Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Go Fug Yourself is funny, or why feminists should like it when witches cackle
Recently on the internets there was a debate about whether or not it was proper feminist protocol to pop open a site called Go Fug Yourself and cackle mercilessly at the parade of horrid celebrity clothing that the proprieters mock. Ann Bartow said no; Lindsay said yes. At the heart of the debate is not whether you can tell at first blush whether or not making fun of stupid clothes is sexist so much as whether or not or it’s appropriate to laugh at female fashion victims. Are rich fashion victims also victims of the patriarchy? Do we owe them our pity?
Since then there’s been a few interesting posts on this sort of subject. Jedmunds linked to a defense of Paris Hilton. Bitch Lab posted on a debate over whether or not it’s cool that Pink has a video mocking other women for being shallow idiots. To no one’s great surprise, I’m going to weigh in on this debate on the side of ruthless mockery. Not only am I going to approve mocking “stupid girls”, celebrity fashion victims and socialites who are famous for being giant assholes is good, but I’ll say such humor is a valuable component of a sustainable model of patriarchy-blaming.
It’s silly to waste time trying to label individuals as Victims or Not Victims of the patriarchy--it’s perfectly possible for a person to be both victim and oppressor. The guy who has to suffer the humiliation at the hands of the male pecking order at work only to go home and beat his wife is an example of this. Not that this means that I think the defense of Paris Hilton was wrong--I don’t doubt Paris does feel pressure to dress and act a certain way, etc.--but it does well to remember that she’s a huge asshole and a self-appointed judge of other women’s worthiness as sexual playthings, and for this she should be mocked ruthlessly. This recent post from Go Fug Yourself where Heather attacked Brandon Davis and Paris Hilton making fun of Lindsay Lohan is just the sort of humor that makes this feminist cackle. (Hat tip, Ezra.)
It’s well-documented by now what Brandon Davis was filmed saying about Lindsay Lohan—lengthy and numerous rants disparaging her private parts and their cleanliness, announcing that he is disgusted with how poor she is because she is only worth $7 million, and spitting that he would never, ever sleep with her, before asking the videographer, “Would YOU [sleep with] her?” All the while Paris Hilton is choking on her own laughter, because there’s nothing at all trashy about her.
So fuck Paris Hilton for being a shallow turd, too stupid to be aware that if she wasn’t born into wealth, she’s have died off by the time she was 10 years old from sheer stupidity. Mocking her for this is a wholesome activity that should be encouraged. Mockery is an excellent way for people to convey their values systems and progressives shouldn’t cripple ourselves by abandoning this tool. Just as mocking someone’s race encourages racist values, mocking someone for being racist encourages anti-racist values. When you mock Paris Hilton for being the sort of trash who thinks making fun of a woman’s (probably throughly scrubbed and waxed) genitalia, you are discouraging people from being this kind of trash.
Not that I necessarily blame people for being skittish about this sort of thing. There is an epidemic of people who can’t quite grasp how to make fun of someone else. For instance, it’s difficult for people to understand that just because Michelle Malkin is an odious person doesn’t mean she’s a good target for racist insults. There’s one very simple rule when determining how to make fun of someone:
Mock the thing that is odious about them, not something innocous.
Simple. There is nothing wrong with having Asian heritage, but there is something wrong about being a racist twit. When mocking Malkin, mock her racist twittery. Alternately, what’s funny about Paris Hilton is not that she has sex nor that she filmed it; what is funny is that she answered her cell phone in the middle of the filmed sexual encounter, indicating what her investment in the situation was. Especially funny is the way her partner chased her around the bed trying to get her to hold still, indicating a lack of dignity on his part.
And mocking the parade of horrible clothes that celebrities wear might not be your thing, but it’s a perfectly feminist activity in that it functions as a critique of the very existence of fashion victimhood. The fashion industry is showing nothing but contempt for women when they churn out clothes designed to make women look stupid or clownish and when we meet their contempt with derisive laughter, we are fighting back.