Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Perfunctory Sketch of a Young Woman who Thinks She's a Feminist

What do you do with a twenty-something who speaks, acts, mimics, all that Feminism mummery she has gobbled down from her arty grad school? It is so apparent that the real person is not there under all that parroting. The precious core of untrammeled imagination has been so thoroughly hijacked by an ideology that she speaks, acts, mimics like an Artificial Intelligence. Yet she thinks she is free, daring, enlightened, and ready to take on the ignorance of the unwashed old world. She has an overwhelming need to make fun of the religion of her childhood; she revels in mocking her parents' hangups with their ancient religion, at once appearing self-deprecating and rebellious. 

How much of her performance is motivated by her desire to impress others? How much to exonerate herself from what she obviously regarded, or thought regarded by her audience, an embarrassing upbringing she had no choice in? 

Mind you, I liked the young woman. Despite her lavish references to sex organs peppering every stage of the conversation, she is rather transparent to me. 

The performance (for that's really what it was) is a powdery veneer, of a particular brand of college Feminism. Beneath it hides someone who dares not to live. Perhaps she is too confused. Possibly she no longer knows herself. Feminism as it is, especially in college campuses, acts effectively as a contraception, separating girls from their selves, intimidating them into intellectual submission. There's the dormant, innate aggressiveness, even violence in its ideology. Its victims don't even know what has hit them. There are so many road-kills. 

I did not play cheerleader to the young woman's braggadocio. She might have construed my relative coolness as prudery. In fact, words like vagina, penis scare me as much as someone dressed in a grim-reaper Halloween suit do. What struck me was how dull it all was, how unremarkable the language, how inauthentic the mannerism, comparing to the potential liveliness of the real person hunkering underneath.

But then, I could have been reacting in fear too:  such display of artificialness, such robotic rhetoric, such parroting. Who knows, maybe the theory of Transhumanism isn't so far fetched. Or, maybe what I saw was just no more than a Kafkaesque nightmare starring a metamorphosing girl who thinks she is free. 

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