All The Single Feminists (Eat Some Ice Cream and Be Proud)

Hello. It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m a feminist, and I’m single.

I like cuddles. I also like Helene Cixous, Caitlin Moran (when she isn’t being horrifyingly blasé about intersectionality and race, or male feminism), Margaret Atwood, Maya Angelou and Angela Carter. I campaign for gender equality whenever I can. I am also looking for a boyfriend.

Bombshell: these things are not mutually exclusive.

GADZOOKS!

That’s not to say that being a feminist on the dating game isn’t crap; navigating the world of internet dating and sounds roughly as appealing as eating a packet of fingernail clippings. Navigating Tinder seems roughly as appealing as eating an entire, fungal-infected crusty toe. In a world where my attractiveness seems to be based on a profile picture with at least thirty filters, I am utterly lost. And yet, as a singleton seeking another singleton for some meaningful interaction, the dating world is the most evil and necessary of necessary evils.

I don’t quite know what caused this irrational want. Perhaps, growing up, it was old uncle Disney and his motley crew of princesses (these were the days before Frozen after all, and I didn’t get access to Princess Mononoke until I had long passed puberty).

San wouldn't be dealing with this crap.

San sure as hell wouldn’t be dealing with this crap.

I personally blame Jane Eyre. At the impressionable age of 12 I picked up a book and gained an unrealistic expectation of love that was dramatic and based on intense mutual respect. Though I now think that Rochester is indeed a bit of a douchebag (Mr Thornton from North and South is totes a better dude, obv.), what with the racism and wife locked up in the attic and all that shiz, the lingering desire to find another person, much like a tick stuck on my leg or a particularly nasty case of gangrene, still won’t leave me no matter how much I shake myself.

So, how to deal with this predicament? Feminism on the one hand, a desire to desire and be desired on the other. The fact that I have to consider these things separately is part of the problem. Gender equality and not being treated in a wanker-ish fashion because I don’t have a Y-chromosome has always been a pressing issue to me since I learnt what was “fair” as a kid. Equally, I’ve always found having a significant other (not in the “let’s snog at a club, have casual and disappointing shag on the sofa, shake hands and call it a day” kind of way) important.

Contrary to the advice of such women’s bibles such as Cosmo and Glamour magazine, politics, specifically feminist politics, is often a topic of conversation that’ll come up in my initial courtship rituals. It is the deciding factor that sorts the proverbial wheat from the chaff. Observe:

A Typical Encounter

B: “I study English Literature!”

RANDOM MAN WHO I THINK LOOKS VAGUELY INTELLIGENT AND ATTRACTIVE: “No way! You’re never going to get a job are you? Has anyone ever told you you look like David Mitchell?”

B: “Yeah way! Of course I’m not! And Unfortunately, yes. Many times.”

(Beat)

B: “Also, I’m a feminist!”

Awkward Pause.

RMWITLVIAA: “Oh.”

B: “What do you think about gender equality then, mister?”

RMWITLVIAA: “… Are you a lesbian? Aren’t all feminists butch lesbians?”

B: “Why, NO! Some are, some aren’t, in fact that’s a woman’s choice… In fact it’s really interesting-”

RMWITLVIAA: “- sorry to interrupt, but can you hold my drink?”

B: “What?”

RMWITLVIAA: “There’s a woman over there with no obvious political opinions whatsoever. I am going to proceed to make out with her happily, and avoid this awkward situation.”

B: “Oh.”

Cue sad violins, tumbleweed, and Celine Dion’s “All by myself” playing softly in the background.

The reactions I get when I announce that I am a lonely feminist provoke even more outrage among my supposedly “intellectual” friends, who mistake “want” for “need”, and “desire” for “dependency”. Or, less problematically, from my supportive girlfriends, I get well-meant criticism in the form of “Giiirrrrllll, you don’t need a man to be content!” while playing awesome Beyonce songs. Yes, I do not need a man. I ended my last relationship, with (shock!) a man, because he was pretty hopeless and put about as much effort into the relationship as he did into washing his socks i.e. none at all. Rather than mutating into a shrewish she-harpy with talons at the thought of my being forever alone, I am still a competent and capable autonomous lady.

I don’t let my choice of phone or computer or clothes define me as a person, but  it’s rather nice to have the stuff I want from time to time. I don’t need salted caramel ice cream to live, but damn it, it’s bloody delicious and I do want it from time to time.

DAYUM. YOU IS LOOKING FINE TODAY.

DAYUM. YOU IS LOOKING FIIIIINE TODAY, ICE CREAM.

So, this valentine’s day, let us single feminists who kind of want a man but do not need one unite; let’s go eat salted ice cream together. Or chocolate ice cream. Or vanilla. Or mint. Or maybe you’re more of a frozen yoghurt type of person. Maybe you don’t want dessert at all.

Whatever you want or don’t want, that’s cool. Don’t let anyone judge you for wanting that ice cream, reader. As long as you’re a strong, independent and autonomous lady confident in her own skin, you go ahead and EAT THAT MOTHERF*KING ICE CREAM LIKE A CHAMP.

Metaphor over. I’m going to waddle off to the freezer now.

Like this Article? Then why not follow us @VFMarticles or on Facebook? They don’t come with ice cream, or spoons for that matter, but do contain all the feminist media-based articles you can eat. Virtually, of course. 

 

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Review: The Problem With NYPC

New Young Pony Club, or NYPC, as they are now to be known, are amazing.

The new album from NYPC, titled... NYPC.

The new album from NYPC, titled… NYPC.

I’m sorry if that’s not the most objective statement, but you try being an unsuccessful punk with awful hair that you hated at the age of 14 and hearing The Bomb for the first time and realising that Tahita Bulmer, that wonderful wonderful woman, with the most badass hair and clothes ever, had gifted you pop punk. You try not LOVING THEM.

So the news of a new record, three years after the awesomeness that was The Optimist, turned me into a gibbering wreck, kneeling in front of my letter box to recieve the package of musical love that was to arrive from Paradise, care of Royal Mail.

I have to admit though, that at first listen, I wasn’t keen on the album- none of the new songs in the first half really grabbed me. The crystal, clear cut melodies of Sure As the Sun didn’t really do anything for me, and Now I’m Your Gun just felt like we’d travelled back to Fantastic Playroom and unremembered everything that made NYPC more than your average arrogant pop outfit.

And then I listened to it on a CD player instead of on my rubbish laptop, and just… yes. NYPC were totally back. They’ve managed to mix the punky, obnoxious and delightful elements of their debut (Most evidenced on Hard Knocks) with the elegant, dark sound scapes of The Optimist (as on the previously reviled track Now I’m Your Gun) and made it into beautiful songs that sound like the ridiculously over saturated sunset that graces the cover.

There’s still beauty- I mean, what is Things Like You if not pop at its most beautiful, without getting all schmaltzy? And there’s still darkness. And there’s still laugh out loud hilarious lyrics. And there’s still things that should be obnoxious (such as repeating sounds at different frequencies on I Came Through For You) but which just make you smile.

And therein lies the problem with this album- it’s still. We haven’t moved anywhere. We haven’t really progressed. You can remove up to three members, and have a sort of new title, but the music hasn’t really matured. It’s still as good as it ever was, because NYPC know what works for them, but then, where’s the risk? And if you only ever cater towards the sounds that you know you can do well, where’s the bad? But also, where’s the moment of supreme awesome?

This is a record that I have waited three years for, and which still only comes with the grudging requisite ten tracks, which is beginning to look a little stingy, guys. One of the most hilarious things about NYPC’s career is that every time a new album comes out, critics laud it as being such a departure from their previous work. I am beginning to believe that its just been so DARN LONG between the albums that the critics forget exactly what the last records sounded like, and so yes, it is a departure- but a departure from a train station whose tracks are essentially just one, three year long, circle.

And what really annoys me is that The Optimist, which did actually make some efforts at wing-stretching, is now being retroactively called ‘Bulmer flounder[ing] amid feelings of loss and bitterness’. But that loss and bitterness was what made it different, and a stronger album than Fantastic Playroom! And if we criticise that while praising an album that shows next to no growth, what example are we setting for musicians? That trying to do something new is overrated?

This is a worrying trend in music that needs to be corrected. Bands used to release an album every year, and you know what? They found different sounds to fill those albums with. Now we have a new album every three years, and its essentially exactly the same. Yes, I can tell the musical difference because I’m an obsessed nerd, but no one sane can.

Let’s say that you wanted to listen to a Punk rock/New Wave Blondie album- you have Parallel Lines. And you ONLY have Parallel Lines. Plastic Letters is a mix of punk rock and the fifties rock’n’roll pop that filled their first album, and Eat to the Beat, which follows, it essentially just New Wave and Pop. Subsequent Blondie albums get even wilder and weirder.

Let’s say you want to listen to a punk/pop/dance NYPC record.

Please see: every album NYPC have ever produced.