The Vagenda

How (Not) To React to Anti-Feminist Women


You know the face. When someone quickly realises they have told you something they will regret. It’s the face my sister saw when I accidently told her Dumbledore died (sorry again, Sis). It’s the same face this woman had after she turned to me, at a party, and said “I’m not a feminist”.

It wasn’t until my early twenties that I said I was a feminist out loud and it wasn’t long before I became (I know that as a feminist this is a horrible word to use and I apologise in advance)  ‘shouty’. Every second thought was “Is that sexist? I think it might be sexist! This is OUTRAGEOUS! Are you buying The Sun? How DARE YOU?! Is that advert using a woman’s body to sell me shoes? UNBELIEVEABLE. Now who can I corner to shout about all this to?’ *narrows eyes and scans the room*

This is both completely thrilling and utterly exhausting in equal measure and you’ll hear no apology from me. I was, I am, riding the feminist wave and absolutely loving it. But in order to save the ones closest to me from my constant barrage I decided to feverishly fling this outwards and wade deeper into feminist waters (aka set up a Twitter account and follow all things feminism).

Slut shaming. Bikini bodies. Is marriage a cry for help? Female Genital Mutliation. Black feminism. Harriet Harman. Does workplace equality make it harder to break the glass ceiling? Everyday Sexism. Body Hair. The Downing Street Catwalk. These are just a few highlights from my relentless Twitter feed. (Plus ‘Real Super Animals with Super Powers’ and Paris Hilton with a unicorn under a rainbow. Obviously).

The deeper I went down the feminist rabbit hole the more I found answers and the more I forgot the question. It is endless. Now of course this should be something to celebrate – feminist voices are being heard but before long I found myself cowering slightly from the whirling opinions spiralling around my head, up into the sky and back into history. At one point I just wanted to throw all the women’s magazines and feminist blogs in the air around me and shout at the top of my lungs “I don’t fucking know!” Boy (or shit, should that be ‘girl’?) did feminism rear up and roar at me.

Just as I was reaching saturation point I found Women Against Feminism.

“I don’t need feminism because I don’t think men are pigs”

Oh God…

“I don’t need feminism because I am not a victim”

What? Wait, stop that’s not…

“I don’t need feminism because I can own up to my own mistakes I’ve made in my life and do not have to blame them on the completely fictional patriarchy.”

No one’s suggesting you do…

“I don’t need feminism because I have been shamed by them for not fitting in their ideas”


“I don’t need feminism because I don’t hate men.”


Unfortunately it seems that whilst we were enjoying riding our wave we forgot that waves never crash to shore alone, that there is often another, much bigger wave lurking behind. So much of me wanted to stand at the back and shout “guys, stop, we’ve lost people on the way – we’ll have to go back”. I began to feel if we were being too shouty, too quiet, too victimising, too forceful then we have already started to fail and I hated it. On the ‘Women Against Feminism’ blog I can see posts by people saying that have received hate messages from ‘feminazis’. There is so much about that sentence that is sad. All I can think as I scroll through the fast accumulating likes and posts is: how the fuck how did this happen? I feel like I’m spinning on the spot, arms outspread, looking at my fellow feminists and asking – seriously guys, where the hell were we? Then I remembered where I was.

Back at the party. “I am not a feminist.” After this calm, totally genuine admission from this woman I went on what can only be politely described as a tirade. Pummeling with facts and figures, trying to convince her that she was wrong, that she was mistaken, that she just didn’t understand what feminism was. Slowly as I began to tire and my face melted from determination to utter disbelief, hers hardened in quiet confidence that she had just been proven right. That we feminists were all the same. Shouty, elitist and actually a little bit mean. Men haters and blamers, women victimisers and blamers. I pawed at her with words, desperately trying to persuade her she most definitely was a feminist because (here comes my moment of glory) “you’re a woman, how could you not be?” Ugh. She got up and walked away and on reflection I would probably have done the same. What an epic fail.

People shouldn’t feel they have to tip toe around feminism for fear of angering the beast. In order for feminism to be truly powerful it needs to be accessible and engaging, to everyone, and at the moment it’s just not, not yet. The crucial argument ‘you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes’ just isn’t being heard clearly enough amid the noise.  We need to start to celebrate even the smallest act of feminism, shout about them rather than preach about our ideals that can often have negative or resentful foundations (in other words what I did so expertly badly). Perhaps I am being too idealistic in suggesting feminism become a social movement that is universally loved but without this positive reinforcement it will be very difficult to stem this ‘anti-feminist’ tide we’re witnessing from the likes of Women Against Feminism.

- Grace Chapman

205 thoughts on “How (Not) To React to Anti-Feminist Women

  1. ‘you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes’ – THIS. That one statement has always been the crux of it for me. True feminism is about equality, not supremacy.

    • Why not ditch “feminism” and call yourself an egalitarian? As a man also interested in equality for both genders I feel incredibly left out when your movement by it’s name implies it’s for women only…even if that’s not what the dictionary says. In the dictionary a fag is a bundle of sticks but that’s not what you think when you hear that term now.

      As a side, I tried to join one of the reddit discussions on /r/feminism and my very first comment got me completely banned from posting in the subreddit again… it was respectfully written but went against feminist ideology.

      I can’t begin to explain how upset that made me. The message I walked away with was that feminists only want to sit in an echo chamber and agree with themselves. Ban anybody who’s a man or doesn’t agree with something!

      I posted to another reddit about my frustration…only to learn that you aren’t allowed to discuss /r/feminism bans BECAUSE THEY HAPPEN ALL THE TIME. Censoring free discussion is definitely not the way to win people to your cause.

      Feminism has become dogma similar to a religion.

        • FYI: This site has, unfortunately, been hijacked by an anti-feminisi group of men from Canada. I won’t name the group because that’s what they want—publicity. It’s a vile group dedicated to “exposing man-hating feminazis.” I recognize their arguments here from other posts. I don’t give them the satisfaction of responding to their vile screed. I suggest the rest of you do the same. – See more at:

          • That’s hilarious. The guy says he was met with people that only want to hear their opinions and those they’ve heard… And you go and prove him right.

            I hate feminists and MRAs, want to know why? Because all they are worried about is vilification.

            There will never be “equality” of the sexes, because they can’t even have a conversation without wanting to prove the other wrong.

          • Yes I understand that the word can seem just for woman and that is might seem like men can’t enter in this amazing movement and I’m ok with you being bothered about it but it also bothers me when people say this because first of all it started off by a group of woman and they chose that name but it doesn’t mean it’s just for them. Feminism is as much for men as for woman and by the fact that we have to change the name because people can’t see beyond it says a lot about that person. If you know what feminism is to the core then why would you be bothered by the name you don’t see woman asking to change the word ‘mankind’ even though it’s talking about everyone. I just don’t see why the name is the problem I think the people against the name make it seem like a big problem. And do we even have the right to change the name of a movement woman and yes man have died for, been sent to jail for,beaten because of , have been raped, etc. just please let this have the name it was born with.

      • Please, name one thing that the egalitarian movement has achieved. Also, why should feminists change the name of the movement just because other people can’t be bothered to learn what it really is? In that case, we should change the word “human” because it has “man” in it, right?

        • Egalitarianism hasn’t accomplished much as a movement, true. However, there are a few reasons for that:
          1)It’s a fairly new, disjointed movement at the moment, and doesn’t have the large following feminism does. All movements need time to build momentum before making big sweeping changes.

          2) Because egalitarians share values with many other groups, including what I like to call “dictionary feminists” it is pretty easy for larger, more prominent groups to get credit for the work of egalitarians. Especially since the MO of most egalitarians is to support the work of established groups around causes they can support. For example, I have given my support to the men’s shelter in Calgary, Alberta (which unfortunately no longer exists), a cause which is typically attributed to the MRM, because I believe male victims of DV need more resources and see social justice lacking in that area. I can then turn around and lend support to feminist groups protesting child brides in Yemen, because I see justice lacking there. In both cases, egalitarians give support, but larger, established groups get the glory.

          3) Egalitarians are still establishing themselves as a separate group from feminism, and trying to gain the respect and trust of feminists and feminist-leaning people. The number of sites I’ve seen where feminists claim that anti-feminists and egalitarians are simply uneducated feminists is astounding. It’s hard to make big, sweeping societal changes when most of society refuses to acknowledge your existence.

          4) Egalitarians are, for the most part, moderates by nature. Rather than allying solely with men or women, opinions change based on the situation and cause. Because of the range of causes and beliefs, organizing support into large movements is still a ways away.

        • As to whether feminists should change the name of their movement, no they shouldn’t. However, simply spouting the dictionary definition of feminism and quietly saying “those radicals don’t represent us,” feminists need to be actively fighting radical beliefs. I know what feminists claim to believe. I’ve read the dictionary definition and been on buzzfeed. There was a time I called myself a feminist, then feminism became this:

          • We could change the name “feminism.”

            Here’s my suggestion: “Men should not have the vote and their wages should be cut by 22% immediatelyism.”

            Oh, look, there’s a million man march outside protesting this already.

        • Actions speak louder than words and the actions of feminists don’t support the mission statement. Nothing is gained by demonizing the other half of the human species. Feminism has become synonymous with misandry and that is why it should change it’s name.

          • Of course if men actioned more equality measures there’d be no need for the term “feminism” at all. But don’t you worry, let the women take care of changing stuff. You just sit there making demands.

        • I want to say I hate women. When I say that, I don’t ALL women, or even most women, but just a tiny subset who do things i don’t like. Why should I change because people can’t bother to read my mind and know exactly what I meant?

        • The Civil Rights Act 1964. Executative Order 111965, 1965 Executive Order 11375 1968, The Rehabilitation Act 1973, and The Americans With Disabilities Act 1990.

      • Completely agree. I got into a discussion on FB about an article that was linked to Jezebel, it was about the “Not All Men” debacle. It was littered with dialogue on how men are just completely repulsive in all aspects of their being, and thus was written in order to fuel the fire of misandry. Reading it I couldn’t believe the ideas that were being distributed, seeing as I thought feminism was more about equality for everybody rather than completely putting down the other sex in order to gain ground. I, along with other males, began putting our two-cents into the conversation; a conversation that was being held under the profile of a former classmate I knew from college (she’s a really talented female artist, and I respect her completely by the way, so take that in to account in the following passage).

        Our two-cents were aimed towards the way the article depicted ALL men as being part of the problem of sexual, financial, etc. oppressors, and how our input is not needed further on any other feminist issue (set off alarms right away). That last statement I made is important, because it seems that at least one faction of feminism doesn’t give two-shits about our two-cents.

        “Oh great, another male comment. Don’t you understand that we don’t need anymore input from men. We have already heard it all.”

        To be fair only men were commenting on the original poster’s Facebook link, but to be even more fair we were just defending ourselves from being grouped into those stereotypes outlined in the article, and pointing out that by raising those stereotypes you aren’t encouraging other men to be apart of conversations whose aims are to move towards more equality for all (which all of us in the comment section were completely for).

        We were extremely calm and respectful but were treated with rolling-eyes (“Oh great, another male commenter”) and written sarcasm that, in my opinion, completely degrades arguments into child-like pissing fights. Bitter sarcasm also seems to be a staple in a lot of feminist articles nowadays which is just so painful to read.

        I digress. No one was winning this conversation (and to be honest no one really won it in the end) but what I can tell you is that what followed was nothing short of amazing, because I was seeing right in front of me the horror stories by which the above commenter alludes to as well as other blog posts that are infuriated with a certain kind of feminist.

        I was 1 out of the 3 males that were in on this conversation. I am a devils advocate in most all cases and enjoy seeing both sides of the coin, as jumping to unfounded conclusions isn’t my cup of tea. The female in question stated that, “If you were truly ‘not as bad’ as other men, you would understand that your input is. not. needed. on a post. of this. nature…we already have tons of male input proceeding with female input AND MORE male input isn’t equality, friend”…That quote was verbatim.

        OK, so I saw what she was saying. It wasn’t that clear, however, but I conceded to the fact that men just keep fueling the fire and hindering feminist columns; a concession that I completely take back now seeing as what happened next was incredible.

        I came back about 5 minutes later to see that the comment section had been systematically altered. The original poster was deleting comments! She was censoring the well-thought out arguments that the males were putting time and effort into constructing. But here is the kicker: she left MY concession to the female-satirist up, but took down the rest of the male comments, in hopes that other feminists would stroll along and she that the feminists are WINNING!

        It was simply the purest form of propaganda used to inflate the feminist machine even more. It was jaw dropping. I, as a devil’s advocate, was being used as a pawn in their game.

        She censored the post, so I took down my concession (luckily I took screenshots of the post).

        I just feel that this story needed to be heard, and felt that a reply to the above comment would suffice due to the similar circumstances. There are disgraceful feminists and then there are feminists for the complete equality who reframe from tactics of male-bashing. I ran into the former that day, and now I tread lightly on who to trust in this feminist game. I will not be used as a pawn again.

        • Hi Mcmacklemore,
          You know I was about to have sympathy for you until you tipped your hand: you admitted to being a bit of a devil’s advocate. Over deadly serious issues discussed on a women’s site.

          Perhaps an analogy would help here.
          As you know, recently, yet another police officer has killed a black citizen (I refer to the Garner case).

          Now…have you ever considered sitting in on a group of blacks discussing the fact that this keeps on happening and then maybe chiming in with a counter-argument as to whether they were over-reacting, or how whites suffer too and where are their rights in all of this and anyway it’s not all whites..?

          How long do you think you’d last, with that attitude-actually DEBATING, debating whether or not the use of force was justified in this case, among a group of people who have to deal with crap like this all too often??

          Seriously, I always wonder what the motive is of the one who is not affected by the issue at hand…do you know why you chose to seek out that site? Why do you need the attention of women whose comments have nothing to do with you?

          It seems to me the best way to help is to support women in one’s personal life. If you did that, I think you’d find that your presence would be very, very welcome. I know as a feminist that I love guys like that and find them incredibly sexy!:-)

          • Thank you for your post. I had the exact same thought. What does this guy gain from stirring things up?! Call me the “angry feminist,” but why should we change the name of our movement to make men more comfortable? I spent half my life making men comfortable. No more. You want to be a feminist, then embrace it all, otherwise, move along and create your own movement.

      • Yes an intolerant religion similar to a cult. When you look at the criteria it fits. They have their own languange, they refuse to use crtical thinking, and they preach equality but don’t practice it.

      • The word “feminism” is actually a replacement for the “women’s liberationists movement” which was felt to not be inclusive enough in the ’60s and ’70s. The word itself does not refer to the female gender, but more so to the idea that having feminine qualities (regardless of sex or gender) is marginalized within our society. Hypermasculinity, while completely unattainable, is seen as the goal for men in America, and thus anything feminine is seen as a weakness (ie crying, cooking, taking care of children, …). I think this point of view is often left out of the discussion of feminism because usually women are the ones talking about feminism and they usually speak from their personal experiences and the way the patriarchy has affected their lives. When men talk about the oppression they’ve faced at the hands of other men, and sometimes women, in terms of policing the way the speak, dress, and act, it is often in a manner exclusive to feminism. Despite this, this is at its core, a feminist issue.

        tl;dr: The word “feminism” is more accurately a movement behind the suppression of people who are perceived to act in a stereotypical feminine way and is not exclusive to males. Men who act “feminine” are marginalized in similar ways to women, which is why feminism is an appropriate term

      • If you feel emasculated by calling yourself a “feminist” then that’s sort of exactly why you (we) need feminism, you know? I’m not saying that to be inflammatory–I mean to start a discussion. I want to understand.

        Feminism is an inherently feminine word. You’re right. There’s nothing “exclusive” about the word, though, unless you mean to pit it against “masculinism” and that the two are separately represented by females and males, respectively, without crossover. Which, I hope you realize, is false.

        The word is not “Females-Only-Ism,” it is Feminism. It implies femininity, historically-defined female qualities, of which in reality both men and women posses, but are also inherently undervalued in society.

        I think it’s actually quite important to keep the word feminism for that very reason. If your issue is simply that you feel uncomfortable or “left out” for saying the word, then I really think that says a lot about everything we are working toward in the first place. It’s ok–great, even–for men to be feminine, and to stand up for things which are feminine–which includes females, but also a lot of qualities that men have the right to possess without reprimand and social oppression as well (like, for example, speaking out about domestic violence, rape, abuse, and mental health issues that affect men).

        That’s so important. And it’s not entirely egalitarian–it’s feminine. Not female. Feminine.

        • This is one of the problems with feminist theory that is a bit less traveled. The word, as it is colloquially used Today, does not match your usage. This makes it jargon. The same goes for patriarchy, which has a proper definition formally distinct from the way feminists use it. Rape culture is in a similar boat. Jargon is very useful in academic or work environments. It has no place in activism as it confuses the message, especially when the movement gains adherents who don’t realize the meaning of the jargon their using and who therefore end up advocating for very strange things. Things like outlawing men from peeing while standing up, or accusing men of “raping women with their eyes.”

          I recently had a conversation with a co-worker that ended with “As you said, nobody has no shell.” In the context of our discussion, this was a grammatically correct sentence that accurately explained the solution to the technical problem we were discussing. However, to someone who is unfamiliar with the unix user nobody or the OS concept of shells, the sentence is worse than senseless. It appears to be incorrect grammatically and would be extremely confusing.

          That jargon should not be used in a wider context. Feminism, as a label, has acquired significant negative connotations. These will not simply go away. There is a very significant cost to maintaining the word.

          Also, a pox on the idea that femininity or masculinity are stable associations. The blue and pink color associations for babies used to be reversed. Men wore girders in the middle ages. The two are defined entirely by the current leading trends amongst the genders. We don’t need the word feminism to preserve the idea that it is acceptable to be effeminite. This is especially true after the negative feminist reactions to the brony phenomenon.

      • Just want to address a few things you’ve said with a logic approach. your example of the reappropiation of the word “fag” should have been “faggot” because the correct definition for that word is a bundle of sticks used for fuel and in the early 20th century people would take homosexuals, tie them to wooden sticks and burn them and call them faggots, which shortened to fag. The reappropriation of this extremely derogatory word is a bit different than the definition you give of feminism and how it implies its for women only–which is not true from the perspective of many well educated people that i know.

        Second, you being banned for respectfully disagreeing is completely understandable for a FB group trying to PROMOTE feminism not find out whether it is legit or not- because they’ve already decided that the desire to have political, economic, and social equality of men and women is legit. Your disagreements to them is the same as a priests disagreements with homosexuality; it’s simply opinion that is just too outdated for our society that needs equality among everyone across every category.

      • I’m an intersectional feminist. Egalitarianism is Feminism. I get you feel more comfortable with the word egalitarian because it’s not just feminine, but I have to call my period “Men”struation and the entire human race is referred to as “Man”kind the amount of masculine universal terms compared to feminine is pretty intense. “Fag” is a bundle of sticks. The history of the term is when people burned women’s team the stake for being witches they also burned gay people. They thought that gay people weren’t good enough to have a stake so they burned them with bundles of sticks used for kindling. That’s where the term “Flaming Fag” comes from. I choose not use that word but people will sometimes and not know the history.
        I don’t know what your comment was or why it got banned but there are plenty of places to have open respectful conversations with feminists it just wasn’t on Reddit at that time, but one occurrence causing you to generalize all of feminism is harsh.

      • I will take your *feminist* and raise you with, HIStory,woMEN, manhandled, default male character pov in virtually every movie, videogame, and story. Presidents, basically EVERYTHING in the HIS STORY of everything. You feel left out because of one *female* centric word? Come on, seriously? I am slapped with my father’s surname from birth until I get married to take another man’s name. I don’t get the outrage over such a trivial lopsided argument. Every sports themed Sunday night gathering is focused on MALE teams. For literally centuries women have celebrated supported and uplifted male events from the woman dominated SIDELINES. You’re seriously bitching because you feel left out?

      • Male whining about how feminism “excludes” men is sadly the kind of dogma we need feminism for… Can we just remind you to check the stat’s again on why it is generally women who have a harder fight on their hands to attain the every day stuff men take for granted? Let me guess.. you’re just young, right?

        As for eradicating the term feminism… Maybe that will be appropriate when there is an equivalent word in the dictionary for ‘ misogyny’… I see no Misterogyny anywhere, do you?

    • The problem with that “equality” is that feminism sees men as oppressors and women as victims, therefore equality means vindication, hurting the oppressors, etc.

      Feminism is the radical notion that women are people – and men are not.

      • No, no, no, no, no. “Feminism” includes many strands and thinkers but really it should never ever represent the statement that you’ve made. I’m sorry you feel that way but to me feminism is about equal pay and equal rights for both (all) sexes and for women to have control of their own bodies and lives.

          • Feminism is about equal rights. As in raising women up to be equal, not bringing men down. If it were about bringing men down, we’d be doing a terrible job. The fact that we haven’t yet reached that point is why we need feminism. FYI, you *can be* a feminist AND an egalitarian. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

        • Why should there be equal pay? Why shouldn’t people get paid on performance. It seems tome there’s plenty of professions where Women earn waaaaay more than men – take the fashion and modelling industries. No one is saying that two people doing the same job shouldn’t get the same pay but you can’t fight against economics. Supply and Demand. These set the wages for varying professions not some patriarchy deciding men should get more. There’s plenty of women out there that have learnt that you can get as much money as a man if not more if you prove yourself rather than whinging about unequal pay. Do you think JK Rowling whinges about unequal pay? Make yourself worth the money and you’ll receive it – it’s that simple,

          • The fashion industry is dominated and dictated by a sweeping majority of gay males who dictate industry standards that models should weigh 90 lbs and be 6’5. How many male models are dying of anorexia to keep up their jobs? My god.

        • Equal pay and rights you say? How about a mans right to have a say in whether or not the mother of his child kills said child? No? How about a mans right to take three months of paid vacation from work to bond with his child (assuming the mother allows it to live) without getting fired for it? No? How about a mans right not to be left financially destitute because his wife decides to leave him? No? How about equal laws concerning ALL forms of violence against all of us rather than domestic violence laws that are completely partial to women like the Women’s Domestic Violence Act or Primary Aggressor statutes that get men arrested even when they are the victims of domestic violence? No? I’m not feeling it.

          • First off, I’ve heard these before, and I’m not disagreeing with you, but consider this:
            If a man wants a child with a woman, he should either ask her before trying, or if she doesn’t want to, consider alternate options. If the pregnancy is accidental, then I think the father should have a say, but in the end, it is the woman’s choice, because it is her body. The man will not have to deal with the effects on hormones, cravings, pain, the addition of weight, the birth itself, the stretch marks and the general fact that life will never be the same. Women get the choice in keeping the baby, but is this not similar to the ability men have that allows them to choose whether or not to be around. It’s similar. One sex gets the choice. If men don’t want to be around, they don’t have to, whereas women don’t have that choice. If women don’t want to have a baby, they have the choice, but men don’t really. Both sides should always consider the others thoughts before the decision however.
            Some women have very important reasons to not have a child, such as disease, inability to reach full gestation, a potentially fatal effect, etc.
            Men should certainly have at least some paid leave for when they have children. And some do. This is something we should fight for actually. Women tend to get the paid leave over men as they tend to breastfeed them, which men cannot do, normally at least.
            You’re next part about being financially destitute, I didn’t quite understand. If a woman leaves a man, he is alone, and takes care of himself. If a man leaves a woman, she is alone and takes care of herself. If one has a child, then I’d say the other should contribute something towards the child at least. So if that’s what you meant, then I thought men did get child support?
            As for the last part about domestic violence, etc. I feel we are from different places, and things may be different, but I believe, if there is a dispute, both parties should be separated and questioned before being arrested. If the male is harmed, the female should get in trouble, and vice versa. I think men tend to be more easily arrested as it is more likely they have caused harm, not for a sexist reason, but because men are naturally (averagely) larger and/or stronger.
            But I do agree with some of your statements. Feminism may seem only based on females, but there are many feminists who are also supportive of male issues as well. Like myself. Have a nice day.

          • Thanks for a refreshing outpouring of facts at just how much damage the feminists cause on society at large.

        • I always wonder if those who shout equal pay have ever looked at the actual data and not just an article or blog post.

      • Well I’m glad that feminism thinks that women are people because I sure as hell ain’t into fucking animals.

      • Yohami:
        Sorry, which country in the world is it? You know, the one where men have far fewer rights than women?

        And throughout history..which nation?

        You see, you’re having trouble getting specific, aren’t you, about where on the planet men are treated as unpeople?

      • What rubbish! It is history of patriarchy that oppresses and some men amongst our family, peers, colleagues and associates in the present day, sadly who still cannot let go of some control to give women who do not act like victims a fair crack at the whip… OK maybe a bad analogy here, but seriously, don’t know which theory of feminism you are reading… Trouble is, too many men and women are too complacent and women who want to change things are understandably too defensive… It’s tough… Either way…

    • What a load of bull. “Equality” can never be achieved until women are REQUIRED to sign up for the selective service so they’re available for the draft at the age of 18 years like men are. I have never heard a single “feminist” talk about this. It’s “convenient” to forget how much more worthless society considers the lives of men. We are Alaskan Crab Fishers, Police, high-rise construction workers, and military men. Why aren’t “feminists” demanding equal representation in the world’s most deadliest job? I’ll tell you why, you don’t care about “equality”. You want to cherry pick the rights of being a man without any of the responsibilities. This is why people don’t like “feminism”.

      • Slow down there, Oscar. I and many other human beings talk about the female human doing dangerous and hard work.

        I could literally be on Google all night, think of a dangerous job and see women voluntarily (and involuntarily) do equal work. There are plenty of UK websites that help women into this type of work. Maybe it’s just a certain portion of the world, but please don’t act like your comment is fact.

        • they were working on factories… while all the men were getting slaughered in the front lines… i would GLADLY be working in a factory instead of fighting in WW2 ANYDAY!
          plus way more men die during work and way more men have to work under risky and dangerous conditions. this is a fact

          • Im sorry, did u fight in WW2? If u did, ur worthy of respect and honor of course. But, for some reason, i get the feeling you’ve never been in a war and you are using real people’s struggles to give your (rather embarrassingly childish) argument some leverage. There are so many facts and so many statistics and so many people with stories of things theyve experienced firsthand that i could show you but its rather degrading to be forced to google something for someone. Have a great life and please never reproduce.

          • I’d call you out for using the past to support your argument, but then I realized it would be pretty hypocritical.

            You’re doing the same negative shouting that has been driving people away from feminism, only you’re talking about men. Some feminists have been dragging out the patriarchy card all too often lately as well, when we can pretty safely say that true patriarchy ended in the west some 200 years ago. I’m not saying inequalities do not still exist between the sexes, but men no longer hold any special status over women in the eyes of the law or in the common family unit. Feminism’s current struggles are mostly over culture and common ethics, which are still important.

            What you’re saying is very much like the things coming from the MRM that drive feminists away from supporting your cause. Women are no longer held back from the front lines in war (at least by law, eventually it will become practice, but change takes time), but I think the selective service registration might not come anytime soon. If a war the scale of WW2 occurs again we would need to keep women from the fighting just to sustain a substantial population. It isn’t “fair”, but neither is the physical strength advantage men have over women.

          • So if women did the same jobs and went to war (as they do in Afghanistan), which is, y’know, the “equality” feminism is calling for, would you agree that they should be paid an equal wage?

            I’m sure you’re smart enough to have figured out where I’m going with this but if you do think that then why are you must be for equal pay in all occupations. Which would make you a feminist.

            Do you see? No feminist ever said men have to fight the wars while women get all the maternity leave. That was a man thing,. like it was men who said women shouldn’t have the vote and women who said they actually should. Men didn’t give women the vote voluntarily, perhaps because of shellshock from WWI, or something.

            Really, this kneejerk male defensive reaction of, “It happens to men, too, in smaller amounts maybe, but it’s not equal and feminists aren’t really for equality” makes me ashamed to share a chromosome with blokes. it’s akin to saying, “If men don’t get equality, nobody does.” The idea of equality is it applies to everybody. When women want to end domestic violence, they mean 100% of it, not just the majority of it which is against women. And let’s face it, men who get hit by women mostly do not get empathetic and emotional support from other men; they get laughed at because they got beat by a girl.

          • It was the Patriarchy that decided that men fight and women stay at home. Common sense, too. Why would you send the half of the species responsible for giving birth, thus replacing the dead soldiers, in to battle?

        • Women who served in WWII were “voluntary” which means they were not drafted. I am a veteran myself. Yes women are firefighters but they are not good firefighters Thank goodness they are only 4% of force. Idc what the guardian article says about women being up to the job the fact is they aren’t. Again women who were “soldiers” in WWI were volunteers and they did not serve on the front line. Women in construction is an Affirmative Action program in its infancy not an extablished program of success. Your links are

          • The rate is actually lower than that, but what is your point exactly?! Men have either literally kept women away from these dangerous jobs, or have not made it very hospitable for them there and now they complain there aren’t enough women doing these jobs. You can’t have it both ways.

      • Male violence to be practiced by womyn.

        Oscar, I as a womyn–will never aid men in the wars they wage for their own selfish reasons. Instead of being a moronic warlord, how about you END selective service and stop fucking killing people?

        • Sounds good to me. Unfortunately, contrary to the West’s more recent experiences, many wars are not fought just because some yank decided it would be a jolly good time to invade another land. They are generally fought over resource scarcity, social injustice and well, defending yourself from warmongers. Until we live in an equitable post-scarcity society, which is unlikely to simply appear before us basked in divine light and may not even be possible, there will be wars and there will be a need for as many soldiers as a given nation can field, from time to time.

      • Uhm, so Oscar? You think men and women are the same? So you could go off and breast-feed a child? Sorry, but if someone’s going to war, it’s you, bub, not me. I’m busy breast-feeding a child.

        Now because Mother (sorry Father) Nature makes her own decisions, it’s hard to know when I’ll be having the next child and that’s why it’s not compulsory for me to go to war whereas it is for you because you’re always available for it.

        Wanna debate that?:-)

        The other thing is it’s men who made the decision about the draft so you need to take your concerns up with the guys at the top. Might as well address the child custody issue with the men who made those decisions too. Okay? Because for me, I am absolutely certain that fathers are every bit as crucial to a child’s upbringing as mothers, so I have no trouble whatsoever believing judges should give serious consideration to fathers in custody trials.

        You don’t understand what we mean by equality. We mean we’d like to be treated as equals. Equals does not mean sameness.

        People come from a wide variety of cultures, but we all get that everyone of every nation is equal in terms of value as a human being. BTW, what do you mean by “the rights of being a man”? Oops, giveaway there innit?

        But see, guys say they want equality but then they don’t want to come home from work and do all the cooking, cleaning, and putting the kids to bed.

        They also don’t want to do dangerous jobs like nursing (patient violence, needle-stick injuries, bacteria-infested projectile vomitus, bites, TB), nursing children and old people (see above), and GOING INTO LABOUR WHICH IS THE ULTIMATE DANGEROUS JOB oh sorry did I just win this face-off already? Good, ‘cuz here comes my breakaway:

        Men want to be equal but they don’t want the responsibility of picking the kids up from school, making their lunches, putting serious thought into nutritional foods for them, getting to know their friends and the parents of their friends to see what your child is really doing when you’re not there, to wake up instantly if a bloody mouse from the basement made a squeaking sound, thinking it was your son so you get up because you sleep with one eye open…because he spiked a high fever the night before out of nowhere…you want more? I’ve got lots more, pal. I haven’t even started. This is just off the top of my head..oh and that money the kids got for child support? It went to Joe’s braces, Anne’s dietary supplements…any questions Oscar?

        Dangerous work? How about walking home from work at night because your car’s in the shop, and having to deal with some 6’4″ guy who’s following you? Dangerous? You have never been in real danger Oscar, never. You think women don’t know danger.

        I invite you to talk to some of them from the West Bank. From Cambodia. From the Ivory Coast. From Somalia.

        I dare you. I dare you to see life from outside yourself.

        • Sadly I dont have the time to go through all of this as much as it needs to be….but I will do so ASAP tonight. I do however want to say that you should read my post about Equalist… have a few good points and I think you truly care about them. I also think there is much more to go over here than just lashing out at Oscar. I am a 6’6″ guy, and just to put the shoe on the other foot for your ending….I have been walking home at night and have a woman nearly mace me all because we got off at the same bus stop. What did I do ? Nothing….I got off, walked a few hundred feet up the same street heading home ((was about a bloack away from my appartment in Portland Or at the time)) and she turned around and lashed out. Threatening me to stop following her….and that she was going to call the cops. My point is there are many many angles to situations, I dont blame her for being scared but lashing out at me and/or threatening me for something I had no control over is bad too. Things are not black and white more times….while there is situations of the girl trying to get home being stalked by a giant evil man there is also the Giant guys that would take a bullet for you…who also have to walk home at times. That is a example of a factor not recognized or considered in the tense situations. Yet speaking from a person who has experienced it first hand….it sucks to be threatened in a dark ally having no clue why or what would happen next.

      • Rubbish… Seriously, if men could cherry pick jobs, damn right they would too… Women rightly cherry pick jobs… And I think there are far bigger priorities than shouting about a woman’s right to be abused daily on a building site and set herself up for a high liklihood of an industrial accident… Sheesh… women got more sense mostly… In case you hadn’t noticed, btw, there is a movement to gain equality in the armed forces (not all women are sensible perhaps!)

        • The internal combustion engine is a man made object. Equality is a state of being. Kind of like comparing apples and internal combustion engines

          • There’s no such thing as “morality”, “ethics” or “rule of law” in nature either, but what’s the betting you’re in favour of those? Read some Hobbes.

            If that’s the best argument you have against equality, I’d like to see you start campaigning against wheelchairs and guide dogs, cos, y’know, attempting to create some equality in the world is just unnatural.

        • I agree with this. This nicely complements my religious beliefs. Life isn’t fair, and I doubt it ever will be. The number one most important thing is to love one another and grant liberty and respect to everyone around us, regardless of how “wrong” their beliefs, philosophies, or lifestyles may be to us. There is no good excuse for rudeness and unkindness, for EITHER sex.

          I agree that “feminism” has become a nasty buzz-word and we really should try to find an alternative. I personally like the term “human rights,” but that is not the name of an ideology. Needs some work.

          Personally, although I see the point of modern feminism, it’s not the highest priority for me, because as per the anti-feminist argument, the very most vital battles in the U.S. have been won (I’m American), and there are other issues that concern me more. I’d say that the economy, for instance, has more of my attention and concern for the moment. So does healthcare.

          Feminists, please don’t take offense if someone isn’t holding a sign and shouting like you are. There are many battles to be fought, and a single person simply isn’t capable of fighting ALL of them at once.

          Anti-feminists . . . do you really want to belong to a movement that is named for tearing down another movement? That just sounds negative to me. At least be “pro” something instead of “anti” . . . sheesh.

      • There is no such thing as equality among males. Where does that leave the shortest guy in the room? Ouch…

      • It’s called feminism because women have always been, and still are, seen as less than equal to men. Feminism is about lifting women up to the level of men to create an even playing field. Most everything else in society defaults to men. Do you complain about “mailman” “garbageman” etc? The world has catered to men for so long, and many of you are not willing to share that The fact that you are uneasy with the name is because you relate it to something that you see as weak and inferior {it’s also proof of why we need feminism}

        • the reason why anom doesn’t like the name ‘feminism’ is because it implies that men can’t be a part, also the terms ‘mailman’ and ‘garbageman’ were probably used because the majority of tem were male, yet there are female and gender neutral terms that can also be used

          • Exactly what Vanessa Ray said. Perfectly put.

            “also the terms ‘mailman’ and ‘garbageman’ were probably used because the majority of tem were male”

            Well, at the inception of feminism and even still today, the majority of feminists are female. But really, why take the term so personally? Almost all of my male friends consider themselves feminists–they don’t take personal offense or whine about feeling excluded.

        • By who? Who sees women this way? The only time I hear one gender critized it is men. Men are idiots, men are babies. Honestly, when is the last time you heard something positive said about men…ever, anywhere, by anyone? I can’t recall the last time and no one I know can either.

      • Oh Gawd… that old ‘neutrality’ myth… Life is not neutral. There is no such thing as objectivity (Study your philosophy!) and so it is about deciding which set of ideas you support or not, rather than sitting on the fence to please the audience… Confusion is allowed of course, which is what I suspect you are… No offence intended…

    • So when does the fight for equality end? This is my biggest reason for considering myself an anti-feminist. You claim your goal is to achieve gender equality, but how do you determine when equality has been achieved? In my opinion, equality has already been achieved. I can work the same jobs as men, receive the same pay, play the same sports and have the same rights. What more do you want? The only way left to achieve equality is to remove sexual dimorphism within the species, so unless you plan on altering biology, your goal has already been met.

      • Good grief, you really do not read quality newspapers or research do you? Get an education, then spout your opinion…

    • Exactly! Me too. That is why the “I do not need Feminism because I respect men” thing never stopped angering me. Feminism is NOT about man-hating and female superiority, it is about both genders being equal.

    • FYI: This site has, unfortunately, been hijacked by an anti-feminisi group of men from Canada. I won’t name the group because that’s what they want—publicity. It’s a vile group dedicated to “exposing man-hating feminazis.” I recognize their arguments here from other posts. I don’t give them the satisfaction of responding to their vile screed. I suggest the rest of you do the same.

    • Please stop, take a moment and….step back. Open your mind and heart to see this from a normal ((Genderless)) person seeking true fair treatment for all no matter your race, gender, religion or societal standing.

      This is the worst hypocritical statement about the entire group. IF its true you are about equality and NOT supremacy then you wouldnt call yourself a feminist. YOU WOULD CALL YOURSELF A EQUALIST or just a supporter of equal rights. There is no reason, absolutely no reason one gender needs to be segregated out and labeled in order to give balance. This does nothing but cause problems from cliques to placing stigmas on such formed groups.

      I beg each person who claims to support any group that focuses on the empowerment/defense/rally of one type of people to shed that label and embrace the truth if you HONESTLY support equality.

      I am a equalist
      1) One who believes all posses certain rights. The most basic of these rights being: life, possession, expresion. These rights are limited by the rights of others.

      2) One who defends the rights of all, whithout discriminating the opposition’s rights. Such a one opposes segregating terms such as: “black power”, “white power”, “feminism”, etc…
      A) “We believe that all, no matter their sex, race, or religion, have the right to life, possession, and expression. We are ‘Equalists’!”

      B) “Let us discard all discriminating terms. Including ‘black power’, ‘white power’, ‘feminism’ and any other discriminating term! Let us all be ‘Equalists’ !”

      Look at the members of the Feminist group, and see the truth behind their actions not their words. They may indeed seek to empower women but they are doing nothing but oppressing others instead of ending oppression all together. Two wrongs dont make a right and if you take a step back to see what the women who lead the Feminist movement are doing it will be easy to see why many people ((men and women)) are being pushed away from Feminist because they are not fighting for all.

      The majority of the people who rally to the feminist call show through their actions they are out for blood. They want men to suffer for the crimes of the past and the actions of other men in society. This causes men like myself to be turned off….and pull away when we have fought all our lives to help women. We support equal pay, fair treatment and respect.

      Thank you for your time if you read all of this with a open heart. I hope it opens some eyes and helps rally more to our cause. We need more people to fight for equality… we need help, to stand together with a true heart. We seek change to fix the problems, not retribution or hatred for the mistakes done and pain caused. Your friend Tanirus Equalist.

    • This #WomenAgainstFeminism shizzle comes from a position of distorted privilege and failed insight into the collective impact of others’ oppression. It’s great news that they are respected by the men they know and live in an environment of perceived equality – that’s what the feminist movement has achieved so far. Unfortunately however there are other women in the world who have a very different experience of life and there is still work for feminism and feminists to do in order to achieve gender equality and social justice.

      It’s okay for feminism to be challenging, but, yeah, it doesn’t help to be aggressive. As my homeboy Mahatma Ghandi (probably) said: ‘be the change you want to see in the world, ladybros; don’t just drink wine and shout about it’.

  2. “I don’t need feminism because I don’t hate men.”
    I’m such a man-hating feminist that I married one.
    And, when years later it occurred to that:
    1. Men could be feminists
    2. To ask him if HE was a feminist

    He thought about it a minute (probably a long the lines of 1., above) and said, “Yes.”

    And really, why wouldn’t he be? He’s not a mindless douche and he loves women.

      • Yep. I found this post from the Daily Beast article about how women against feminism just don’t get feminism. We are utterly misguided and the stupid idiots Caitlin Moran claims we are. The author even quoted Moran’s book that we must have been drunk when we refused the label. Yet, she obviously didn’t get Chapman’s point either. “Women Against Feminism and like-minded opponents try to distort the meaning of feminism by saddling the movement with unnecessary, limiting prerequisites. Feminists, we shouldn’t bite at their baiting. Instead, we should use Women Against Feminism constructively, but not as a legitimate criticism (which it is certainly not). It is a wakeup call for how poorly misunderstand our movement is.” Why is Women Against Feminism not a legitimate criticism? Who exactly is responsible for the misunderstandings? The feminists who insult non-feminists, or the women who get insulted?
        A helpful suggestion for feminists to fix their PR problem: spend more time figuring out why feminism has come to be seen as anti-men, anti-mother, anti-religious, liberal, radical, pro-choice, and those other unnecessary limiting prerequisites, and call out those declared feminists who have hijacked the movement, rather than continue to insult the women you seek to bring into the fold.

        • My guess is that it has been taken over by those with personality disorders. Honestly. I was at a party where everyone was being spun in circles before having to hit a piñata. When the most hardcore feminist had her turn she said ‘why am i the only one being spun around’. At that moment, a light bulb went off in my head. I remembered a recent article where a female, feminist writer was talking about a feminist magazine creator and the woman being discussed went absolute ape shit, claiming this pro-feminism journalist was harassing her.
          Or another article about a woman who got a job working at a feminist organization and how it caused her to lose heart in feminism because of the cruel, cruel women she worked for.

    • “And really, why wouldn’t he be? He’s not a mindless douche and he loves women.”

      Ah, yes, because all men who aren’t feminists are mindless douches and they hate women…

      See the point of the article yet?

    • I love women. I love feminists. real feminists. I despise radical feminists. if radical feminists tried entering the real world they would realise that 99% of the HUMAN RACE feel the same way.

    • So everyone that isn’t a feminist is a mindless douche that doesn’t love women? It’s despicable manipulation like that that exposes feminists for what the are, bullys.

  3. “you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes” to me is a good conversation starter because although everyone (that I know) agrees with the UN’s definition that “men and women should receive equal treatment, and should not be discriminated against based on gender, unless there is a sound biological reason for different treatment”, beyond that, what equality is or an individual’s particular ideas of what it should entail regarding society and themselves vary widely.
    From the very idea of masculinity and femininity, to education, dress-code, fashion, to their own sexual preferences and fetishes, as the article written by a feminist sub pointed out, as well as other factors.

    The wide array of conflicting personal ideas on what equality is and what a gender-egalitarian ideal society should be and how to bring it about are all residing under the umbrella term Feminist.

    Throw in religion into the mix of conflicting ideas and you understand just what feminism is up against in the places where the rule of law already prohibits gender discrimination, I would reason.

    Equality should be the start of the conversation, not it’s entirety, no matter how much we’d like a complex subject to be reduced to a motto or slogan.

  4. There are a couple of things here that grabbed my attention. First, you talk both about how fun and how intoxicating feminism is; second, you seem aghast that other women aren’t feminists; and third you say that you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes’. Just as an observation, it seems to me that the third statement may be belied by the first two (I say may be because of course you cannot speak for all feminists). For feminism in the way you described it is about much more than a belief in equality, but also seems to consist in a certain set of argumentative or rhetorical tools and duties. It’s about fighting back against perceived sexism (point one above) and affirming a shared identity (point 2).

    I wonder if feminism can be both inspirational in this way, but also alienating to others, because it is ultimately ideological? This isn’t a bad thing; socialism, conservatism, pragmatism, etc. are all well-respected ideologies. But in the fight over ideological closure (that is, the fight over the terms in which we try to describe and interpret what’s going on in the world), feminism is up against liberalism, which also advocates equality, but in a rather different way from feminists. The biggest difference, I think, is around the idea of equality of opportunity. Feminists take a somewhat controversial and expansive stance on what kinds of things limit equality of opportunity, while liberals take an equally controversial but minimalist stance on those things. So feminists want to focus on the make-up of the family, and how specific rules at work, say, may impact upon women because women are in important respects different from men. Liberals tend to want to leave the family to the private sphere, and they tend to want to be blind to gender differences and so on in order to avoid the minefield of whether positively discriminating is just the same old morally-incoherent discrimination.

    If this is the case, then it will always be so that some women prefer liberalism (because this sits with their view of the world better than feminism does), just as it will always be the case that some will prefer socialism, and others conservatism, etc. It’s just the nature of political disagreement: we all interpret the world in different ways, because the world is so complicated that each of these interpretations seems plausible.

    • If liberalism sat with people better than feminism, we would never have had the vote, the equal pay act, rape in marriage recognised, the pill, I could go on. Liberalism merely sits more easily with people due to a poor understanding of its true implications and consequences, specifically an inequality of power as those with the power to exercise power historically have sought to consolidate that power and wield it to their own interests, contrary to the interests of the many…

      What really counts from here on in is how liberalism deals with the concept of pursuing personal happiness, satisfaction and freedom given the collective environmental shit we are in…

      I loathe complacency about the meaning of liberalism, because it is what mitigates against the collective progress of the many…

  5. Thank you for this wonderfully recognizable story, and thanks Paul for adding such a valuable comment. In addition to that I have come to realize that forcing people to change (e.g. by using shame on them) just doesn’t work. I think there are definitely a lot of women out there who could profit from feminism but we cannot make them want this on our terms. It would be great if feminism could become a positive story, a movement that draws people to demand change from the bottom up.

    • And that is so true. I mean, you can’t force people to change by seeing, for example, that American Indians are real people with real value, because it just doesn’t work.

      We have to somehow invent…empathy.. in these people we hope to change..

  6. A brilliant article. I think you get the same treatment if you believe passionately in anything. Eyes roll, here she goes…
    I have learnt to restrain myself to the main points that ‘feminism is about equality’ and that there are many types and strains of feminism, with different beliefs and it is about women and men having the freedom to choose, rather than having to bow social prescriptions for different genders.
    I think, sadly enough, the term feminism instils a deep fear in many people. I had a conversation with a friend, a nice guy if, on this particular evening trying to be a bit provocative, and although he said he wasn’t a feminist at first, ended up agreeing with me on everything, but was put off by a) the name which implies a movement for female superiority and b) a fear of women being promoted in an un-meritocratic but quota-filling way. Most girls/women agree they are feminist if you approach it gently. Although personal views may vary, it is worth emphasising that feminism as a movement is full of different strains and isn’t against women being mothers, wearing fashionable clothes and getting married. Feminism wants these to be choices, not social obligations or the sole weight of a woman’s worth. Feminism is nice rant done…

  7. I think you are giving some of the anti-feminist ladies too much credit. I’ve no doubt that some of them are desperate man-panderers who think it’s a ‘in’ with the chaps if they renounce this awful feminism business that they find so off-putting.

    • It’s’ comments like that which create more women against feminism. Rather than actually deal with what they bring up, you dismiss them as man pandlers.

  8. Like the article about how we ought to spend more time being nice to rape apologists so that they don’t hate us, I can’t help thinking that wasting time on making feminism attractive to women who post pictures of themselves holding these kinds of statements about feminism is pretty pointless. These women are so frightened of acknowledging structural disadvantages and social contexts that they have buried their heads in the quicksand of patriarchy and hope that if they placate men enough *they* won’t be discriminated against, raped or any of the other things that they claim to be mysteriously immune to on their bizarre placards (for more, see here: Ironically, although their desire not to be victims, to have good relationships with men, etc, is pure feminism, they choose not to see it. Instead, they have bought the line that is used by male anti-feminists, from MRAs to the Christian right, to fundamentalist Islamic leaders: that feminism is actually causing men to hate women more than they did before it, in the olden days when men were chivalrous and women were grateful. The message here is that feminism is endangering, not empowering, women. This message exists to silence women’s demands for equality and make us accept a lesser status to be ‘safer’. Anti-feminist women believe this message and think if they shut feminism down, or at least disavow it, they will be protected from the supposed backlash. Of course, the whole idea is rubbish: feminism has vastly improved the situation of women and the backlash, although noisy, is only coming from the lunatic fringe that has never respected women: most western men now accept women basically as equals.

    The women who are being aggressively anti-feminist on their website aren’t put off by feminists, they are frightened of men. And the ones who aren’t frightened of the men around them are frightened of a male god as described for them by the men around them. They can’t and won’t think straight about equality. Some of them actually believe they don’t deserve to be equal, or weren’t ‘created’ equal. The only way to change the minds of these women is to change the minds of the men they’re trying to please, and that seems unlikely to happen. It seems better, on the whole, to focus on defeating this whole world-view, not by adopting some quietly-spoken (meaning inaudible), pliable (meaning deferential) feminism, but by using the tactics that work in the real world: being very audible indeed, applying pressure to all public institutions and systems of power, critiquing everything that needs critiquing, teaching the next generation to be committed to equality and justice, supporting each other, and so on. If we look at who has power and influence in this world, it’s not the soft-spoken people who try to please everyone: it’s the bullies, the shamelessly corrupt, the rich lobbyists, the ideologues of neoliberalism, appealing to the worst qualities in humans. This is not feminism’s way, but it is extremely important that we don’t pay any attention to non-feminists who want to tell us how to behave if we want their support. Anyone who states that their support of equality between humans is contingent on the those asking for equality conforming to the standards constructed for them by the privileged is playing a game. And it’s one that we should simply regard with a moment’s contempt before getting on with the real business at hand.

    • Teabag,

      Once again I find myself half in agreement with you, and half just plain irritated by your readiness to just dismiss anyone who doesn’t agree with you.

      Here’s my issue. You say:

      1) Women who put silly signs in front of their faces and post on tumblr are frightened of the truth of structural inequality.

      2) These people are nonetheless feminist, but choose not to see it (because they’re scared).

      3) They have “bought the line” that feminism is dangerous because of the backlash it will create. Since this clause is an “instead” clause for (2), I take you to mean that they choose to see feminism in this way.

      4) These women see feminism as risky, so they try to protect themselves from the risks by disavowing feminism. This is the reason you seem to rely on to explain the choice made in (3). These women choose a position on feminism as risky because they see feminism as risky.

      Clearly, you’re confusing two things here: choice and perception. You’re saying that women choose to see the world in a certain kind of way (choice) because they see the world in that way (perception). This is a category error: by definition, perceptions aren’t chosen (this is what Orwell was getting at with his satirical concept of “double-speak”).Saying that these women see the world in a certain way because bullies, the shamelessly corrupt, rich lobbyists etc. tell them that that’s the way the world is is one thing. But to fault them for believing these people as if they know them to be wrong is quite another, because it just doesn’t make sense. Why would I believe something that I know to be wrong? I believe things I think to be right. As it seemingly is with these women. Therefore, to reject them out of hand because you simply disagree with their views just plays up to their stereotypes of feminists as aggressive and elitist.

      Now you may be getting at something with the idea that these women are afraid. They may follow certain men’s claims because they’re afraid of these men. But this is not really a “choice” in any meaningful sense, and in any case it makes your dismissiveness seem rather callous. If they’re afraid, what good is it to just walk away?

      In any case, I’m not convinced that these women are scared, and you do nothing to justify this claim. Rather, I think they have simply swallowed a certain very vitriolic line on feminism, which they believe to be true. (And why not? No matter how knowledgeable each of us might be across one small part of the world, we are absolutely ignorant about the rest of it, and rely upon others to explain it to us. So we all have dumb beliefs, because we often listen to the wrong people. Why criticise these people for their particular dumb beliefs?) It’s easy to do that, since the main media line on feminism for non-Guardian readers is that it’s an old-fashioned, elitist view that wants to stop women from making their own lifestyle choices.

      As it happens, I think this reasoning leads to the same basic ideas about what should be done that you set out. Except I think the dialogue needs to be expanded to include these women. Quite frankly, they’re mostly just ignorant about what feminism is, so more clarity on the part of feminists the better (in providing this clarity, feminists might also buck the stereotype of elitism you seem so willing to live up to). This means addressing and publicising inequalities of power and setting out a public agenda for the kind of positive equality feminists want. But, here I’m with Pedro Cabal: there is no easy definition of equality (hence the warring ideologies). Feminists are, and always have been divided on what equality means, and that isn’t going to change any time soon.

      • Quite frankly, people like teabag (Appropriately named btw) are why I hate being around feminists. Cause most of them are intolerant, condecending, radicals. They have ruined feminism and until it’s remedied. I want no part of it.

        • Quite frankly, people like Caro are why I hate being around anti-feminists. Cause most of them are uniformed, imbecilic numptees. They have misunderstood feminism and until it’s remedied it’s best if they are no part of it.

          • You are exactly why anti-feminists are anti-feminists. Saying pretty much we are idiots is putting down women. Some feminists that I encountered are pushy in saying that other women should be feminists because it’s about empowering females and giving equality but the minute another woman doesn’t agree with you we should shut our mouths…

      • People who are anti feminist are not ‘scared of the truth’ but it’s 2015 it’s not like women are just for child bearing and cleaning the house anymore… I’m all for equality just not the way feminism goes about it. I’m not scared of backlash if anything I get more backlash for not being a feminist… Some comments feminists make are just/if not more idiotic than the ones anti feminists make… It’s 2015 women aren’t being held back by very much.

    • They are all young women and I’m going to go out on a limb and say they likely enjoy from some level of privilege. I don’t mean they all grew up in mansions with servants but if you’ve got time to tweet a selfie with some cutesy, colorful expression about why you’re not a feminist — rather than, you know, being preoccupied with trying to figure out how to pay the bills and feed the kids and where you’re all going to sleep if you get evicted because the rent’s 3 months past due, you enjoy a certain privilege. Deal with it.

      And I think that’s the point — they don’t realize the very privilege of being able to say they no longer need feminism is at least in part due to its successes. What I think would be so much more valuable would be to say, yes, we’ve achieved equality and don’t feel the need to demonize men but let’s get together and work to change things for the other women around the world who aren’t as privileged.

      I’m an African American female. While I don’t happen to agree with the rhetoric and actions of everyone who calls themselves a civil rights leader today, I’m not posting selfies demeaning the Civil Rights Movement and attempting to dismiss their heroism by saying “I don’t need equality, I don’t hate white people.”

      By the same token those who do identify with feminism should also show where they are actively fighting for women who can’t. And listen. When young women today tell you they reject feminism, don’t get agitated and try and change their minds. Ask them why. Listen to them. Learn from them in the same way you want them to learn from you. And then maybe try and address the reasons they dislike feminism. Every movement needs to keep up with the times. If it fails to attract the next generation, it dies on the vine.

  9. I’ve heard lots of two-question-acid-tests for feminism. One is ’1. Do you believe people should have equal opportunity? 2. Do you believe women are people?’ Another is ’1. Do you have a vagina? 2. Do you want control of that vagina?’

    I doubt I’d ever directly confront a non-feminist with these questions, but they’re certainly central to my personal philosophy.

    I know that many men respect women as equal human beings, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve never been groped on the tube, or ‘slut-shamed’ as a teenager for the most mediocre promiscuity, or patronised in a meeting, or cat-called late at night, or earned less than men in the same profession, or faced an unmoved reaction when relaying any of the above and similar stories.

    When I told my Dad I was a feminist at 17 (after reading Sue Lees ‘carnal knowledge’) I was dissapointed to discover his suspicion of feminism. He seemed to think it was shouty and synonymous with man-hating. I was dissapointed that my otherwise humane and enlightened father (who had raised me to strive for my full intellectual potential) might be so closed to such a straightforward and important premise.

    The answer was The Color Purple by Alice Walker.

    I left it at home while I was away at university – not by design – and he read it. He wrote to me to say it was honest, gentle, moving and deeply challenging.

    While it does make me want to get a bit shouty when I hear the multitude of ways in which women are not afforded control over their own bodies or equal access to opportunity, or that so many Hollywood films fail the Betchdel test and omit female experiences… I *try* to remember to be honest, gentle, persuasive and deeply challenging. If nothing else, at least this prolongs the conversation and heightens reflection.

  10. I got a good conversation going on my FB wall with women who consider themselves feminists and women who don’t (I consider them all feminist) as to their stances and their “why’s”.
    So thanks for the article, and to Paul’s comment regarding Feminism and Liberalism. Interesting take on the issue. And thank you to Beth for the Litmus test :)

    Men are mostly staying off to the sidelines other than the “likes” on some comments, which kind of shows there’s still a lot to be done and a lot of conversations to be had for open talks about Feminism to be inclusive….

    Sigh…. I know this sucks…. but really, let’s face it, it’s the word’s etymology.
    Like the 2nd part of Beth’s Litmus test, men’s answers make them fell like their stance on Feminism should be the same as those answers. I don’t have a vagina, therefore I should stay out of this altogether. It’s the word… (not judging choice or use of word and not advocating it’s replacement. Just my take on it).

    The problem is that men who feel entitled to control women’s vaginas are already out there picketing abortion clinics and bible bashing, so the rest of us men really have to get into the fray as well… fast.

    • When you deny a woman her right to choose whether or not she wants the label “feminist,” by considering her one regardless of her thoughts, aren’t you going against the basic rights earlier waves of feminists fought for?

  11. Why does the ‘term’ that we give to particular beliefs matter? If our actions embody a belief in equality, do we really need to label them or engage in lexical debate?

    Call it what we want: feminism, gender equality or other.

    Surely the most important aspect is that we embody our own personal values, putting them into action in everything we do and every decision we make. It is in doing this that we really influence people, by leading from example.

    Pulling people up on their own use of language is one way of creating cognitive dissonance, and -more importantly- discord amongst the very ‘sisters’ that we would aim to embrace and support.

  12. I think it is important to reflect upon the nature of words (but then I am a linguist). It’s not so strange that the word feminism itself has the potential to disturb people. It does sound as though it’s about women only, or even female supremacy, whereas I (and most feminists I think) am a firm believer that equal rights (and more understanding of gender roles) are good for both men and women.
    Obviously actions speak louder than words, but at this point in history who can really tell what actions ‘feminists in general’ are doing? I would call myself a feminist but still the following actions come to mind: squabbling, shouting, complaining about popular culture, being judgmental and/or indignant. If this seems harsh: I myself have been found guilty on several occasions of all of those.

  13. Warmond, the Netherlands.

    Thank you for the links to those “Women Against Feminism” sites. Let us hope those girls and women were taught at a very early age to take ownership of their lives, to take ownership of their bodies and of their body images and to take ownership of their sexuality. And let us hope they live their lives as agents, and not as objects. But I have my doubts …

    Acoustic loudness and it’s electronic equivalent on the interweb have never convinced me. But we should not forget that, in the late 60s and during the 70s, there were a number of extremely shrill and extremely loud mouthed, yet very eloquent anti sex, anti porn and anti men feminist operators who got most, if not all attention in the media. Those harpies and the noise they made are still remembered, if not in person, at least their extremism. It’s against their “legacy” and the backlash they generated, we are up against to this day …

    In the mean time a certain amount of progress has undoubtedly been made and by becoming main stream, it disappeared under the radar … it turned into electricity or tap water … only to be sorely missed the day it’s no longer there.
    And the forces of darkness and evil are working hard and very effectively together to bring about that day … sooner rather than later.
    That’s the danger we – women as well as men – have to face today

  14. I’m conflicted about my response to this article. On the one hand, it makes me really frustrated and sad when I encounter women/people who have been so turned off to feminism by the shouting/yelling/general judgy-ness that can often accompany these discussions. It means that, somewhere along the line, someone who claims the same label as me was so utterly rude that the person I’m talking to now equates all of us with such bad behavior. That’s annoying, because even if I’m on my best behavior, its pretty unlikely that I’ll be able to educate the human in front of me.
    On the other hand… shit like this pisses me off. When people complain about “bitchy feminists,” I see red because being passionate and blunt about something does not mean that I am a bitch. I know that there are women/people out there who cross that line, and sure, I might sometimes. But calling women irrational/hysterical/mean/bitchy when they are being loud and in-your-face is EXACTLY PART OF THE REASON I AM A FEMINIST.
    So, when you have things like this article – which makes really good points, I admit – I don’t know what to think. Generally I react poorly to anything that smacks of “Ladies, be quieter” and this article got my hackles raised in that regard. I agree whole-heartedly that attacking women for being cogs in the patriarchal machine is unfair, and celebrating small acts of feminism is a great idea. But toning down my passion seems the wrong way to achieve the ultimate end goal of equality here.

  15. The promotion and advancement of feminism has the entirely welcome effect of simultaneously facilitating the promotion and advancement of men’s happiness. An unhappy, unfulfilled and angry woman is no joy to be with or around. So to the women who claim they don’t need feminism I say you may not but men certainly do.

  16. Aw man this makes me sad. The women against feminism blog is just scary. In their manifesto they state reasons like this why they are anti-feminist:

    ‘Equal Pay is here… but it’s your choice: The “equal pay” claim is bogus and has been debunked. Any “average” differences in pay can be shown to come down to different choices in careers that have different earnings. The easiest way for women to “narrow the pay gap” is to train for engineering, computer science, and science-based career fields (the highest paying careers around). But they would rather complain. In fact, new research shows women are out-earning men in cities.’

    ‘Abortion as “empowerment”: This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. “Abortion as empowerment” teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.’

  17. We need to be thinking more about *why* ‘shouty’ etc ‘come to mind’ when people think of feminism. If you look at the history of opposition to women’s movements, for example, the opponents of women campaigning for the vote and many other kinds of basic rights in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was all about how noisy and unfeminine they were. Since opposition to basic equality for women because you don’t like the idea of women having the same privileges as you do, sounds bad, the main strategy has been to suggest that having, or wanting, equality is bad for the women themselves. Hence the various suggestions that women who speak up are physically unattractive, hysterical, won’t get a husband, damage the respect in which their sex would otherwise be held – putting all women in danger. These are old, old methods of attacking women. Go back further and you find assertive women being called ‘shrews’, ugly, unattractive, noisy as far back as you care to look in recorded history. Women who threaten patriarchal power have always been demonised in these ways. Unfortunately, since the history curriculum in schools seems to be all about men fighting Nazis and not so much about the history of the imposition of gendered norms and the curtailing of women’s freedoms, most people don’t know this. They think that it’s modern feminists who are to blame for this attitude towards women fighting for equality. But the attitude existed long before the political movement called feminism. So, again, the only sensible thing is to disregard it. The only people who can afford to be outwardly genial in pursuit of their aims are the people who already have power – and even they rapidly start making ugly threats if there is the slightest suggestion that the power they enjoy might be curtailed. Think about the amount of public discussion about how unattractive and noisy feminism is, in proportion to, say, to the amount of public discussion about the tactics used by oil companies to destroy resistance in areas where they want a free rein (Nigeria, for example, or the Arctic); or the behaviour of wealthy elites who are barely taxed because they threaten to leave the UK if they are; or the exact tone and language in which huge corporations force zero-hours contracts and/or don’t pay the living wage to workers; or the language used by the government to describe hard-working public sector employees like teachers and nurses, especially when they stand up for themselves and their professions.

    Women are far too vulnerable to these absurd criticisms about how we look and behave. We need to look beyond these and see how things are in the real world. We need not only to stop reading the fashion/celebrity/dieting magazines that are the main focus of this website, but to move so far beyond their concerns and the tiny, tiny mental world they seek to box us into that they don’t even register. If we’re still even considering changing the way we present arguments for equality on the basis of a cheap language of attack that has been used to silence women for centuries, we’re crazy.

  18. I was thinking beyond the awful tumblr showed in this post. I was thinking of all of the regular people I talk to (some of them friends or family) that somehow if not object to, then definitely don’t care about feminism. And how it would be possible to convince those people (especially when they are women or progressive men) that feminism is important and is in alignment with their existing moral values. It’s hard to be taken seriously, let alone get anything done, if you can’t even convince your ‘own people’ to join the cause. I’m not talking about compromise, I’m talking about using communication techniques that are a little more advanced than shouting and blaming. Btw lots of feminists in the past have used specific (sometimes controversial and/or manipulative) communication techniques in order to get things done. That’s being pragmatic.

    • I totally agree. I want results. I don’t really care if we have to do some manipulative/controversial/out there stuff to get them. A campaign of reasoned argument that noone listens to is a waste of everyone’s breath.

  19. Another great article. When I first discovered feminism aged about 18 I kind of had the zealotry of the converted too and I’m sure I made a fair few people really wish they hadn’t started chatting to me at one party or another.

    But after a while I just found preaching to everyone absolutely exhausting and started to withdraw a bit. I wouldn’t say that I find feminism as a movement ‘shouty’, and I agree with the commenters above who reference the link between being loud/forceful and a perceived unacceptable lack of femininity.

    What does bother me though about the feminist movement today is a kind of strain of elitism and orthodoxy which sidelines less involved/highly educated/well-read contributors. For example when courtney stodden said on American TV that she was a feminist she was widely ridiculed because she didn’t put across her point very eloquently and did so while wearing a dress which revealed her very large enhanced breasts. The elitist reaction was one of my less fun days as a feminist.

    I actually posted a link to my own blog on a previous article on this site and received a lot of traffic from it, but was pretty worried I might get a bad reaction as my blog is about makeup and I hadn’t really feminism-proofed it and was sure someone would find something to pull me up on (there were no mean comments btw, just to be clear). I’m pretty bloody well educated myself and very priviliged but even I have days when I think this lot are just not for me. All the nitpicking over insignificant semantics and in-fighting just turns me right off (sometimes).

  20. Stop TELLING us that we’re feminists! If “you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes” is “the crux” of it, then you’re screwed because matronising people is apparently gonna be your trump card indefinitely.

    We’ll decide whether we’ll call ourselves equalists, egalitarians, feminists or humanists, thanks.

    • I think that’s fair enough – if you identify more strongly with one of those terms, then use it.

      However, the debate so far has been about people who identify as “anti-feminist”, which your post implies you aren’t (i.e. it doesn’t sound like you would answer “are you a feminist?” with, “hell no, I loathe those equality-seeking toads.”)

      Would you be comfortable with answering, “I agree with the core of feminist ideals, but actually I would describe myself more as an [insert preferred "people are equal irrespective of gender" term here]“?

      If so, all is well, no-one will mistake you for a misogynist, hopefully no “matronising” (not sure what that is) has occurred and we can all continue to be friends.

      However, I’m interested in why you would be uncomfortable with being labelled a feminist – surely they’re sort of “and” statements? For example, I’m a feminist, a humanist and I hope an egalitarian. It’s not an either/or thing, is it? This isn’t meant to be provocative, I’m just interested!

      • Why ? “Feminism”, the global movement made of all its branches and groups, as a system, failed to acknowledge and separate itself from their extremists and non-egalitarian members.

        If you look at the political spectrum, you’ll see all kind of _ism (socialism, libertarianism, communism, liberalism, conservatism, etc) – and they all had to, at some point, exclude and separate themselves from their most extreme or most different subgroups. When they failed to do that, they lost momentum and lost a lot of their political power. The current global movement of feminism is currently experiencing that very problem.

        You may ask: Why is it needed ? Feminism is about equality and stuff, fighting the oppression of women, right ? It’s not that hard to be on the “good” side, no ?

        A simple example to illustrate my answer: equality.

        First, you need to define what kind of equality. Equality of treatment ? Equality of resources dedicated to each group ? Equality of “opportunity” ? Equality in terms of actual results ?

        Second, you need to decide how do you achieve that particular equality. Laws and courts, through fines or balanced malus/bonus system ? Special allocation of resources to achieve that goal ? Affirmative action ? etc…

        Third, you need to decide what are your priorities. Workplace equality ? Judiciary repression of assaults and abuses related to genders ? Political representation ? – To be efficient, you need to focus, and people will have different opinion on what is more important/urgent.

        Fourth, you need to decide if the actions should cover both genders at the same time or with a different (delayed) distribution of effort and resources in time. You’ll need to decide if both genders should be handled with the same intensity or with a proportionate intensity (but then you need to evaluate that).

        [personal note: It's something that the current "feminism" (the global movement) failed to acknowledge and handle properly, allowing other groups (such as the various MRAs movements) to recruit on that point.

        Some of these movements are perfectly fine and only want to address the issues affecting a gender (but of course they don't get notice, being polite and discreet), but some others (very vocal and very active) are deeply sexist organizations pretending to be "protecting" themselves (just like there is "white power" organization pretending to fight against racism affecting white people), and that room left by feminism allows these sexist organizations to slowly but surely influence the global population.

        It is the utmost importance that "feminism" (the global movement) immediately acknowledge that new paradigm and embrace the global gender issue (women, men, trans, and all the other genders) and rapidly globalize its ideology and actions.

        Sadly, feminism lost a lot its structure and leadership and it seem unlikely that drastic change will happen on time.]

        Fifth, you need to decide if your own country and society should be top priority, or if foreign countries should have more resources and efforts affected to their cause. You can’t flag all issues as extremely urgent and of the most importance, it’s diluting the efforts, actions and meaning of the movement.


        All these pivotal points need to addressed and discussed between members of the feminism movement, to clearly define what “feminism” stands for (the few global, common points), and distinctly identify the various branches and dissenting opinions (all the points where there is different opinions on what should be done and how).

        And finally, all the members who are considered too extreme or detrimental (through bad faith, misrepresentation of complex issues) to the movements need to be excluded or at least separated from the global movement. It may sound harsh and not very nice to some people who dedicated a lot of their life to (their own definition of) feminism, but it is necessary to allow the movement to go forward and negotiate change.


        As long as these two main objectives aren’t met, “feminism” will be progressively identified with extremism and constant antagonism by the common population, as it is the most visible and shocking (and shock = interest = media exposure) part of “feminism”.

        I personally think there is hope for the movement, but I could already spot a lot of people in the comments being in complete denial and rather than accepting there is a problem that requires introspection, they find refuge in even more self-convincing (“these people are ignorants, they need to be educated, they have been manipulated by MRAs agents, etc”).

        Only time will tell.

        • Ok, that’s very thought-provoking, thanks!

          I suppose I’ve never approached feminism as a movement that needs to define its boundaries that clearly. Many of your points talk about feminism as if it were a specific organisation like a political party, which needs a feminist manifesto and party leadership that sets the debate.

          At the moment, we have a very broad church which includes people on the ends of various spectrums (spectra?) who end up seriously disagreeing over key points.

          However, the alternative is to start turning away people because they don’t fit a narrower profile, and that’s a slippery slope. (People’s Front of Judea, Python fans?)

          For example, I tend to be conservative on some economic issues – I’ve even voted Conservative in the past which would put me way at odds with many of Vagenda’s contributors and readers. However, I disagree strongly with Conservative party members who vote for narrower abortion rights and against gay marriage. There’s probably lots of voters like me – it doesn’t seem to stop the conservatives seeking my vote. It’s the individual’s decision to identify with a movement or organisation, not the other way round.

          So why should feminism be any different? Should I be barred from the feminist banner because I vote Conservative? Where is the dividing line? If you had a UKIP voter who still identified as feminist because she/he is anti-EU but right-on for women’s rights, are you going to tell them to get out?

          All organisations are attempting to broaden their appeal and reach out to new recruits, while trying to shush their more extreme elements. Sometimes the extreme elements bugger off voluntarily (like UKIP).

          I’m not sure you will ever have a centralised global (or even national) feminist organisation that has the authority to set the agenda. Even if that existed, I don’t think it would be able to stop extreme feminists (as you see them) or misandrists calling themselves ‘feminist’.

          Most (all?) current religions of scale have schismed in the past and the surviving branches often fundamentally disagree on what it is to be a believer. Do you think we need a schism? That often leads to conflict.

          I don’t think there’s an easy answer. I would love there to be a globally agreed, inclusive 10 Commandments of Feminism (or even one – do unto others etc…) but without that, I suppose we just keep trying to get open, inclusive feminism into mainstream media to try and show people that it’s a worthwhile ideal to identify with. Even if it’s a bit nebulous. And even if you don’t feel that EVERY feminist you come across is an exact representation of your own views.

  21. Why is it that we focus on what these anti-feminists are thinking, and not WHY they think that way? Do we really think these girls just thought of these things on their own? These girls aren’t the problem. They are the SYMPTOM of the problem. So what is the problem?

    Radical feminists.

    Go to youtube. Search for “toronto feminist protest”. THAT is ‘feminism’. THAT is what these girls have been exposed to, either in videos like that, or from posts by radical feminists. We will never be able to stop people from becoming anti-feminists until we exorcise the radicals from feminism. THEY control feminism. THEY are the ones who are defining it, not us. THEY are the ones that make these girls revolted by feminism.

    Those girls are not the problem. They don’t need to be ‘fixed’. They don’t need to be ‘educated’. WE need to be educated. WE need to wake up to the reality that feminism is being utterly destroyed from the inside out. People harp about the MRA groups, but they’re all bark and no bite. The radical feminists do more damage than all of the MRAs combined. The radical feminists are why we see celebrities saying that they are not feminists. (leading to a flood of hate against them – which doesn’t help.) The celebrities aren’t saying it because they’ve been influenced by MRAs. They’re saying it since they have seen radical feminism and they want no part of it.

    Feminism is diseased. It’s infested by hate. The radicals are quite happy to espouse the hateful messages that we see these anti-feminist girls rejecting. The radicals don’t care about feminist ideals. They only care about their perverted and twisted interpretations of those ideals.

    Anti-feminists will go away when radical feminists go away, and not before. We will never change the minds of anti-feminists so long as the radical feminists keep up with the hate. The two are incompatible.

    So the choice is to take on the radical feminists and reclaim feminism, or accept things as they are.

    Treat the PROBLEM, not the symptom.

    • That’s like arguing that the Animal Liberation Front have given the RSPCA a bad name, and people will only stop abandoning labrador puppies when Vegananarchists tone it down a bit.

      I doubt that the celebrities who refuse to label themselves feminists have been turned off the movement by the writings of Andrea Dworkin… there are some more complex things going on, and putting all the blame on radical feminists is pretty simplistic.

      • Well you could be like the Catholics and just ignore the ones validating their reasons and dismiss them and pretend that it will all go away…(Cause that is basically what people who ignore misandry do. They apologize and say oh but.. NO wrong is wrong and we should have enough spine amongst us to tell them to stop.).. This is why I stand up and say these people are wrong, BECAUSE they are bad for the movement. And as a Feminists I am actually surprised at exactly how many give no care whatsoever to the blatant inequality that happens in the name of feminism. It’s quite disappointing, though I’m not sure at *how* surprised I am anymore.

      • Not simplistic; just incredibly to the point. You cannot make inroads on any point or issue by being loud, verbally abusive, and condemning of anyone that disagrees with you or points out your behavior is unproductive.

        Beautifully sculpted Jamie.

    • So if I followed that logic, and I happened to watch media coverage during the 2008 election of white people in rural areas of Southern and Midwestern states calling BO a nigger and a terrorist, then I’d have to assume everyone who’s a Republican or calls themselves a conservative or lives in one of those rural areas in said states is a racist. CNN wasn’t going to the peaceful campaign rallies and talking to people who say you know, I’m voting this way because I’m for smaller government, less spending, gun rights, etc because that has no shock value and doesn’t sell. And that’s exactly why the radicals of any movement pull stunts such as the Toronto protest. It’s unfair to say they represent the ideology.

      That said, just as people say that conservatives need to stand up and distance themselves from racist, sexist and homophobic rhetoric, I think it’s fair to say that feminists should do the same to those who damage the movement by saying and doing outlandish things to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  22. As an 18 year old feminist who has been called everything from fiery bitch to cold bitch (at least it’s never tepid bitch) I relate to so many of the comments here.

    The line I take now is often directed and widening the discourse to more international women’s issues (I don’t like this term, they’re everyone’s issues) though I feel this may be a bit of a cop-out on my part; every Tom Dick and Sally’s got an opinion on stuff like equal pay and tit mags but no one messes with Malala Yousafzai, rape in conflict or FGM.

    This tack tends to shut people up and avoids the endless looping arguments about maternity leave or ‘empowerment’, but that’s not really the point is it?

    Pointing out underlying attitudes which contribute to ‘sneaky’ sexism within a western context and out-and-out violence and oppression directed at women should be the next step to helping people get the bigger picture of what feminism is and why it’s important.

    As for keeping cool in debate, I like to imagine I’m a therapist, trying to uncover their attitudes towards women, often with some precision questioning even the most stalwart sexist will let their barriers down (I’m currently working on my brother, asking him to what he thinks it’s like being a girl in a club, then walking home, yielded promising results).

    Everyone has their own way of going about debating but I’ve found the analytical, patient approach more satisfying in the long-run (not to mention less infuriating) when you see someone actually internalise what your saying.

    • Great point – I grew up in the 70s and 80s thinking “feminism” was just irrelevant. It took some learning and life experience before I understood that the bra-burning, shouty protesters I recalled from my childhood had largely been responsible for the changes I had always taken for granted. It then took the birth of my own daughter to broaden my perspective again, seeing how crushing societal norms and media (mis)representation are for our admittedly privileged kids. I have friends who are aid workers with firsthand experience of conditions for girls in some developing nations – just heartbreaking. So, I guess my point is firstly there should be a place at the table for all the different kinds of feminists, and with regard to the “non feminists”, they never know when they might need us there is hope!

  23. What bothers me most about this meme is how self-centred it is. It’s saying “I have not been raped myself, therefore it is not an issue for any women”. They mostly look like teenagers so It’s something I hope they’ll grow out of.

    • Its the victim-hood mentality that is constantly perpetuated by feminism and feminists they don’t embrace when they say “I’m not a victim!”.. not that they haven’t been victimized before.

      I’ve looked into their sites and seen several rape survivors who are sick of feminism also with the statement “I’m not a victim”..
      Many Feminists basically holds them in their trauma by constantly pandering to their victim status when all they want to do is to move on. For example, rape jokes is a method many rape survivors use to distance themselves from their trauma.. but rape jokes are the worst thing ever you can joke about according Feminists..

      • Wtf? Why are you lurking women’s rape survivor sites in the first place? Obviously it wasn’t for any empathy and understanding, you sick freak. Don’t hear Seinfeld laughing on stage and reminiscing about the good ole days when uncle yosef slipped him a roofie and raped him on the side of the road after a baseball game. What the hell is the matter with people like you? Seriously

  24. Sigh. Another naive feminism supporter. Just like I was. Before. I watched a NOW feminist lying under oath about father’s and abuse to my legislators to kill our 2006 shared parenting bill. Then I saw other NOW feminists lying under oath about fathers and abuse to kill every shared parenting bill introduced across the country. Feminists fight against equality. Gender feminists that is. Gender feminists have influenced domestic violence laws. How many abuse shelters have you seen for men, even though they are forty percent of all seriously injured victims? That’s due to feminists. They fight against equality. There is the ideal… Then there is what gender feminists are doing in politics, and in education (teaching untrue anti male ‘facts’ in women’s studies.)

    • This and so much more!
      Actually a pretty decent article, shame so many of the posts that follow simply still do not get it.

  25. Most of the signs I’ve seen in this thing show the women (or whoever wrote the signs – people do have these photos taken for cash on fiverr) know absolutely nothing about feminism.

    The “we mustn’t be too shouty” line is just another version of how the oppressed class in question has to be nice, how they shouldn’t be rude, how they shouldn’t do or say anything to upset the oppressor class, because then the oppressor class will have their fee-fees hurt and won’t listen. Except that’s proven to be a totally useless strategy, because when women in particular are nice and quiet, men go right on ignoring us or dismissing us.

    I’m not into hand-holding for people who can’t be bothered to look up what feminism actually means.

    I’d rather laugh at them, if anything. Confused Cats Against Feminism is one way to do it that’s taken off in the last couple of days.

    • OK. So a) they know absolutely nothing about feminism (nice sweeping statement there), so b) we should laugh at them. What, like: “hahahahaha what noobz! Idiots don’t know SHIT! hahahaha”? I think this says more about you than it does about the women in question.

      People often seem so keen to be superior to others (incidentally, part of the problem disadvantaged people across the board have faced), and this looks just the same to me. Reject “hand-holding” as much as you want, but it just makes you look like another stereotypical elitist. And this has nothing to do with “upsetting the oppressor class” – that’s just rhetorical nonsense. This is about engaging with people who misunderstand the nature of equality and who can only be persuaded by a patient, persistent attempt to overturn media and cultural stereotypes. In this, your kind of shoddy attention-seeking does more harm than good.

    • That is my point. If we want feminism to continue and even thrive among the younger generation, we can’t dismiss or laugh at them. No movement is going to survive if no one is there to take the reigns in the future because they don’t understand it.

  26. Criticism puts anti-feminists on the defensive and makes them want to justify themselves further.
    These poor girls deserve to have their (irrational) concerns heard and we as feminists owe it to them to take their concerns seriously and to act on them. To turn a blind eye to them is a very bad idea in my opinion.
    This morning I registered and I’ll be working on it this week and for the forseeable future. Will aim to post there on a daily basis.
    I believe thought comes first, but without action, we’re just preaching to the converted. So anyone interested in getting involved – please get in touch with me via twitter: @simonmcandrew

    Lastly I’m very happy to have found this site and looking forward to the audio version of the Vagenda.

    • “Irrational”? How precisely does that help? With one word, you’ve dismissed their position and diminished them to less than you; “I don’t need to take them seriously because they’re irrational.” You’re not “helping,” you’re “humoring.” Not really going to convince any of those girls to listen to you.

      And I’ve noticed that many people commenting here refer to them as little girls, naive, inexperienced. True, a lot of them are young. But that doesn’t mean all of them are. I’m a grandmother. I have been called names. I have received hate mail. I have been bullied. All by feminists who were outraged that I had opinions and made choices that didn’t toe the Party Line. Nowadays, I’m past it. I’m not particularly feminist. I’m not particularly anti-feminist. It all seems like a tempest in a teapot, with everybody’s outrage turned up to eleven because it’s expected, not because it’s helpful. I have better things to do than get my knickers in a knot over some pictures on the internet.

      Some advice from a grandmother, if you’re interested:

      1. Name calling never convinced anybody to agree with you. EVER. Neither did death threats, bullying, shaming or condescension. If you’re wanting to hurt and offend, shame away; just know that you’ve already lost the argument. If you’re wanting to persuade them, try listening and talking.

      2. Those girls are not 100% right on their position. But guess what: neither are you. Both sides have valid arguments. Try listening, instead of dismissing them as “irrational.” See No. 1 above for why.

      3. And finally, do you know how much energy it takes to be outraged and offended all the time? The whole internet is up in arms over some photos on Tumblr. For heaven’s sake! A little perspective might be in order here. This could be solved so easily, and everybody is burning all their energy being outraged and offended. Surely you can find better ways to spend that energy, something constructive?

  27. “The crucial argument ‘you’re a feminist if you believe in equality between the sexes’ just isn’t being heard clearly enough amid the noise.”

    Yes it is. I think the problem is that the argument has been heard and accepted by pretty much everyone in the western world at this point. I defy you to find anyone who would not agree with the statement that men and women should be equal. That’s why now it’s down to pushing the silly idea that not only are men and women equal, but that they are the same, and complaining about random little things — of the “Is that sexist? I think it might be sexist!” type — that end up making “Feminists” look entitled, spoiled, and just no fun to be around.

    Now the non-western world, well that’s another story.

    • Um, this seems to be a bit of a sweeping statement. As you’re on a feminist website, commenting on an article about how to engage with people who are anti-feminist, it would be interesting to understand how you formed your viewpoint.

      What experience have you had of Western feminism that makes you think that it is only focused on denying biological differences or trying to find sexism where none exists?

      I understand that the gulf between the lives of women in Europe vs those in Saudi Arabia or Pakistan is vast. I also understand that being leered at on the street is a world away from the horrors of FGM (not solely a non-Western issue, by the way). However, it doesn’t logically follow that we shouldn’t complain about objectification because other women have it worse.

      The whole point of this article was to accept that talking passionately about something to someone holding a contrary view tends only to entrench both sides. I am willing to understand that some feminist issues feel trivial to you. In turn, are you willing to concede that the lives of women in Western Europe (and US) are not yet sexism-free?

      • Um, this seems to be a bit of a sweeping statement.
        I know it’s a sweeping statement. Please don’t make me qualify every sentence and thought with “most” or “not all” or “for the most part”. Let’s just take for granted that not 100% of the human species is 100% any one way or the other ever. Let’s also take for granted that what I say is my opinion, and all that.

        What experience have you had of Western feminism that makes you think that it is only focused on denying biological differences or trying to find sexism where none exists?
        My experience with it comes from living with it for more than half of my 42 year life (the first 18 years or so I wasn’t really exposed to it much). Women like me and so I have many female friends, most of whom are feminists, and some of whom would probably qualify as radical (some of whom I dated back in the day).

        However, it doesn’t logically follow that we shouldn’t complain about objectification because other women have it worse.
        I’m not saying women shouldn’t complain BECAUSE other women have it worse. I’m just saying my comments don’t apply to women in non-western countries.

        I am willing to understand that some feminist issues feel trivial to you. In turn, are you willing to concede that the lives of women in Western Europe (and US) are not yet sexism-free?
        I’m willing to admit that there is still some sexism. It will never be wiped out. Nether will any of the other isms. The problem is that relative to the amount of sexism that’s left, the amount of complaining about it is overwhelming. People have so many problems in their lives – health, kids, finances, family, drama, death, wars, etc etc – that it’s becoming increasingly hard to care about the remaining smidgins of sexism. EVERYONE has issues. I’m not white, for example. But the great institutional injustices have been fixed. There comes a point where one needs to just accept that life will never be totally fair and move on. At least tone it down, like the author says.

        I’m just explaining what’s happening from a common man’s perspective.

        • Ok, cool. Thanks for clarifying. So it’s not that there isn’t sexism per se in Western societies, but that you feel that you don’t have time to address it given you have other concerns and worries, and that it gets too much press.

          Would it be fair to say that you are happy for other people to focus on sexism in the UK, just not to bother you with it? By the way, I’m not suggesting that’s necessarily a bad thing – there’s no way you need to be personally on point with every campaign for human rights, that would be exhausting!

          But to take your example, I am white. I’m not involved deeply with anti-racism campaigns. However, I also don’t go on anti-racism forums and tell people to shut up about it because they’ve got the same legal rights in the UK as everyone else. I don’t do that because I accept that racism is still a big issue in the UK which deeply affects people’s lives, and therefore who am I to tell them their issues aren’t worth some attention.

          When we don’t have to deal with certain obstacles, it’s really easy to stop noticing how they affect other people. I’m impatient – I have to catch myself when I’m frustrated in a queue, watching someone elderly take a long time to pay. I’m late for work, I have a demanding boss, I have shit to do. But I don’t have to deal with arthritic fingers, poor eyesight and so on and so forth. I’m lucky.

          So if you’re telling feminists that they come off as entitled and spoilt, be sure that you’ve really thought about where they’re coming from. Yeah, maybe they need some perspective, but maybe your perspective could shift a bit too.

          P.S. If there’s an issue in that list which you think is particularly worthy of attention, e.g. poverty, war, kids development, by all means get out there and make some noise about it. I’m right behind you! Life won’t ever be fair, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying to make it a bit better, right?

          • This is a very measured response; I don’t think I’d have the energy.

            Surely a simpler response to Alex’s point is to say: do you really believe that EVERYONE has accepted gender equality? What about misogynists? I don’t think they have. Men in the street who comment on my girlfriend’s body? Nope, not them either. More importantly (and more challengingly [wow, did I just make up a word?]), what about people who avoid employing young women who may go on to have babies? What about women who take a job and instantly take time off to have babies? Is the employer right to feel aggrieved? What does equality mean when you’re talking about people who have fundamental differences? These are very difficult questions, which elicit a range of political opinions. Not all of them hold to a strong value of equality.

            I write below that generalisations are pretty much useless, and I’m afraid this one is no exception.

  28. Well I think somebody can be on the margin of feminism, in support of it but not believe in everything feminisms say. There is nothing wrong with wanting things some feminists don’t feel happy with. But when people say they’re a feminist I always wonder the true extent they believe in equality. People are usually naïve about that. If you call yourself a feminist, how often have you A Made too much of a fuss over someone who has a problem that is not their fault, like disability, illness, allergy or Speical Needs when they have told you not to? B Judged someone based on their appearance? C Heard about a crime and assumed it was done by a man just because it seemed like it should have been? D Taken sides over a situation just based on something that has nothing to do with the situation itself? To name but a few examples, so yeah I think most “feminists” at some point have done something anti-equality in their lives, few people in the world haven’t.

    • Some people may agree with some things feminists say but not others. Absolutely. But, so what? What’s interesting about this?

      Everyone will have done something anti-equal in their lives. Yep, just by living. Although this board will have you believe there are two Pauls, I doubt there’s anyone quite as ridiculous and irritating as me. Also, I haven’t met anyone with quite the same eye/hair colour combination as me. That’s right! I live and BREATHE inequality, bro!

      I don’t think you mean this, though. I think you mean that if I break the law, I can no longer sincerely believe in the law. But I think that’s silly. I break the law not because the law’s not a good thing, but rather because sometimes I lack self-control. So my political preferences might be for stricter laws that are harder to break, because I think my life and the lives of those around me would be better if I didn’t break any laws. Where’s the contradiction?

  29. Perhaps if you read a little Dworkin or Solans, you might understand better where these sentiments are coming from.

    “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.” — Andrea Dworkin

    Perhaps people misunderstand that quote because it lacks context? Or perhaps Dworkin meant exactly what she said. I don’t know.

    • I’m not happy about this. Not happy at all.

      First off, the comment. “Famous people say stupid shit.” It’s hardly news, is it? I admit I’d not even heard of Valerie Solans (had to get a bit of help from my old chum Wikipedia). But my point is going to have nothing to do with her or Dworkin.

      it seems to me that people get too caught up on the label here. They’re interesting, because we like to simplify stuff. If you had to qualify every statement with “I’m probably wrong, but”, and if you could never speak in generalisations (which are pretty much always factually inaccurate), life would be pretty boring. I get it: generalisations make life interesting. But analytically, they’re useless. “Dworkin said some shit, people get offended, people tar whole political movement with scorn-brush” is normatively benign. It’s like a bottle of value vodka (or the Daily Mail) – you know it’s there, but there’s absolutely nothing of interest in it. It’s too bland and meaningless to explain or enlighten anything.

      In any case, my guess is that reactionary anti-feminists haven’t heard of Dworkin or whatever her name is. People don’t jump on bandwagons because they have thought long and hard about them (let alone read about them!). Quite the contrary – people who read tend to avoid bandwagons. Rather, they seem to like the expressive value in it. What’s interesting, then, are the ideas that capture this expressive value. Teabag above argues that the expressive value is one of fear. In contrast, I think there are a variety of other values (conservatism, liberalism, macho-ism, whatever). The interesting question is how/whether these values can be married to feminism. So, there’s a liberal feminism, a conservative feminism (just about), perhaps even a macho feminism. If so, what has to be given up? What kind of “equality” do each of these entail, and are they compatible? What kind of rhetorical strategies can feminists use to show reactionaries that they don’t have to abandon their values? And so on.

      In short, what’s interesting about this is the ideas, not the sentiment.

      Second, since when did the internet allow two Pauls to comment on the same webpage? I thought there was a law against it or something. I have neither a beard nor a grin.

      • Oh, we’ve heard of Dworkin. The mistake feminism is making is thinking that these women are ignorant of feminism – that this is a failure of feminism to educate. It’s not. These women are (mostly) familiar with Dworkin, McKinnion, et. al., and yes, when the radicals of a movement start talking about stuff like male genocide, it touches the sensitivities of some women.

        The mistake is to think that these women don’t know that feminism espouses equality. They know that. But they also know feminism by its works, by the damage that it has done as a movement (even if they have plenty of feminist friends). They resent feminism trying to include them into the movement by proxy (“if you believe in equality, you’re a feminist” – not true) or co-opt them by their gender. They resent feminism claiming to stand for all women when they don’t feel represented by it. They resent being told they are stupid, uneducated, and insulted directly for their choices by women who claim to stand for a woman’s right to do what she wishes.

        Don’t think you’re hiding feminism’s radical edge from them. And that’s bad enough. But what they are reacting to is the accumulated baggage that feminism as a social and cultural force has tried to force them to carry. The behavior of individual feminists, in pursuit of ideological purity, has been reprehensible. To these women feminism is anti-family, anti-motherhood, and anti-male not because of feminism’s alleged pursuit of equality, but because that has been the practice of actual feminists in the field. Whether their issues are personal, ideological, or political, the fact of the matter is they have rejected feminism, as most men have, at this point.

        What are y’all going to do about it? Accept that feminism doesn’t represent the interests of all women, or attempt to shame and browbeat them into accepting a label and an ideology that they find repugnant? Because I just don’t see feminism actually taking a good, long, hard look at its ideology, how it is applied, and how it has been hurtful as often as it has been helpful, and make some changes.

        I just don’t think y’all have it in you.

  30. Perhaps peer pressure is the new feminist weapon?

    My old flatmate used to be very vocal about her anti-feminism and I would desperately try to reason with her, give her stats, make her see sense, and on and on. Then one time she said something anti-feminist in front of my much cooler, much older, much wittier lady friend and all my friend had to do was give her a withering look and my flatmate never made another dodgy comment again because she realised that her anti-feminism wasn’t cool.

    Is there a lesson to be learned here? Discuss.

  31. “In order for feminism to be truly powerful it needs to be accessible and engaging, to everyone, and at the moment it’s just not, not yet.”

    Not yet? How many more decades do you need? :-)

  32. Drop the label, you don’t need to put so many positions on different subjects under the umbrella term of feminism. I believe in equality, but what equality? Under the law, of course. Now some people might say, well, you are a feminist, and i say, fuck no. The reaction is due to its association with other positions such as the existence of a rape culture, the patriarchy, the wage gap, etc, many which i disagree. So when you identify yourself as a feminist, people put all this baggage and the actions of the persons associated with this positions unto yourself. The women on this facebook page understand such thing and thus, reject feminism.

  33. I’m sure there are aspects of Feminism that all people can agree on. However, just like any movement, there are points that will be agreed on, and points that will be argued for. Surely this is something you agree with? Maybe one Feminist will think Porn is an acceptable profession while another will see it as opression. Every movment will have contraditcions and this is modern feminisms issue.

    From what I am reading, you sound very embattled in your view points. You said “you are riding the wave” of feminism. When you react with a “tirade” it can only mean you are arguing more from a sense of ego than logic. Maybe the woman at the party had some logical points?

    I look at feminism like I would look at another movement. Valid points of course, but I won’t wear the hat. I won’t let it seep into my identity and let my ego inflate. And I think this anti-feminism movement is some overgrown reaction to the Ego’s rather than the actual arguments.

  34. Ironically, most of the women in the pictures said they believed in equal rights. What on earth do they think feminism is?! They are feminists! They’ve just forgotten what it means!

    • If I were a woman I would be grossly insulted by your comment, which seems to have become a standard apologist talking point. Take a look at this post from July 19th… then STOP. And look at it AGAIN.

      Do you understand now how counter-productive your condescension is? Actions speak WAY louder than words. Manhating activist radicals have stolen the “brand”, marketed the DE FACTO definition of Feminism and spoiled the word and any association with it for many smart, sensible, equality-loving women who know very well how to use a dictionary. If you can’t acknowledge the rot at the core, you will continue to lose hearts & minds.

      • Do you know how condescending it is to admit you’re not a woman but then proceed to speak for women and tell us what we should be offended by?

        • Do you know how condescending it is to be a woman and to have other women try and tell you that you are a feminist after firmly telling them that you are not?

        • Em, your comments above, like this one, show thoughtfulness, even when you proceed from an irrational premise. But your snarky reply to my point fails at basic reading comprehension, and at logic.

          1) I speak for myself. Never said otherwise.

          2) The link I cited, which you completely ignored, was posted by a woman on the site this article discusses. She is obviously offended by your assumptions. You *don’t* know that she’s young, and/or privileged. Can you at least admit that much? Do *you* speak for *her*?!?

          P.S. I am an African American male and your comparison of Feminism to the civil rights movement is facile. It would be more accurate to compare Feminism ~ as a theory, dogma, -ism ~ to Black Nationalism, or the Back to Africa separatist movement. Those fringe ideologies might like to *think* that they speak for all Black folks, but of course they do not. Feminism suffers from the same delusion.

  35. I will never, ever join your group or call myself a feminist!
    Why? Because the primary concern of you feminists seem to be about whether or not someone is part of your group! Again and again, that has come to be your main concern, instead of actually raising awareness for an issue or a social concern!

    Make a decision, do you want people to rally together for an important issue or to try and increase your club? If it’s for the later then forget it. If it’s the former then our union would be on the basis of an issue and upon resolving that issue, we’d be free to leave for our own ends without having to deal with the sticky adhesives resulting from a group mentality.

    Btw I do not believe in equality! I believe in human rights!
    There is a difference. The former is ambiguous, the later is well defined.
    So to sum up, to get better results, lead movements on the basis of an issue,
    and not on the basis of trying to increase group numbers!

  36. with reference to the note attached to the women’s head in the photo at the top of this article. The claim is made in the first person I.e. I don’t need feminism because I love masculine men. so the logic of this statement if I’m right is that in her view feminism, equality for women will emasculated men. This statement suggests this young women has very little faith in modern man to live in an equal and fair society. If that is true what in her view would change that?

  37. For me (and for most women who say they are not feminists) feminism means social, economic and political equality for the genders. It’s that simple, but the message has got lost in a hailstorm of bullshit.

    Having said that, if anyone tells me they’re not a feminist, I don’t even argue. I move on immediately, feeling glad they’ve identified themselves as too stupid to bother with, because life is too short.

  38. SO much gratitude for this post. As Third Wavers, it IS up to us to define Feminism for the 21st century. It is most certainly an inclusionary vision not exclusionary based on gender — in fact it rejects the whole notion of gender binary! — race, sexual preference, political stance, etc etc. When I see the “Women Against Feminism” or #Idon’tneedfeminismbecause — of course I want to scream! The people I’ve encountered with this attitude / belief generally haven’t taken the time to actually educate themselves as to what Feminism actually is and how we Third Wavers are re-defining it for ourselves.

  39. I don’t understand. It isn’t okay to be a feminist and be loud and pushy and aggressive — and I completely agree with that. But why is it okay to be ANTI-FEMINIST and be loud and pushy and aggressive? Stereotypes of non-feminists are wrong, wrong, wrong — this is true. Yet why does everyone seem to be okay with propagating feminist stereotypes — NEGATIVE feminist stereotypes, for the most part — and in a hateful way? The people who are against and constantly criticize feminism are little better than ingenuine extremists who call themselves feminists. People who want feminists to understand why they are against feminism should not be insultingly negative and aggressive, since they believe that feminists should not be insultingly negative or aggressive. If both sides continue to pummel each other with insults, then neither side wins.

    Yes, somewhere down the line, something happened and the image of feminism and what it stands for has been warped and mutilated — by feminists and non-feminists alike. We have to take a step back and try to rebuild feminism and its community (which should absolutely include men!), but how do we do that? That is what the latest generation of feminists has to figure out. We have to find a common ground and dispel the notion that feminists are supremacist, man-hating “nazis”. We are not. We are individuals — just like men are individuals. We all have varying points of view, and we all have rights. And we should all hear each other speak, and cease attacking one another, because society functions best through cooperation, not isolation and antagonization.

    Great post.

  40. Actually they’re not misunderstanding feminism in the slightest. They’re seeing what you are unable to see as perhaps you’re too close to the problem to see it accurately or maybe you just can’t bear to face an unpleasant truth. But you’re not going to convince anyone worth convincing by simply pointing to the dictionary definition of feminism then folding your arms smugly like you just proved something. The problem is that there is an enormous gulf between the THEORY of what feminism is allegedly about (the dictionary definition) and the PRACTICE of what feminism really is and does in reality.

    It is quite easy to demonstrate what I mean. You see, when your movement claims that it is simply fighting for equality with men, not special privileges above and beyond what men have, no silly, just equality, then your movement needs to explain why it still exists in the western world now that women have had all the same rights as men for quite some time now in addition to some female-specific special privileges on top of that which no man will ever have. Point me towards even ONE law in the U.S. for example which discriminates against women in favor of men. I hear crickets chirping. When you have already achieved all the same rights as men yet you still keep on playing the victim card to try to milk further gender-specific concessions out of society, guess what? You’re making it pretty damned obvious to anyone with more than 2 brain cells to rub together that equality isn’t nearly good enough for you, that you’re a female supremacist movement unconvincingly dressed up as one that’s “fighting for equality”. (For crying out loud, even the movement’s very NAME gives away its purpose. If it was fighting for equality it would be called egalitarianism or humanitarianism or something quite a bit less narrowly gender-specific.)

    If feminism TRULY was about fighting for equality rather than being a one-sided gynocentric superiority movement then ask yourselves why it constantly pooh-poohs any problems or injustices that aren’t 100% exclusively about women. Ask yourself why it makes no effort at all to redress any of the imbalances that favor women over men.

    For example, where is the feminist activity on the issue of women being sentenced to 60% less prison time for the same crimes as a man? Why isn’t feminism demanding that women be held to the same standard of adult responsibility as a man who committed the same crime? Why is your movement content with such an egregious disparity in sentencing? Oh yeah, because it is a disparity that favors women over men, whereas if the situation was reversed with men getting let off with 60% less prison time than a female you bet your ass it would be a feminist priority.

    Why is feminism content to see 93% of workplace fatalities being male with only 7% being female? If feminism is about equality then why isn’t feminism working to try to convince more women to take these dangerous jobs so perhaps we could start to equalize this extremely one-sided workplace death ratio? Oh yeah, because feminism is perfectly content letting men do the dirty, heavy-lifting, dangerous and hard jobs that keep society going and letting women get the air-conditioned office jobs… then bitching about how a secretary answering phones all day in an air-conditioned office is a “victim of discrimination” for not getting paid as much as a man 500 feet in the air dangling off a skyscraper installing window glass though of course we know they will NEVER be THAT specific in their criticism because it would risk revealing the vapid, dumbed-down, apples-to-oranges nature of said criticism. Far better to just make some unsubstantiated claim about your mythical “gender-based discriminatory pay gap” that magically disappears as soon as one adjusts for personal career choices, education and childbirth.

    Where is feminism’s activism about the issue of women getting awarded custody in about 90% of child custody cases? To the extent that the woman would have to just about be a practicing prostitute or a heroin addict in order for the man to be given custody. Funny but this doesn’t seem to make it onto feminists’ radar either, gosh I wonder why…

    Why has feminism remained silent about the huge discrepancy in funding for male homeless shelters versus female homeless shelters? When the overwhelming majority of homeless people are men rather than women, why on earth should men’s shelters get short shrift compared to female shelters? This clearly isn’t an important issue for your imaginary “patriarchial” government which routinely ignores men’s issues in favor of women’s issues so why isn’t feminism, the movement you never tire of telling us is not gynocentric but all-inclusive, fighting for equality not female supremacy, doing a damned thing to bring this to society’s attention? You can bet any amount of money if the situation was reversed with the homeless population being mostly female it would be a crisis of Biblical proportions, worthy of the government declaring a “war on homelessness” to solve it. Why is the feminist movement just as disinterested in this matter as the government?

    Why is feminism content with men still having to pay alimony in 2014? Aren’t you the same ladies who constantly tell us how women are just as good as men, just as capable and just as independent? Then why the hell should a man have the responsibility of paying for the upkeep and lifestyle of his former spouse on an indefinite basis? Why did this issue only make it onto feminists’ radar (in Florida) when the infinitesimally small amount of women paying alimony to THEIR former spouses inched up a tiny bit while still remaining a mouse fart compared to men’s alimony payments? Where is feminism’s indignation that these supposedly liberated, independent women are entitled to being supported by a man that isn’t even living with them any longer? Why don’t you see this as an enormous insult and indignation? Oh yeah, because I suppose the convenience of getting a monthly check in the mail assuages your little feelings of shame and dependency, right? So long as it works in women’s favor instead of men’s it’s perfectly OK with the feminist movement.

    Where is feminism’s concern with the issue of men committing suicide at rates astronomically higher than women? You know if the numbers were reversed there would be a colossal shitstorm until we got the numbers of women killing themselves back down to acceptable levels but yet with the numbers being what they are this, unsurprisingly, isn’t an issue feminists will lift a finger to work on.

    And I have yet to hear a single feminist push for women having to register for the draft. Why does a man have to register at age 18 or else he isn’t entitled to any of the benefits of society, can’t vote, can’t collect Social Security when he’s old etc. yet no woman has to register for the draft in order to enjoy any of that? Why are feminists content to let women avoid adult responsibilities that men can never avoid? Oh yeah, because it isn’t a movement about equality at all but rather female supremacy, the same reason why the KKK never pushes for anything aside from matters that affect white people. As despicable as they are at least they’re honest enough to not pretend to be fighting for racial equality.

    Or what about the biggest double standard on the face of the earth? By this I mean the elective abortion/mandatory child support issue. Let’s say a woman gets pregnant accidentally, neither her nor her partner intended for it to happen. If the man wants to be a daddy to that unexpected kid but the woman doesn’t want any parts of it she’s going to go to the abortion clinic and get that unborn human dismembered and sucked out of her uterus without having broken a single law in the process. That man will now be the proud daddy to a bloody little pile of severed arms and legs. But if the situation is reversed and the woman wants to keep the baby but the dad doesn’t want any parts of being a daddy? Tough tittie, he’s on the hook for 18 years of child support payments for a kid he will never see. The law simply doesn’t allow him to act like an irresponsible piece of shit at least not without facing the penalty of jail time for his irresponsibility. The law holds that man to his responsibility, forces him to act like a grown adult and take responsibility for his actions. Whereas the law makes no effort whatsoever to force the woman to act like an adult and take responsibility for HER actions, no, instead it lets her dance away from the consequences of her actions without a care in the world. When the man’s irresponsibility results in the woman not getting a monthly check in the mail and that’s illegal yet the woman’s irresponsibility results in the death of another human being (the unborn human) and yet THAT is LEGAL?? Are you effing kidding me?? This has to be the most horrific double standard the world has ever seen, yet I guarantee you that if anyone was to start pushing for ending mandatory child support payments or tying the continuance of legal abortion to the ending of mandatory child support it would be the feminitwits who would be leading the charge to make sure things remain as one-sided as they are now. When the woman is allowed to act like a magical sparkly princess with no more responsibility than a child even though her irresponsibility and immaturity results in a human being’s death and the man isn’t even allowed to skip out on child support payments for a kid he never sees, clearly this abortion/child support situation can be called nothing less than overt female supremacy. Not equality between the sexes. Not egalitarianism. Overt, in-your-face female supremacy and nothing less. Funny but I haven’t heard of a single feminist anywhere pushing for an end to elective abortion. Feminism seems perfectly content to let this terrible double standard remain in place and any comment made about ending elective abortion is immediately met with a lecture about how it would somehow be “oppressing women” to hold them to the same standard of responsibility a man is held to, how it would be “chaining them to the stove” or ensuring they are “barefoot and pregnant” or whatever other feminist propaganda bullshit they can come up with. Because this is one of the many double standards that feminists embrace, those which favor women over men. Another reason why few people aside from feminists themselves take feminists seriously.

    So you want to “prove” your movement really is about equality and not female supremacy and special gender-specific privileges? Great, come out against elective abortion. Demand that it be abolished, demand that women are held to the same standard of responsibility that a man is held to, demand that women receive no preferential treatment in the court system etc. etc. Basically it comes down to a realization that not everything in life is a right or a privilege, that there are some things in adult life that are called “responsibilities”. If feminism wasn’t all about milking society for more benefits, more gender-specific set-asides, more quotas, more gynocentric advantages and actually grew the hell up enough to see that there are such things as RESPONSIBILITIES as well then maybe more people would take feminism seriously. As it stands right now only about 23% of American women identify as feminists meaning no less than 77% of women wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole the movement that is supposed to be designed around their interests. That is a spectacular failure so amazing words can’t describe it. Perhaps women are getting tired of being constantly told they’re weak, helpless little victims who can’t do anything for themselves without a movement behind them to keep them pointed in the right direction and protected from this cruel world. I suspect your average woman is quite a bit stronger than that and doesn’t appreciate being talked down to. But whatever it is, your movement is dying and I say good riddance. Let it be replaced with something that doesn’t try to drive an unnecessary wedge between working class men and working class women. Let it be replaced with something far more mature, grown up, sensible and realistic. In other words let it be replaced with something that is GENUINELY about equal rights for the sexes.

  41. thank you for this post. my whole life now i have problems calling myself a feminist and thats exclusivly because of feminists not because i think women should have less rights.

    im generally sceptical, maybe even afraid of, people who speak in coded language, use buzzwords from their ideology and generalize about people based on their gender, race or sexual orientation.
    a lot of feminists do that. mainly the most vocal ones.

    it all comes down to repeating words like “patriachy”, “misogyny”, “rape culture” etc. to me it comes across like there is no thought or actual motivation behind it but just people repeating those words over and over again. like robots. its hard to explain what i mean and thats only partly because enlish isnt my mother tongue. the worst are people on de

    what i also have a problem with is making up statistics. i was outraged when i heard that women earn almost 25% less than men. but i thought about it and the number seemed way to extreme. why would capitalistic companies not fire all the working men and get women and save 25%? men dont have a brotherhood like some feminists claim. most laid off people during the last recession in the usa were men, fired by men. thats why it got the name “mancession”. so i looked deeper into it and the numbers are tinkered with. if you put in hours worked, qualification, position etc it basically disappears, there is no “wage gap”. still its repeated by feminsts. that takes away a lot of credibility. also if you want to achieve progress with a movement dont make up numbers, you will never be able to meassure your progress based on them.

    another thing is the generalistion s about men. if you make up concepts like rape culture you say its mens responsiblity to not rape. NO! its the rapists responsilibity to not rape. other men should look out for fellow humans but it is not their duty because that implies its a male problem. i know i know now there will be some statistics saying that men rape more. but thats ilke saying blacks need to take responsibility for the fraction of blacks that commit crimes because they are high in the criminal statistics.

    not to speak of all the campaigns to suspend due process and innocent until proven guilty in rape cases. i am aware that rape is almost not to prove. but so its the innocence of the accused person.

    also always repeating feminism stands for equality doesnt help if the actions dont show that. Communism in its defintion is pure equality. you know community of all. yet in every incarnation some people were more equal than others.

    i would be ok if feminsts said they only want to work on the female side of things. but then dont say you are for equality. you can not reach eqaulity by only bashing men or celebrating women. its not a black and white issue like women have it all bad and men have it all good. no there are areas where men have it better and areas where women have it better. it needs to be carefully balanced. the female side needs more work, i dont doubt that. but men also need help.
    and sadly its mostly feminsts who shoot down any attempts of getting men help.

    i think if we help men not being the stereotypical macho and teach women that those kind of men will never respect them then we all will make a big leap. as long as men are like that and as long as women are attracted to men like that nothing will change.

    another little thing about feminist lanuage: it excludes people. as movement that aims at changing the society needs to be open and understandable for everyone. i often see feminists getting angry when someone doesnt get it. that way you lose them and it only reinforces the stereotype of the angry feminist. YOU want change, YOU will have to work for it. if someone doesnt understand the basics you shouldnt attack or mock that person but make an effort to make them understand.

    the reputation of feminists as being without empathy and full of anger has far too many examples. you are alienating way to many possible allies. basically all surveys show that in the west people want equality and believe in it. so why do they dont want to assosiate with feminists? only blaming it on right wing media personalities attacking feminism is too easy. the post above is a good start, in my opionion. feminism rarely is self critical.

    • What a fantastic post, Maria; even if English is your second language you have eloquently outlined some very true and valid points.

      Bravo, I am in love with your mind!


  42. This is September. It is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

    And there has yet to be a peep from anyone.

    As many men die from prostate cancer as women die from breast cancer.

    And in three days, the flood gates will open on breast cancer (which gets TEN TIMES the funding).

    Men die at higher rates from all top ten disease and there are SEVEN national agencies for women’s health and NONE for men. And it has been this way for 30 years. And in that time, medicine has become a totally new field (no longer the one in which we experimented on male prisoners and male soldiers).

    We continue to lie about the wage gap.
    We continue to lie about the campus rape hysteria.
    We recognize that boys are failing in reading and girls are failing in SMET but we fund millions of extra dollars for programs for girls in SMET and NOTHING for boys in reading.

    And that is why I will never be a feminist.

    Feminism is toxic.

  43. I am not a feminist. I’m so beyond feminism and can’t believe the time the feminist movement wastes on stuff the vast majority of women don’t care about. The right to go topless in NYC??? Really??? Sorry, I’m busy living my life.

  44. It took me until my 30s to realize that Feminism was actually just the stuff I already believed. When I was introduced to it in my teen/college years, the equality message got lost somehow and I was led to believe I had nothing to offer Feminism and it had nothing to offer me.

    I feel like the reason is that young people – the most energetic and vocal proponents of an idea – are often terrible at calmly communicating an idea properly. It’s a combination of factors – lack of perspective, a tendency to get emotional about what they believe in, and a tendency to want to communicate the more extreme ideas of their philosophy rather than the ones that will get the most traction with the uninitiated they are speaking to. Also, I was young and as such tended to form strong opinions quickly. I felt similarly put off by other isms at the time, it’s not a thing specific to Feminism.

    I’m sure this type of thing continues to be the case, but I worry that with the sort of “public echo chambers” that social media provides will make the problem worse. Echo chambers are inevitable and – I genuinely believe – helpful in creating and maintaining dedication to a cause, even if they occasionally produce bad ideas and unhelpful sentiments. The problem is that on the internet, echo chambers can become much larger than what used to be possible, and the distance between these echo chambers and the uninitiated is small to non-existent. The circumstances that alienated myself (and, I presume, others) from Feminism are amplified.

  45. Well. I’m going to give you the REASONS I’m an anti-feminist.

    1. Feminists think that porn “objectifies” women and contributes to “rape culture”.

    2. When talking about rape, feminists *disproportionately* talk about female victims. If you’re going to talk about rape, sexual harassment, etc. focus on all victims. Don’t disproportionately focus on female victims.

    3. This is why I HATE the term “violence against women”. Crimes like rape, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, domestic violence, etc. victimize men. Many perpetrators of these crimes are women.

    4. Feminism says that because women lack systematic and institutional power, they can’t be sexist. If we define “sexism” as “bigoted attitudes are practiced habitually and influence society at large”, then they are implying that sexism is only enforced by men.

    5. Which is why does not exist any more than female privilege.

  46. I always reply back with ‘well give up your right to vote, your driving licence and that TV so your husband can buy it for you. And stop earning your own money, you don’t need to buy that.’ They can’t argue out of that so easily

  47. I have a question for the author – if she believes in Feminism, does she accept the need for a men’s movement?

    If Feminism already encapsulates men’s rights (claims to support them), what is then the defence for having a movement that claims to be about equality continue to have a name that represents only one sex?

  48. There is a place and a time for feminist advocation. Just as there is a time and a place for the advocation of men’s rights.

    Most of the time, gender is irrelevant, and both need to advocate people’s rights. I hope I’m not being too naive by saying that, in the grand scheme of things, if men and women are truly equal, then overall there should not be so very much difference in what both want?

    • when a girl can hold a man down on the floor and force her penis into his cute little pussy, then I will believe and accept that we are all equal. until that happens men will always be more important than girls.

  49. Dear Grace,

    I found your posting to be utterly hilarious and disarming. If you have a peek at my own blog, you may understand why. It is possible that you may even find yourself concurring with almost ever word, as I did yours.

    The trubble is, there is just one ‘problem’. You are – and I am not! One of ‘them’, that is. The f word. How can this be? How can this be when you have so comprehensively and so brilliantly outlined all my reasons for not being one myself’?

    Am I really so transparent?

    But when I read your wonderful piece, something even worse happened. I found myself liking you! I resisted it. Sorta.

    Anyway, have a peek at my blog – who knows, if you become even half as ‘anti’ feminist as I am for my wanting to throw every one (except you) off a cliff – then I win.

    Except, you would be saved, which is a bit inconvenient.

    In fact, it is annoying to put it mildly. To some extent, we would then both be right. But we can’t be, we are women. We are s’posed to rip each other to shreds and poke our eyes out – each other’s that is, not our own.

    So, please, on behalf of all anti-feminists – I have one very simple request to make: please, would you stop being so funny because when you are it means you are right, and worse still, it means that you will gain many followers, not least from those not so easily persuaded.

    Thank you.

    Elizabeth M Marsh

  50. Its not called egalitarianism because that term ignores the specific experiences of oppressed groups. Its a non-term, it means nothing because it suggests that all groups have shared experiences and shared understandings of reality.

  51. Hey, I just wanted to say that as a Zen-Feminist, I really agree with you. I think that although we fully understand all the facets of how the system has screwed us, and it makes us angry, and we shouldn’t have to compromise our anger or our points just to make it easier for someone to understand– but I think that inherently coming from a place of anger will end up spoiling the very positive nature of the feminist movement. Feminism is about empowering a certain group of people, and sometimes I worry that we spend too much time trying to tear other people down who criticize us without spending time on building a strong, supportive community of women who practice patience and forgiveness, and can communicate in a way that is effective and actually shows people what our message is really about.

  52. This is possibly the only feminist article I came across and agree with. Yes, the reason feminists and feminism have bad reps is because feminists are too ‘shouty’.

    You guys can’t understand that not everyone is interested in your kind of world and we’re entitled to our opinions. Not everyone is dissatisfied with the status quo.

    Instead of ‘live and let live’, many feminists try to convert women into feminists and control what society should say/do/think/watch/hear. Anyone who disagrees is verbally abused and insulted. How is this behaviour liberating? How is it not oppressive?

    Until feminists can respect others’ right to live how they want and not insist on their way, they fully deserve whatever backlash they receive. Keep quiet, go do your good works amongst women who truly need to be freed from being stoned to death, murdered or having their genitals mutilated. Leave the rest of us alone.

  53. So? A woman doesn’t have to call herself a feminist if she doesn’t want to, thus I can understand their reasons to why they wouldn’t want to be associated with feminism. I’m pro-equality of both sexes but I’m anti-feminist and I don’t think feminism is about equality

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