Do all women define themselves in the same way? Do we all share the same experiences and relationships to our bodies? Do we all have the same goals or methods for achieving gender equality?
No. And Elinor Burkett’s blather of a piece criticizing Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover in The New York Times represents the latest instance of both a waste of time and effort on her part and the part of all those who had the misfortune of reading it. She began with one question, and it’s apparent that was just the first of many rhetorical missteps.
Burkett’s first derision of Jenner picks apart her aesthetic, clothing choices and pose on the cover. She sets the foundation of her opinion on the long-held patriarchal tools of reducing a woman to her body and beauty. As well, she pits the idea of “good” women (who eschew femininity, sexuality and more) against “bad” women (who find power in defining their aesthetic for themselves even if seemingly it falls in line with the status quo). It’s not too unlike how mainstream feminism is still playing catch up on dismantling the counter image of the “perfect” feminist who is everything the “perfect” woman is not.