The Secret Society of Women: Adventures in Postfeminism
The Secret Society of Women proves neither secret nor womanly
Is anything more ridiculous than the idea that there is a safe, private place for which women are encouraged to talk anonymously about their feelings? Yes—the fact that this place is to be found on the internet, the most public place ever. Founded by Lisa Ling of “The View,” the newly launched “Secret Society for Women” apparently runs on this platform.
The forums on the site range from the standard dating and body image headings to such hyper-feminine topics as “health,” “resentment” and “regrets.”
The fact that the society is neither secret nor a society, in the truest sense, doesn’t seem to detract from its appeal—viewers of “The View” will probably be all about it. What’s strange about its reception is that people are acting like it’s a new idea and not just more of the same.
Somehow the overwhelming presence of Oprah, “The View,” “Eat, Pray, Love” and every book on the New York Times bestseller list of the past five years haven’t been enough to convince women that it’s probably okay to share their feelings.
That it is in fact encouraged, because here in the darkest hour of post-feminism, it’s agreed that having feelings of sadness and vulnerability is a more acceptable response to oppression than straight up anger.
Claiming oppressed status becomes a form of power, and where there’s a forum that exploits this status, there will be takers. The guise of exclusivity helps of course, for as long as one can remember that an anonymous society on the internet that promises to be all women all the time is open not only to women, but to pretty much anyone who can lie.
It’s not to say that real stuff won’t be discussed on the Secret Society of Women forums, of course it will be. But there’s no actual reason to treat the launch of this site as some kind of favor. As with all things, the answer to most people’s problems, whether oppressed or not, is probably not to be found online.