Today’s feminist is fighting for something: The right to never grow up.
Resident feminist Jessica Valenti has squinted so hard she has found sexism in a rather rudimentary task. In “No, I will NOT wrap all the presents,” Valenti decries the gendered responsibility for “holiday joy.” The holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of the year, they’re just another way the patriarchy reinforces gendered expectations.
Every single issue Valenti brings up stems from her expectations, not those of “the patriarchy.” As a certain Federalist contributor said, “Buy a gift bag.” The solution is really that easy. If you don’t have the temerity to shake off a glance at your store-bought cookies, that’s on you, not the entire male sex. Further, are any men judging your Christmas card arrival date? No, that is other women. The answer to sexism was evident this entire time. It’s women who are sexist.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s seen mature reactions like this from the feminist smart set to a thoughtful piece by Emily Yoffe on civil rights challenges that have arisen from universities attempting to replace or supersede the criminal justice system.
Most feminist talking points center around dissolving responsibility. Whether it’s the idea that it’s verboten to advise women to look out for themselves, consider that men may have civil rights, or mention that getting completely drunk might lead to some poor decisions, feminism isn’t fighting for women. It’s fighting to keep girls from becoming women.
Gwyneth Paltrow, the Modern Face of Feminism
Now, this isn’t all feminism’s fault. Our larger culture has embraced the pursuit of perpetual youth. For women this means that life’s order of progressing from young woman to mother to family matriarch has fallen off the rails. With divorce, we’ve seen the rise of the cougar, a woman basically out doing what she was doing in her twenties instead now in her forties. In many ways, taking care of ourselves and looking better than previous generations is a blessing.
In other ways, having our outer visage remain youthful longer has led in some cases to a matching inside. Take Gwyneth Paltrow, with her customized Tracy Anderson workouts and passion for healthy eating. She looks wonderful for a woman her age, but she doesn’t show the mental maturity of a woman her age. From claiming she has it harder than other moms because, horrors, sometimes she has to spend two weeks in Wisconsin filming, to pretending she invented the breakup, or dreaming of a dictatorship, Paltrow might be a perfect example of today’s feminist.
Instead of taking a serious look into our country’s challenges, she says, when referring to President Obama, “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.” That’s the flight of fancy of a child, not someone who understands the reality of a dictatorship. Instead of accepting responsibility for a failed marriage, she invents “conscious uncoupling.”
There are some women who call BS on all this nonsense and remind us what mature women used to be like. Martha Stewart, a woman who owns family matriarch, likely isn’t the first person to wish that Paltrow would “just be quiet.” “She just needs to be quiet. She’s a movie star. If she were confident in her acting, she wouldn’t be trying to be Martha Stewart,” Stewart told a fashion magazine.
Don’t Try to Out-Host Martha Stewart
This feud escalated to some holiday food shots, which may have resulted in the most epic pie recipe magazine spread troll one will ever see.
OG lifestyle diva Martha Stewart is now taking stabs at Vegenaise lover Gwyneth Paltrow in a way that only she can: In a stunning six-page spread loaded with dairy-filled, decidedly un-macrobiotic pies in the November issue of her magazine, Martha Stewart Living. Sure it may be about pie, but the spread’s title, ‘Conscious Coupling,’ written in bold capital letters, is an obvious and direct jab at Paltrow. The juice-loving actress’s divorce from musician Chris Martin made headlines when she referred to it as ‘consciously uncoupling.’
The digs don’t stop there. Stewart continues to poke at Paltrow’s divorce: ‘Every Thanksgiving table should be blessed with the presence of a long-married pair who bring out the best in each other, are completely enamored despite their differences, and leave ever other guests thinking, I’ll have what they’re having.’
Lesson one, do not get into a land war in Asia. Lesson two: don’t try to out-host Martha Stewart. After all, Martha Stewart is the one who recreated Downton Abbey out of gingerbread.
Kidding aside, it’s clear that Stewart’s real objection to Paltrow isn’t that GOOP is moving in on her lifestyle-advice turf, it’s that she finds Paltrow lacking as a real heir apparent. That difference centers around the two women’s approaches to entertaining and maturity. Paltrow’s whining (“Martha didn’t stay for dinner. She had a drink and then left“) about a private event at her home shows that she doesn’t understand what it means to host guests. At a minimum, it means not complaining about them to the press. Stewart may be a perfectionist, but she does have a long, standing track record of promoting a guest-focused philosophy. Not surprisingly, Martha’s opinion of other feminist initiatives raises valid points.
Stewart also scoffed at Sheryl Sandberg‘s best-selling book ‘Lean In,’ saying women should spend less energy fighting barriers in the workplace and be more entrepreneurial: ‘Too much time is spent . . . Isn’t ‘leaning in’ spending a lot of time? . . . I think being entrepreneurial is something women should strive for, rather than working up the corporate ladder.’
Unlike the typical feminist, Stewart looks for solutions from within. She isn’t sitting around hoping that someone else will do something. She’s doing something. Her statement hits on what is so wrong about today’s feminists. They aren’t willing to look for actions they can take in their own lives to make a difference. Instead, they hope that they can mandate gendered holiday equality or that an all-powerful president can save them. When corporate life isn’t satisfying, the answer may not to be to “lean in,” but regroup and head off in a new direction. Instead, feminists trump up faulty statistics to advocate for a far worse outcome of paying everyone the same regardless of resume, career path, or effort.
Today’s feminists are so self-centered that everything is an affront. People are taking away your birth control if they aren’t buying it. That other mom’s glance when you brought store-bought cookies to school reinforces gendered holiday expectations. All the problems that western feminism gripes about are largely solvable by women themselves. Temper tantrums while entertaining aren’t moving the ball forward for women. Infantilizing women keeps them less capable, which will contribute more to any wage gap than sexism.
This is why feminism is no longer taken seriously. One can’t fight for empowerment while simultaneously making the case that women aren’t capable of wielding power. Perhaps one day feminism will get its groove back and make real differences for women across the globe. For now, they’re too busy fretting about wrapping paper equality instead of just solving the gendered holiday expectations themselves. In the meantime, if you did need a pie recipe, Stewart may have a few. And there’s always the local bakery. I won’t judge.