A group of feminists is so angry about . . . something or other that they’re beating each other up. Literally. They call themselves Femme Feral, a “queer, femme fighting force” (whatever that means), and they want to “destroy the conservative government” and “bring down the patriarchy” by beating the living daylights out of one another. Because, apparently, the best way to protest things you disagree with is to put on really ugly underwear, paint your face to look like a three-year-old did your makeup, and throw your friends on the floor.
Femme Feral was founded by British artist and Ph.D. researcher Phoebe Patey-Ferguson as a way to channel her rage over Britain voting to leave the European Union. It began when she and her studio-mate, Anna Smith, decided to wrestle each other as a way to get “that anger out and put it somewhere in a productive way.” Thank goodness somebody’s doing something!
The idea seems to be that these women — strangely, it’s not only Patey-Ferguson and Smith who want to do this — are so filled with rage over the state of the world that they literally can’t control themselves. So they scream, and they hit, and they fling themselves around. (Sounds like a really mature and thoughtful response… if you’re two.)
Before Patey-Ferguson jumps into the ring she thinks about “the man that catcalled me on the street” to get her anger flowing. Because a man catcalling her on the street is apparently so terrible that it inspires the kind of rage that can only be assuaged by hitting someone (preferably your friend). According to Patey-Ferguson, “We fight each other as a mode of resistance.” Because any man who sees a bunch of half-naked women jumping all over each other is totally going to do whatever it takes to make them stop.
But, according to Patey-Ferguson, “there’s an intimacy” about leaping on top of other women while wearing nothing but a pair of underpants and red tape over your nipples. As one Femme Feral member said, “It’s difficult to be, like, sexy in specific spaces without being sexualized.” I’m not totally sure what this means — or what specific spaces she’s referring to — but that doesn’t seem to matter very much so we’ll move on.
At the end of one of Femme Feral’s events, all the women leap into the ring together for a kind of free-for-all that ends with them screaming wordlessly and convulsing on the floor. According to Smith, Femme Feral is good for her because she has “experienced, like, moments of a lot of, like, suppression and repression.” Although, apparently, not enough.
The idea of primally releasing anger is not new to feminists. Leftists commemorated Donald Trump’s election with “scream helplessly at the sky day” and there’s even a vocal group that performs “feminist scream singing” (it’s exactly what it sounds like). It really is a wonder no one takes any of these people seriously.
So, look, I get that most feminists don’t enact their anger as strangely as the women of Femme Feral. But it does seem to me that there’s something sort of honest about this group. I mean, at least they’re acting as crazy as they sound. Feminism is the philosophy that tells us that lumping catcallers in with rapists is supportive of women. That a man who is only interested in sex after you offer him sex is a criminal. That gender is social construct so everyone should act like men. The list goes on. At least the women of Femme Feral are actually acting on the creed of many feminists: identify a problem, yell a lot about it until you annoy everyone around you but don’t actually get anything done, then attack each other.