One of the Emerging Scholars yesterday concluded her insight into Raymond Carver's prose with, "Speaking as a feminazi". But of course! Speaking as a feminazi.
She came to chat afterwards, and I couldn't resist hinting that perhaps "feminazi" needed a little further scrutiny. Y'know, that the implied connection with Nazism might not be quite the thing to legitimise one's patriarchy-smashing ways, that the word wasn't exactly coined by Andrea Dworkin's fan club, that, I mean, really, are you opposed to power structures or what?
"Yeah," she said. "But I can't just call myself a feminist or people will think I'm a Cosmo-feminist".
[A "Cosmo-feminist", for those of you who don't regularly dabble in the terminology, is a lass who believes she's at her most empowered in her Playboy regalia.]
Starting to worry that all the folks who've heard I'm a feminist now think of me prancing round on sunday afternoons in a bunny suit, I asked, feebly, "Couldn't you call yourself a radical feminist?"
"But I'm not a radical feminist. I believe in pornography."
I. Believe. In. Pornography. Uttered with all the passionate conviction of nineteen years and some very natty chin piercings.
Here, of course, utterly flummoxed, I retreat. I don't know what language she's speaking, this person who doesn't hold with bunny suits, is fine with "feminazi", has a thing or two to say about Raymond Carver, and believes in pornography.
Anyone who can explain to me what "I believe in pornography" means (something like "I believe in Santa Claus"? "I believe pornography will end the war in Iraq"? "I believe what pornography tells me about the world; it is more reliable than the Encyclopaedia Britannica"?) gets a chocolate frog.
Me, I have to go to my essay marking party.