RUSH: Now, I have here a story, I’ve been holding this, this goes back a couple days ago. It ran in Salon.com. How many of you remember my Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24? (interruption) Snerdley remembers it. This was written in the late seventies. This one established me as one of this nation’s great thinkers and opinion leaders.
“Feminism was established so as to allow –” and it’s still misunderstood to this day. It’s misunderstood. It is misrepresented. It is true, but it’s simple. “Feminism” — talking about modern era feminism, late sixties, early seventies — “Feminism was established so as to allow unattractive women easier access to the mainstream.” And wherever you look in the world of feminism you will find that truth screaming at you.
I’ve got another example of it here. It is a piece that ran a couple days ago at Salon.com. And the headline is: “FeminismÂ’s Obsession with Celebrity: ItÂ’s time to stop making our pop stars into political icons.” And if you read this, if you read far enough into it, you will find that it is an extension of my Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24, that women still find themselves living under the burden of unattractiveness. I will explain how that manifests itself in this story.
RUSH: Folks, back to this Salon story that I promised you about because it’s related to Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24. What it means is, it’s just another story here that women basically talk about living under that burden of unattractiveness, and the headline of this story is: “FeminismÂ’s Obsession with Celebrity: ItÂ’s time to stop making our pop stars into political icons.”
Now, why? Aren’t most pop stars liberal? Most actresses, most song stylists, most entertainers are liberal. So why all of a sudden do we have to stop making them into political icons? Well, it’s a very good reason. And it’s right here in the opening paragraph.
“‘No,’ the actress Shailene Woodley answered recently when asked if she considers herself to be a feminist in the Time interview heard round the blogosphere.” She said no, I am not a feminist. “I love men and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the man away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.” Uh-oh. Uh-oh. Code Red, DEFCON 5, massive, massive, we’re showing Dracula the cross here.
An actress, Shailene Woodley, said, “No, I’m not a feminist. I love men.” Uh-oh.
“The outrage soon followed — ‘Shailene Woodley Has Some Thoughts on Feminism, and They Are Not Good,’ said one headline; ‘The Shailene Woodley Uproar Shows WeÂ’re Getting Celebrity Feminism All Wrong,’ read another — in yet another iteration of the ‘letÂ’s debate a celebrityÂ’s feminist credentials’ argument. What no one seems to be asking, though, is why we keep making feminist icons out of our celebrities.”
Really? Do you have to ask that question? Who wrote this? Rhian Sasseen, if I’m pronouncing that right. “Shailene Woodley, Kirsten Dunst, Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift are not feminists — nor do they need to be.” And that’s a problem. Why do we keep making feminist icons out of our celebrities? Well, uhhhh, because it’s always been the way you did it.
You may not remember this. Back when Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden were married, and we’re going back to the eighties and prior, they routinely held — what would you call ’em? — little miniature reeducation camps. Every young Hollywood male or female, new arriving star, they would have political seminars with them and instruct them how to succeed in Hollywood and what their politics had to be. It was an activist program. Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden did this, and I’m sure they’re not the only ones that did it.
So there’s your answer. I mean, it was something that was studiously attempted. It was an objective that feminism had. But now all of a sudden some attractive, not unimportant here, young Hollywood actresses are saying, “No, I’m not a feminist. I can’t be. I love men.” After, let’s see, let’s just say 1970, so after 44 years? This is not good. What’s happening is the backlash.
I return to the article here: “The cycle by now is familiar: Every few months, an interview with a female celebrity goes viral, on the basis of the celebrityÂ’s disavowal of the word ‘feminist’ or conservative approach to gender. Sometimes a pop star is involved — Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga spring to mind — while other times, itÂ’s an actress — Woodley, now, and Kirsten Dunst and Susan Sarandon before her. Yesterday it was Miley Cyrus, slammed for telling a terrible rape joke and riding an inflatable penis. Tomorrow, someone new will go though this veritable rite of passage.
“But why does this keep happening? From a business point of view, it makes sense for all parties involved: the publication that initially publishes the interview is guaranteed page views, the op-eds that follow from all corners of the Internet piggyback on this and the starlet in question has both headlines and an opportunity to distance herself from the hairy-legged feminist stereotype. Maybe sheÂ’ll see the light in a couple of months, as Perry did. More headlines will follow. Rinse, repeat.
“WhatÂ’s missing from this equation are the women who donÂ’t star in Hollywood blockbusters or go on world tours following their album release — the women that have, historically, been the focus of feminism. Class becomes a dividing line: what does the woman struggling, say, to afford childcare — the cost of which, the National WomenÂ’s Law Center reports, ranges from $3,900 to $15,000 a year — have in common with the Hollywood star who can actually afford nannies? Celebrity feminism is one that seems only to demand that the one percent affix themselves with the label ‘feminist,’ with little regard for the lives of ordinary women who are silenced.”
Look, it goes on. It’s a long piece. I’m cherry-picking pull quotes. “It is, again, another trap for women.” They’re so victimized. Even after all this emancipation. Everything out there is a trap for women. And here again is another one. “It is, again, another trap for women, both celebrity and ordinary: we want icons, not human beings — is it any wonder that the celebrityÂ’s answers are always contradictions? The feminist question is simply another example of the impossibilities that we demand from women. Forget the virgin/whore complex: todayÂ’s woman must simultaneously prove her apparent agency and independence while continuing to embody an appealingly prostrate version of female sexuality and womanhood.”
So what you have, if you can weed through this, what’s happening is that more and more young female starlets are disavowing the feminism of the era and they are identifying it in ways in which they’ve always perceived it: anti-male. They don’t perceive feminists as wanting anything to do with men. They don’t perceive feminists as wanting anything to do with relationships with men. And they want that. So they don’t want to be called feminists. This has caused DEFCON 5 panic in the upper levels and reaches of liberalism.
And so, if you read this through, you find out that one of the things that they’re criticized for is, look, they’re not like real women. They’re beautiful, they’re famous, and they can afford to be feminist without having to say they are. They can afford nannies. They can afford abortions if they need them. They can afford all of this. They can say what they want, and they’re traitors and they’re phonies.
And at the root of it, don’t doubt me, is that they are beautiful. And these other women aren’t and are burdened by it, and that’s the dividing line, and that’s what makes it tougher on the other women who aren’t the celebrities. It all loops back to Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24. But at the root of this is also the breakdown of the cause. It used to be automatic, new Hollywood starlight, guaranteed, gonna be the next feminazi in waiting. Now it’s not.
RUSH: See, these young, beautiful, actresses are denouncing feminism, so the militant feminists say, “You know, we don’t need these young — we would love to have them — but we don’t need these pretty women, we don’t need these pretty women.”
All back to Undeniable Truth of Life Number 24. Fascinating to me to watch all this, and try to chronicle it each day.