Sometimes I m against of this feminism. Why ? I’ll tell.
“I don’t need female empowerment, because I’m not weak!”
“I’m not a feminist because I don’t hate men.”
I used to agree with a lot of statements like this. I thought feminists were only doing harm to themselves and others, and I proudly proclaimed that I was not a feminist.
What changed my mind was learning that a lot of what I thought feminists believed was false – including the idea that gender oppression only affects women. Some of it was just myth, things that anti-feminists said feminists believed. Some of it was taking the words of one or two feminists and assuming they spoke for the whole.
Nobody can speak for all of feminism, including me – and I especially can’t speak for how a/gender minorities besides women experience feminism. But I did learn over time, through getting to know more people who identified as feminists, that the things I thought were basic and fundamental to feminism were exaggerations, or belonged only to some more fringe groups.
One of the biggest misconceptions about feminism is that it’s a movement for women, by women, and made up of women in opposition of men. In truth, not only should feminism benefit everyone, as it works to dismantle all systems of oppression, but it shouldn’t be based on this binary gender thinking in the first place. Not only men and women exist, and they’re not opposites in a binary.
I’m not here to say that all women should call themselves feminist. There are good reasons not to, including the ways feminism has failed to be intersectional and meet the needs of people of colour, trans and gender non-conforming people, and others.
But if you are anti-feminist and agree with some of the quotes that I started this article with, I’d ask you to read on and consider that the truth about feminism might be more complicated.
1. ‘Feminists Are Just Playing the Victim’
“Sure, sexism used to be a problem. But now women have reached equality: We can vote, we have the same access to jobs and education as men, we’re allowed to dress how we want and are considered equal partners in relationships. Western feminists are just whining, nit-picking, and enjoying feeling victimized instead of appreciating the freedoms we have.”
There’s a lot of truth in this argument: Women have come a long way, baby.
As a woman, I’d rather live here and now than almost any other point in history. And I’m not denying the struggles that many girls and women around the world face, or claiming that mine are equal to theirs.
But it’s not true to say that sexism is dead. We may have slain the giant dragon of institutional sexism, which insisted that women fill an inferior role in the world, but there is still a hornet’s nest of sexist culture that lives on.
And while I’d rather be stung by a dozen hornets than be eaten by a dragon, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a right to complain about the stings.
When I’m in a professional meeting with men, I often have to fight to get my voice heard – and if I talk as much or as confidently as the men do, I may get labeled “bossy” or “shrill.” When I leave the house, strangers feel free to comment on my body, which makes me feel unsafe and exposed. Men I meet tend to evaluate me first as a sexual object, and only second (or never) as a competent or interesting human.
These things make a difference.
They don’t make it impossible for me to have a good job, to go about my day, and to have the kinds of relationships I want, but they do make it harder. Any one thing by itself would be no big deal, but in time they add up.
Just like you can brush off one hornet sting, but if you got stung every day, multiple times a day, all over your body, you might start to get really, really bothered by it.
Now, when I talk about the ways sexism hurts me, I’m not whining or making things up. I don’t think of myself as a victim, and I don’t actually enjoy complaining. I’m also not saying I’m not glad I have the freedom to vote, to apply for any job I want, and to be viewed as a full legal human.
I’m just saying that I’m still hurt by sexism, and that I want the world to be better for myself and other women.
2. ‘Feminism Says Women Are Weak’
“Women may have a few obstacles that men don’t, but feminism actually insults women by acting like they’re not able to overcome those obstacles. It encourages women to be sensitive and thin-skinned instead of being tough and going after their goals. Women don’t need feminism. We’re strong enough to succeed on our own.”
It’s true that some women are capable of overcoming every obstacle that sexism puts in their way. We have women heading up corporations, pioneering scientific discoveries, and this past election, a woman came incredibly close to being elected the next president of the United States.
Powerful, successful women like Oprah Winfrey, Sally Ride, and Melinda Gates prove that women can do anything men can, even with the added burden of institutional sexism.
But the strength of these women, while I admire and celebrate it, shows off a part of the problem.
Women can achieve just about every success men can, but they have to be stronger, tougher, and usually more qualified than their male counterparts. They need to be thick-skinned enough to shrug off harassment. They need to walk a fine line of being assertive without being judged “bossy” or “bitchy.”
Feminism doesn’t say that women are weak: It just says that, to succeed in any given field, women shouldn’t have to be so much stronger than the men they’re working with.
3. ‘Feminists Hate Men’
“Feminists treat men like they’re the enemy: They say all men are rapists and misogynists, just trying to keep women down. Feminists aren’t content with gender equality. They want to put women in power and oppress men, just like women used to be oppressed.”
I admit that I often feel frustrated with “men” in the abstract these days. Having been harassed, belittled, and taken advantage of by so many men, I am a little wary when meeting a man I don’t know.
However, there are also a lot of men I love, respect, and trust. I don’t hate “men,” as such – I hate toxic masculinity.
Toxic masculinity is the set of rules and expectations we have for male behaviour – including how men are supposed to treat and think about women. Toxic masculinity is what tells men it’s not okay to cry, and it is okay to catcall women. Toxic masculinity is what tells a man that his worth is in gaining power over others and that it is shameful to have a woman beat him at anything.
All of this makes it harder for men to get through the world.
Feminists don’t want to destroy or oppress men: They want to destroy toxic masculinity, to let people of all genders see how damaging it is to all of us.