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Fuck Politeness

This is a revolution, not a public relations movement

The anti feminist thing is really kinda wierd. I mean, the feminists I know are these dynamic, sexy, funny, brilliantly *alive* women. I wish I could put up a photo catalogue of these women for you so you could see them, see their different styles, see the laughter in their eyes, with a little description next to them, such as: This is […], she’s the one with the deadly curves, the long silky hair, the big eyes, the penchant for corsets and 1920’s hats and skirts. She’s a postgrad student who has had several gorgeous male lovers, and is into fashion and movies, books and television. This is […] who is funky and alternative, who sports dreadlocks, but loves a good eighties love song, who works hard, and who laughs more than any other person I’ve ever met. She writes poetry, and has joy in her heart, despite her upbringing. She’s a postgrad student with a passion for live music and took a lover for a short period of time and handled the whole situation with grace and good humour. This is […] who is a tall, striking lesbian with a passion for Japanese fashion and a streak of defiance, who wears enourmous costume jewellery. And on and on and so on and so forth. Teachers with a passion for giving children an education to inspire a love of learning, refugee advocates, students of development studies, poets, beautiful, sexy, funny, warm, incredibly alive women – none of them with odour issues, none of them with hate in their hearts, none of them “anti-men”, although plenty of them prepared to say that masculinity causes problems for all of us, and who won’t put up with bullshit just cos they’re “expected to” being women and all.

It’s nuts, this persistent bullshit that feminists all look the same, think the same, dress the same and have the same attitudes on hair removal/makeup/high-heels and fashion as each other, or that we are defined by these attitudes. For example, and it’s *only a friggin example*, it’s not a prescriptive thing, like this is what feminists *should* be or are or whatever…I LOVE shoes, shoes can stop me in my tracks, I have a shoe rack with strappy black heels, little pink kitten heels with a huge fake diamond on the front, tall elegant burgundy heels with a strap, and my favourite firetruck red, pointy toe-d, four inch stiletto heeled leather pumps…I also have Birkenstocks and Havaianas. Which am I gonna wear when I’m going to the shops, taking my son to the museum, or on an average day at work? The flats, cos I don’t wanna cripple myself before my time. But…I dunno…I’m trying to think this through…

 There are so many *beauty* myths about feminists (aside from all those other myths). One major one seems to be that we all look and dress the same (and apparently, according men’s mag Zoo, as discussed in this link:  we all *smell the same*, ie bad, cos we’re angry, angry hate-filled women, angry at the world *for no good reason*, loathing, despising, hating the poor menz *for no good reason* and apparently therefore angry at hygeine and pleasant smells).

But, given that I know many, many feminists, and those that make the above assertion do not, generally speaking know many, many (or usually any) feminists, I think I can say that this much is untrue. Sure. Plenty cut their hair short, or shave it. Who gives a shit? What’s wrong with diversity of hairstyles? And this diversity doesn’t prove the anti-fems point that we *all* have shaved heads.

So, some cut their hair off cos they’ve got a bit of a tomboy style and don’t give a rats about being fashionable, some in that adorable, high maintenance pixie style that shows up their gorgeous bone structure (damn em!), some shave it to make a point, some for fun, some for ease of care, some for Why-The-Fuck-Not, some grow it long, put it up with sparkly pins, some let it do its own thing, some straighten it, some pay good money for dreadlocks and hair extensions. SOME DO ALL SORTS OF COMBINATIONS OF THE ABOVE COS THEY AREN’T DEFINED BY THEIR FUCKING HAIRSTYLE OF THE TIME!!!!

I enjoy the company of these wonderful, colourful, vibrant women, those with the allegedly *outrageous* dressing style, those with the shaved head and piercings, those with the tats, those with the hair extensions, those who play dress ups in corsets and skirts, those who have the latest styles in their wardrobes, those who don’t give a rats about what they’re wearing and those who adopt many differing combinations of the above. I also have never had the experience of choking on any one of their armpit odours (sorry, but Zoo’s obsession with this has stuck in my brain as particularly fucking stupid).

Anyway – I’ve been staring at this painting of Dora Marr, a Picasso portrait of his lover. For me, she’s a bit representative of what I love in my life, and the things I’m striving for in my life, the portrait is of an independant woman, of considerable talent and renown before she met Picasso, she took him as her lover quite soon after they met. In this portrait, she’s painted in vibrant hues of yellow, pink, green and grey, and she’s looking at him with this warm expression of knowing, of desire, of life, of self possession and of desire and good humour. And I love it. For some reason my eye is continually drawn to it…something in the colours and her expression has this portait as a bit of an icon for me (and for me personally) right now…I see this woman in her vibrancy, her good humour and graciousness, her fiestiness and spirit, her meeting the eyes of the world a far more accurate reflection of the way I see myself, and the vibrancy, diversity and colourful balance I strive for in my life, than in something so fucking self-congratulatory and trite as yet another bullshit mens mag “hairy-legged, smelly feminist” beat up.

She doesn’t accurately represent the styles and tastes of all my feminist friends. I’m not arguing to have Dora Marr’s personal aesthetic replace the stereotype of feminists or anything. But in no way does Zoo’s portrayal of feminists stand up to any investigation whatsoever – feminists are women of many styles, many backgrounds, many sizes, shapes, and fashion views. Some of them are visually striking, in a range of different ways, some refuse to adorn themselves in any way. But each of these women has a passion and a grasp of ethics and the multiple *meanings* of their lives, and a livelihood that makes them a pleasure to know, and an inspiration to me. And I guess this is what the Dora portrait reflects to me – one the one hand, I want to work to ensure that at the end of my life I’ll see a woman of self possession, and a diversity of brilliant colours and experiences like those captured, and on the other, that diversity of colours, the depth of the portrait, the nuances, the many different layers represent for me the beauty made up in the richness and diversity of the talents and loves and passions and styles of my feminist friends. Zoo can do exactly what it’s designed to do and fuck itself and encourage others with similar attitudes to do the same. No matter how many times they say it, their attempts to bind and define feminism in terms of “ugliness”, “disease” and “hate” do not actually lastingly alter the truth that feminism has many strands, many views, many faces, and many styles and that feminist women, no matter which *aesthetic approach* they take are bright, strong, powerful, vibrant and alive, and bound to make a difference in this world, and as such are much more accurately reflected in like the colours that make Dora so beautiful than in any ugly piece of untruth some mens magazine would have us believe.

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