When I began researching pimp/prostitute culture in feminism I had no idea the white feminists would be trying so hard to be the pimps. To understand the race war inherent in modern feminism, look no further than the battle over Beyonce. The music icon’s self-proclaimed feminist identity has been intensely scrutinized by white feminists questioning everything from her costume choices and dance moves to the title of her latest tour, “The Mrs. Carter Show.” Comparing the feminist criticism of Beyonce with the feminist praise of Lena Dunham, Lily Bolourian rightly concludes:
“Beyoncé is a legend and Dunham a “voice of a generation,” yet Beyoncé’s sexuality is deemed as unacceptable or overbearing. Dunham’s sexuality, on the other hand, is accepted and praised. Why the distinction? Dunham has been seen naked often and even in sexual positions in much of her work. Beyoncé wears clothes that show off her legs and bust, along with half of the populace, but still she has never been seen fully naked. I’m still waiting for an explanation on how this makes her the Anti-Feminist.”
In commenting on the Beyonce contradiction, black feminists highlight the long history of grotesque stereotypes surrounding black female sexuality, stereotypes they feel have a continued impact today on the way white critics, feminists included, receive expressions of black female sexuality in pop culture. Perhaps the most insightful critique regarding the white interaction with black female sexuality is in the African American reaction to Miley Cyrus’s infamous VMA performance. While most critiques focused on Cyrus’s offensive twerking, Jacqui Germain at Racialicious took even deeper offense to “the black woman Cyrus smacked on the bottom during her VMAs performance and then casually dismissed—quite literally reduced to a faceless, body-less prop.” For Germain, black feminists “are fighting to remove the hyper-sexual assumption” from their bodies. A hyper-sexual assumption that pays off big, at least where the skinny white chick is concerned.
If there’s one thing both white and black feminists understand, it is that sex is power. Believing this, feminists crafted their sexuality into their sole source of value over 40 years ago and they’re still wielding their weapon, only now they’re using it against their own. British feminist and Lena Dunham worshipper Caitlin Moran‘s remark says it all:
“If a woman of color was allowed to make show as funny and honest and daring as Dunham’s — wandering around slightly overweight, naked, spreckled with acne, and talking about abortion, I’d be pitching a f-ing massive feature on that to the Times, too.”
I wonder if anyone dared ask Moran from whom these “women of color” would need to get permission. From Moran, perhaps, and her white feminist posse of cool?
Goodness cannot be manufactured. Equality cannot be engineered. It should come as no surprise that a movement whose ideology values people in terms of gender, class and race can contradict itself rather easily when it comes to treating their fellow teammates as equals. Especially when gender, class and race are quantifiable “minorities” to the implied “majority” in the conversation. After all, when authority derives from the human psyche and expresses itself through pop culture trend, someone’s got to be in charge of all the groupthink, right Caitlin Moran?