The Feminist Complex 

Staying Strong in Today's Oppressive Society

Though make-up advertorials (see page 9) and a slew of articles disgustingly entitled, "Help--Should I Marry Him?" (page 56) debase the pages of Cosmopolitan and Mercury for Her, there is a bigger issue at hand. Yes, I'm talking about magazines out that masquerade under the guise of "Hip, Progressive Feminism," yet play into the manicured hands of the corporate patriarchy. Now, this is not surprising, since we see evidence of our once-glorious feminista heroes selling us out all over the place. For example: Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, who once sang the line, "Are you gonna liberate us girls from male white corporate oppression?" can currently be viewed in all her leggy audacity in print advertising for the Ultimate Male White Corporate Oppressor, Calvin Klein. And certain invertebrate magazines will explain to us that, because Ms. Gordon has her little daughter's mouth to feed, it is acceptable to toss aside her once-gleaming ethics like a black Prada dress. Yes--I'm talking about Jane and Bust.

Jane is named after editor Jane Pratt, who brought self-esteem to many suburban youth in the '90s, through Sassy. Unfortunately, Jane continues to be sullied with cutesy leftover psychosexual "girly" language, such as "rilly," a word which died a death uglier than cervical cancer when Corporate Male Oppressors Peterson Publishing bought out Sassy in 1994. However, though they may cover hip slang and occasionally feature women of diverse and multiple ethnicities, or have spreads about the newest, edgiest clothing made by Imitation of Christ or that horrible spawn of Paul and Linda McCartney, in actuality, Jane plays into the hands of the patriarchal monstrosity by featuring anorexic models and caring more about celebrity fashion instead of the real issues that face women today, such as the continued postmodern fallout of Roe v. Wade.

Bust is no better, yet is a sneakier devil. The magazine may spout a principled neo-feminism, featuring women of plus sizes (occasionally), but its sex-obsessed articles are bent on instructing young ladies that the only way to be strong in this world is to appropriate the testosterone-fueled actions of the most Evil Patriarchal Oppressor. If women took Bust's advice, we would not have time for careers or activism, because we'd be spending all our time acting out Power Fantasies in the bedroom with our boy-toys, girl-toys, or vibrator-toys--or, indeed, all three. To Bust, I say this: A Riot Grrrl T-Shirt Does Not a Riot Grrrl Make. Underneath your power lipstick and "Women on Top" fuck-me positions, you just want a mirror of the Oppressive Corporate Patriarchy, that same Patriarchy that has led to so much death and destruction--both in other countries, as with our sisters in Afghanistan, and in our own cities, in the back alleys where George W. Bush himself might have wielded the coat hanger and perforated your own uterus, leaving you to rupture and bleed in the ghetto where he put you in the first place.

I cannot help you, sisters, from this tall building and Helmut Lang parfum-filled office, and so this shall be my last column. From now on, you may find me in the remote jungles of Costa Rica, freeing young women before their clitorises are hacked to pieces by their own male oppressors. Keep the torch burning, and keep your laws off my body!

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