Here's a good example: Pandagon's post a couple weeks back on the pixar film, Ratatouille. I'll quote it in full, because it's short.
Ratatouille in brief: a male rodent makes a better French chef than the female human who’s been slaving away at the restaurant for years.Huh? Let me get this straight. Any film that features a prodigious male character is sexist, just because there are hard-working women out there? Or is it only if it also features the struggles of a woman in a male-dominated profession? Feminist critics of Ratatouille who point out that, for example, all the rats in the film were male are on better ground. But the suggestion that every film about a male-dominated profession kowtows to patriarchy unless it has a female lead seems like holding the good hostage to the perfect, especially when the film in question goes out of its way to draw attention to gender inequalities. (The comments section of that post is a good read, especially if you're interested in the Ayn Rand connection to Brad Bird's movies).
The recent example of knee-jerk patriarchy blaming that I came across was one of bean's posts on LGM, about a new clothing line for women in labor. Weird? Sure. Oppressive? Bean thinks so:
The end result is to focus attention on women's appearances and to continue their sexualization....I mean, if a woman still has to worry about her appearance when pushing a bowling ball through her vagina, what hope is there for us to escape an appearance-focused sexualizing and objectifying society?This line of thought is deeply troubling for me, because it assumes that women's clothing is inherently sexualizing and androcentric. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that was the argument made by rape apologists—"She was wearing attractive clothing, and there's only one thing that can mean." Now, I'm not an expert, being a man, but every straight woman I have ever heard from on the subject of clothes has told me that she dresses in attractive clothing for herself, not for men who might look at her.
We can't have it both ways. Either clothing inherently says something about sex (EDIT: and can only possibly say something about sex), in which case women who dress provocatively are responsible for harassment and men control yet another sphere of women's lives, or clothing is personal, in which case there's nothing wrong with someone wanting to look good (and consequently feel good) during what is otherwise a pretty stressful time. I'd much rather live in world two, and I think it checks out with the way most women see the way they dress.
What do we do about unreasonable patriarchy blaming? I'd certainly rather we blame patriarchy for too much than too little, and interrogating systems of power is never a bad thing. Except that I suspect that taking unreasonable stances alienates people from feminism, and feminism doesn't need any bad press that it deserves—it gets enough already that it don't deserve. We should be careful not to become wingnuts—even if something's really bad, it isn't responsible for all bad ever. And, as the folks at Pandagon did, we should remind each other to pick the right battles: there are plenty out there.