Fight Club for Femenists

Token female character.

Token female character.

I’m reading the book “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahnick. The movie is surprisingly true to the source material. I’m about halfway through it: Tyler Durden has moved on from mere fight clubs and has embarked upon Project Mayhem and the Paper Street house is full of space monkeys making soap.

If you’ve never seen the movie or read the book then that sentence probably looks like gibberish.

We are told that the space monkeys, Tyler Durden’s cult-like minions, are not beautiful and unique snowflakes. The space monkeys (a proper name, but never capitalized) themselves are told this both by Tyler Durden and by other space monkeys whose job it is to read the Rules of Project Mayhem (Don’t ask Questions. Don’t ask Questions. Don’t talk about it. Don’t talk about it). The space monkeys who aren’t busy espousing the Rules of Project Mayhem are hard at work making soap, cooking rice, raising a garden, or cleaning the toilets. Each space monkey does one job. All day. Every day. Until they are replaced by another space monkey.

This was the chapter that I finished reading over lunch, at which point I got up in order to do some stuff around the house. This included cleaning the toilet. This made me think back to the book. It occurred to me that to a space monkey in Tyler Durden’s army of anarchy, cleaning the toilet was a defiant act: this nameless character had given up their identity in protest of a world that devalued their existence and were taking a stand by becoming a part of something larger in order to make their voices heard through whatever subversive and extreme means necessary- ready to become a cog in a machine for change, even if that meant cleaning the toilet for sixteen hours a day.

Meanwhile, I was doing housework.

And this got me thinking about feminism. It has been on my mind lately thanks to the whole “Anti-Feminist” boondoggle on the internet. I’ve been ignoring it because I think it is stupid and nothing breeds stupidity like attention, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been following me around on Facebook and Yahoo and in pop-up reading suggestions on every website algorithm everywhere.

So the topic of feminism has been on my mind, and when Feminism is on my mind I find myself constantly nagged by a voice in my head that pipes up during movies and television shows and books going “what about women?” The whole point of “Fight Club” is about the struggle between individuals and inequality, the festering anger of marginalization, the helpless frustration in the face of institutionalized undervaluation. It is anthemic. Undermine the status quo! Let go and be free! Regain your self worth!

If these were women, they would be called “angry feminist bitches”.

Inequality. Marginalization. Helpless frustration in the face of institutional undervaluation.

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

Don’t ask questions. Don’t talk about it.

Jane’s smirking revenge.

If “Fight Club” were written about women it would have been banned or it would never have been published.



~ by Gwydhar Gebien on July 30, 2014.

One Response to “Fight Club for Femenists”

  1. Your post makes me think about the differences portrayed of female politicians vs male politicians. If a male cries then he’s being brave & showing heart. If a woman cries, it must be that time of the month. If either shows initiative or aggressiveness, the man is seen as a go-getter while the woman is portrayed as a b*tch.

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