First of all, let me tell you how I came across the idea of writing on this topic. So, I was surfing the net, y’know, searching for some ideas, when I went to youtube.com. I had heard of the video “Shit People Say To Feminists” and I wanted to check it out for myself. It was really funny and I wanted to watch a few other videos along the same lines. So, I watched a few more – including “Shit Christians Say To Atheists” and “Shit Democrats Say” when I came across “Shit Atheists Say”. Being one myself, I was curious. So, I clicked on it and basically it was the stuff Atheists constantly repeat in any discussion on religion. For eg-“ Hitler was not an atheist!” when people say that he was. But, the acting was really humourous.
Then, I saw a video “Shit Feminists Say”. I clicked on it, curious and I found a few parts of it funny, for eg- when the actor playing a feminist finds a banana “offensive”. It could have been funnier if the acting was better, though.
After that, I found a video titled “Sh*t White Feminists Say”. I didn’t find that funny, because the script was horrible. The actors mostly repeated words and phrases used in the feminist movement like “intersectionality” and “socially constructed notions”. I didn’t quite get the humour there (even though I’m not white). Now,after seeing that, I had this irresistible urge to type “anti feminist” into the search bar and see what I come up with.
One of the first videos that I came up with was titled “Anti Feminist” where a white, blonde female expressed her views on feminism and society. I did not watch the last two minutes of her video – it was beyond my tolerance. I also watched some other anti-feminist videos, some made by women.
These women think that just because they are women and oppose feminism, it somehow proves that the whole concept of feminism is completely unnecessary and stupid and Oh-My-God, we are living in the TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, OK FEMINAZIS?? Because y’know, feminism is all about the “empowerment” of women and I’m a woman and I’m plenty empowered and you people have taken political correctness to extremes, so, like, I’m a woman and empowered. STOP CRIBBING. Today, I’m going to try to understand why people hold a few nonsensical things against feminism and my answers to those.
- “I’m a woman and I didn’t find anything offensive or demeaning. It’s the way things are supposed to be.” (differnce in incomes, for example)
Ok, so its just a random example, it could be anything at all. Now, you know what this reminds me of? The slaves in Margaret Mitchell’s epic Gone With The Wind. The slaves who truly beleved that their status was lower than the whites because of a higher melanin count, rather than exploitation. Indeed, they did not even know they were being exploited. It was natural, they thought.
- “And what about men? Aren’t you concerned about them too?”
Yeah, we are concerned about them too. We are concerned about every gender. We are concerned about children. Feminism DOES NOT fight against men – it fights against the system of patriarchy which affects us ALL. But here’s the thing – it affects us all,but if you are a heterosexual male you can’t even BEGIN to understand what the other groups go through. Nope. It might affect us all, but does not oppress us equally. For eg – Male fetuses are not aborted or killed as infants specifically because they are males in as widespread a manner as females. And this is just one example.
I think we all agree that to give equal attention to groups, their status has to first BE equal. Which they are not. Let me give one example – Now, if men were raped or sexually assaulted/harassed as much as women, or women raped or sexually assaulted/harassed as little as men under the system of patriarchy, and the efforts were still divided unequally, then this “what about men” argument would be totally justified.
Ever seen a man groped at/shouted at with a sexual intent on the street? No? Me neither.
- “If feminism is about equality, why is it called FEMINIsm?”
Because, quite simply put, everything perceived as weak, inferior and dirty in our society is associated with the feminine. Pussies, Bitches, Cunts, Whores – the list is endless. And applied irrespective of gender. Nowadays words like these are being reclaimed – and personally, I support them – but most importantly, I think, the concept of feminity needs to be reclaimed. For eg – Many men are called “women” for being sensitive. What is wrong with being sensitive? Isn’t sensitivity an important part of humanity? Why is the word “woman” used as a derogatory term? What is wrong with being a woman after all?
And, I know that, if the world was opposite, and matriarchy dominant and oppressing men and other genders the way women and others are oppressed now, I would have supported the word “masculism” with the same fervour I support “feminism”.
- ‘I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist.”
Humanism – A system or mode of thought or action in which human interests, values, and dignity predominate.
Feminism – The doctrine advocating social, political, economic and all other rights of women equal to men.
Are not these two mutually inclusive? Since when did a doctrine advocating equal rights not be a mode of thought in which human interests, values and dignity predominate?
Are women (and those thought of as such) not human?
Or are men more human than women?
“This is no simple reform. It really is a revolution. Sex and race because they are easy and visible differences have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.” ― Gloria Steinem
Personally, I’m a (secular) humanist and it really irks me when people say that line(I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist!).
And this brings me to the reason why i wanted to address some of the very very common “arguments” against feminism. I put arguments in quotation marks because they aren’t arguments as much as they are a misunderstanding of what feminism really is.
I know many feminists don’t really address these common things held against the movement, as a separate blog post atleast (I haven’t seen any, please comment the address if you have). But, I wanted to do it because I feel like many people think feminism is actually a female supremacist movement, and that deters them from supporting it and many possible contributions to it. That is why we get to hear so many “I’m not a feminist, but…”. Negative stereotypes don’t help either. But that is exactly what it is – a stereotype.
I read somewhere that feminism is all about man-hating and I could google “Radical Feminist quotes” if I didn’t believe it. Needless to say, I googled it and found some pretty unnerving, man-hating quotes.
Here I would like to say something personal – I was brought up in India. The animosity between Muslims and Hindus in india is great – mainly due to the partition which was traumatic and left deep scars in the collective psyche of both groups. There is much hatred and distrust between these two groups, and inevitably, I have heard some pretty extremist comments from people of both sides. The thing is, after I read those quotes, I remembered those comments again – those extremist comments. Why? Because it made me realize that every group, every ideology has its own sect of extremists, but that does not mean the ideology itself is inherently extremist.
Because it made me realize that people’s opinions and thoughts are largely influenced by their experiences (the experience of reading this, for example, might influence your opinions).
With that being said, I wrote this post because if it helps even one person to make up his/her mind about supporting feminism or even learning more about feminism, I will have considered the time I spent writing this post well-spent.
And I have hope because I, personally, became familiar with the feminist movement through web discussions.
And also because sometimes correcting one small misunderstanding makes a person see something in a totally different light, and that the “something” in this case will be feminism, a doctrine I feel very strongly about.
I tweet @Archsmta