Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Sisterhood: Somebody Has Missed a Few Important Lessons

"I've been at war, without a doubt. I've really experienced the judgment of women in the past year. We say we want to be equal, but men don't sit around bitching at each other. There's no sisterhood." — Sienna Miller [Mirror]

So, Sienna Miller wants to decry the treatment she has received regarding her SECOND home-wrecking affair with a married (with children) man.* Not only does she cry FOUL but indicts not only Feminists, but all women for her mistreatment. Ummm, somebody has missed a few important lessons.

Sisterhood and Feminism is not about chosing choices that screw other people over. If anything, Feminism is about women taking greater responsibility for their lives and actions--and of course, the economic, social, and personal freedom to make informed, ethical decision in life unfettered by patriarchal oppression, which yes, sometimes women gossip and oppress other women based upon the virgin/whore dictomy that 10,000 years of patriarchy have conjured up, but that isn't Feminisms' failure.

Why I chose to discuss this rather salacious piece of celebrity gossip wasn't simply because I get to make fun of Sienna Miller's misapprehension of what Feminism can do for her, but rather to discuss how Choice Feminism seems to be used by very unfeminist or at least very ignorant people to explain away their bad behavior. There's that "I chose my choice, I chose my choice" rant Charolette in Sex & the City went off on when explaining why she was quitting her job to be an "important man's wife." Choice Feminism, that is how reproductive rights were discussed in terms of "choice" in the 1990's-early 2000's, has been a problem for quite a while in terms of popular discourses regarding Feminism, women's rights, reproductive justice, and in career/economic equity issues. "Chosing my choice" became, because I chose X or Y, it somehow is empowering--like staying home with an infant and a toddler because to stay in the workforce would only net you $200 more per month considering the costs of day-care, but never mind that you might want to work or that you might like to "opt out" for six months to a year, but find getting back in on the mommy track later means that you'll start out lower than you left in your career, or that opting out isn't really an option for at least 67% of women--who have to work with infants and have to rely on free or informal childcare provided by other family members or who might be able to qualify for subsidized childcare. Are these really "choices" or negotiating bad circumstances? What if the choice is between doing sex work (say, stripping) because its more lecurative than working at McDonald's--is that "chosing your choice?" Once again, is it empowering? Some, like Diablo Cody, she of the fuck-me-feminism, might say, yes, but I would say that there is a big difference between a "Gonzo" journalist/blogger like Cody stripping to specifically write about it and a woman who may have been molested as a child, had a child as a teenager, and who now sees stripping as the only way to make decent money and support her child/self. That ain't empowerment, its survival (in no way do I mean to demean strippers or sex workers, I just think that there were be way less sex workers out there if healthcare, education, sex-ed, and poverty issues were better addressed so that women could really make a decision about doing sex work because they like it, verses see it as the only alternative they have).

Anyway, Sienna Miller is shocked and dismayed that we feminists aren't supporting her to "chose her choice" to fuck married men. Now, if these married men were in open relationships, I wouldn't have had anything to post about--do whatever, if you are consenting adults and practice safer sex--but these men (who are primarily responsible for the break-up of their marriage because they are the ones who took the vows, but Miller is the one who decided to piss me off by blaming Feminists/Women for her predicament, hence the Miller blametariat) were in monogomous relationships.

How does this all relate to health, fitness, food-justice, Feminist Health policy? Well, I think that choice has been sullied and made both a new way to blame women for pay inequity and inequity in terms of domestic chores/maintenance, but also a way to blame fat folks for what is really individual and social. Is it really a choice for me in a bad economy to get up before dawn, leave the house by 6:20 a.m. to commute 40 minutes by car to a job where I sit all day, then take classes until 9:00 p.m. and get home, as in the A.M. at dark---thereby Mon-Thurs having very little time to exercise? Is it a choice of the consumer that so much of our food is laden with chemicals, hormones, and additives like High Fructose Corn Syrup that interfere with the bodies natural processes? Sure, you can try to eat all organic, but at what cost? Who can really afford that? These aren't choices, they are negotiating difficult circumstances, trying to come to a least harmful end. In terms of the job, I'm doing the classes so that I can leave the seditary lifestyle of the office job and go toward a more enaged and active job, teaching--which I'm excited about, but I have to go through a few months of extra seditariness to get to the other side. In terms of our food industry--just yesterday I got a long list of things I've bought that have been recalled due to the peanutbutter/samonella outbreak (and I've already eaten much of it!). Hopefully, there will be a shake up in inspection of our food and in the re-writing of the Farm Bill (in a few years, they just passed in the later term of Bush, a farm bill ladden with "pork"--and HFCS, Hormones, Soy, and Corn subsidies that promise more of the worst).

In weight-loss or in health maintanence, we often have to negotiate choices that aren't really empower choices, but negotiations between bad or worse. We don't really get to "chose our choice," but when we do make decisions, we have to negotiate between what is truly bad (see, Sienna Miller) and what gonna be what it has to be for now (see, my commute).


*Jude Law was married to Sadie Frost, they had three biological children together and Law had adopted Frost's oldest child by another man, when Sienna Miller and Jude Law began their affair/started their very public relationship. The second affair, that with Balthazaar Getty, broke up his marriage to Rosetta--the mother of his four children who had given birth to their fourth child merely months before Sienna and Getty began their very public (and nude-beach frolicking) affair. Getty is being written out of his hit show, Brothers and Sisters primarily as a result of the affair. Never fear, though, he is heir to the Getty fortune (or one of the heirs)...wait, oops, the Getty family is siding with Rosetta and potentially skipping B. Getty in the estate? Ha!

1 comment:

  1. In Jest...

    I would say become a stripper.
    1. You would get daily exercise.
    2. You will work shorter hours for more money. This will give you time to grow your own food and more money to buy organic.
    3. You could strip online to shorten your commute.

    I would say the life you have chosen was the wrong choice in choice.