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The implicit argument

By Amanda Marcotte
Saturday, September 6, 2008 18:57 EDT
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Behind comments like this is, “Feminists are women who really, really want to fuck me—a conservative asshole who radiates hatred of women—but alas, I totally blew them off. So they organized and are angry.” I agree with Atrios that the argument is fundamentally weird. If ugly women are organizing in protest that they aren’t getting attention from men, then wouldn’t their demands be for things that make men more likely to want us? But how does equal pay, reproductive rights, freedom from sexual harassment, and freedom from discrimination improve our chances of getting positive male attention?

Interestingly, male dominance actually has a positive sexual value for ugly men, one that even the worst chauvinist will admit*—when women are dependent on men for our financial and social survival, we have to value things like men’s jobs, salaries, and connections more and their physical attractiveness less when deciding on mates. Ugly dudes would see their stock devalued on the sexual market in a equal society. They’d face the same obstacles women who don’t fit our social beauty standards face.

With this in mind, I have to conclude that the “feminists are just ugly women” argument is a combination of projection of anxieties and self-flattery—it’s tempting to think that Gloria Steinem just really wants your cock and can’t have it, so she’s forced to be a feminist. That anyone can hold such a ridiculous fantasy without immediately dying from shame is one of the many benefits of male privilege.

*Kind of. They lament that women value men’s money and jobs so much, as if that makes women more shallow than men, who merely place a premium on a tight ass and clear skin. But they continue to support a system that creates these priorities for women, and try to resolve the contradiction by arguing that women are shallow from biology, not society.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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