Jezebel ran two articles in close succession that, to me, highlights the hypocrisy of much of their readership and by extension, many feminists as well. Shocker. The first article, “How to Tell Your Parents You’re A Prostitute” was written by Robin Hustle, a sex worker and sex worker rights activist who is also involved with SWOP-Chicago. As is usually the case, especially on sites like Jezebel, the comment thread is reportedly rife with the moralizing pearl-clutching of feminists who claim to be supportive of women’s choices, with a fairly large majority who also claim to be sex-positive. Clearly, there are well-defined termination lines concerning their support and sex-positivity. No, I didn’t read the comments because, to paraphrase a character on True Blood, “I get the seizures” whenever I read comments on Jezebel (or Feministe or most other feminist sites) when the topic is sex work of any stripe.
Three days later, came the article, “Sparkly Nail Polish, Katy Perry, and Frozen Eggs: Meet the Woman-Child“. It is written by Deborah Schoeneman, who is a writer on the feminist show-du-jour Girls on HBO. In it, she criticizes certain choices made by women, and judging by the reaction on the comment thread that would be a large swath of Jezebel readers, that keeps them in a perpetual state of girlhood and immaturity. On the one hand, I think I liked the article simply because I dislike some of the same things she does, such as Katy Perry who I think is a talentless hack. On the other hand, I disagree with many of her statements, including the idea of an appreciation of Led Zeppelin as one of many “youthful enthusiasms” of the perpetually childlike. The article has been roundly condemned in the Jezebel comment thread for this critique of women’s choices, which I agree with but….
Wait a tick. Isn’t that essentially what was just said about the sex worker article three days ago? That somehow her choices can’t be considered those of a mature woman? That she can’t actually like her choices? Schoeneman has merely done what the average Jezebel reader does whenever sex workers of any stripe are discussed: stripped a whole group of women of their autonomy, projected her own standards onto them, and criticized their choices because of it. Of course, none of the readers would probably make that connection as it would require a degree of self-reflection that most people lack. To me, however, it was very obvious.
Very Madonna-Whore of them; the self-proclaimed Madonnas simply can’t believe their queen of heaven status has been compromised by a questioning of their decisions, which is supposed to be solely reserved for the earthly whores. It’s a very typical reaction from those who believed themselves to be morally superior to others and above criticism, instead finding themselves on the receiving end of the very attitude they gave to others.