To the Self-Proclaimed Anti-Feminists
Women Who Don’t Have a Clue What Feminism Is
Buzzfeed is a site that I visit regularly. I’m not sure how many quizzes I’ve filled out to discover which U.S. City I should live in, which Disney princess would be my best friend, etc. My results were Portland, Oregon, and Ariel, if you’re curious. Yesterday, however, I found an article that made a little, well actually a large, part of me die inside.
On July 11 2014, buzzfeed writer Rossalyn Warren posted “15 Women Say Why They Don’t Need Feminism”. The article had 15 pictures of women holding signs that stated why they don’t need feminism. Apparently, as Warren states, the “Women Against Feminism Tumblr is a real thing”. For fucks sakes. I’d also like to point out that the majority of the women in these photos are white. You know who benefits the most from feminism? White, middle to upper-class women. So much so that apparently these women can grow up with enough privileges that they think feminism is superfluous. In fact, that is one of the downfalls of the feminist movement thus far; that it has disproportionate results for women of different ethnicities and classes. There have been arguments that the feminist movement has so far been a realm only inclusive of white middle to upper-class women. But I digress. Back to these 15 women who “don’t need feminism”.
Here is the link to the buzzfeed article: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rossalynwarren/i-do-not-think-it-means-what-you-think-it-means
1) Ok, let’s begin with woman #1, who apparently doesn’t want to “politicize” her gender. Since when has your gender not been politicized? Remember when women couldn’t vote? That’s because according to law, women weren’t people. Their husbands were. And let’s talk about law. According to Stats Canada, only 22% of seats in parliament in 2008 (the latest date with stats) were held by women. That’s only 68 out of 308 seats. Sure, that’s a jump up from only 9.6% in 1984. Yeehaw. You want to talk about not politicizing gender? How about laws that govern women’s bodies based on their gender? Shall we talk about how laws surrounding abortion are really laws surrounding a women’s choice to control her own body? But no, you’re right. Let’s just be happy with what we’ve got and keep politics and gender separate.
2) You’re not a victim. Good! I never said you were. Feminism never said you were. Feminism does say that you are affected by the patriarchal society that you live in, and that misogyny sucks, whether you recognize it or not. But let’s be for real here; you’ve never been made to feel uncomfortable when men catcall or whistle at you while walking down the street? You’ve never felt threatened when a man leers at you, or when an obnoxiously drunk guy won’t take no for an answer at a club? If not, good for you! Keep living in your bubble.
Ps. I like how you wrote your “B”. No, for real. Nice calligraphy.
3) A three-part rejection of feminism! Awesome. Here’s my three-part response:
- Here’s a myth: feminism demonizes men.
- Here’s an exercise for you: brainstorm what your definition of a ‘slut’ is. Now brainstorm what your definition of a ‘player’ is. Let me know when your mind is blown. Also, abortions aren’t the result of slutty actions. You can’t possibly know the reasons behind every woman’s decision to have an abortion. Stop hating on your fellow woman and respect their choice and their body.
- Here’s another myth: ‘playing’ the victim is empowering.
Bonus: Here’s a challenge for you. Go tell that last bit to a woman who has been sexually abused by her male relative, whether her father, brother, cousin, or uncle. Now tell your second point to that person if she has the misfortune to become pregnant from the incest.
4) Ooh, victim complex. See response number 2. Also, it’s true that women in the Western world have some different forms of freedom than women in Eastern countries do. So does that mean we have it “good enough”? Nope. Also, let’s not make a hierarchy. Let’s change the system.
5) I can’t argue this one. I like the drawings too much.
6) Assumption: Feminists aren’t critical thinkers? Jeeze, there’s a lot of feminist history that would disagree with that one.
7) I’m so happy for you! Really! This is what feminism is all about, setting goals for yourself and achieving them because there is no roof over your gender stopping you from reaching your dreams. You can thank the feminist movement for that.
Let’s take a moment to add to the myth that feminism demonizes men. Myth: feminism belittles men to lift women up.
8) Myth: feminism denies that men suffer types of oppression too.
9) Despite the grammatical errors, I think I see your argument. I’m sorry if someone was patronizing and condescending towards you for choosing not to be a feminist. But you realize that choosing not to be a feminist is like choosing not to believe in equality of the sexes, right?
10) Let’s add another myth: feminism blames men for women’s unjustifiable, slutty actions. Actually, scratch that. Instead, can you please define for me what an “unjustifiable, slutty” action is? Now meet up with woman #3 and compare notes.
11) Dang, that’s a lot of name calling. But ok, let’s work through this. You are saying that feminists are a “hateful, sexist, corrupt group”. I’d like to take a moment to point out that there are many branches of feminism, and that they have changed as time has progressed. Which particular group are you referring to? Also, which “people’s issues” are being disregarded that you would like addressed? And you’re right, some feminists have more privilege than others due to ethnicity and class. It’s been argued that feminism has focused only on white, middle to upper-class women’s issues. I agree that this needs to change in order to encompass the full spectrum of women’s issues and include the wide variety of women’s voices. If you have issues that you feel feminism is ignoring, you should get involved and speak up!
12) Again, see response number 2. Also, have you read a magazine lately? Or been to a blockbuster movie?
I’m not really sure how to respond to your question of if you look oppressed or not. Can you explain in detail what an oppressed woman looks like for me?
13) Your first point perfectly aligns with feminist ideals. Feminism is about being a strong individual. Your second point seems contradictory; doesn’t having the ability to define yourself and set your own standards for value mean you are empowered? (That was a trick question. The answer is yes.) Women in the states and in Canada are most definitely targets for violence. Did you know that one in four girls will experience some form of sexual abuse by the age of 16? And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 85% of abuse victims are women. As for your last point, feminism does NOT demonize men, nor does the movement blame men for “your problems”. Feminism does, however, demand that men step up to the plate and take responsibility for the violence they commit against women. It does ask men to step up as allies for women.
14) Feminism = equality. Feminism ≠ entitlements and supremacy. Memorize this.
15) I’m just going to shake my head here… you’re pretty much smiling over your ignorance about feminism.
For women who still identify as anti-feminists, I suggest you read these books. Arm yourself with knowledge. Know the content that you’re claiming to reject. Think of it as getting to know your enemy if that helps. But please, for the love of Wollstonecraft, educate yourself about feminism.
This book gives everyday examples of double standards that are, unfortunately, incredibly common in North American society. You’ll probably recognize most, if not all of them. It describes why each double standard is harmful to women, and what can be done to create a positive change.
Your bra-burning, man-hating, angry lesbian, feminist opponent.