From Lori Gottlieb’s “Marry Him” to the Great Having it All Controversy of 2012, The Atlantic used to have a real lock on the genre: Counter-intuitive Post-Feminist Real Talk. The trend piece that shows you that even though the journalist is on your side (and was once on a panel about women in media!), she’s learned the hard way that feminism is a joke and all women really just want to be barefoot and pregnant. The article that “reluctantly” exposes the value of traditional gender roles based on the pseudoscience of femininity and some experiences of a few white, straight friends–and then prescribes sweeping personal changes or policy shifts. The essay, as n+1 so brilliantly put it last year, that “tells women they can stop pretending to be feminists now.”
But The Atlantic has lost its near-monopoly: Last week’s New York Magazine piece on “The Feminist Housewife” fits the bill perfectly. The widely circulated and criticized article insisted, based on a hilariously small sample size, that huge populations of married ladies are staying home because women are just better at diapers and lunch boxes than their husbands (sucks if you’re a gay dude, or actually have to work, I guess). Now that it’s clear this post-feminist journalism is not just here to stay but spreading, I really feel the need to get on the bandwagon. As a recent college grad living in New York, trying to make it as a blogger-writer-activist, I believe this is where my future lies.
So, magazines of America, here are my pitches. Please email me if you’re interested in any of these, and I will make all your wildest page hit dreams come true.
1) The Feminist Zoologist
I’ve met THREE different feminist zoologists. Ergo, huge swaths of 20- and 30-somethings who were once rad and used free menstrual sponges distributed by their college women’s centers are now stampeding to zoology jobs. This phenomenon can only be explained by women’s natural, biological connection with super cute animal babies.
2) The End of Ken
Everyone wants Barbie, but someone keeps pulling off Ken’s head. Based on the toy consumption patterns and playtime game narratives of these adorable Korean triplets who live in my building, I conclude that female domination has been achieved and men’s rights activists are really onto something. As a result, I call for the rollback of “progressive institutions” like education for girls.
3) Sometimes Women are Raped? You Misogynist!
So this one time, I wasn’t raped. Therefore, fictional television characters weren’t either—and if you think they were, you hate women.
4) Sleep with Him
At this weird 80s-themed dance my freshman year, some guy (Mr. Good Enough) tried to convince me to go home with him, but I refused. In retrospect, maybe we were soul mates. As a direct result of my “high standards” and the feeling that I could “do better,” I am not getting laid tonight. Everyone knows everyone likes getting laid. Thus: I should have settled. Thus: so should you.
5) Having it Small: How Feminism Failed Me
For 6,500 words, I will lament my inability (despite feminism’s promises!) to simultaneously write for Feministing, commute to work, call my grandparents, buy paper towels, find good vegan feta, work out, listen to my friends’ OK Cupid stories, find a new apartment, understand the recent 1 train delays, clean out my inbox, untangle my very complex feelings about Beyoncé, and finish both The Plague and “House of Cards.” And I mean literally at exactly the same time. Like right now.
You know the baby in a briefcase picture–a classic of the “Sad White Babies with Mean Feminist Mommies” photo genre–that accompanied Slaughter’s “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” article? I think it’s time someone finally explored the other places overly-ambitious, neglectful mothers leave their naked children. In a boardroom? A faculty lounge muffin basket? A trash can in the U.S. congressional cafeteria? I will ask tough questions to find the answers we need.
7) I Don’t Have to Know You to Know You Were Asking for It
Look, I get it. “Victim-blaming is bad.” “A dress is not a yes.” “Even total sluts don’t deserve to get raped.” But come on–don’t they, like, a little? Respecting women means acknowledging that they’re responsible for their actions, including when those actions are other people raping them.
8) Why Abortion Should Actually be Illegal
(Similarly: How Domestic Violence Saved My Marriage, How My Birth Control Turned Me Into a Floozy, How Lilly Ledbetter Ruined My Sex Life, How Suffrage Landed Me in Rehab, A Handmaid’s Tale: Feminist Utopia)
I haven’t really worked out the argument on these yet, but wouldn’t any one of those pitches be an EDGY article, coming from a young feminist blogger? Wouldn’t people just tweet the SHIT out of that? Get at me, editors.