Sady wrote a piece over at Feministe about Tina Fey's feminism, or, you know, lack thereof, in her appearance on Saturday night live. And I totally encourage you to go read the post, because it is awesome, but something about this segment really struck me:
Because Tina Fey just called me a whore.
And let's get this out of the way first: if you are a feminist worth your weight in bras to burn, you do not use the word "whore." No, you do not, and you can try to use it ironically, but I will reserve the right to think you are are an asshole because: using women's sexuality as a way to insult them is just really misogynistic. I don't care if you also call men "whores" - you know what it means, and you cannot divorce it from the history of what it has meant, and as long as women are called whores as if their sexuality is for public comment and they can be judged on their decisions to basically NOT BE PURE VIRGINAL VIRGINS, you suck, and you are not in my feminist club. I hear there's a fauxgressive club across the street that will let you in.
So, that being said, essentially, again, Tina Fey called me whore.
As far as I can tell, according to Tina Fey, if you are not a married woman, and dare to, I don't know, leave your home with your breasts and attract a man who may be married, you are now a whore. Because the only people she actually sticks up for in this segment are wives.
Ok, let's back up: the idea that there are two kinds of women here - the successful ones and the ostensibly stupid ones with boob jobs, is already problematic. Tina Fey, god, there are smart women with boob jobs and accomplished women with tattoos and clever women who work at Hooters. Stop creating a binary between the "good" women and the "whores," because there is none, and you have just given an awful lot of people, men and women, a foundation to feel justified in treating a whole category of women, like women who work at Hooters maybe who probably don't make much money but have a job (which is kinda like an endangered species recently, I hear) and have to pay the bills just like the rest of us, inhumanely.
Women come in two species, in Tina Fey's world: there are the "good" wives, and the Hooters waitresses. And the Hooters waitresses/whores deserve to be abused. Tina Fey, way to embody the virgin/whore dichotomy! The Catholic Church called and wants its centuries old concept back!
But of course, the whores are to blame for the cheating husbands! Why? Gosh, because women are supposed to defend their sexuality from men who just can't help themselves! They must maintain their "goodness"! And everyone else's! This is their responsibility! Like, if you are guilty of having a vagina and wearing clothing that shows that you have skin? YOU HUSSY! It is your fault that men cannot apparently control their sexual appetites!
See, and now the rape culture AND like every abstinence-only education program in the U.S. want THEIR foundational premises back, too! Tina Fey, you are stealing shamelessly from the patriarchy. You are going to owe mad royalties.
And, but here's where it's personal: I am that whore.
I am not married. Sometimes, when I am in the mood, I like attracting men. Sometimes, I like sleeping with men. But none of this takes place without the consent of the men. And only one of us, if said man is married, can make the decision to cheat on Tina Fey. And I can't (at least in a majority of states). So . . . why am I getting the full brunt of the blame?
Because when Tina Fey says all is not lost for wives, she is saying that wives? Can't be whores (apparently also, in Tina Fey's universe? Wives never cheat). But the way she talks about Bombshell McGee (is this a woman's real name? Or like a joke? I do not read tabloids, Readers, I have no idea) is that BMcG's main problem (other than the anti-semitism/racism thing, which is not the point of this post, although Tina Fey makes being a whore out as worse than racism, which, WTF?) is having breasts. And flaunting them. And being sexual. And what BMcG really did was be a non-married woman (or at least a willing partner) in a space where Jesse James then decided he wanted to sleep with her. Her crime, essentially, was being perceived as sexy by a married man. And she got called a "whore" for that, while he gets off totally free of blame.
So, ladies, I think this means that our options are, if we do not want to be labeled whores, to get married tout suite, or never leave our homes with anything other than burlap sacks on. Because if all cheating is NOT going to be blamed on men but on us, well, we don't want to be whores, now do we? And what exactly can our defense be? "It's not my fault the married man tried to cheat on his wife with me, Your Honor - I was wearing my burlap sack! I tried to stop him!"
Yeah, no. Burlap is itchy.
Honestly, also, I am especially sensitive to the word, "whore." I have been called one MANY A TIME. And it never had anything to do with who or what I was actually doing with anyone else. It was about my perceived transgression into sexual agency - I owned my sexuality. I talked about it. I admitted that I liked sex, I masturbated, I was into non-vanilla things. And so people would assume, without ANY actual basis in fact, that I was sleeping with someone, that I was a whore. A slut. I must have been sleeping around! One summer, when I was a camp counselor, the rumors about my alleged sexual voraciousness got so ridiculous that a friend and I started making up rumors to spread that were just completely unhinged, to see if people believed them. They always did (one of the rumors we spread was that I slept with FIVE MEN AT ONCE. Like, all at the same time, they were fucking me. Which is not even physically possible, I am pretty sure, but no one questioned the veracity in passing that rumor on in a manner that did indeed resemble wildfire). Folks loved talking shit about me, even though it was silly and false, because as one of those "bad" women, I deserved that kind of abuse. There's nothing a group of people would rather do than be a judge-y and women-bashing around a couple of beers together, apparently!
Or get on Saturday Night Live, throw a picture of a woman's body up like she is public property, insult her, blame women for the actions and choices of fully functional and capable men, and call me a whore.
Tina Fey, I am not a whore. But you are a really, really shitty feminist.