Sisterhood Blog

#SorryFeminists Shows Feminism’s Lighter Side — But It's Serious Too

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Deborah Needleman started a flurry of tweets about feminism on twitter today.

The high-profile internet blowup du jour began with an ill-considered tweet from new T Magazine editor Deborah Needleman, advertising an appearance by known professional thorn-in-the-side of feminists Katie Roiphe.

“Sorry Feminists,” Needleman tweeted in parentheticals, “this woman is sexy”. The implication of her statement being that feminists can’t abide a sexy woman, or a sexy woman who disagrees with them, because feminists apparently hate sexiness.

New Yorker television critic Emily Nussbaum fired back with a concise dressing-down: “Did you wrote that tweet from 1963? Impressive.”

This seemingly momentary dustup between (and about) women media figures didn’t simmer down after Nussbaum’s dig, though, because almost instantaneously a new Twitter hashtag and trend was born: #sorryfeminists. Hours later the hashtag was still flooding Twitter and had spawned its own new Tumblr.

Tired of being told by ideological opponents that advocating for gender equality comes with a set of prescribed rules for behavior (“Wanted: feminists. Must hate men, disavow motherhood, and eschew all trappings of femininity”) feminist bloggers, writers, activists and more began tweeting, with irony, things that they actually did that might break such nonexistent rules. Known feminists confessed to enjoying things like nail polish, pilates, cooking and cute children.

A few samplings:

I chimed in with a true anecdote about my morning, noting that I’d needed my husband’s help to close a window in the cold weather:

But my favorite tweets went beyond confessing these everyday “transgressions” against a made-up feminist ideal to a new level of absurdity:

The message behind this outpouring and eruption on social media, and the reason it snowballed so quickly, is that feminists are exhausted with being told we’re rigid thinkers who are not human beings.

Nobody, not even the most ardent political advocate, is a machine resisting the patriarchy with every fiber of his or her being. Instead, we all choose our own personal sites of resistance and focus on the bigger picture: the sad lack of equality that pervades our society at large. And that’s a-okay. The irony of “Sorry, feminists” is that there are no feminists to apologize to. The strict gatekeeper of appropriate feminist activity is an anti-feminist myth, a straw-woman invented to provide cover for those who know that gender inequality exists but don’t want to fight it. “The false idea that raising one’s voice against sexism suddenly means you’re in a realm where high heels are forbidden is an excuse for disengagement with injustice.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Twitter, Sorry Feminists, #SorryFeminists, Katie Roiphe

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.