Paging feminists, Aisle 3

A blogger riffs on what feminists are blamed for.

Published November 21, 2005 3:53PM (EST)

Blogger Echidne of the Snakes posted a sharp, funny rant on Sunday in response to recently attacked blogger Ann Althouse's post "Can I Get a Feminist?" In Althouse's entry, she complains about recent attacks on her by male bloggers, observing that "blogosphere-strength fighting with a woman takes on an outrageous sexual tone, aggressively declaring that that this is a boy's game. Are there any feminists around to see when it's happening and say a little something?"

This line of inquiry did not go over so well with Echidne, who writes, "It's like calling in the plumber, isn't it? Or like something you might hear in a supermarket: 'A feminist is needed in Aisle Eight to fix some spilled self-esteem.'"

Echidne's post also tackles Maureen Dowd for conceiving of feminists as "this weird group of deranged women ... no self-respecting fashionista would want to be one of them. But they should have fixed everything for women anyway, and if they tried to fix something and the society refused to pay attention, well, then it was clearly the fault of feminism!"

I disagree with Echidne about Dowd, but think her larger point is interesting. She writes:

"It's pretty fucking awful to be a feminist, actually. You get called names by Rush Limbaugh and friends, you get to be ridiculed in the mainstream media and ... you are [held] responsible for white women disappearing in Aruba, for the falling birthrate, for every divorce that has taken place and the demise of the Western civilization. You are even responsible for increased alcohol use among young women and male depression. In fact, you are pretty goddamn awful.

"At the same time, you are responsible for anything that still affects women negatively. Because you haven't fixed it yet."

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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