Feminism is a tricky word. I’ve posted my definition on this blog before:
My feminism is about allowing individual desires to take precedence over societally proscribed roles and assumptions. It’s about men being nurses and teachers, women being firefighters and executives, but it’s also about giving boys and girls (and men and women) the complete spectrum of ways to be successful and saying, “the world is open to you, treat it well and do with it as you will.” Being a boy, or a girl, or gay, or straight, or something that is not so easily labeled, should not determine your path or limit your options.
Let’s invite some other folks to join this conversation, ones without the benefit of a liberal arts education and years spent in gender studies classes. Snookie? JWoww? Why not!
In a recent Huffington Post interview, the two Jersey Shore stars were asked about feminism, and here’s how it went down:
HP: Do you consider yourselves feminists?
Snooki: What does “feminist” actually mean?
HP: It can mean a lot of things. But in this context I was thinking about your approach to sex and sexuality and how bold and unashamed you are about it.
Snooki: Then yes.
JWoww: I thought feminism was derogatory in a sense. Have you ever seen “Borat?”
HP: I have.
JWoww: There were feminists in “Borat” and they were like [to Borat] “You’re so stereotypical!”
Snooki: I’m sure it means different things. But to us, we’re just strong women.
JWoww: I’m just myself.
Snooki: We’re not “girlie girlie.”
JWoww: I think we’re more like men because we do show our sexuality and burp and fart.
Snooki: When it comes to sex, I’m definitely a guy.
HP: You don’t see that from a lot of other women on TV.
Snooki: All women are like us. They’re just scared.
Jwoww: Yeah. Filtered.
Snooki: Sam [Sammi "Sweetheart" Giancola, another "Jersey Shore" roommate] is a little freak, but she just doesn’t say anything. But I know she is.
JWoww: Closeted freak!
* * * * *
What makes me sad is that I feel like if Snooki and JWoww had had the education that I’d had, chock full of Ariel Levy, Alix Kates Shulman, Mary Wollstonecraft and Gloria Steinem, we might actually all be on the same team. As it stands, they don’t have the vocabulary or the background to discuss the damage of slut-shaming or gender stereotyping in non-Jersey Shore language. And I can’t bring myself to use word like “smoosh.”
We all would agree, I think, that telling women to hide their sexuality for fear of societal disapproval is no good. I would add that telling men to play up their sexuality to bolster their reputations is also no good. Dictating to any segment (by age, gender, orientation, etc) how much sex is okay, how much is too little, and how much is too much, is no good. So in summary…. it’s all bad.
Related Post: Feminism in the context of Maslow.
Related Post: Why I want a Kardashian to wink at me.