I was watching the Kathleen Hannah documentary The Punk Singer the other night. Loved it; no idea why I hadn’t seen if before. If you’ve missed out, you can and should watch it here.
While I liked it, it also made me feel kind of bad. It made me feel as if I’m wasting time, made me feel embarrassed about the culture I choose to consume. I want to argue that you can’t help what you like, but I’m not sure that’s a valid argument.
It also made me feel old. You know the third-wave feminism I was so confused about the other day? JFC, I am so well aware of what it is. Or at least used to be. It literally took me days to retrieve this information from the dark depths of my brain box. People worry about lines and sagging skin and god knows what, now this here is my worry. I’m only halfway through life and I’m already struggling with my memory?!? Now surely this is a reason for actual concern?
Could I write it off as simple case of infrequent use? Irrelevance? I mean there are many different types of feminism, radical, liberal, Marxist…all or which strike me as if not more relevant then at least more appropriate for analysis than the vague and including many contradictory things third-wave?
Not that suddenly remembering changes my reading of New Girl, but I see where writer of the thesis is coming from and how her reading came about. I still don’t agree with it, but I get it. It’s about the fact that third-wave feminism is inclusive, about allowing women to be feminist in a variation of ways, not just in the stereotypical way, i.e. you can be feminist in many ways, there is no contradiction between being a girly girl and a feminist. I do, however, maintain Jess in New Girl doesn’t challenge the current world order to any extent, and that makes her a poor feminist icon. (God I hate that word.)
Unlike Kathleen Hannah. If you’re looking for a feminist icon, just stop watching New Girl and start listening to Kathleen Hannah. (She said without actually being up do date with this either; how did I get this far behind on my feminist reading??)
What kind of bothered me watching the documentary is that while I can recognize Hannah as a feminist icon I don’t particularly enjoy her music. Sure, I’ve listened a lot to Rebel Girl and White Boy, but that’s pretty much the extent of it. Why isn’t Bikini Kill my favorite band? Why is that not something I’ve worked on??
Because trust me, I’ve worked on liking other bands, it can be done. Embarrassingly enough, it’s always been all-male groups belonging to the metal genre.
Can I argue that we should embrace ambivalence? I’m currently translating a text on the subject (written by someone who actually knows something about feminist theory) and apparently we should embrace ambivalence, recognize the simultaneous existence contradictions and it will enrichen our lives. Or at least feminist theory. This is such a treat of a translation, even if it deals with Derrida. (Such a rare occurrence that I get to translate texts of this type, but apparently I’ve done it before and quite well? Forgot all about that too.)
And this is how you know Kathleen Hannah is without a doubt a feminist icon; because she challenges you, and makes you reevaluate. What am I even doing with my time??
It’s not much, but having watched the documentary I feel the very least I can do is revise my TBR. My taste in music, yea I dunno, maybe I can brainwash myself through reading to a better taste in music?