(Anti)Feminist Arguments(?)

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. Image

  • “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

16 thoughts on “(Anti)Feminist Arguments(?)

    • Not at all!!! Please don’t misunderstand me! I didn’t mean it in that way, just that they hold extreme views, maybe shaped by their experiences of patriarchy. I didn’t mean it in the way “extremist” is commonly used.
      I just wanted to say that even though the quotes may seem extreme to us, we should empathise with their experiences.

  1. IMHO, your blog entry deals with a particularly peculiar yet quintessential topic that actually dwells in the life of a woman. Trust me, I truly believe that a woman is always at par with a man and there is no reason whatsoever why she should hold back or be held back.

    Having said that, I would like to put forward my personal opinion that it is ludicrous and scurrilous to state that only men are alone the cause for it. It is always very convenient for a feminist to say, ‘Oh she? Well, she is a classic victim of the patriarchal society.’ Sometimes excessive of this feeling can actually make you a cynic and see the world with an unbalanced view, where the human bearing X and Y chromosome is put at fault irrespective of the circumstance in some cases.

    I have nothing against feminism, but feminist, maybe..

    I would love if you would prove me wrong though.

    • Against men? No. Against patriarchal attitudes held by BOTH men and women (AND other genders)? Yes. There is no reason to be against feminists if you are for feminism. Hope this reply helped in clearing up the misunderstanding you have about feminism and feminists.

      • It is tru that both men and women enables the patriarchal system, however are these statements often suportet by highly ilogical arguments. A lot of people say that women have difficulty working together with other women. And are often blamed for that even by feminists. This is humen natur. secondclass citizen critisise secondclass citizen. What do we have to gane in this capitalist sociaty by critisising the men when after all it is most likly that they will have the ahority to empower you for example in work places. As common as this problem is most women dont know why they are more competetiv and less likely to help other women. That is the danger of the patriarchalsystem. If you have not red about feinism and its teoris that almost always are testet and proven to be right, you do not no what you are as a person how you are and what is created by this systome. I here many girls cal echother bitches hores. Thay expain this as being there own natur. It is not! So please if you are a women and you think feminism is bad, the least you can do is read alittle and then make upp your mind.
        I hope my english is readable, I really cant spell in my own languish eather.

  2. I feel that feminism means different things to different individuals. Feminism wouldnt be there as an ideology if all was well and women were treated the way that they deserved. What I find somewhat disturbing is when feminists clash with each other and try to impose their own interpretations on other women. For instance, these days, institutions such as marriage and motherhood are being condescended by a certain branch of feminists. Feminism must not be against womanhood. It should be the freedom to women to choose how they would want to personify womanhood. Do I make sense? Let me know. and thanks for dropping by!

    • For me, feminism is about letting people follow their own lifestyle choices without societal pressure or judgement. It is about equal rights for everyone.
      The people who condemn marriage and other stuff traditionally thought of as women’s (being a stay-at-home mom) do not realize that they are essentially doing what feminism fights against. Condemning people for the life-choices which they choose freely and are not forced by anyone to choose those.

  3. What is womanhood? There isn’t any difrenses between men and women besides bodyparts. mentaly we are the same. the behaveural diffrenses is created by the patriarcalsociety we live in. So to really know what is your own choise you have to study feminism.

  4. Hello there. Interesting and timely post as I’ve been thinking about my relationship to feminism for a while now. I’ve been what I guess you could call an “on the fence” radical feminist for several years now; radical because my politics closely align with those of radical feminism, though I find radical feminism to not be radical enough for me, which brings me to your point about ‘extremism’. I think there is nothing wrong with extremism when responding to extremely problematic territory, which in my mind is the dominant eurowestern colonist culture we are all stuck in at present in so-called “civilized” western society. I’ve been “on the fence” with feminism because decolonization more closely aligns with my politics than feminism and takes what I like about (radical) feminism to the next level.

    Re. feminism vs. humanism: I think feminism is unbalanced because even though it is concerned with women’s equality (to men), its name alone leaves out 50% of the world. It is understandable though given it is a movement in response to patriarchy and male supremacy, but to me it’s not enough. Also, re. equality to men. Which men? Equal in what way? Should women be just as entitled to rape, pillage and colonize lands and bodies locally and abroad, and exploit people locally and abroad in the name of profit, like men in the colonist culture do today?

    I think ALL sexes suffer from the eurowestern colonist culture, though the industrial ruling elite (and their wives) would probably disagree with me because they’re doing just fine, aren’t they? :-\ Only they think so of course (and those who aspire to gain such status); one has to be out of touch with being human to not be distressed over achieving “success” at the expense of others, which is the nature of hierarchies — the higher up one goes, the more throats one must step on to get there. And it is the most privileged of feminists who aspire to be equal to men in this way.

    Wow I’ve written a mini essay, sorry to take up so much space on my initial post, your post just inspired me to think out loud about a lot of stuff that has been brewing in my mind lately! 🙂

    • Hey! Well, I agree with most of what you said 🙂
      I have already given my reasons for supporting the term “feminism” and as for equality to men, I meant social, economic and political equality not a free pass to inhuman acts – I oppose that – nobody should have the rights to do that.
      Glad to know you found this interesting 🙂

  5. For sure, I find all intelligent dialogue interesting. 🙂

    Question for you: Do you think there is such thing as humane economics?

  6. Oh, I’m certainly no economist (nor do I want to be!), and I don’t like/am not interested in getting lost in the colonist language of economics, I was just generally curious from a laywoman point of view if people/feminists think humane economics exists.

    I just took a look through a couple of your other posts and found them interesting, I look forward to reading/learning more of your feminist perspectives within Indian culture. Have a great day! 🙂

  7. Great post.
    Its sick how some men complain that feminism is ‘unbalanced’ and then whine about how men need empowerment too. Its absurd on the level of a white guy complaining about the civil rights movement and how there should be a white pride month too. Certain self-titled feminist women are quick to point out that men need liberation too, and its true in the sense that patriarchy is destructive to both sexes and many different gender roles–but to act as if men suffer as much as women is like saying because certain nazis were coerced into the movement, they are somehow just as much victims as those their comrades were ‘forced’ to torture. Its bullshit.
    Great post, Archismita.

    ~From Russia with Love

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