So, it is interesting, right?, and great, right?, when you discover the fact that the electronic book review has dedicated an entire issue to dissecting the live body of postfeminism. And you go in, rocking back in forth in your chair in front of the computer screen, generating a little heat between thighs dried out by too much feminist-affiliated abstinence born out of man-hating, and you enter right into the issue. Excited.
There it is right in front of you: a whole big, juicy "Postfeminism Forum." It is a writhing mass of naked and female bodies in full orgy tilt, grinding and sweating and not bothering with lubrication for there is no need. Everyone's there, from dyke rockers to ape girls to greek goddesses. And you jump in, happy, vibrator in hand, ready to really get it on, to give it and to get it.
But then, as you land in the midst of this teeming pile of bodies, you suddenly get the impression something is wrong. Did I not douche? you think. Did I not fist someone properly? you ask. Did I flick when I should have just sucked? you wonder. Depressing.
WHERE ARE THE POSTFEMINISTS? you cry out, angry, and clutch your vibrator protectively to your chest.
Guerrilla Girls: "I don't think much of postfeminism at all."
Kiki Smith: "I don't think postfeminism really exists."
Deb Margolin: "I don't buy postfeminism at all."
As yet, there may not be a clear definition of postfeminism. There may be many reasons for this: a social movement created by and for women will be multiple in its meanings/definitions rather than mono-phallic. Or, perhaps, the term is so new, it has not been discussed enough, pulled apart enough, kneaded enough for anyone to identify it with any type of exactness. But what there is so much of is antagonism, by women, towards its very existence. The feminist movement began 30 years ago. For women born in 1968, like myself, feminism does not, cannot, and will not be of the same relevance or meaning to me as it was to my mother who took part. Simply generationally, we are postfeminist. Women who construe this reality as an offense to feminism, to their efforts, to their desperate vacuum-like suck attachment to feminism's post-menopausal tit are denying a reality that quite simply exists whether they find this reality pleasurable or not.
So you head for the door, sniffling a little, really let down, frustratedly pulling your g-string back up into the crack of your ass. But wait, there is a little something you see out of the corner of your eye, back down behind the couch. You go over. You peer underneath. It's Eurudice and CAE, really going at it. So good, that it's enough just to watch. CAE defines the four-part reality of postfeminist existence and you moan and lick your lips at the mere mention of the wholly emancipated vision of the Utopian Futurist Cyber-Fem. Eurudice cries out, "We proclaim our womanhood, rejoice in it, and that's about it for a definition," and oops, oh, you came. Already. That fast. It's that good. The Forum has its moments when women learn to actually embrace the concept of postfeminism, however blasphemous or risky an act that may seem to be.
So you move on to other rooms in this swingers hotel. August Tarrier more fully defines this postfeminist enigma, "Hers is an empowered sexuality," and the Chick-Lit chicks entertain you too, but there is still something missing. What is it?
Work. Where is the postfeminist work? If we understand that there is a lack of a clear definition of postfeminism, where is the postfeminist work that would enable us to construct our own definitions? Where is the creative writing? What do they write like? Where is the poetry? What songs do they sing? What is the postfeminist battle plan? What kind of guns do I need to buy? Where is the postfeminist credo? What is the secret handshake? And why, oh why, is this work so obviously absent? In attempt to create a dialogue about something, that is exactly what has happened here. It is only about and not of postfeminism. If we are going to come to understand what postfeminism is, we must locate its manifestations and explore them.
And it is scary, if one wants to not, in fact, save the drama for their mama, that postfeminism, intended to further carry on the cause of women's "liberation," here silences its very work, its very words. There is the academic speak about it, but the work of the postfeminist has been banished to this sex hotel's dirty, dark, and dank basement. The work of postfeminists sits alone and ignored in the S&M room. Someone has tied it up, gagged it, and blindfolded it, but the master, having set up the scene, has now left it. It is our duty to go back downstairs and beat that puppy until everyone is tired of hearing her scream, until everyone has already come to watch it happen and then left with their partners to go to their own private rooms to fuck because they are so turned on, until she, the postfeminist chick, has come and we peer down and take the time to actually watch it while it happens, that thing that she is doing. Not just looking at the expression on her face, but getting in real close so we can see the cervix jerk and the vaginal muscles contract and the come fly out and hit us right in the eye. Because she can do that, if we let her do her thing.
Susannah Breslin is co-creator, with author Lily James, of