flexibeast.space - gemlog - 2022-11-19

Cosmo feminism

Audio version:

“Cosmo feminism” [mp3]

For a while i've been referring to a particular strand of feminism as ‘Cosmo feminism’, but haven't actually written down what i mean by this.

‘Cosmo’ is a reference to the magazine “Cosmopolitan”, founded by Helen Gurley Brown, which is where i first observed this feminism. That said, i've also observed it in the content of e.g. the Australian Web site “Mama Mia”.

To a first approximation, Cosmo feminism feels like a ‘feminism lite’, one strongly influenced by radfem analyses and politics, but without the underlying theoretical depth.

The characteristics of this strand of feminism typically include several of:

(a) Being very heterosexual-oriented[a].

(b) “*exasperated* Men, amirite?”

(c) Further to the preceding, biological essentialism.

(d) Other Women and porn are the reason men don't become monogamy-faithful, supportive, caring partners.

(e) Wholesale importation of radfem analyses/attitudes towards sex work and porn.

(f) White Saviour small-l liberal politics.

The “Other Women” of ‘d’ includes sex workers (including those working in porn), sluts, and women doing consensual nonmonogamy.

What ties a lot of this together is: “Men are inherently idiotic sex-obsessed brutes, unlike women, who are clever and always more about Love than Sex. We women love men anyway, and must just accept that men are ‘fixer-uppers’ that we need to civilise. But things aren't helped by Other Women, and porn, and especially other women doing sex work and porn, enabling and making men behave badly because men can't help themselves, the poor dears. Also, yeah, sweatshops are terrible. Anyway, what do I need to wear to attract my idiotic sex-obsessed brute soulmate?”

Basically, it's traditional patriarchal ‘war of the genders’ stuff combined with some ‘progressive’ trappings, dressed up as Empowering Feminism.

🏷 audio‑available,feminism,politics,sex work,sexuality,sociology


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[a] But not necessarily anti-queer. It's just that its demographic is overwhelmingly straight, with perhaps some male-gaze-oriented bi-curiosity thrown in.