To be honest, despite being a feminist, I don’t tend to read many feminist blogs, and I think that Naomi Wolf needs to take a ride in the real world.
But this post by Melinda Tankard Reist in The Punch got my goat this morning. And it’s not hard to see what got hers. Kanye West presenting sexually objectifying, degrading and torturous depictions of women in his latest video clip, Monster: http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/counterpunch-women-arent-playthings-slaves-and-bitches/.
If she hasn’t already, I think Naomi Wolf will shit herself with feminist delight when she sees West’s clip: something to really get her critical teeth into. And why not?
Frankly, I am so repulsed by the image, first, of a woman hanging dead in front of Kanye West seated on a throne, that I don’t want to watch the video clip. I can’t stand graphic horror. Maybe I should**, if I am to comment with the ‘authority’ of anything beyond secondhand information and the ensuing Reist blog post debate amongst her readers, some of whom mention the satirical perspective which West takes in his narrative. Maybe I should, to discern for myself whether the video clip and lyrics really are a satirical commentary upon shallow women who use their wiles to garner the attention of rich men, such as West, and prostitute themselves for the connections with benefits.
However, if I wish to read about shallow women, I can stick my nose inside WHO Magazine any day of the week, or watch Keeping Up With the Kakas.
There is nothing wrong with West using satire to critique and challenge women who sell out such traditional values as not giving head jobs to music industry power knobs, and spilling their milkshake around the yard on missions of self-aggrandisement. If that was his intention. But when he catches up with the women in his family, and they ask, ‘What have you been working on lately?’ what is he going to say? What is he going to say to every woman and girl whom he loves and respects, about a video clip which muddies a purportedly satirical message about women and self-respect, against visual footage of not only overt female sexual objectification, but women being tortured and decapitated?
Some might say that the joke is on the viewer. Here is West using the merest smearing of ironic critique to get away with sexually and brutally objectifying women for his pleasure in a video clip. One which could be seen by every woman and girl whom he loves and respects… as well as all of those whom he doesn’t.
Satis, I say. Enough satire from you, West. Perhaps in your next video clip, you could even up the score by filming yourself wearing lots of gold chains with money symbols, and having a wank in front of a mirror. Or consider the recent rape and beating of 60 Minutes journalist Lara Logan in Egypt’s Tahir Square, the online report of which brought tears to my eyes this morning, right before I read about a very muddy message about women, men, and self-respect.
**17/02/2011 Edited to Say: Today I bit the bullet and watched the Monster. It did indeed ”cross tha line” (West).
c. A Room of Heroine 2011.