They’ve Finally Done It! The Feminists Have Convinced Me I’m Not One Of Them.
More than that, I no longer want to be associated with the term “feminism” at all. It’s inherently sexist and favors one group over all others. Of course, I’m mainly talking about third-wave “gender” feminism, and not the sort of feminism that embraces equality and pushes for women’s rights, such as the ERA, affordable contraception, sexual equality, equal pay, maternity/paternity leave, freedom over one’s body, and mandatory child support. I’m completely in favor of that. Just as I’m in favor of equal opportunity, equal rights, and proportionality of representation, especially in politics.
But there’s simply more nonsense in third-wave feminism than I can rationally accept, beginning with the dehumanizing cruelty to people who don’t identify as third-wave feminists or who accidentally make a verbal misstep. (Godwin alert: lurking in certain comment threads is the online equivalent of watching Polanski’s The Pianist; brilliant film, rent it now.) While I’m fully aware that women still suffer a disproportionate amount of visible domestic violence, rape, and negative sexism, ignoring men’s legitimate concerns leads to a backlash. We’re seeing it now. It’s why the Men’s Rights Movement exists. Moreover, concepts such as “privilege” are fine to describe groups in their most general sense, but completely inadequate to describe individuals. Terms such as “mansplaining” don’t invalidate an argument. And finally, especially post-college, the number of women against this new wave of feminism seems to outnumber the men. To be honest, most women who aren’t involved in politics or academia don’t even seem to be aware of it. Of course that’s just my perception, and I could easily be wrong, but I don’t see any battle-bound feminists in my everyday offline interactions. Accommodating men, on the other hand, actually jump through hoops to give women what they want. They cross streets when they see single women approaching. They try to avoid elevators because a woman might be spooked in a lone man’s presence. But all women are not the same and it is extremely insulting to presume that all of them want men to behave this way. Most women aren’t obsessed about remote “stranger danger.” Most are aware that, realistically, they’re in much greater risk of harm every time they get into a car. Unfortunately, this new wave of feminism leads to a type of paternalism that is both patronizing to women and inherently misogynistic. It plays into the stereotype that women are illogical, histrionic, and weak. Seriously, what’s next? Laying your jacket over a puddle before a woman can cross? Even when you know that her precious feet will get wet regardless? Life is full of problems, and all human beings deserve compassion and kindness, not just women. Moreover, feminism isn’t kind to women; it’s only kind to women who agree with a very dogmatic and somewhat antiquated perspective of gender stereotypes.
As a woman, I can say all this without being immediately labeled a misogynist, but not without being verbally attacked and potentially libeled. Sadly, most of these attacks are either perpetrated or eagerly supported by powerful middle-class men. Can you see the irony here? Does it remind you of the Republican Party? Further, while I can’t speak for minorities or other marginalized groups, I can say that a significant number of people within those groups feel much as I do about feminism. We want equality and respect, not patronizing reparations for past wrongs. Nor am I speaking for all women; I’m merely speaking for myself. I’m telling you how I feeeeeeeel. And if you’re a man whose motto is “Listen to the women!” it would behoove you to take what I have to say into account because I am one of many. People are free to determine what they want and need, and I’m happy to do everything I can to support them. On the other hand, I feel that feminism has fallen apart completely. Women are not a minority; educated middle-class Western women are not oppressed; and when prominent feminist men attack successful women as gender-traitors and chill girls, that’s the end of the line for me. Why? Because they’re being sexist and encouraging victim mentality. And that’s the last thing women need.
So I’m dropping the word “feminism” in favor of more gender neutral terms, or words that actually mean something useful, unless we’re talking about mating rituals or other situations where gender might actually be relevant. (Notably, it isn’t relevant for some.) And this is my last post on the issue, at least until the next eruption of ridiculous online drama that becomes too compelling and ludicrous to resist.