Last night, a fairly new crony and I went on an excursion to “the ruins,” an old, torn up structure that rests on the side of a hill not out of walking distance, and not too steep to climb up to in sandals.
We sat down side-by-side and took in the city view and had deep discussions about life. Naturally, the topic of feminism, and my firm belief in human equality, was a major topic of discussion.
“I’m a feminist,” I mentioned, as casually as you would say, “I’m a sophomore,” or “i’m a dog person.”
He hesitated for just a fraction of a second, just noticeable enough for me to know that I wasn’t going to like what I was about to hear out of his pie hole.
You wanna know what he said? Okay here goes:
“Oh, but you’re a GOOD feminist,” he said.
It kind of reminded me of the way I repeatedly pat my dog on the head after she pees outside rather than on the carpet.
I blinked away any possibility of a stupor of thought before clarifying for him that Feminism is inherently a GOOD and all-around beneficial movement for society as a whole, and had to differentiate between a feminist and a man-hater.
Now what, you may ask, qualifies me as a “good feminist” to this young man?
Is it the fact that I like wearing skirts and shave my armpits (and legs, all 3 months of summer, anyway) and wear mascara on a daily basis? Is it that i’m straight and let guys take me on dates and don’t make a scene if someone opens a door for me?
Is it that the way I present myself JUST SO HAPPENS to conform to a lot of society’s list of acceptable ways to present yourself?
Because if that’s what makes me a “good feminist,” then I don’t want to be a “good feminist.” That’s the whole point, right? To show that women DON’T NEED the acceptance or approval of men and are human people who, gee, I dunno, do things because they make them happy?
Trust me, I don’t do any altering of my own appearance in pursuit of the approval of men. I wear skirts because dang it sometimes it gets really hot here in Utah and I just so happen to despise pants. I wear mascara because it makes me feel more alert, awake, and ready for my day. I shave my legs because I think it feels really disgusting when you brush your legs against each other and can feel the hair follicles moving.
Notice how none of my reasons for my feminine hygiene regimen have anything to do with men? Yes, me, too.
I guess some people really will never understand that NOT ALL FEMINISTS are bra-burning, man-hating, vengeful women.
Some feminists are just your average-joe college girls who love bows and slug bugs and bleaching their hair and dates with preppy boys who wear Jake by Hollister cologne who simply refuse to be treated as second-class citizens because their anatomy differs from that of their male peers.
But conveniently, and luckily, for me, I have been deemed a “good feminist,” by a man.
Hooray for wanting equal rights in a manner that suits dudes!
*Note: I am completely aware that “acceptional” is not a real word… yet. But this is MY blog, MY rules, and MY vocabulary. For your convenience, I have provided a reference guide.
Acceptional: (adj) containing qualities/behaviors that are both acceptable and favorable.
8 thoughts on “The Acceptional* Feminist”
I wrote a view on why I’m not a feminist on my blog, Fearless and Powerful.
Maddie here is one of my dear friends, and I respect her opinion. I’m mainly just that annoying person who is looking for readers.
I love this! I don’t understand why people find it so mind boggling that you can be a feminist AND like skirts and getting your nails done etc. Feminism is by no means homogenous; we all love and believe different things! The worst is when another women insults you for not being ‘feminist enough’! That’s is so silly! We need to work together, not tear each other down!
BTW I love your blog!
Feminism has never been Red enough, comrade. Though to be fair, neither has Marx.
Perhaps what he meant in his very awkward and inarticulate way “Oh, but you’re not into traditions of cultural Marxism that have pervaded academic feminism since the 2nd wave”?
Yes, hello. I hope you’re having a good evening.
I see you’ve taken it upon yourself to write a lengthy anti-feminist diatribe on my friend’s blog. I find your thoughts on feminist movement fascinating and, if you’ll bear with me, would like to engage with a few of them.
It’s certainly within your rights to choose not to be a feminist. I love and respect many people who do not consider themselves to be feminists. Devoting oneself to a political cause requires a great deal of energy, and not everyone chooses to spend their limited supply like that. And of course you’ve also got women of colour, poor women, and queer women, who have historically been excluded from the movement and still are not always included as they should be. You can’t blame women who resent that exclusion and choose to embrace femininity and work towards equality in other ways.
There are other people who simply don’t espouse the main tenets of feminism. You seem to be one of those people. Again, that’s fine. Feminism is a flawed movement and there are reasons to disavow it.
Unfortunately, you seem to be taking swings at a straw man version of feminism. I don’t blame you. There’s a lot of misinformation about feminism out there. The media has never liked us much. Did you know that the “burning bras” stereotype actually comes from an anecdote a young journalist invented to spice up his story on the famous 1968 Miss America protest? Never happened.
Internet activism also occasionally distorts the movement, since it is represented by people who are young, inexperienced, and frequently pissed off. The truth is, feminism is a well respected field of academia. It has a long history and a rich literary canon. It also has a massive affect on our everyday lives. Thanks to feminism, women can vote, receive effective gender-specific medical treatment, participate in the public sphere, own property, choose who to marry, receive an education, even wear pants, at least in North America. In many nations, women are not so lucky, and in response modern feminism is becoming broader in scope than ever, reaching women all over the world. If you think about it, you’ll realize that the liberation of women has probably benefited you in some way. For example, your mom may have been educated enough to help you with your homework, or your girlfriend may look sexier in her new jeans than she would in a shapeless pioneer dress that she made herself instead of going to a movie with you because it’s scandalous for an unmarried woman to be seen in public with a man.
I’d like to go through some of your arguments point by point and respond to them. Where relevant, I’ll quote and paraphrase a few landmark feminist texts. As far as I know I’m not being graded on this, so I’m gonna slack a bit on the citations, but I will include them when I directly quote a text.
“Just like you he should be allowed to have, voice and act on his preferences because he is an individual, like you. Defining a man’s preferences or opinions as some sort of oppression or affront is just an attempt at shaming men into not having any opinions or preferences.”
Sorry bro, this is jut a basic reading comprehension failure. A pretty big one too, because you seem to have missed the thesis of the piece.
Maddisen isn’t denying her friend personal preference. This isn’t about his personal preferences at all. In this piece, she expresses her frustration that feminists are not taken seriously unless they conform to certain standards. She never says anything to indicate that she resents this man for preferring women who present themselves a certain way, only that she resents him (and others) for dividing feminists into “good” and “bad” based on gender presentation, sexuality, and so on, rather than on logically sound criteria. This is particularly frustrating because there is a long history of men refusing to take women seriously based on anything from the fact that her uterus may be literally wandering around her body wreaking havoc to the fact that she may or may not be shedding the lining of her firmly in place uterus. Feel free to respond to that claim, just don’t misrepresent it.
“Feminism’s ‘patriarchy theory’ defines men as deliberate systematic oppressors of women throughout history who have even gone as far as to create an entire society which benefits men at women’s expense.”
It looks like you don’t quite understand what patriarchy is. Patriarchy is “a system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is traced through the male line.” Another definition is “a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it” (New Oxford American Dictionary).
First, it’s important to remember that patriarchy is about power.
Second, in academic circles there is no debate about whether or not our society is patriarchal. When a woman marries a man, she takes the man’s last name. A lineage which is traced through the male line is patriarchal. The nuclear family is a patriarchal institution by definition. There’s no room for debate. You can debate whether or not this is a bad thing, but not whether or not it exists.
The second definition refers to society rather than family structures. The fact that men vastly outnumber women in all types of leadership positions all over the world has been well-documented. It is also widely accepted as a bad thing, even by people who do not identify as feminists. By definition, a society where men vastly outnumber women in leadership positions is a patriarchy.
So why is this a thing? As you point out, positing that men deliberately oppress women seems absurd. It seems to indicate that men are evil, which, incidentally, is an opinion I’ve never known a feminist to hold.
This is an interesting and complicated question, and it’s still being debated. Patriarchy predates recorded history in many civilizations, so the answers aren’t clear. Personally, I find the Marxist view fairly convincing.
Basically, the Marxist view holds that patriarchy was established not long after the Neolithic Revolution. Once early humans began growing crops, they became much less nomadic. They began to acquire possessions, significantly land, and with this came choosiness over who should get these possessions once the original owner died. That’s when men began organizing lineage patriarchally. They didn’t want their possessions going to other men’s children, and of course, maternity is much easier to ascertain than paternity. Because of this, men began to control women’s sexuality. It was pretty messed up, but it was also good business.
Of course, it’s much more complicated than that. Many people think that even before the Neolithic Revolution women were the subjects of superstition because the connection between sex and childbirth was not well understood. Women were believed to have special connections with nature (an idea that still persists), which led men to treat them with suspicion. That’s the root of a great deal of sexist attitudes. Of course, these attitudes are unjust and archaic and should go the way of all unjust and archaic attitudes.
I’d also like to share this quotation by Simone de Beauvoir. It’s a long one, but well worth reading in its entirety:
[Men] do not postulate woman as inferior, for today they are too thoroughly imbued with the ideal of democracy not to recognize all human beings as equals.
In the bosom of the family, woman seems in the eyes of childhood and youth to be clothed in the same social dignity as the adult males. Later on, the young man, desiring and loving, experiences the resistance, the independence of the woman desired and loved; in marriage, he respects woman as wife and mother, and in the concrete events of conjugal life she stands there before him as a free being. He can therefore feel that social subordination as between the sexes no longer exists and that on the whole, in spite of differences, woman is an equal. As, however, he observes some points of inferiority – the most important being unfitness for the professions – he attributes these to natural causes. When he is in a co-operative and benevolent relation with woman, his theme is the principle of abstract equality, and he does not base his attitude upon such inequality as may exist. But when he is in conflict with her, the situation is reversed: his theme will be the existing inequality, and he will even take it as justification for denying abstract equality. So it is that many men will affirm as if in good faith that women are the equals of man and that they have nothing to clamour for, while at the same time they will say that women can never be the equals of man and that their demands are in vain.
It is, in point of fact, a difficult matter for man to realize the extreme importance of social discriminations which seem outwardly insignificant but which produce in woman moral and intellectual effects so profound that they appear to spring from her original nature.
(The Second Sex, 1949).
Fascinating, right? de Beauvoir, a prominent feminist thinker, does not see men as malicious. She sees them as generally kind to the women they love, but ultimately blind to the privileges they have and women lack, unaware of the discrepancy between the ideal of equality they cherish and the reality that women are underrepresented in certain fields. Before you cry that this also gives men very little credit, let me point out that de Beauvoir acknowledges that women often don’t see these structures of oppression either, which answers your question as to why women didn’t stand up for themselves sooner, although, if you study much feminist history, you will see that women have always stood up for themselves in large and small ways (and strong, intelligent men have always supported those women and challenged patriarchy). Then why didn’t the feminist movement start earlier? If you’re interested, I recommend studying how the feminist movement is connected to labour movements in the 19th century. Fascinating stuff.
“So you belonging to the feminist movement while dating a guy is a bit like belonging to the KKK while having a black best friend.”
Not at all! I imagine you’re drawing this parallel because the KKK hates black people, advocates violence towards them, and posits white people as superior to black people, and in your mind feminists do the same thing but with men. In the words of Germaine Greer, “We are not feminists because we hate men, we are feminists because we respect and love men and we don’t understand why they do not always return that respect.” Again, feminism does not submit that men are consciously malicious, or that women are better than men, merely that women have been oppressed by patriarchy for millions of years, that many men are unwilling or unable to relinquish or even recognize the ways in which patriarchy benefits them at the expense of women, and that enlightened women and men should seek to abolish patriarchy. As Simone de Beauvoir says, many men are so enamoured with the patriarchal woman (who is willing to do difficult work for little or no pay, to be self-sacrificing and self-effacing, to spend hours and thousands of dollars on self-adornment, to be humble, submissive, and adorable) that they are afraid to face the possibilities of the Future Woman. And, as she also says, can you really blame them? To resist change and the risks that come with it is human.
“So when this guy said you are a ‘good feminist’ he probably just meant he doesn’t think you really support feminism’s central narrative (that men are sociopathic, all powerful, monsters and women are weak, inept, stupid victims with no agency who are little more than objects manipulated by men)….it’s just that you’ve just been tricked into identifying as ‘a feminist’ by the onslaught of feminist propaganda that surrounds us all.”
No, I don’t think that’s what he meant at all, and I hope that you see that by now.
“Feminism has encouraged single motherhood by encouraging policies (ie welfare, the divorce court system) which make it financially rewarding to be a single mother.”
Firstly, it is not financially rewarding to be a single mother. Single mothers are disproportionately likely to live in poverty (even more likely than single fathers). The “welfare queen” myth is busted by easily accessible statistics, as well as a bit of cursory research into the requirements for receiving government aid and what government aid actually gets you (spoiler alert: government assistance gets you peanuts).
Family courts are in fact discriminatory in multiple gendered ways, against women and against men. Feminists are concerned by this and feel it is part of living in a patriarchal society. Feminists also acknowledge that single mother families are a feminist concern, again because they are disproportionately likely to be poor, a negative environment for women and children.
I’d also like to point out that “encouraging single motherhood” has never been a goal of the feminist movement to my knowledge, and I have extensively studied feminist history, as well as being active in many feminist groups on and offline.
Many feminists also agree that it’s a problem that childcare as an industry is dominated by women. These jobs are difficult and low paying, which is why few men choose to take them. When men do take them, they often advance faster than women, an affect called the “glass escalator.” Your kid’s awesome male kindergarten teacher will probably be a principal in a few years, and he’ll be stuck in an office instead of teaching harmonica lessons to bright-eyed children. It’s a shame on multiple levels.
“So it’s no surprise that so many girls now grow up to view men as an ‘alien species’ who are ‘foreign’ and ‘scary’ (or pointless and superfluous). Girls growing up in all-female households will tend to place their femininity above their personhood. They often grow up to be bratty, self entitled, narcissistic, divas who are ultra feminised because in their minds their value revolves around them being female, rather than being a person (who just happens to be female). Girls raised in all female feminist environments are prone to viewing men the same way people raised in ultra white racist neighbourhoods are prone to viewing black people… strange, shocking, foreign, a threat, alien, sub human, the ‘enemy’, ridiculous etc.”
This is a fascinating statement. Do you have experience with this? This is something I’ve never encountered. I know women who buy into the “men are from Mars, women are from Venus” way of thinking about gender, but none of them are feminists. All the feminists I know see men as potential equals and allies, and maybe as potential lovers who are willing to split the bill and make sure they always orgasm, or potential sons who are taught never to call a woman a “bitch,” or potential buddies to play pool with on wing Wednesday.
I’m also sorry that you view femininity as a negative thing. That’s another attitude I’ve never seen among feminists.
I’m gonna present these next two points slightly out of order for rhetorical purposes. Once again, bear with me.
“Any movement or ideology which even tolerates hatred (ie does not throw people out for expressing hateful views) is effectively a hate movement. Feminist authors, spokeswomen, lecturers and public figures have all said the most hateful things about men (such as claiming all men are rapists, that underage boys cannot be raped or even advocating the mass sterilisation or genocide of men) and none of them have ever been kicked out of the movement ….. instead their views and their membership to the movement has been fiercely defended by other feminists.”
I’d be genuinely curious to see some sources. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve studied feminist theory and history in some amount of depth and I’m not familiar with the feminist authors, spokeswomen, lecturers, and public figures you’re referring to.
You may be talking about the controversial statement made by Andrea Dworkin (who is herself a very controversial figure within feminism, hardly a woman who has been universally defended) in which she argued that in a patriarchal society heterosexual sex is coercive and degrading to women. She’s often misquoted as saying that all sex is rape, which is not what she said or meant. Still, I can’t say that I’ve met many feminists who agree with the original statement, anyway.
As far as “advocating the mass sterilisation [sic] or genocide of men” goes, you may be referring to Valerie Solanas, who authored the S.C.U.M. Manifesto. She’s a fascinating figure, one I’ve read quite a bit about, so forgive me if I go on a bit. She never participated in feminist activism and was actually quite critical of the movement, possibly because she was a lesbian and second-wave feminism was pretty uncool towards lesbians. In spite of that, her writing certainly has feminist themes. Many people consider her attempt to assassinate Andy Warhol to be an anti-male act, but it was in fact related to an artistic disagreement. That doesn’t excuse it, but does add a bit of perspective.
Some feminists did speak in her defence after she was arrested. Of course, she had serious mental and emotional problems and for that reason many people thought it was unfair for her to go to jail. Since Andy Warhol was a celebrity, the case was much discussed and many people weighed in. Other important feminists, like Betty Friedan, distanced themselves from any association with Solanas. No statement made by an individual feminist at the time should be taken as feminist gospel. Many feminists today are unfamiliar with Solanas and her work. As I mentioned, she never actually claimed to be a feminist, and would no doubt be disgusted with how frequently she is referred to as a “radical feminist.”
As for the S.C.U.M manifesto itself, even Solanas claimed that it was “a literary device” (although she also said that it was “dead serious.” Honestly, it’s a complex piece of writing and I can see how both statements could be true). Very few, if any, serious thinkers believe that it was meant literally. It’s been praised as “articulated bald female rage” and called “witty,” “breathtaking,” and “shocking.” To tell the truth, I’m a big fan of the S.C.U.M Manifesto as a piece of rhetoric. It’s really quite brilliant.
In summary, Andrea Dworkin and Valerie Solanas are fringe thinkers whose bizarre but fascinating ideas have been taken out of context and scapegoated by anti-feminists. Claiming that Andrea Dworkin and Valerie Solanas are the faces of feminism, or ever have been, would make any feminist worth their salt crack up. Of course, I don’t even know if you meant them, given the vagueness of your claims.
“So you are admitting supporting a social/ political movement which allows man-hating, vengeful women to be members. You admit supporting an ideology which (at best) has no problem with hatred being directed towards an entire demographic. Can you see why some people might find that a bit offensive?”
Still with me? Because this is where shit gets real.
-On average, at least one in three women is beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner in the course of her lifetime.
-Up to 7 in 10 women around the world experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lifetime
-603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime.
-As many as 1 in 4 women experience physical or sexual violence during pregnancy.
-Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18.
Guess where I got these stats? No, not from Jezebel. Not from Tumblr. Not from my ass. From the United Nations. Say what you will about the UN, they don’t make this shit up. They also are not a feminist organization. People who are interested in resolving global issues acknowledge that violence against women is one of the most serious global issues.
There are women who have very intense negative feelings towards men. There are feminists who have intense negative feelings towards men. Feminism has not always accepted them. As I mentioned, feminists used to go out of their ways to distance themselves from controversy. Some feminists still do. This is because, as Maddisen says in her excellent blog post, women are often not taken seriously unless they meet a certain standard of social acceptability.
Now, feminism seeks to atone for this cowardice. We seek to open our arms to our trans sisters, our black sisters, our poor sisters, our dyke sisters, and our angry sisters.
Some of us our angry. Many of us are very angry. Some are more angry than others. You have no right to tell us that we can’t be a angry. You’re doing what Maddisen’s friend did. You’re saying, “I won’t listen to you unless you rub me the right way.”
So many of us have been the victims of gendered violence and harassment. That includes me. That includes many, many women I love. I understand that men are also victims of violent and sexual crimes. As a feminist, this also concerns me, especially because much of this violence is also gendered.
Discovering that these incidents are pandemic, and that men continue to argue that it’s not so bad, that women who are injured and humiliated must have done something to deserve it, is upsetting. It’s terrifying. It’s heartbreaking. It’s infuriating. Sometimes, it’s easy to think the words “I hate men.” When a drunk man you don’t know makes a sexual joke about you to your face and you freeze. When you read yet another news story about a woman who was kidnapped and repeatedly raped by a man. When your friend tells you that she was raped without using the word rape. You don’t really mean that you hate men. You don’t hate your dad, or your brother, or your buddy. But still, you think it.
You know, I’m one who might be persuaded to doubt the statistics. But I can’t doubt what I’ve seen. I can’t doubt the hand on my thigh, or the fact that my girlfriend worries that she isn’t attractive because she’s not harassed very often, or the men who sat around my kitchen table joking that it’s not rape if she gets wet. I cannot doubt the fear of gendered violence and harassment that has been a part of my life since my breasts were just buds. I cannot doubt the way all my fantasies of vengeance and strength flee when my co-worker whispers in my ear, “Next time I’ll touch you higher.”
Germaine Greer argues that in fact, it is men who hate women. She says, “Sophisticated men realize that this disgust [for women] is a projection of shame and will not give it any play, but because they have been toilet-trained and civilized by the same process as the total victims of disgust and contempt, they still feel the twinges. They still say “Fuck you” as a venomous insult; they still find cunt the most degrading epithet outside the dictionary. Cunt-lapping, mother-fucking, and cock-sucking are words to provoke a sense of outrage… The unfortunate girls found strangled with their own stockings and raped with bottles are the victims of male fetishization and loathing, and yet no woman has ever cried after such an outrage on her sex “Why do you hate us so?” although hate it clearly is” (The Female Eunuch). I’m sorry that it makes you uncomfortable that men perpetrate violence against women at alarming rates. It makes me uncomfortable, too. I respond to this discomfort by fighting to make the world a safer place for women. Men like you respond to this discomfort by denying that the problems exist. How nice it much be to be able to hide! I have tried hiding and found it impossible. The problems follow me down the street after dark.
I can doubt statistics, but I can’t doubt a man commenting anonymously on a blog post and telling a woman that her friend “made excuses for you because he wants to sleep with you” and goes on to imply that the reason men let women “get away” (as if you could or should stop us?) with saying “irrational” things is that they want to fuck them. I’m sorry, bro, but that’s harassment. You just harassed my friend. Another one bites the dust.
And then you blamed her. You made inappropriate sexual comments about my friend and then blamed her, telling her that feminism, her feminism, is the reason men don’t respect her. What more of a case do I need to make for feminism than that you, a young man who is no doubt relatively well-adjusted, thought something like that was remotely okay for even a second?
I’ve already given you a lot more of my time and patience than you deserve, but I’m going to close with a little Virginia Woolf. This is another long one, but I recommend that you read it through:
…while I pondered I had unconsciously, in my listlessness, in my desperation, been drawing a picture… I had been drawing a face, a figure. It was the face and the figure of Professor von X engaged in writing his monumental work entitled THE MENTAL, MORAL, AND PHYSICAL INFERIORITY OF THE FEMALE SEX. He was not in my picture a man attractive to women. He was heavily built; he had a great jowl; to balance that he had very small eyes; he was very red in the face. His expression suggested that he was labouring under some emotion that made him jab his pen on the paper as if he were killing some noxious insect as he wrote, but even when he had killed it that did not satisfy him; he must go on killing it; and even so, some cause for anger and irritation remained. Could it be his wife, I asked, looking at my picture? Was she in love with a cavalry officer? Was the cavalry officer slim and elegant and dressed in astrakhan? Had he been laughed at, to adopt the Freudian theory, in his cradle by a pretty girl? For even in his cradle the professor, I thought, could not have been an attractive child. Whatever the reason, the professor was made to look very angry and very ugly in my sketch, as he wrote his great book upon the mental, moral and physical inferiority of women. Drawing pictures was an idle way of finishing an unprofitable morning’s work. Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top. A very elementary exercise in psychology, not to be dignified by the name of psychoanalysis, showed me, on looking at my notebook, that the sketch of the angry professor had been made in anger. Anger had snatched my pencil while I dreamt. But what was anger doing there? Interest, confusion, amusement, boredom–all these emotions I could trace and name as they succeeded each other throughout the morning. Had anger, the black snake, been lurking among them? Yes, said the sketch, anger had. It referred me unmistakably to the one book, to the one phrase, which had roused the demon; it was the professor’s statement about the mental, moral and physical inferiority of women. My heart had leapt. My cheeks had burnt. I had flushed with anger. There was nothing specially remarkable, however foolish, in that. One does not like to be told that one is naturally the inferior of a little man… who breathes hard, wears a ready- made tie, and has not shaved this fortnight. One has certain foolish vanities. It is only human nature, I reflected, and began drawing cartwheels and circles over the angry professor’s face till he looked like a burning bush or a flaming comet–anyhow, an apparition without human semblance or significance. The professor was nothing now but a faggot burning on the top of Hampstead Heath. Soon my own anger was explained and done with; but curiosity remained. How explain the anger of the professors? Why were they angry? For when it came to analysing the impression left by these books [on women] there was always an element of heat. This heat took many forms; it showed itself in satire, in sentiment, in curiosity, in reprobation. But there was another element which was often present and could not immediately be identified. Anger, I called it. But it was anger that had gone underground and mixed itself with all kinds of other emotions. To judge from its odd effects, it was anger disguised and complex, not anger simple and open.
(A Room of One’s Own, 1929)
You call us Nazis, irrational, deranged. You presume to know more about our movement than we do. You close your lovely diatribe with a spiteful jab, and all along, you claim to be taking the moral high ground. I’m onto you, professor. I see your anger, however you disguise it. I loathe and fear you, I’ll admit, but not near as much as you loathe and fear me, and that gives me a certain satisfaction in spite of everything.
Your preference for skirts, shaving, mascara, being taken on dates = your preference
His preference for hanging out with women who like skirts, shaving, mascara, being taken on dates = his preference
Just like you he should be allowed to have, voice and act on his preferences because he is an individual, like you. Defining a man’s preferences or opinions as some sort of oppression or affront is just an attempt at shaming men into not having any opinions or preferences.
FWIW here are just two basic examples of why feminism is offensive and harmful.
1. Feminism’s ‘patriarchy theory’ defines men as deliberate systematic oppressors of women throughout history who have even gone as far as to create an entire society which benefits men at women’s expense. But men’s most intimate and meaningful relationships are with women (mothers, sisters, daughters, girlfriends and wives). To deliberately oppress women – the people men are most intimate with – means men must be sociopaths. So if you subscribe to feminist ideology that means you believe men are sociopathic by nature. You also must believe women throughout history have been too weak and stupid to stand up to men and define their own gender roles and gender identities. Feminism’s patriarchy theory strips women of their agency and reduces women to the level of children or even objects who are manipulated by men.
…. Either you really believe men are all-powerful, evil sociopaths and women are pathetic innocent little dolls…. or you’ve just been persuaded to call yourself a ‘feminist’ due to the barrage of feel-good but incredibly vague slogans like ‘equality’ and ’empowerment’, without really understanding what it is you are supporting (a bit like Germans who were persuaded to support nazism based on feel-good slogans like ‘homeland security’ and ‘the empowerment of Germany’, without really understanding what it meant until it was too late).
So you belonging to the feminist movement while dating a guy is a bit like belonging to the KKK while having a black best friend.
So when this guy said you are a ‘good feminist’ he probably just meant he doesn’t think you really support feminism’s central narrative (that men are sociopathic, all powerful, monsters and women are weak, inept, stupid victims with no agency who are little more than objects manipulated by men)….it’s just that you’ve just been tricked into identifying as ‘a feminist’ by the onslaught of feminist propaganda that surrounds us all.
2. Feminism has encouraged single motherhood by encouraging policies (ie welfare, the divorce court system) which make it financially rewarding to be a single mother. Also for decades feminism has portrayed men as basically unnecessary (or even harmful) for the raising of children. But studies show children (boys AND girls) without fathers in the home do not develop key attributes like empathy, self restraint or a balanced gender identity as much as children who grow up with fathers in the home. In fact a fatherless upbringing is the single biggest predictor of childhood depression, aggression, gang culture, unwanted pregnancy, criminality, drug misuse, dropping out etc.
Statistically speaking, fatherless households are like factories churning out future criminals, f*ck ups and failures.
Thanks to feminism many children now grow up without any meaningful contact with adult males until they are in their mid to late teens. A child today might grow up with a single mother (and all of her single mother friends coming over to bitch about men), female daycare staff, female primary school teachers, female social workers…. not a man in sight!
So it’s no surprise that so many girls now grow up to view men as an ‘alien species’ who are ‘foreign’ and ‘scary’ (or pointless and superfluous). Girls growing up in all-female households will tend to place their femininity above their personhood. They often grow up to be bratty, self entitled, narcissistic, divas who are ultra feminised because in their minds their value revolves around them being female, rather than being a person (who just happens to be female). Girls raised in all female feminist environments are prone to viewing men the same way people raised in ultra white racist neighbourhoods are prone to viewing black people… strange, shocking, foreign, a threat, alien, sub human, the ‘enemy’, ridiculous etc.
White people who grow up with a black step brother or sister who they love dearly are extremely unlikely to join the KKK as an adult. And in the same way growing up with a deep and loving relationship with a father (or equivalent) makes a person extremely unlikely to join the feminist movement as an adult.
Supporting feminism is in many ways an admission that you can’t relate to men and cannot empathise with men as people (with their own vulnerabilities, pressures, foibles, identity, preferences, desires, hopes, expectations, inequalities etc) …. just as supporting racism is the same admission with respect to black people.
In fact if you take the ‘threat narratives’ used to justify (a) persecution of blacks and (b) persecution of jews and combine them you end up with (c) feminism’s ‘threat narrative’ about men.
Blacks (according to racists)…. savages, rapists, criminals, a threat to civilised society
Jews (according to jew haters) …. schemers and control freaks who control society for their benefit at everybody else’s expense
Men (according to feminists) … savages, rapists, criminals, a threat to civilised society who are also schemers and control freaks who control society for their benefit at everybody else’s expense
What Side of History Are You On?
> I guess some people really will never understand that NOT ALL FEMINISTS are bra-burning, man-hating, vengeful women.
So you are admitting supporting a social/ political movement which allows man-hating, vengeful women to be members. You admit supporting an ideology which (at best) has no problem with hatred being directed towards an entire demographic. Can you see why some people might find that a bit offensive?
Any movement or ideology which even tolerates hatred (ie does not throw people out for expressing hateful views) is effectively a hate movement. Feminist authors, spokeswomen, lecturers and public figures have all said the most hateful things about men (such as claiming all men are rapists, that underage boys cannot be raped or even advocating the mass sterilisation or genocide of men) and none of them have ever been kicked out of the movement ….. instead their views and their membership to the movement has been fiercely defended by other feminists.
So you announced your support for this movement to the guy you were with – a movement which defines men as evil, controlling sociopaths and has no problem with its members openly hating the group ‘men’ – and the guy you were with was slightly taken aback by your admission. Is his reaction really that surprising?
What if feminism’s target demographic was ‘black people’ or ‘gays’ instead of ‘men’? What’s the difference?
I’m guessing he made excuses for you because he wants to sleep with you. This is actually one of the main reasons why feminism’s hatred of men (and disempowering of women) is tolerated or even supported by men as much as it is. The sad fact is that most men will let feminist women get away with saying irrational, insane, hateful and hypocritical things about men because they either want to sleep with those women or because they do not want to be socially ostracised and labelled a ‘misogynist’ by those women.
Men’s (often sexually motivated) refusal to stand up to deranged, hateful or just very, very confused feminist women is (ironically) one of the main ways that men fail to respect women and objectify women.
You should read “how to be a woman” by Caitlin Moran if you haven’t already. It’s a really funny read about what it means to be a feminist. Basically yes you can shave and be straight and still want equal pay!
I enjoyed this post. Especially your new word, acceptional. I’ll probably pass it along. It expresses the point quite well.