Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let's stop fighting straw men

So Kate at Thoroughly Modern shared this with me the other day, because that's what friends do. They share things that make your eyes roll so hard into your head that you think your mom's been proven right and your eyes are now stuck.

If you don't care to click on the link, it's a collection of women holding up signs that state why they are against feminism. All of their reasons are basically boiled down to this list:

1. I'm not a victim.
2. I don't hate men.
3. I respect ALL humans.
4. I don't hate men.
5. I take responsibility for myself and my own actions.
6. I'm not oppressed.

And all of their faces are super serious so you know they aren't fucking around.

The only problem?

Nothing they've written is truly against what feminism is about. Feminism /= hating men and if you think it does your understanding of feminism is so lacking that it's almost like you're basing it on... well not actually any feminist theory you've read but what Fox News or an equivalent source has told you feminism is.

You respect ALL humans? Cool. So do feminists. That's because feminism is about dismantling cultural norms that damage BOTH women and men.

You like men? Cool. So do feminists. Yeah, sure, some don't. But there are radicals in every school of thought. What's new?

You're not a victim? Great. Wave that flag. But acknowledging that there are societal issues with how women are treated isn't akin to saying all women are oppressed all the time.

And please don't get me started on "I take responsibility for myself and my own actions." Everyone knows that's code for slut was wearing a short skirt at the party and dared to get really drunk so it's not his fault he raped her! Nope. Sorry. Go home. Why is it that "taking responsibility" is something women should do but not something men need to do? Why are we teaching women to live around men? On what planet is it not offensive to suggest that men can't control themselves and that they become rape machines when they're drunk? Why are you making me ask so many rhetorical questions in a row?

The reality of this "women against feminism" nonsense is that it's a bunch of people fighting against straw men because that's easier than fighting against the real issues--and bonus! stupid guys who don't understand what feminism is will think you're super cool for being against it.

But you know what? There are so many legitimate criticisms of mainstream feminism (just google "white feminism" or Hugo Schwyzer) that you could actually create a valid sheet of paper to hold up of all the things wrong with it. But instead we're holding up sheets of paper that say, "Bullshit bullshit bullshit. I don't know what I'm talking about. More bullshit."

You don't like feminism? Great. Give me a good reason why and don't tell me it's because you just adore men.


  1. YES. That article. . .Like, you girls think you're clever? It made me so angry/sad. And then there was that one who said she doesn't need feminism because she can do all these things like vote, receive equal pay, etc, that feminism accomplished for her. Ah, those people. How can they exist so oblivious to the world around them?

  2. that link made me rage so hard. I think that I need to cool down before posting a real comment.

  3. I think people like to take pictures of themselves holding up signs and looking serious because it's trendy, honestly. I don't think 100% of everything every feminist has ever said is true or accurate, of course, but I am very feminist in that I realize the importance of every individual human being--and that's the heart of it.

  4. Thank you! This is amazing and exactly what I was thinking after reading that article. It blows my mind that there are any women in the world that are against feminism. I especially love the point that there are radicals in every school of thought but that doesn't mean that feminism isn't a good thing.

  5. I love you and I want a shirt that says, "This is my bestfriend", with an arrow pointing to the side so that when we are together people will know where we stand. PS: We gotta get that feminism post up.

  6. It was probably a missed opportunity not to take a photo of myself holding this blog post but oh well.

  7. Exactly! Give a thought to the women who came before you who made all that stuff possible. They all just showed what a profound misunderstanding of feminism that they have.

  8. That really is the core of it. I disagree with so many other feminists all the time--we all have different priorities and ideas about what it means to be a feminist and I don't think feminism itself is above criticism. But, please, just know what you're criticizing. And you're right--the holding up signs and looking serious is definitely a thing now.

  9. Thanks, Kelley! It drives me up the wall when people act like all feminists believe the exact same thing. Not even close. Like I said in the post, I do think there are legitimate criticisms of mainstream feminism, but at least 75 percent of the people who claim to be against feminism always seem to have a complete misunderstanding, intentional or not, of what it is.

  10. I'm assuming you've already made this shirt, and if you haven't, you better get to it. And, yes, we should do that post.

  11. Soooo confession? I read the beginning of your post and totally rolled my eyes.

    THEN, I kept reading.

    HELL YEAH, sista!

  12. Haha, glad you made it to the end.

  13. What you need to do is take that first statement, put it on a sign, and take a picture.

  14. This reminds me of that prank where a bunch of women were tricked into signing a petition AGAINST women's suffrage. They didn't know what it meant, but being uneducated about the issue was no reason to not actively fight against something that one group of people has represented in a negative light!