As most feminists know, the Women Against Feminism blog has blown up over the past couple of days. Hundreds of women have taken to social media to discuss why they are against the feminist movement, making arguments along the likes of “I love being a woman,” “I love men,” and “feminism isn’t about equality.” As much as I would love to sit with these women and argue with them over what feminism really is and whether or not they should see it necessary, I want to talk about some of the responses that this got. Mostly, from major news outlets.
Many young girls were the pioneers of this “movement”, and it’s comes as no shock that, despite the fact that feminism seems to be “in the public eye,” it’s definitely still got a string of stigmas attached to it. In fact, I can’t tell you the last time I met someone and immediately started talking feminism with them without hesitating around the F-word. Honestly, most people I know take less offense to f*%k than they do feminism. (Not that either is offensive, but you know, one is labeled as a swear word.)
You see, the first problem with Women Against Feminism is that it views feminism as a movement which oppresses women in and of itself. Most of us know that this is bullhonkey and the people writing the opinion pieces about “the right questions” that Women Against Feminism is asking know this as well. However, no one is rushing to defend our side because we are seen as a scary vacuum that’s come to suck up all the men and create a Herland-esque utopia. Anything that we say from criticizing how men take up too much room on public transportation to critiquing pop culture is deemed irritating and totally unnecessary. Deconstructing harmful practices? Nah, that’s just fem-splained code for “We are going to create female supremacy.”
It kind of makes sense that Women Against Feminism has been taken so well by major news outlets*, though that doesn’t make it less upsetting. I think a lot of the coverage's slant has to do with this belief that taking the opinions of all women seriously is more "equal" than divisive feminism could ever be. As much as I love hearing ladies express themselves, feminism isn’t about keeping the status quo, but just adding more girls to it. It’s about fundamentally changing the way you view the world, changing your behavior for the betterment of all women’s lives, and ending all oppression.
And that’s not to say that the movement doesn’t have its fair share of disagreements. It most definitely does. There are many things to criticize about it (like everything else in the world), as it is not perfect. Feminists come from all different walks of life, so obviously, they are going to think about moving forward in fundamentally different ways. However, these nuances alone aren’t enough to discredit a movement. Every activist movement has dealt with disagreements; this is not unique to feminism.
What is unique to feminism, however, is how beautiful and inclusive of a movement it can be. Of course feminism strives for equality, but not making men the focal point of the movement is not a reason to criticize it. In fact, I would say that that’s the very reason why feminism is so important. People criticize a movement that deals too little with men. Have you ever heard anything of the same caliber in regards to the exclusion of women from other activist movements? Of course not. But bringing that up would be far too irritating for everyone.
Accusing feminists of “fem-splaining” oppression isn’t going to do anyone any good. We don’t create our own stereotypes, they are created for us as a means to degrade and stigmatize us. Sure, many of us our angry, but, has anyone ever thought that maybe it’s for a reason? We read stats like 1 in 5 college girls is raped during her collegiate career (and that’s a conservative estimate) yet we are expected to stay calm and instead talk about men?! Oh, but if we try to include men by telling them not to rape girls, we are labeling them as “predatory” and that is bad.
Honestly, the fact that influential news sources can go on and express this belief is not only annoying but disheartening. One TIME article by Cathy Young mentions how great of an argument the Women Against Feminism gals have made, by stating that “a “patriarchy” that lets women vote, work, attend college, get divorced, run for political office, and own businesses on the same terms as men isn’t quite living up to its label.” Oh right, because all women are granted the same type of rights. Also, I didn’t know that women being able to get a divorce is how we determine if we need feminism anymore or not! Guess we should just go home now and bask in the glory that is not having to worry about oppression anymore! In the same paragraph, she supports another one of their claims – men get raped too, sometimes by other women.
I just want to know how in the world anti-feminist groups plan on stopping rape. As far as I can tell, no group has done more for victims of rape and sexual assault than feminism has. Of course the movement focuses more on cis women, trans women, non-binary, and gender-queer individuals; probably because these are the people that are raped MORE. But, that’s not to say that we don’t want the obliteration of sexual violence against all types of people.
I’m sick of narratives that paint feminism as a movement that doesn’t care about people. The world right now doesn’t care about people and we are trying to do something about it. No, men don’t have it just as bad as women. And no, not supporting Women Against Feminism isn’t anti-feminist. The true anti-feminists I see here are the people that are writing opinion pieces discrediting the work that so many hardworking feminists do as “irritating.”
* To be fair, this article has some good stuff in it. Just doesn't seem right to focus on all the faults of a movement (as pointed out by an anti-feminist group).
Photos via theradicalhousewife.com and facebook.com.