In an August 2012 interview with Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir, actress Melissa Leo, known for playing groundbreaking female roles, said, “Well, I don’t think of myself as a feminist at all. K.” Leo is buying into a great many essential feminist myths with her comment.
As soon as we start labeling and categorizing ourselves and others, that’s going to shut down the world. We are categorized and labeled from the moment we come into this world by gender, race, size, hair color, eye color, and so forth.
She takes the idea of essential feminism even further in a September 2012 article where she suggests that a good feminist works hard to be beautiful. No liberated woman would misrepresent the cause by appearing less than hale and happy.” It’s too easy to dissect the error of such thinking.
Depending on whom you ask, good women bear children and stay home to raise them without complaint. Women who don’t adhere to these standards are the fallen, the undesirable. Essential feminism suggests anger, humorlessness, militancy, unwavering principles, and a prescribed set of rules for how to be a proper feminist woman, or at least a proper white, heterosexual, feminist woman—hate pornography, unilaterally decry the objectification of women, don’t cater to the male gaze, hate men, hate sex, focus on career, don’t shave. This is nowhere near an accurate description of feminism, but the movement has been warped by misperception for so long that even people who should know better have bought into this essential image of feminism.
Consider Elizabeth Wurtzel, who, in a June 2012 article, says, “Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.” By Wurtzel’s thinking, women who don’t “earn a living, have money and means of their own,” are fake feminists, undeserving of the label, disappointments to the sisterhood.
in July 2012, said in an interview, I don’t think that I would consider myself a feminist.
I think that I certainly believe in equal rights, I believe that women are just as capable, if not more so in a lot of different dimensions, but I don’t, I think, have, sort of, the militant drive and the sort of, the chip on the shoulder that sometimes comes with that.
The older we get the more labels and categories we collect.
If labeling and categorizing ourselves is going to shut the world down, it has been a long time coming.
When I dismantled his pseudo-theories, he said, “You’re some kind of feminist, aren’t you? I thought, “Isn’t it obvious I am a feminist, albeit not a very good one?
” His tone made it clear that to be a feminist was undesirable. ” I’m not the only outspoken woman who shies away from the feminist label, who fears the consequences of accepting the label.
More disconcerting, though, is the assertion that a feminist wouldn’t take a role on Louis C. All that matters is whether they make good art or bad art.