Time for another episode of Feminism F.A.Q.s. This one is – I hope – pretty straightforward. It defines “girlie feminism”, which is closely related to the ideas of “cupcake feminism” and “lipstick feminism” and takes a quick look at the related debate among feminists.
Overall, it’s one thing to celebrate the hobbies you love to do and to bring feminism into that, but on the whole, expressing feminism through crafting or baking isn’t a substitute for key feminist struggles such as those for reproductive rights or against the gender binary, poverty and the wage gap. That doesn’t mean that individual feminists should feel bad about honestly liking and valuing traditionally feminine activities.
Over at the on-line music publication The Quietus, UK-based writer Meryl Trussler reacts to what she perceives as a “counter-campaign” to make feminism palatable to the mainstream media (at worst) or “cool again” (at best):
This move is not deliberate – probably not even conscious. But the pop-culture image of feminism today – as perpetuated at Ladyfests, in BUST magazine and its Craftaculars, on so-called ‘ladyblogs’ and at freshers’ fairs – is ostensibly the direct opposite of the Hairy Dyke. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll call her the cupcake feminist. * * *
Twee and retro have been seeping into feminism for a couple decades now, gaining potency. It’s all about cute dresses, felten rosettes from Etsy, knitting, kittens, vintage lamps shaped like owls, Lesley Gore. And yes – a lot of cupcakes.
It would be hypocritical to dismiss cupcake feminism outright….[T]o tell women they are letting down the cause is vomitously snide and unproductive – and I like the associated aesthetic as much as anyone. (Except for knitting, which for me could only end in injury.) Admittedly, too, the cupcake feminist is a sophisticated invention. Rouged, lipsticked, cinched at the waist, she performs big-F Femininity as the drag–show that it is. Her 50s-housewife schtick sets off everything about her that is radicalised and new. And, importantly, she emphasises that typically ‘feminine’ pursuits are no less worthy or important than their ‘masculine’ counterparts. Read more