Challenge 6 – Due 07/02 at 09:59:59am GMT
So today’s prompt is: ‘Still Not Equal.’ And to reflect modern times, write it in the style of a farce. Bonus points if you drop in surprise celebrity appearances from the following feminists: Emily Pankhurst, Simone De Beauvoir, Germaine Greer, and Oprah Winfrey.
“The Bad Feminist”
Assorted Grand High Feminists
A dark wood-panelled hall. The walls are hung with paintings of great feminists: Emily Pankhurst, Simone De Beauvoir, Germaine Greer and Oprah Winfrey. There is a throne centre of the room, on a raised dias.
Every woman that enters carries a briefcase, in the vein of an MPs dispatch box / portfolio. They all wear trousers and no make up, scraped back hair. They all greet each other with the secret handshake.
Jess enters. She is plainly dressed and barely made up. She wears a little bit of lipstick on. She looks around clearly awestruck. After a moment of hesitation she goes up to two women who are talking quietly. The two women are Margaret and Rhona, and they are looking of the paperwork for the afternoon’s proceedings.
Margaret: …and that’s when we serve the sandwiches.
Rhona: Wonderful. And the health and safety update?
Margaret: Nearly there. We just haven’t managed to nail down the throne on the new dias but Magda has assured me-
Jess: Excuse me?
Jess: I’m here for the induction…? I’m Jess Brown…?
Rhona: Jess? Oh, why, yes of course. Delighted you could make it. Your mother was one of my dearest friends.
Margaret: Until they lost touch and never spoke again.
Rhona: Thank you Margaret. Haven’t you got some scones to butter?
Margaret hobbles away, muttering to herself.
Rhona: We are so delighted you could be here. Young blood. That’s what we need. And you’re mother’s induction into the Hall of Grand High Feminists is the perfect opportunity.
Jess: I’m sure she’d have been honoured.
Rhona: I’m sure she would too. Her and I-
Rhona breaks off and looks at Jess’s face closely.
Rhona: Are you wearing… cosmetics!?
Jess: Yes. This was my mother’s favourite colour.
Rhona: She wore cosmetics.
Jess: I believe a lot of people do.
Rhona gets a hanky out of a pocket.
Jess licks the hanky.
Rhona rubs at Jess’s mouth. Jess pulls the hanky from Rhona and removes her own lipstick.
Rhona: Much better.
Rhona: Here in the sacred Hall of the Grand High Feminists, we submit ourselves to the rigour of being a true feminist-
Jess: True feminist?
Rhona: Yes. A proper feminist. Fight all the non-believers. Bringing down our enemies.
Rhona: This is not a joke. 10,000 years of oppression is nothing to laugh at.
Jess: Oh. Right. So, is there anything I need to know about the ceremony?
Rhona: Not really. Stand up straight. Try not to fall down the stairs. Answer when you are called. It should be obvious when your bit comes. Speaking of which, we should probably jog everything along. Margaret?!
Rhona strides off to marshal the troupes. Jess stands, looking around. She sees the painting of De Beauvoir and examines it thought fully. Margaret hobbles on pushing a huge gong. She strikes it. Jess jumps shocked. The paintings all sway in the vibration and finish higgledy-piggledy on to their original positions. The women filter in, in groups and fill the hall. Margaret pushes Jess up the stairs and stands her next to the throne. She then hobbles down to the gong. She strikes it once more. A hush descends. Margaret strikes the gong one final time. Rhona appears, she is wearing a grey apron and red skullcap. She ascends the stairs and stands before the throne. She lowers herself into the throne. It slides as she does so, but she holds on through sheer grit and finally steadies it.
Rhona: Sisters of the Hall of Grand High Feminists. I call on you now to recite the creed of our society.
All the women: We are the Sorority of Sororities. The ultimate sisterhood. The Mother and Omega. We are Perfect in our belief and the execution of our belief. We will put down the unjust and troll the trolls, while the waves of feminism continue to crash upon the rocks of misogyny. We will devote ourselves to the futherance of wo-manity, and the equality of the sexes. Ah-women.
Margaret hits the gong. On cue, all the women put on aprons and red skulls caps from their briefcases. As they do, a giant vagina, with a huge slit in the centre, unrolls from the ceiling. Rhona stands, holding onto the throne to stop it escaping off the dias.
Rhona: Oh mothers of Feminism, we cleanse ourselves in your juices. We rebirth ourselves-
The women, except Jess, begin to clamber, one by one, through the middle of the vagina. As they come out, they pull tabs on their aprons which unfold to turn them into vaginas.
Rhona: -in your image. We shuck off the stains of the patriarchy and refute the teachings of the pedagogy. We cleanse ourselves of toxic masculinity and deliver ourselves as perfect feminists. We grasp the mettle-
Every woman, except Jess, pulls a massive dildo from their case and grasps it firmly in one hand.
Rhona: – of the male-victors past and rewrite to books of herstory! We fight misogyny with our flaming swords, forged in the fires of oppression. The only trigger warning will be on the arms of our words and missiles of righteousness. Jess, daughter of a daughter of the Hall of Grand High Feminists, step forward and receive your birth-right.
Jess steps forward. Rhona hands her a dildo.
Rhona: Do you accept you are a feminist? Forswearing all other ideologies…
Jess: Yes but…
Rhona: Do you agree to embrace your sisterhood, rejecting all other points of view?
Rhona: Yes you do.
Jess: No. I don’t.
Rhona: This is ridiculous!?
Jess: How can you say that to me while dressed as a massive vulva?
Rhona: You’re mother would be horrified!
Jess: No, she wouldn’t. She work lipstick. And dresses, sometime. She educated 100s of Oxford scholars on the balance needed to hold a feminist discourse. She didn’t railroad everyone who slightly disagreed and was less than perfect. Which is what I think you are asking me to do?
Rhona: Well, yes of course.
Jess: Apart from anything, I’m gay, why would I want to walk around waving a massive dildo?
Margaret: I would have thought that would be the norm if you’re a lesbian?
Rhona: It is a symbol of the power of the patriarchy!
Jess: But it’s also a symbol of the repressive regime enforced by the rise of pornography.
There is a murmuring in the crowd. A few women sheepishly drop their dildos.
Rhona: Did you say you were… a sapphist?
Jess: Oh yes. Absolute raging dyke.
Rhona: We have never had a gay before.
Margaret: Of course we have. There was that Wanda Smyth woman.
Rhona: She lived with her lady companion for 40 years!?
Margaret: Yes. Exactly.
Jess: Statistically, you will have had a proportion of lesbian members.
Rhona: Never. We aren’t those sort of feminists!
Jess: You what? What sort of feminists exclude homosexual women!
Rhona: Our kind!
Margaret: Your kind. Don’t bring me into it.
There is a murming from the assembly. A voice shouts “I’ve been dating women for 15 years.” Another asks if exploration at University counts.
Rhona: Sisters. Enough.
Rhona turns on Jess.
Rhona: You, my girl, are a BAD feminist.
Jess: Firstly, I am not your ‘girl’. I am my own woman. Secondly, we are all bad feminists. I mean, it’s exhausting. Never knowing whether you’re making the right decisions or if you are the good kind of feminist. And then people, other women, like you, waiting to shoot us down if we set a foot wrong.
Margaret: Let she who cast the first stone-
Rhona: I can cast the first stone. I am pure. I am righteous.
Jess: You just tried to kick me out for asserting my right to decide who I love and who I find sexually attractive…?
Rhona: No. That’s not what I said.
Margaret: It sort of is-
Rhona: Butt out Margaret.
Jess: I don’t want to be perfect. I want to be human. Not the living embodiment of the a feminazi-
Rhona: Don’t you dare! I’m Jewish.
Jess: Well, I’m gay! SO DEAL WITH IT.
Everyone freezes. Germaine marches up the stairs.
Germain: I’ll be honest “girls”. I’m bored of this shit. I mean, we all look bloody silly. In the old days at least we had the drugs and the orgies-
Margaret: Does a bit of light fingering really count as an orgy?-
Germaine: We had drugs. Why do you think we are grand HIGH feminists? We took all the drugs but no-
Margaret: For pity’s sake Germaine, stop banging on. It was that one joint that one time-
Germaine: Oh for Chirt’s sake, what I was trying to say was that I am sick of the constant womansplaining and victim-blaming and-
Margaret: How is correcting you-
Germaine: The constant, obnoxious nit-picking. No wonder the rest of the world doesn’t agree with us. We can’t bloody agree with themselves. What about the working women? Where are they? Where are the trannies-
Jess: I think it’s transexuals-
Germaine: Are you correcting Germaine Greer?
Jess: Yes. I mean no. I mean maybe..?
Germaine: We need to embrace the non-gender binary community, evolve to mix in the fringes of society. The ruling class is white male, and you know what they are a minority. Male is less than half the world-
Oprah: Not to mention within that sub-50% only a fraction are white!
Oprah climbs the stairs to stand next to Germaine.
Oprah: You’re all bad feminists. I’m a bad feminist. I’m wearing pink hello kitty underwear. You can’t see it, but it definitely conforms to patriarchal dictats. And I’ve been AIRBRUSHED. AND I SMEAR PATROLEUM JELLY ON EVERY CAMERA WITHIN A 200 YARD RADIUS. TAKE THAT YOU MOTHERFUCKING SELF-RIGHTEOUS WHITE CUNTS!
There is a collective gasp. Silence. Jess steps forward. Clears her throat.
Jess: Fellow honoured members of the Hall of Grand High Feminists. What our esteemed colleagues are trying to say is just chill out. Yes we need to stand firm and demand the best for everyone, but the greatest barrier to change is us. Understanding difference and complexity, but accepting that there are universal human truths we should all fight for.
Germaine: WOMEN, FIND FREEDOM IN ACCEPTANCE! YOU’RE ONLY YOUNG ONCE, BUT YOU CAN BE IMMATURE FOREVER!!!
In one swift movement, Germaine whips off her apron and throws it up in the air. It lands on Oprah who falls down the stairs taking the throne with her. The throne hits the wall. All the paintings fall down.
Jess is left standing in the centre of the devastation. She looks around.
Jess: Ummmmm. So is it unfeminist if I start clearing this up?
All the women: YES!