I want to be a good feminist but I worry about the state of the female nation. Today, I am especially concerned about Courtney Love. Love was hospitalized for a miscarriage over the weekend and missed a court appearance in Los Angeles. Failure to appear has tripled her posted bail, made them issue another warrant for her arrest, and gave even more cannon fodder to the media. It has raised the stakes on the celebrity death pools and brought out all the people who ‘love to hate’ her.
This is unfair. I was speaking to another feminist, whose opinion I hold in high regard. She admitted, quite casually, that she hated Courtney Love. When pressed for a reason why, she stammered over her words, not realizing that she might be taken to task for her own misogyny. She couldn’t come up with an acceptable one, other than “I just love to hate her.” But what for? Courtney Love is an incredible artist who has endured public derision and scorn for well over a decade. What man could survive that? Yet in any real way, the feminist majority has yet to come to her defense. No one has come forward with the simple statement “Why is it with such ease that I am hating another woman?”
I want to know why this hatred is casual and unquestioned. I am a fan of the band Hole, and believe that Courtney Love has made significant contributions to the mythology of the rock star, and changed the standards for women in rock. However, her work as a musician is rarely, if ever, brought up when speaking about her. It is always about the drug arrests, the lack of grace in her social interactions, the possibility that she might have killed her husband – a theory supported by many, including her own father, the author of two books on the subject. No one ever talks about the cool brilliance of her latest record “America’s Sweetheart.” If they speak about her at all, it is with the superiority and distance of the eternal judge, the tsk-tsk of the outside observer, who coolly and impassively watches the events of everything unfold from afar, always unattached , always removed. All of it is approached with a “Will she survive this?” attitude.
Why is this ok? If you are a feminist, or even if you are a woman, I don’t think it is acceptable to hate another woman in the media anymore unless you have a well worked out explanation as to why, have examined all your own prejudices and can convince me that you are not just another fascist follower of fashion. I don’t care if that in itself is a sexist notion, for it forces the burden of guilt on the jury’s shoulders. Individually we must be called out to prove our suspicion, put words to our guilt. If you are going to triple her bail, that is the least we can do for her.