one read trashy women’s magazines — Cosmo being femme girl’s Bible after all — while still maintaining a semblance of self-respect? I can’t exactly go on a rampage about men’s magazines while ignoring the obvious problems with the female counterparts.
When I open up one of the aforementioned displays of female journalistic power to read an article entitled “Make Him Love You Now!” I have to admit that I’m disappointed. Partly because I don’t think I would find an equivalent article in any men’s publication, and also because I think it’s sad that anyone wants to find the secret to love in the pages of a magazine.
There are merits to these vapid page-turners: the free perfume samples alone keep me going for weeks. And let’s be honest, there is nothing better for avoiding work than curling up with 500 pages of pretty pictures and mindless reading that has nothing to do with former Russian leaders, the economic state of a developing country or the phylogenetics of basal metazoans.
And there is another problem with my idealistic Jekyll and Hyde: the projectile vomiting.
Word vomit, that is.
It begins with a look of utter fear/loathing/contempt/condescension (and yes, nausea) that accompanies my mentioning the f-word to a companion — not necessarily male — and ends in the one of the following spew-fests:
“Oh, I’m not a feminist — I like guys!”
“Women were liberated like 20 years ago or something. Get over it.”
“So you think women are better than men?”
“Do you have penis envy or something?”
“Are you a lesbian?”
“Can I watch?”
And if those sadly misinformed souls were still reading this, I’d set them straight: feminists can wear bras, love and appreciate men, shave their legs and be stay-at-home moms.
Or not. The point is choice. And I choose to be the feminist dancing around in boy-shorts and listening to bad pop music.
Susan Posluszny can kick your ass in her Manolo Blahniks and miniskirt — she likes it that way.