Feminism is one of the greatest things I have come across in my lifetime. It has given me a cause to fight for and friends who support me with their endless love as we grow together. Which each new day of growth and fighting, I find myself becoming more and more exhausted trying to battle people who try to bring us down. So, I’ve learned sometimes there is no point in trying to fight with people who aren’t seeing the world the same way. Regardless of what side you stand on, it is frustrating when no one else sees the world the way you do. But ,the main argument I see with anti-feminists is often not just filled with frustration, but the complete ignorance of really understanding the concept.
The other day I came across an article entitled “7 Things Feminists Hate to Hear and Absolutely Can’t Talk About” and this time I really just couldn’t stay silent. I read through the whole article, listening to every single point. Yet, I still found each point was just another argument spewed out of ignorance.
So, here are my responses to each of The Author’s seven points.
- Feminist say one thing and do anything.
The author points out feminist stand for equality, but don’t practice that belief, using examples such as women don’t have to sign up for the draft. Many Americans, regardless if they are feminist or not believe the draft is a terrible system. That being said, the only equal solution is to include women in the draft as well. Because feminism isn’t always about what benefits females, but what is considered the equal option. Not only is their argument weak, to back up their point, they use a tweet from a random twitter user, who, is rather young and still possibly learning about the qualities of feminism herself. By including the tweet it does nothing except back up the idea that Anti -Feminists are going to pick on the ones who don’t represent what feminist actually believe, but what they think we believe in. The inequalities focused on by the author are all issues that have been built by a patriarchal society, the exact thing that feminist are trying to help end. Yet the Author claims that we, just simply don’t care about inequalities unless it’s happening to women, when in reality we’re actually fighting for the same thing.
2) Women are more violent than men
The author uses an extremely unlikely source when they try to make a point on how women are “overwhelmingly more likely to beat their children” and “70% throw the punches at their significant others.” However according to the Official World Health Organization, A majority of domestic violence and rape victims are women. About 35% of women worldwide, making that a little bit over 1 in every 3 women, are abused either physically or violently at sometime in their lifetime. In fact 38% of women that were murdered were killed by a male intimate partner. My biggest issue with this argument isn’t even the inaccurate and lousy statistics, but because once again, an anti-feminist is trying to make a point about how men can’t hit women, but it’s okay for women to hit men. Yes, a women should be held to the same standards if she was abusive as a man would. This point shouldn’t even be necessary , why is it so important to argue that a man can’t hit a woman; if that’s really something a person considers to be important in the fight for equality, then perhaps they need to re-sort their priorities. Consider this: How about we just don’t hit anyone!!!!
3) There is institutional sexism against men
Wait?? You mean to tell me?? Inequality exists in the modern world??? Wow it’s almost as if feminists actually are fighting for something that is real.
Put aside all the institutionalized sexism against women that anti-feminists claim does not exist and the genders are equal now, the author is correct. Men do get longer and harsher punishments than woman and men don’t often get a fair custody in court, yes men get raped and no one seems to care, yes men suffer from breast cancer and mental illness, so on and so forth. Once again this just again proves that the patriarchy has created a system that hurts BOTH men and women and everyone in between. By setting these standards the patriarchy tells society that men don’t have the ability of of being emotional, which not only makes the assumptions that emotions are a weak trait that is only associated with women, therefore infantilizing them, but hurts men.
4) Most Women haven’t read or studied the feminist theory.
Actually I am surrounded by groups of women and men in my life who study the feminist theory not only in film, but everyday life occurrences. All of whom agree a feminist perspective can change the world for the better. But the word “Feminist” has turned into nothing more than a slogan to catch young girls attention; modern shops and brands have began to make a profit for wrong reason. In a way it has somewhat lost it’s meaning. I do find the education on early feminist theorist important; one should know and be taught the meaning behind something they want to follow. Just like any other theory or belief, it’s important to evolve feminism and grow from it’s origins, continuing to learn from creators and change as the world does. The author mentions how they’ve studied different theorist in their film class, but fails to mention the origins of feminism and how since the beginning of it’s creation has always been about the study of inequality among the genders. Despite the changes and rights given to women throughout the past hundreds of of years, the underlying fight of most major feminist activists is still a fight for equality for the sexes. The argument of feminist not studying feminist theory could easily be attributed to the patriarchal education system we’ve been taught, however one does not need to go to medical school to understand smoking causes cancer or an environmentalist to know global warming real. And as wonderful as it would be, one does not need to spend years of studying feminist theory to understand that men, women and everyone in-between should experience equal rights.
5) Feminist deny that women sexually objectify men.
Sexual objectification in any form should not be acceptable regardless of who it is. Society and modern media has made it clear that women are nothing more than object in which they can use to sell their products or promote their shows by having them there for no other reason than a prop, not as a human. Women are the ones who face the double standards when they choose to control their sexuality; they are shamed for their decisions while men often walk away praised and unaffected for acting sexual. So it’s not shocking to find that feminist will speak up for women, however a feminist should still be able speak up for men, and should hold people who sexually objectify, assault and abuse men, just as severely as they would anyone else. When men are in a place where they are the victims of sexual assault, especially if the casualty is a female, don’t speak up because they aren’t taken as seriously or given the same support women have. A person who says that women shouldn’t be held accountable for her actions against a male is not a feminist.
6) Feminist don’t understand that no means no
The author uses this next point to bring up how celebrities such as Shailene Woodley and Madonna don’t want to call themselves feminist and are constantly attacked and put to shame for it. The frustration with celebrities or other people who dismiss the word feminist, yet still say they believe in the equality lies more with the system than it does with the people. Once again, feminism has been turned into a laughing matter, and the people who have spent so much time criticizing those who don’t actual represent what equality stands for have gotten what they wanted. By using extreme examples of those who claim that women can’t be mothers, or that are men are evil, they’ve turned feminist into a dirty word, another reason why we should begin to push for the teaching of feminist theorists to be more common. As much as I know I cannot change the mind of someone who already has their own set views, I encourage those who stand for equal rights to really look into what feminism is and see that it a belief that whats to help society move forward.
7) Women are capable, confident, able to defend themselves, and no that is not victim blaming.
The author is 100% right; women are capable of so much, they deserve to be confident in themselves and their abilities, and they should be taught how to defend themselves. However in this society, a confident women is easily seen as conceited or intimidating, so we teach girls who to be pretty and cute, and how to laugh it off when a boy is mean to them because “He’s just teasing you because he likes you.” The author continues to point out that women declare safe spaces and yet still need things like “#HeforShe” and men to stand up for women because apparently feminists shame any women who has the ability to defend herself in situations that may be unsafe. If anything, that is so incredibly far from the truth; we still encourage girls to carry around pepper spray, to stick with their friends when they go out and make sure they’re safe. My senior year of high school, my teacher asked the females in the class to raise their hand if they feel unsafe walking alone at night and they see a male walking behind or close to them. There wasn’t a single female that didn’t raise their hand, a fearful pattern I, and millions of other girls across the world have made clear. And it’s okay to be terrified, and it’s okay to be fearless. There is nothing wrong about women having the ability to defend themselves or feel as if they do not need protection or people looking out of him, in fact that’s a skill I wish I had. The author of this articles believes feminists find problems in encouraging women, when in fact the issue isn’t shaming women for being strong, but that taking these safety precautions have to even be taught. There’s nothing wrong with teaching women how to stay safe, but it’s more important to teach men, or anyone that’s a possible offender about consent, cat calling, and that they will be held accountable for what they do. As for the call for men to help and stand by women, it isn’t to say that women are incapable, but the fight against sexism and inequality can grow stronger. By including men in the movement, they are able to hold their male colleagues responsible instead of contributing to what seems to be the never ending cycle of the patriarchy.
The feminist movement isn’t just so women can have safe sex and equal pay, but goes far deeper into the history of oppression. The layers of inequality are intersectional. If we limit ourselves to only caring and fixing one part of it that is what allows the patriarchy to grow.No institution or system is without flaws, but if we start choosing to ignore issues and simply say just get over it- then it will persist and it will. Whatever seed is planted and watered is a what will grow, regardless if it’s flowers or weeds.
To any anti-feminist, perhaps consider this,- is it really that feminist aren’t listening, or more that we are tired of constantly hearing the exact same arguments that have supported and allowed generations of men and women to suffer the consequences of the patriarchy? We might be loud and outspoken, but we were much rather be called obnoxious than sit here and contribute to our own destruction.