The ongoing kerfluffle over the site #WomenAgainstFeminism, displaying selfies of a number of attractive young women who are all holding placards declaring why they don’t need feminism, has gone beyond the usual shame-and destroy tactics that the feminist establishment usually employ. Instead what has happened as these women quietly but publicly disagreed with the status quo ideology and dis-identified themselves as feminists is remarkable. Some have likened it to the feminist Berlin Wall crumbling, or an anti-feminist Arab Spring.
It is telling that it took young women rebelling against feminist ideology in a public sphere to get prominent (and obscure) feminists all over the world to listen – if only for a moment – to the same things that most folks in the Red Pill/MHRA/MGTOW/PUA/OMG community have been saying, some of us for decades. But when opinions that issue from the mouths of men are ignored or discounted simply because of our gender, when feminism refuses to engage in any meaningful dialog with those it purports to change, then its own unwillingness to participate in a debate it claims to want demonstrates the disingenuous nature of your ideology.
The shock and disgust displayed toward these young women by feminists is appalling. They are treated as vapid and ignorant, young, dumb, and desperately seeking male attention by those who would dismiss their well-articulated positions. The irony of this escapes not even thefeminists, themselves. Some are even leaving their association with feminism.
But ladies, this is what the problem is. Let me mansplain something to you, because you clearly missed something. I’ll go ahead and do it in patronizing and patriarchal tones, so that you have an opportunity to scoff derisively as you read it, desperate for a hint of misogyny – us white male dissidents understand our role in your ideological drama, and I would hate to disappoint.
Over and over in these face-palming critiques I keep reading of your utter horror as you saw one young woman after another (apparently) mis-understand what feminism “is about”, I hear you complain bitterly that these women are getting it wrong. Feminism isn’t about (insert tragic misdiagnosis here) it’s about equality. You quote the dictionary, chapter and verse, you quote great feminist minds of the past, inspirational voices who led you to realize what feminism “is about”.
Only, not everyone agrees with you. And that’s making you batshit crazy.
There’s an understandable amount of schadenfreude in the Manosphere over this, but believe it or not, I’m not gloating. I’m just vindicated. Many of us predicted this sort of thing would happen, and gosh darn if it didn’t.
You see, the thing that is driving you crazy is that feminism is an ideology, but it also functions, in many social ways, like a cult or religion. And while your intellectual inner circle has been preaching equality for years, regardless of the strides or gains you may have made, the fact is that your ideology’s public image has been tarnished badly in the meantime. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you made the same mistake Republican candidates traditionally make. In an effort to appease the loudest voices, and maintain the appearance of unity, you have allowed those voices to dictate the direction of the entire group – or at least its perception by the public.
There’s a reason that only a small minority of women identify as feminists these days. The ideology has become so loaded with baggage from the culture wars of the past that adherence to it involves picking up that baggage . . . and that’s something that most women just don’t want to do.
Worse, two decades of systematic targeting of masculinity, in all of its guises, has managed to alienate nearly all men from your banner. There was a time, in my fuzzy youth, when I may have identified myself as a “male feminist”, because I believed in equality too . . . but I believed in full equality: draft cards, equitable sentencing, and equal custody and all, and those were issues that feminism, alas, did not see as germane.
They sure as hell were germane to me. And to a lot of other guys.
Over the years, individual feminists and feminist-oriented groups made it quite clear that men were not welcome – we were part of the problem, and the more we tried not to be, the more you lashed out at us as individuals and as a class. Whether you intended to or not, feminism as a movement became associated with the callous disregard of masculine values and the blanket disrespect for male issues. You couldn't even let a bunch of guys get together and talk about male homelessness, suicide, and social issues without protesting and making death threats. Classy, feminism.
We were supportive, once upon a time. But what did we earn from that support? You called us part of "The Patriarchy", taunted us for our perceived privileges, and never spared the opportunity for shame and guilt about our gender. We supported your reproductive freedoms and your right to own your own bodies, and you called us participants in “rape culture”. When we threw up our hands and realized that there was no way for you to be happy with us, you called us “misogynists”.
So we left. There’s a reason that “male feminists” of any note are as scarce as hen’s teeth any more. No one wants to be a male feminist. You savage them with particular delight, when they persist in being male, and no man wants to be seen publicly working against the best interest of his gender. Congratulations, ladies. You’ve made “male feminists” an endangered species.
Like the Republicans, you’ve played to your base and alienated the mainstream. People don’t associate feminism with positive values, anymore, and it’s not just Red State hicks and Southern politicians who feel that way. Feminism was the ideology that spurred millions of women to divorce and break up their families, and many of us carry the scars of that decision. Feminism made men fearful to even speak to women, much less relate to them in a professional manner. While you may see the resulting domination of women in corporate positions of power as gratifying, understand that it was done at a price.
You may see feminism as responsible for great strides in American and World history, and I can’t deny that. So was Marxism, the ideological model feminism chose to co-opt – the one that equated men with the oppressing class and validated some feminists’ need to hate men as a class. A lot of us take that personally. Feminism’s unequal treatment of gender issues across the board has grown so egregious that protecting the virtue of 200 little African girls results in a global awareness campaign, while the brutal deaths of hundreds of boys in the same conflict earned no attention by feminism.
You can claim that feminism isn’t about hating men and punishing boys, Ladies, but the fact of the matter is that this is precisely how feminism is viewed by a broad plurality – if not a majority – of the men in America. Not the progressive pals you keep around you to remind yourself you don’t technically hate all men, but the dude who changed your oil, mowed your lawn, stocked your groceries and passed you on the freeway, all of them have a disdain for feminism, as an ideology, that they would likely never speak to you about.
You've attacked male sexuality with bloodthirsty abandon, belittling the "male gaze" and objecting to "objectification" - without understanding that objectification is as important to male sexuality as emotional context is to female sexuality. Your relentless fight against "rape culture" has put you at odds with every heterosexual man in the country, as you rampage for the right to only be approached by attractive men, and demonize unattractive men by their "misogyny". Feminism has been responsible for more male sexual guilt than the Catholic Church. But you don't know that, because we stopped talking to you a long time ago.
Because speaking to feminists about feminism when you disagree with the culture that has sprung from the ideology is akin to speaking to a cult member. Every stay-at-home mom who decided to spend her best reproductive years making a home and building a family with a loving husband has been called to task for her choice – “you could be so much more”, “why are you letting him keep you isolated?”, “don’t you want to prove you can make something of yourself?”, these are all the catty, snide little ways feminists have promoted your ideology.
In seeking equal opportunities for women, feminism has denigrated the role of wife and mother that so many women desire. Voicing a preference for Blue’s Clues over Black’s Legal Dictionary gets a woman pilloried in our post-feminist society, as you well know. By placing careerism over the desire for a family, feminism has inadvertently doomed hundreds of thousands of successful career women to childlessness, as the “good” men they plan on settling for after they’ve established themselves in careers seek less-driven mates to be the mothers of their children. The frustration among the professional class of feminist is palpable. Yet feminism teaches them that it is men’s fault, or the fault of the Patriarchy, or ageism, or whatever rationalization is in vogue at the moment.
Those rationalizations, as thousands of women are discovering, don’t keep you warm at night.
But not only has feminism alienated men of good will and mothers, feminism has consistently besieged one of the most hallowed areas of femininity: marriage. In its efforts to protect women in abusive relationships, feminism has waged an unrelenting war against one of the pillars of femininity. No, not all women want to get married – but for those who do, and there are a lot of them, feminism has successfully weakened the institution to the point where feminism has become the antithesis of a happy marriage.
Just watch how apologetically a feminist announces her engagement. I had that pleasure, recently, and watching this woman squirm while she had to admit to her equally-feminist friends that she wanted a husband – not that she needed a husband, but (like a handbag or a new car) she wanted one – was an awkward moment. Of course, she could not bring herself to actually say the word, “husband” – she said “partner” – and she instantly declared that she would not take his name. Go girl. I felt humiliated and emasculated on her bridegroom's behalf.
But while I quietly congratulated her on her marriage, the fact is that feminism, regardless of its vaunted goal of equality, has consistently tarnished and weakened an institution that a majority of women hold sacred . . . and they have muddied the waters of non-feminist women considerably by their approach. That hasn't garnered feminism any positive public relations.
Men are reluctant and fearful to marry now, thanks in part to feminist-inspired pro-divorce culture, ala Eat, Pray, Love. Feminism’s successful war on the patriarchal expectation of sex in marriage has removed the insulation married women once had from the Sexual Marketplace, making their husbands prey to predatory women and devaluing their own sexual contributions. When feminism made it clear that a husband had no native right to his wife’s body, it also undermined the marital exchange to the point where she can no longer be certain of his fidelity. Feminism is synonymous with divorce, not happy wives, in the real world beyond the ivory tower.
(It might be helpful if feminism stopped treating the term "wife" like a death sentence. Requiring a woman to apologize for her marriage and her husband, and then imposing a lot of humiliating restrictions that are going to be harmful to the marriage, doesn't win you many allies. Feminism has made it possible where a little girl can grow up and be a great feminist anything . . . except a good wife.)
Feminism did itself no favors by encouraging the sassy self-esteem of two generations of girls. While claiming white men had unearned privilege, feminism pushed the unearned privilege of white girls to the breaking point. Many folks are anti-feminists not because they object to the ideals of feminism, but because they object to the conduct of feminists. Young women who feel that they are entitled to pretty much anything they want, who trade on their feminism with threats of legal action or scandal to get their way, these women aren’t ‘empowered’ – they’re ‘bossy’. That would be one thing if they were also highly competent and productive, but those are not qualities feminism has emphasized in its application.
The writings of the Women Against Feminism are telling: to them (and to the rest of us) feminism is a bunch of angry women screaming shrilly about how the rest of the world needs to pay attention to them and give them what they want, in a judgmental, demanding way. The rest of us don’t dislike feminism because we hate equality, we dislike feminism because for many of us some of the most unpleasant and difficult-to-work-with people we know are feminists.
We see them not just as unhappy people, but people who have invested in their unhappiness to the point where they will only be happy when the rest of the world is just as unhappy as they are. You want to see feminism perceived in a positive light again? Create a way for a woman to be a happy feminist. That’s going to be difficult with an ideology that, practically speaking, sees half of the human race as an enemy, but give it a shot. Y’all are creative.
Start by trying not to insult and demean anyone whose opinion you don’t like. Feminism loves to call people names, from ignorant to backwards to stupid – and feminists excel at invective. Tearing someone down verbally is a high feminist art, and most of us have been the object of that scorn at one time or another, deserved or not. When you cannot have a discussion with a feminist without her snorting about your perceived privilege, or having her try to shame you into working against your best interest, then engaging in any kind of productive dialog is challenging. And demanding. And usually self-defeating.
So mostly we just . . . don't. We ignore you. We turn our backs on you and mostly we just don't entertain a feminist perspective in any sort of positive way anymore.
As a man I have been called a plethora of vile names and had my character attacked by feminists, even what were supposed to be reasonable, academic discussions. Feminists have a kind of argument cycle that they go through, I’ve observed, in which my intelligence, education, upbringing, and decency are first brought into question before they launch into outright misandry and emasculation. At least half of such discussions end with them questioning my manhood – when I know for a fact how they would have reacted had I questioned their womanhood.
I’m a big boy. I’m not intimidated by shrill women who think their ability to “be strong” and “compete” lies in their willingness to insult another human being. They have said things to me that, had we truly lived in world of equality, would have required them to settle the matter through seconds and over pistols. But because feminists tend to hide behind "don't hit me, I'm a girl!" when they decide to engage in such verbal bloodsports, most wise men just . . . walk away. We're men. We know feminism hates us.
But the things that you’ve called these Women Against Feminism have been nothing short of vile. This is what you have to say about these beautiful, intelligent women who disagree with your political ideology. Women with three advanced science degrees are called “stupid and uneducated” because they dare to disagree with feminist ideology. Women who have made conscientious choices about their lives are being castigated and threatened. Women who have made up their own damned minds are being called idiots by other women in a fit of misogyny the Manosphere could never muster.
It is in your reaction to #WomenAgainstFeminism that you reveal yourselves, collectively: Feminism has hit the Wall. No one is responding to your "nice" voice anymore, because you've burned all your bridges. Now your very daughters are rejecting your ideology and recoiling in horror from the idea of a "feminist" life. Yes, feminism is associated with misandry and reactionary man-hating, female entitlement and anti-male ideology in the minds of most people.
EDIT: A few choice comments:
Emily Shire of The Daily Beast, stating that the movement’s criticism of feminism is “inane, unintelligent, and useless.”
Feminist writer Rebecca Brink published a satire of the campaign on her blog, calling Women Against Feminism “a crock of bullshit based on a misunderstanding of feminism and an ignorance of data and history.”
But like the 35 year old woman who is still trying to rock a miniskirt, you still think feminism is about equality. No, it is not about equality, and hasn't been for a long time. What you think feminism is and what it does in the real world are two entirely separate things, and your association with an ideology that is, in effect, anti-male, anti-marriage, and anti-freedom of thought is not doing yourselves any good.
There's some hope that feminism will redeem itself - plenty of women are offended at the things being done in the name of their gender, and want to re-claim the now-poisoned title of feminist. But until feminists collectively take a good, long, hard look into the mirror and hold themselves accountable for the sins of their sisters in the name of their ideology, don't count on a hell of a lot of support from the victims of feminism. We're not inclined to be charitable about that sort of thing.