Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NO, E. Lockhart!

Since I’m known as a radical feminist, one of my friends suggested the book The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart to me. The book was okay, about a girl who tries to infiltrate an all-boys secret club at school and defeat sexism all around. I vaguely remember the plot and don’t even remember how it ends, so you can see how much of an impact it had on me. Even though I was lukewarm about Frankie Landau-Banks, when I saw other books by E. Lockhart in the library, I took them out.

One was called Fly on the Wall: How One Girl Saw Everything, about a girl named Gretchen who gets turned into a fly on the wall of the boys’ locker room. In the locker room, she sees many things, and one is that the boys’ locker room is much bigger and more luxurious than the girls’. After she becomes human again, she approaches the principal and asks about the unfairness. When the principal explains that the school was built before Title IX and they can’t physically expand the girls’ locker room, Gretchen asks if the boys and girls can switch locker rooms. The principal agrees. After she leaves the principal’s office, she thinks to herself, “I’m Gretchen Yee, advocate for equal opportunity.” NOOOOO!!!! That is NOT equal opportunity! The girls getting a bigger locker room than the boys’ isn’t equal rights, it’s sexism at work!

People assume that when women get more rights than men, that’s what feminists are looking for - to trump men and become the dominant sex. NO!!! Completely not! Just as there’s a prohibition of adding to a mitzvah (commandment), since God’s word is exactly what we must adhere to and adding to it would really be detracting from it, we cannot “add” to the women’s movement. We want and need equal rights, not less rights or more rights. We don’t want a bigger locker room, nor a smaller locker room; we want one of an equal size and with the same amenities.

While E. Lockhart’s offense was grave (I'm counting it as bad as Lady Gaga's comment that feminism and man-hating are the same thing), I don’t think she meant it in a bad way; she writes her books with feminist leanings, so I have to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she is really a feminist and meant well. While I won’t dub her an inductee into Black Holes of Davida, E. Lockhart doesn’t have far to go.

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