Is Kate Winslet Killing Feminist Pop Culture? And Other Non Sequiturs

Broadsheet pointed us to Lynn Crosbie's bizarro piece in the Globe and Mail, which alleges that Kate Winslet and Holly Peterson's The Manny signal the death of feminism in pop culture.

Broadsheet's Judy Berman calls Crosbie's column "a head-scratcher," and we have to agree. After quoting a bunch of song lyrics and an unfunny line from Two-and-a-Half Men, Crosbie says it's "the plumbing, not the chromosomes, that define and estrange us from the brothers." Ok, but what about women with androgen insensitivity syndrome? Or transgender women? Or women who have had hysterectomies? We get that it's hard to define womanhood, but surely Crosbie can do better than "plumbing."

She goes on to hail the 1990s as a time when "autobiographical sex and erotic writing were popular and manifest, as were women with electric guitars, as was the very image of a woman so fluid in her possibilities, she could never be captured, let alone compared to anyone but herself." At least one woman with an electric guitar was publicly pilloried in the 90s for supposedly derailing her husband's career, but according to Crosbie, these were the glory days of women in the media. Now it's all gone to shit. Her evidence: The Reader ("Kate Winslet plays a haggard pedophile and a bored Hollywood throws statuettes") and The Manny.

Of the latter, she writes, "I bought Holly Peterson's The Manny recently, highly recommended by two of the women who have worked very hard to degrade us all with their insipid, vulgar world views, Sophie Kinsella and Candace Bushnell." Apparently Crosbie purchased a book blurbed by two people she considers awful and anti-feminist, and was surprised to find it awful and anti-feminist. Maybe, just maybe, she's looking for feminism in the wrong places. Broadsheet suggests Tina Fey and Amy Sedaris, Pedro Almodovar, and (thanks!) us. We'd like to emphatically add Battlestar Galactica to that list.

Crosbie's analysis of contemporary pop culture is hampered not only by a weirdly blinkered view of that culture's offerings, but also by an overly generalized idea of what women want. She winds up with a mention of the upcoming film Obsessed. The film, she writes, "promises itchy, illicit sex and lots of it. Ladies, what would you rather do: Consider seducing your hot boss in a bathroom stall or watch Queen Latifah being chased by bees and talking about friendship?" Itchy sex sounds like a yeast infection, not a good time, and since when was sex with the boss in a bathroom stall the ultimate in feminist portrayals of women? Crosbie's piece reads like a plea for more movies and books that interest her, which is fine — but we degrade the word feminist if we only apply it to things we like, and withhold it from things we find boring.

In Pop Culture, Feminism Is Dead [Globe and Mail]
Is Feminism Dead In Pop Culture? [Broadsheet]