Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Feminism Does Not Equal Revenge

Jemima looks blank. "So anyway," she says at last, turning back to me. "I'd be delighted to help. Revenge is actually quite a specialty of mine, though I say it myself..."

I avoid Lissy's eyes. "What did you have in mind?"

"Scrape his car, shred his suits, sew fish inside his curtains and wait for them to rot..." she reels off instantly, as though reciting poetry.

"Did you learn that at finishing school?" says Lissy, rolling her eyes.

"I'm being a feminist, actually," retorts Jemima. "We women have to stand up for our rights."
~ (276) from "Can You Keep a Secret?" by Sophie Kinsella

This statement is, of course, ironic. "We women" do need to stand up for our rights, but standing up for our rights is not the same thing as exacting revenge, but popular culture seems to have this issue confused. I remember when the movie "The First Wives' Club" premiered-the movie was about a group of wives who had been cheated on and so exact revenge upon their ex-husbands. This movie was touted as being very feminist, but I was uncomfortable for revenge is NOT the same thing as feminism. True feminists want equality, not revenge. We want men to understand that the patriarchy hurts them too. As Emma, the main character in Kinsella's book later explains, "[...]a real relationship is two-way. A real relationship is based on equality. And trust."

I think it is very interesting that the character that grows into more of a feminist never claims to be one and I find that to be telling of life in general. Watch advertisements closely-if something tells you outright that it is a feminist material, examine it to see if it actually is or if it is pseudo empowerment, like the movie "First Wives' Club." True female empowerment will use words like "self love," "equality," and "trust," instead of promoting violence.

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