Modern Feminism / Amanda Palmer: “Real Feminists Don’t Gaze at Males”

Feminism is a touchy subject for me, mostly because of the state of modern first-world feminism. Last year the Ban Bossy campaign was launched – a PSA video with celebrities such as Beyonce, Jane Lynch, and Jennifer Garner claiming that they were oppressed by being called bossy, and that the word must be banned in true Orwellian fashion to preserve the delicate natures of other women.

It’s a little insulting to suggest that women are so weak that they cannot overcome the torture of name-calling. Further to that, the PSA’s logic turns on itself when one realizes that all these supposed oppressed-by-the-word-bossy women are in fact stars of international fame, with more influence on society than I will ever have. I guess I should have been called bossy on the playground at school more.

At about the same time this campaign was launched, the Iraqi parliament was considering passing a law that would legalize marital rape and child marriage for Shia population. I don’t recall seeing any multi-million dollar PSAs advocated by Beyonce decrying this outright violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

While partners of Ban Bossy (Citibank, Bank of America, JP Morgan & Chase and dozens of internationally branded corporations) were screaming that somebody please think of the children by banning a word, Shia girls were actually being oppressed and no one was doing shit about it.

Perhaps you’re growing to understand why I dislike being associated with the feminist movement.

Other heavy influences on my disdain for modern feminists are their disdain for the male gender, traditional gender roles (fuck you, I happen to like cooking, shaving, and wearing makeup), or anyone who disagrees with or has criticisms of their movement.

Amanda Palmer, punk-cabaret musician and major role model for me, posted the following after being called out for showing her husband affection in public. It perfectly encapsulates what I think real feminism should be, instead of the man-hating, gender role-defying, over-sensitive mass of bullshit that we’re left with today. Because feminism is about owning who you are without limitation or definition.

i won’t link to the full review of our show the other night, or even name the publication (if you care, google), because i don’t want to give the writer the satsifaction of the hits. but can i talk for a moment about how incredibly much this pisses me off? thanks, i will. the review begins:

“‘How can I make my friends into feminists?’ ran one of the more odd questions put to Amanda Palmer during a sit-down Q&A in the midst of this show. One answer, if you happen to be an internationally adored cabaret artist, is probably not to coo and gaze adoringly at your bestselling fantasy author husband for two hours in public.”

…and it goes on to give the rest of the show a great (four star) review. the show was, by the way, fantastic. neil read for about an hour, i played for about an hour, we did a bunch of great songs together, and i think pretty much everybody had a stellar fucking time.


i’m not even sure what the journalist MEANT by this statement. did he mean “real feminists shouldn’t show open affection for their husbands?” or did he mean something else? the fact that i’m “internationally adored” and neil is “bestselling” seems to be part of the point he’s making, but….what’s the point? that if i were a real feminist i’d stand there screaming “I KNOW YOU THINK YOU’RE HOT SHIT, GAIMAN, WITH YOUR BEST-SELLING MAN-PENNED NOVELS AND ALL THAT CRAP, BUT I AM FAMOUS CABARET WOMAN! FUCK YOU MAN! I ALSO MAKE AN INCOME! I STAND HERE, EQUAL TO YOU, AND SHOWING YOU AFFECTION WOULD CLEARLY BE A SIGN THAT I KNOW I BELONG TO THE WEAKER SEX.”



the larger irony, of course, is how i ACTUALLY answered the question, which was something along the lines of:

“if you’re trying to turn your friends into feminists, i think you’re taking the wrong tack. i would back up and start off by not trying to turn them into ANYTHING…this is how we got into this whole mess in the first place.”

as far as i’m concerned, the most powerful feminist can do WHATEVER SHE WANTS.


this includes: wearing heels, wearing combat boots, wearing nothing, sporting lipstick, shaving, not shaving, waxing, not waxing, being political, being apolitical, having a job, being homeless, gazing at men, gazing at women, gazing at porn of all sorts, glamming up like a drag queen, going in man-drag, being in a five-way polyamorous relationship, being childless, being a stay-at-home parent, being single, having a wife, having a husband, and gazing/cooing adoringly at those wives or husbands anywhere they fucking choose, including elevators, restaurants, puppet shows (well, maybe keep it g-rated if there are small children present), ….or on theatrical stages at fringe festivals. are we getting the picture here?? the most powerful feminist can do WHATEVER SHE WANTS. the minute you believe you’re a “bad feminist” because you said the wrong thing/wore the wrong thing/got married/chose to have children…or otherwise broke some unspecified ”code of feminism”: DON’T BUY IT. THERE ISN’T ONE. you can do ANYTHING YOU WANT. ANYTHING. THAT’S THE POINT.

let’s say that one more time for good measure:


don’t let anyone try to turn you into a feminist.

just be one.

3 thoughts on “Modern Feminism / Amanda Palmer: “Real Feminists Don’t Gaze at Males””

  1. The Ban Bossy Campaign was an embarrassment. Yes, oppressed by being called bossy while millions around the world have no food, have people coming into their villages to rape and plunder, some have acid thrown in their faces. Sure. I thought I was alone in my confusion and disdain for this bizarre campaign. Buy buttons from girl scouts teaching them to control others by limiting speech? Could we look any more entitled and narcissistic? Then again Beyonce is apparently signing it up in 50 Shades of Grey, unsurprisingly, she does admire Ike Turner. I did not elect any of those actors and entertainers spokespeople for my gender. It is more than a little insulting to suggest we cannot overcome name calling and misses the point of empowerment all together. I am who I am and I don’t give a damn what you call me is my attitude, and it took years to get here without one ounce of help from celebrities. As for censoring speech, that is BOSSY! Equal rights AND free speech, to me those are must haves for the feminist. Once you ban bossy, they will call you something else anyway. Just be one. Exactly. No purchase required.

  2. Well, I clearly missed all the fuss about bossiness! Ugh! This does sound embarrassing. And here I have been trying my damnedest to try to convince people feminism has nothing to do with man-hating.

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