Elizabeth Wurtzel Isn’t Much of a Feminist

by Kathryn Rathbun

A lot of people have beef with Elizabeth Wurtzel, and so do I.

I’ll admit there was a part of my late teens where I related to the melodramatic, self-indulgent musings in her acclaimed memoir Prozac Nation. Now, having grown out of that seemingly hopeless phase of my life and gained just a little perspective, I find it hard to sympathize with the overwhelming narcissism that appears to have followed Wurtzel into adulthood. What really bothers me, though, is the fact that she still proclaims to be a feminist despite the problematic contradictions she’s spouted in major publications throughout the last year. 

My fury began when I read her article in Harper’s Bazaar where she insisted women wearing sweatpants instead of stilettos in public was anti-feminist. She actually says, “Cat calls are not a feminist issue, but apathy is.” 

Okay, there are a lot of things wrong with that statement. The vocalized objectification of women from strangers is not a feminist issue? Hm. If I don’t care how my looks are perceived by men I’m being anti-feminist? I just don’t think this was the point of the Third Wave. 

I was bothered tenfold by Wurtzel’s recent long-winded article in New York Magazine about how much she hated 2012, in which she displays her “commitment to feminism” by condemning women who are supported by men, calling them prostitutes, and griping that they are not “treated with due disdain.” She continues to judge other women throughout the piece, throwing around pejoratives like a high school burn book.

This isn’t a critique on her writing abilities or a reaction fueled by jealousy. By all means, read the articles yourself if you haven’t already. I am disillusioned with Wurtzel for the simple fact that she conflates feminism with the slut-shaming and a crusade against ugliness. Thankfully, I’m not the only one. 

Photo via RoleReboot.org.

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