Index Card Feminism
or "Don't give me input, I already have all the answers."

by Janis Cortese
07/29/1998


Aren't we lucky that second wave feminists already figured out everything for us?

I mean, that they already have the answers. They figured it all out, laid absolutely all of the theoretical groundwork for everything, despite the fact that our generation grew up in a different era, and their answers might not apply to us. All the groundwork is laid -- we don't have to (aren't allowed to?) contribute.

If we ... Then we ...
1)... are nervous about coming out as gay or bi have Internalized Homophobia.
2) ... want to succeed in the career world. have Patriarchal Values.
3) ... want to ask why so many women marry abusive boyfriends are Blaming The Victim.
4) ... want to have fulfilling relationships with men are Still Dependent On Men.
5) ... want to own a firearm are Giving In To The Culture Of Violence.

Aren't we lucky that they already have all the answers? It doesn't matter if we:

  1. ... are more worried about others' homophobia or losing our jobs, or are worried about how to live a life we've rarely to never seen lived before.
  2. ... have no Social Security or retirement of any kind to look forward to.
  3. ... wonder why so many women still marry jerks.
  4. ... are hetero- or bisexual and hence are just attracted to men and are unwilling to throw that part of ourselves into a scrap heap to satisfy someone else's ideology.
  5. ... are concerned about our safety.
They already have the answers for us.

And amazingly enough, they're all our shortcomings! No wonder women internalize the world's problems! Even feminisn carries that banner! If we're concerned about how to deal with the world's problems, it's because of a blemish on our soul, or our politics.

"I'm really worried -- I think I might be lesbian."
"Oh, you have Internalized Homophobia."

"No, I don't have a physical problem with it. I'm worried about maybe losing my job, what will my parents say -- "
"Yes, but there are all symptoms of Internalized Homophobia."

"I'm not afraid of it, though. I like the idea. But I've never seen any examples around me. What's my life going to be like?"
"You'll know once you get over your Internalized Homophobia. Look, it says right here on my 3x5 index card: Internalized Homophobia."

Or maybe:

"I'm so annoyed with men, but I still find them attractive. I want a fulfilling relationship with one so much, but I don't see how to do it."
"That's because you're Still Dependent On Men. You're dissatisfaction is a good sign, though -- it means you'll be swearing off of them soon."

"But I don't want to swear off of them! I want it to be better. How can we make it better?"
"That's not a feminist concern -- asking that means that you're Still Dependent On Men."

"Well, I'd still like one, at any rate. They are pretty sexy -- "
"I know that's what you think you want, but wanting to solve that problem means that you're Still Dependent On Men, like the 3x5 card says."

There's always:

"I think I was 16 when I first had sex."
"You must have had Low Self Esteem."

"No, he was a nice guy."
"But teenaged girls who have sex have Low Self Esteem."

"Some might, but you should have seen this guy -- he was hot."
"But the only reason a teenaged girl has sex is because of Low Self Esteem -- looks, says so right here."

And let's not forget:

"Ack, I hate using tampons."
"You must be Ashamed Of Your Body."

"No, seriously, they give me cramps."
"But not touching yourself means you're Ashamed Of Your Body."

"It's messy for god's sake. Beside, I'm sore down there when I get my period. I don't want to stick anything up it."
"A-ha, you said "down there," that clinches it -- you're Ashamed Of Your Body, just like my index card says."

Ad nauseum. Whatever we try to say, they're already got it said. Doesn't matter if it doesn't really apply. Doesn't matter if we're not invited to scribble our own index cards. They've already done that for us.

Time for a new deck of cards.


Copyright © 1998 by Janis Cortese

07/02/07 at 19:1