Women Ignorant of Feminism #WomenAgainstFeminism

One misfortune of my new job is that I have fallen far behind in my reading of Jezebel. Luckily, my dear friend Nerd of the Sands chats me up on Facebook, keeping me up to date on all the goodies. He brought my attention to a satirical article titled ‘Things I Learned From #WomenAgainstFeminism.’ Reading it reminded me that, amid all my discussions of feminism and gender equality, I was forgetting to victimize women and hate men. I’m really sorry, guys. I’ve lead you all astray.

Thank God that Jezebel article was written for humor. Every time I pass by the images in it, I fill with anger. Then, I imagine myself, dressed in leather, smoking a cigarette, standing outside a business, unshaven and bra-less whispering maniacally ‘job-havers, JOB-HAVERS’ like that’s the worst thing in the world. Oh how I laugh at the image. Who does that? I admit, I’ve known some feminist to walk around without bras on. Actually, if I’ve already shed my bra for the night, I have no problem making a quick run to the store in my sweatpants and t-shirt. I’m not going to get dressed again just to pick up some vodka and Oreos.

I did make the mistake of going to the Tumblr page, though.  It was really hard for me to read much because all I saw was ignorance. These are women who don’t know what feminism is. They are ignorant of what it stands for, believing a stereotype instead of a truth.

I do not hold feminism on a pedestal as if it cannot be criticized. There’s actually a lot that can be discussed. In doing so, the feminist movement can become better and more focused on it’s central aim: gender equality.

This photo, “”Minnesotans Unite Against the War on Women March” Singapore Clarke Quay Elgin Bridge underpass 2013 (by RSCLS street art collective)” is copyright (c) 2014 Fibonacci Blue and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “”Minnesotans Unite Against the War on Women March” is copyright (c) 2014 Fibonacci Blue and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

It’s all about choice. Men, women and non-binary genders should be able to be body builders, stay-at-home parents or designers. They should be able to do so wearing dresses, pants, jumpsuits or whatever else the fashion world decides to throw at us next. There should be no shame in being who you are. No person should feel pressure to fit into a cookie cutter gender role.

That also means that all the above should also be free to fit that cookie cutter gender role if that’s who they are. If that’s what makes them feel happy and fulfilled, all the more power to them. I used to think we didn’t need to say that, but apparently we do. We need to emphasize the stay-at-home mother, the male body builder, the male Christian pastor and the female matchmaker can all be feminists, too. Feminism is not a lifestyle. It’s nothing more than the apparently radical idea that women are people.

Unfortunately, I’m going to criticize feminism again today, because I think the movement might carry a bit of blame for the ignorance of #WomenAgainstFeminism. For example, there’s a lot of emphasis on women being people, but we should really throw some more words into that statement.

Feminism is the apparently radical idea that women are people, just like men.

Ah, there we go. Feminism does not hate men. I have met women who hate men, but they haven’t been feminists. Even if you call yourself a feminist, you can’t be if you hate men. It’s like Islāmic terrorists who fight in the name of their religion. I’ve seen many Islāmic religious leaders speak out against their actions, saying those acts are not justified by Islam. Just because a person claims their acts of terror are in line with Islam does not mean they are. At the same time,  a woman who thinks her hate of men is in line with feminism is always wrong, even if she considers herself a feminist.

Therein lies the second problem. Many women posting on #WomenAgainstFeminism rightfully care for men and are concerned about issues specific to them. When I was discussing equality in anime at Anime Midwest, one woman raised her hand to say she could see a great benefit to an organization dedicated to the well-being of men. There are male specific issues, like prostate cancer, that such an organization may choose to focus on. There’s the one in six men who will be sexually assaulted or raped in America. There’s the male victims of domestic violence, which some studies show may be a far more significant amount of domestic violence victims then first thought.

This is different then the discussion to create a NAAWP to balance the NAACP. Women’s health organizations do not include men in their mission statements. They state clearly that they are working towards the equality and well-being of women. I feel like this divide comes from a place of necessity instead of sexism. If you’re an expert  on vaginas, it’s not because of sexism that you’re not also an expert on penises. There two different areas of study and you choose one. If a woman has been assaulted by a man, she may be very uncomfortable or fearful around other men. It makes sense that a place dedicated to the rehabilitation of rape victims may not want men in the same place.

However, men deserve all these  services, too. They have issues down under, things they are embarrassed to talk about or admit and they can just as easily be victims of rape or domestic violence. As human beings, equal in dignity to every other human being, they deserve a place they can enter, face no judgement and have their needs met.

Yes, reading some of the ignorance on the #WomenAgainstFeminism Tumblr makes me angry, but is their ignorance willful or has feminism failed them?  Let’s be honest, society is not trying to help feminists spread their message. That leaves it up to feminist alone to advocate, to tell the public how those in traditional roles and with traditional values are not to be shamed for their choice anymore then those who choose to live outside them.

What are your thoughts on #WomenAgainstFeminism? What are some of the true criticisms of feminism? Can a person criticize while still being a feminist? Do you think anyone can be a feminist, or only women? 

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37 thoughts on “Women Ignorant of Feminism #WomenAgainstFeminism”

  1. Really like this! Had exactly the same thoughts – surely they’ve missed the whole point of feminism here? There are many great points for, and even against, feminism, but taking selfies and posting them to Tumblr is not the way to go about it. But if it causes debate as to why women are great – then hurray for that!

    I’ve just written a piece about Cheryl Cole’s marriage is being discussed as ‘sexist’ – are weddings sexist? Should we have feminist weddings? Think it ties in well with this! x
    http://www.RebeccaWhenImPosh.com/weddings

    1. Their responses remind me of men who criticize feminism by claiming women falsely accusing men of rape is a larger problem then rape. Now, I’m not saying that’s not an issue, but I believe the number is 0.2% of rape accusations are false. Compare that to the one in three women who will statistically be attacked or raped and we see what the larger problem is. Now, if someone came to me and said, “I don’t like feminism because they ignore the one in six men who are sexually assaulted or raped. What about them?”

      While I feel that’s a legitimate criticism, I’m still a feminist. No movement is without some errors. We should all strive to discuss it openly so we can improve the movement. Saying it does no wrong or trying to wipe it out completely does no good.

      The wedding piece is intriguing. I know there are many historical aspects of marriage that weren’t too equal.

  2. I think it’s about finding the gaps where human rights are lacking, and searching for solutions. Anybody who does this, is likely a feminist, because women need to have rights heard and acknowledged. That said, I first learned feminism from a man, and I learned next from one of his original students.
    Perhaps the greatest myth, when it comes to feminism (and comes, sometimes, from within feminism) is the belief that the most dominant voice in a group is the only one. I think this is where people misunderstand feminism. Because the people who are thoughtful, and who search for nuance, are very often the ones who do a great deal of work for women’s rights. And people who shout the loudest are often the ones said to play the biggest role.
    But these are just my thoughts. I thought, too, that this is a very balanced and insightful article.

    1. That can be said for many movements. The loudest isn’t always the most representative. People need to look deeper than a 30 second clip on the news. Feminism fights for gender equality. I don’t always agree with everything every feminist says because we’re all human. We’re all open to flaws. But I am a feminist because gender equality is one of those issues I am crazy passionate about. It connects to more than just women and I think it’s worth discussing, improving and promoting.

  3. I object to your binary options. My belief is that public schools in the USA stopped teaching how to think to most students decades ago. Most young adults and even those who are approaching middle age, if they didn’t have the privilege of having critical thinking, logic, research analysis and data/statistics classes, have no idea how to process much less understand and respond intelligently to the arguments and stories they read or hear from the news.

    Their ignorance is not “willful” if they do not have the tools to recognize logic and truth when they encounter it. Perhaps feminism has been unable to provide the tools to them, but it is public education that has failed them.

    1. I can agree with the school system to an extent. I remember being in 8th grade and having the teachers rant about how well my class did on those standard government tests. Because we did so well, they started adding some critical thinking to the curriculum.

      I feel like it clearly hurts feminism to have this ignorance. It’s probably not willful in a lot of cases, although I feel that anyone who looks beyond the stereotypes of the movement would understand it’s a worthy cause. But then, I see your point. If they lack critical thinking skills, learning everything about feminism might not do much. In the absence of a school system that does that well, I think feminism should stand up and start showing what it really means. To me, it’s obvious than any person can participate in traditional gender roles, which is why I leave those alone, focusing instead on the inequalities in our society. It’s almost like we need to keep a reminder out there. If loud feminist voices took some time to mention how traditional gender roles are not wrong if that’s what you choose, maybe some of those against the movement would see it’s worth. All won’t. Whether that’s because of the educational system, their religion or something else, we just can’t get all on board.

      I’m curious of how logic and critical thinking could be taught in grade schools. I wonder if we, as a society, could agree on how to teach something like that.

      1. Thanks, TK. As a former elementary teacher, teacher trainer and curriculum creator, I can guarantee you that these skills can and should be started to be included as early as pre-school.

        However, due to the push for test results, among other mistakes, they are not. There are many people out here with great solutions and ideas. Unfortunately, we are not in charge. Sigh.

        Best to you,

        Sally

        1. I don’t necessarily blame public education for the lack of critical thinking in kids, or even “blame” anyone per se.
          Far too many adults don’t exercise critical thinking. I’m not completely certain they know how. So as parents they’re not teaching their kids how to think, how to find evidence, and how to evaluate it.
          Even if public education were 100% rote memorization toward standardized testing, it wouldn’t be that difficult for parents to fill in the gaps by teaching critical thinking, but by and large they don’t. I’m not even sure they’re capable of teaching thinking because I don’t think they know how themselves,
          It’s this great big societal trend that worries me, but I’m not sure what to do about it other than teach my own kids how to think.

        2. You know what I’ve always found interesting about American education? We’re great at generating inventors, but fall behind in math and science when it comes to test scores. But, from what I hear, those countries who are so great at those test scores crave to create students with our kind of creativity. Now, math and science are important and we should do all we can to grow those disciplines, but I sometimes fear we are sacrificing valuable creativity to do so.

  4. I think it’s clear that a difference has evolved between what feminism is supposed to be about (which is debatable to begin with) and what feminism is PERCEIVED to be about today. A lot of the girls who made the signs in this Jezebel article are not opposed to the idea of being treated and valued as people — they’re women too, they know about the disadvantages women face just as much as anyone.

    What they are opposed to is likely any number of problems evident in what ought to be called “tumblr feminism”: melodrama, hypocrisy, logical fallacies, misrepresentation of facts (such as the true nature of the alleged 77 cents on the dollar gap) [1].

    Most feminists are not this way, but unfortunately, many of the loudest and most visible ones are. The similarities to the much-maligned “Men’s Rights Movement” are striking. Rarely has a movement with such reasonable goals in principle managed to drive away so many of its core demographic in practice.

    [1] http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303532704579483752909957472

  5. Ah where to start? Ah where to end? To understand the feminist movement vs the concept of feminism in theory is about as different as coffee drinkers vs tea-sippers. The feminist movement hoped to place women squarely in the middle of a social justice upheaval that wildly swept the 1950s to the 1960s to the 1970s to the 1990s and continues today.
    Alas,the feminist movement was less wildly embraced by women in general than the civil rights movement was by people of color in general. Black power was more politically correct than Bra power. The women of the feminist movement were much more likely to be labeled and libeled than their counterparts in the civil rights movement.
    It was a messy time in history, and labels changed at warp speed.
    As with most good political concepts, religious institutions came riding in on biblical quotes and distorted the mission of feminism.
    As my daddy used to tell me, when you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s hard to remember your initial objective was to drain the swamp.
    The end.

    1. I like your dads words. All that history is why feminism is still important. I mean, how many laws have been passed trying to dictate women’s bodies? In some states, it’s legal to deny a women access to contraceptives prescribed to her if the pharmacist has a problem with it. What if she’s taking that for issues related to hormonal imbalances that has nothing to do with pregnancy? Contraceptives can help with far more issues than just preventing pregnancy. My point is, there will always be a voice of dissent trying to push women’s rights back. Someone needs to be there to keep pushing forward.

  6. Have you stopped to consider that #WomenAgainstFeminism has it right and that you are the one that doesn’t understand Feminism?
    Feminism is the advocacy for women’s rights. in 2014 Women in western Nations have all the same rights as men. Feminism has completed it’s goals, it completed it’s goals in the mid to late 90′s. The gender issues we face today are not legal differences between the rights of men and women, but social differences in gender roles between men and women. These gender roles are interconnected interdependent divisions of labor, not oppression. Attempts to correct social differences arising out of interconnected and interdependent divisions of labor as legal rights issues results in the Cult of Victimhood and Male-Bashing that the #WomenAgainstFeminism are opposed to.
    To correct the wage gap we need to focus on desegregating the workforce, and this means a great deal of attention paid to getting more male teachers nurses and child care. This can’t be done with women’s rights.
    To correct the gender disparity in CEO and Senator positions we need to close the gender accountability gap. To close the gender accountability gap we need to focus on equalizing criminal prosecutions and sentencing more the CEO and Senators. Equality in prison sentences can’t be addressed as “Women’s Rights”
    Feminism is advocacy for women’s rights. I just don’t see women’s rights advocates creating male only scholarships for Nursing and Teaching programs. I don’t see women’s rights advocates pushing for harsher criminal sentences on women and more prosecutions of female criminals. Feminism with it’s long history of advocating for women just isn’t equipped to deal with the issues we face today. This arguing about the wrong things for the wrong reasons is why #WomenAgainstFeminism exists.

    1. I also don’t see women’s rights advocates hating on men or playing the victim. On a legal level, things are mostly legal. There’s enough legislation trying to control women’s bodies out there to tell me that equality isn’t 100%, but you are right that it’s nearly there, legally.

      Those gender roles, as you say, are interconnected and complex. There’s not a law in the world that can address the big issues today. It has far more to do with systemic issues in society and personal views. The government can force someone to be an equal opportunity employer, but they can’t force them to see all genders of equal if they don’t want to.

      That’s just why I think the feminist movement is still important. We need to make sure people understand the complexities, make sure people understand it’s okay to be whoever you are. When I think of feminism today, I think of masculinity vs. femininity. Still, society values masculine characteristics over feminine ones. A women who acts more masculine is often praised, but a women who is more feminine is still looked down upon. Likewise, a man who acts masculine is praised, but if he acts more feminine – say he’s a stay-at-home parent – he is also looked down upon. It’s not just about gender anymore. It’s about feminine traits and masculine traits being equally valued.

      1. When Feminism was fighting for equality under the law, this fight was neither hating on men or playing the victim. Getting a law passed saying that “female” was not a valid reason to deny a checking account was a very important fight for Feminists. Nothing about allowing women checking accounts was hating on men or playing the victim.
        The current issues, like domestic violence are not getting addressed as “End Intimate partner violence”, but as “End Violence Against Women”. To make domestic violence “Violence Against Women” requires both playing the victim and male bashing.
        Lastly it is feminism, feminism that has become mainstream culture, that values masculinity over femininity. It is Feminism that has defined masculinity as “Privileged” and femininity as “oppressed”. The looking down on male homemakers we see is because he is opting into being “oppressed”. Too address this issue we need to break the “privileged”/”oppressed” dichotomy of gender relations, A dichotomy that is a mainstay of Feminism.

        1. “End Violence Against Women” requires those women who are in a bad situation to get out and fix their lives, which is easier said than done. Understanding that one is a victim in order to address the problem is not “playing the victim” any more than one is “playing the ignoramus” when one decides to get an education so that one is employable.
          It also requires preventing those men that perpetuate violence against women from continuing said violence. Women need to be safe from those men. Notice I didn’t say all men. I said those men. If that’s “male bashing” then so be it.

        2. You also forget that a higher proportion of female victims of domestic violence (as opposed to male victims of domestic violence) have children to care for. So a woman is more likely to need support in the form of childcare, training to become employable, and services in the meantime so the kids can eat.
          Males don’t tend to have the same responsibilities. If they need to leave it tends to just be them. So inherently the average man doesn’t need as much support as the average woman when fleeing a domestic violence situation.

  7. This is especially interesting to me because a week and a half ago, my husband told me he’s become attached to a feminism blog. He works in a male-dominated field (engineering) and has been aware of a real problem for some time now. He, in the past, witnessed problems, but kept to himself about it in order to not rock the boat. He decided he’s going to start speaking up and identifies himself as a feminist. As you said, it’s the radical idea that women are people, which is oddly enough, the exact wording he used. Yes, men can be feminists, as is evident by the large number of feminist articles written by males on feminist blog sites.
    I agree that there’s a problem in that we need to make it clear that it’s okay to take on traditional roles if that’s whom we happen to be. My husband and I, though he’s clearly all for feminism, most often fall into the traditional male/female roles around the house and in our lives. And that’s okay with us. But he treats me as his equal. In fact, our relationship works so well because we each think the other one is the smart one.
    However, from the sound of it, I don’t want to go read anything about #womenagainstfeminism. I’ll just get frustrated and rant and have a lot going on in my life at the moment. Thank you for reading it for me and addressing the issue!

    1. I always ask that question because I remember a Tumblr account I once followed trying to say that men can’t be feminists in the same way straight people can’t be a part of the LGBT community. You can be an ally, but not one of them. I thought two things 1) Isn’t an ally still kind of part of the LGBT community? 2) saying feminism is a place exclusively for women seems counterintuitive to gender equality.

      I’m happy your husband plans to speak out when appropriate. We need more like him. I’d say my boyfriend and I are probably more traditional in our gender roles than otherwise. At the same time, seeing each other as equals allows us to explore other actions. My boyfriend will help me fix something on a car or on my computer and talk to me like an equal, teaching me about what he’s doing. In the same way, I’ll help him craft resumes or write cover letters, teaching him as I go why a sentence needs to be structured a certain way.

      It will make you mad. Don’t look at that tumblr. I this is what happens when people fear critiquing feminism. It gets so much hate from anti-feminist, that it can seem traitorous to point out something that’s wrong. The only way the movement can grow, improve and adequately address gender issues of today and tomorrow is if we all work to make it better. Believing in it blindly doesn’t help.

  8. From my years on Tumblr I can guarantee you that there are users who are men and pretend to be women on Tumblr. Some even have blog names like “WhiteGirlProblems” but when asked, they confirm they are indeed men. So #WomenAgainstFeminism may have a few of them I’d wager.
    A person can definitely criticize while still being a feminist. For example: In my house for a long time I was paid by J and his brother to do the chores. Then, when J started going to school and had his hours cut, he couldn’t pay me anymore. I continued to do the chores for about 2 months with little complaints about needing help. Then, one day I sat them down in the kitchen and explain that in the house, we need to be doing equal shares of the work unless I’m going to start getting paid again.
    It was so terribly ingrained into them that chores were the absolute worse thing for a man to have to endure that if you didn’t make them lists and hang them up everywhere, they really would just forget about it. I’ve gotten in several arguments about this but I am happy to say that they are both doing a much better job at it and a simple txt message will do the trick now 🙂
    “women are people, just like men.” I don’t know, seem questionable to me. I mean… there’s no penis so, nice try but I’m not buying it :/

    1. I get that, but that’s more from how they were raised then actually thinking women on unequal. That is also where the feminist movement belongs today. There are places of inequality in our society outside the jurisdiction of law that we should talk about. We can talk about how a woman in a mini skirt isn’t asking for it, but we can’t legally force people to think they’re not asking for it. What we have now is a movement towards cultural change, with a future vision of men and women being legally, cultural and societally equal.

      And to your last point… there not a penis… but there are two boobs and two is more than one. so…. ^_^

  9. I’m honestly baffled at the thought processes of women creating these signs and railing against feminism. Is it some form of Stockholm syndrome? Has something horrible happened in their lives to instill in them a sense of self-loathing, and as an extension, a loathing of all other women? It’s very sad.

    1. It is very sad. I can only imagine they believe in the stereotypes and propaganda those against feminism promote. They can disagree with some of the things in the feminist movement (I think I’ve shown it’s not above criticism), but if you believe in gender equality, you’re a feminist.

  10. I agree with the assertion that “proper” feminism is all about equality, and that those who are about dominance or hating men have no place there. The same could be said of a “masculist” movement, regarding one’s views of women.

    I do, however, take exception to the terms being used. “X-ist” means “in favor of X.” If one is “centrist,” one is in favor of a central (political/ideological/economic/whatever) stance or viewpoint. If one “feminist,” one is in favor of the “feminine” stance or viewpoint…which is not, linguistically, the same thing as being in favor if an “equal” stance or viewpoint. Wouldn’t that be “equalist,” or some such? I know this might sound like “splitting hairs,” but it seems that much of what’s happening is a public perceptions problem.

    So, I think that a big part of the ignorance–both by those who hate feminism; and those who claim to be feminist, but are really just domineering/misandrist is that the TERMINOLOGY of feminism and gender issues is inappropriately slanted. Feminism, per se, has not failed anyone (who genuinely follows it), but feminist lingo certainly has. Similarly, if the movement is about “feminine” issues, then that implicitly precludes dealing with maculist issues, such as prostate cancer, the rape of males, and so on. (A friend of mine was raped, and felt utterly at a loss as to whom he could speak with to get help. Local crisis lines were substantially less understanding and accepting than they should have been, since they’re very female-centric organizations.)

    So, I propose a new term: “gender equalist,” or simply, “equalist.” Doesn’t that make more sense? With any luck, it will preempt hate-in-the-name-of-equality and the misunderstandings that stem from such, in the future.

    1. I think you’ve mentioned the idea of “Equalist” before, but I think it will be a term hard to fight for. A lot of people aren’t for equal rights for everyone. Someone who fights for gender equality may not consider LGBT equality worth fighting for. Someone fighting for LGBT rights may not believe in freedom of religion. Having different labels for different things allows people to pick and choose their version of equality or at the very least fight for only those who they think are unequal.

      But I would like to see the day were we had movement simply called equalist, a group that supports the rights of consenting adults to make whatever decisions they want with their life.

  11. Well, since WWII alot has happened. Women are in different places now in the USA but in fact Feminism has backfired on women in general.
    We were told “You don’t need a man, to get married, or to work as a housewife.” Go get a job or go into debt getting a college degree, raise your kids alone… you can do it you don’t need a man!!!! In fact, women are now shouldering the lions share of life’s burdens alone. Men are abandoning women (married or not), in droves. We ran toward the workplace with incredible energy, and now we drop of our children at daycare and PAY someone else to raise our children while most of us work at jobs we don’t like, (bemoaning the fact that we see precious little of our children.)
    While we have jobs and a high degree of independence, for most women, these things come at a very high price. We have given men permission to be check-in-the-mail fathers instead of life partners and at-home dads, In the process we have lost valuable family ties, and connections of ancestry for our children. Most of us do not truly choose to work, but now we MUST work from paycheck to paycheck just to survive because we have lost the strength of family ties. Where do you see masses of women rejoicing about working all day and then having to come home and do what women did before they were “liberated” cleaning house, cooking, washing clothes etc. Women are now relinquishing their children to strangers, so they can work both inside and outside of the home. Liberated women have lost the time for themselves that would be theirs if they didn’t have to work at 2 or 3 jobs.
    I think the results of feminism has become wonderfully convenient for men and not nearly as liberating for women as it was advertised and sold.
    If women want to throw themselves into the fray it is not the American, British, Japanese, or Korean (to name a few of the privileged) women who need feminism. We need to get over ourselves. It is the women who live in India, Iraq, and Africa (and other 3rd world nations) who desperately need help. Feminism is not a choice for them. There is no “choice” in those places, They have no choice about working, no protection from rape, no choice about living or dying during childbirth, no choice about schooling, no choice about their genitalia, no choice about how to spend the money they earn at work, no choice about who they marry.
    Yet American women continue to claim victimhood as a badge of honor. If you want to cry foul and cry about inequality I suggest you move to a nation where you experience the life of no choices. Live there for a decade and THEN come home and see what you have got! While you are there…raise the issue of feminism… If you are lucky you will not have acid thrown in your face, or have to undergo genital mutilation. Now is time to look at the lives of others who suffer in unimaginable ways instead of whining about your liberated lives in the USA.
    Listening to American women whining about the glass ceiling is disgusting to me. We have so many choices. We have so many privileges that we have not earned. We have them simply by luck o’ the draw, We were born here and now, not somewhere else. We take our gifts for granted, and then complain as if ours was the worst existence on earth.

    1. I do think there are issues in America worth discussing when it comes to gender relations, but it’s all outside the law. You are right that inequality between men and women is far worse in many other countries. Still, that doesn’t mean America is above criticism.

      I also agree that both parents are often forced to work even if they don’t want to out of financial necessity, but I think that has more to do with the economy then feminism. I know a lot of women with children who are very proud of the job they have and I know many women who are happy stay at home mothers. It’s about choice. There’s no shame in staying at home with your children if that’s what a person wants, anymore than there is shame is following a career if that’s what one wants. And frankly, no relationship will work for me if I am the only one doing the cooking, cleaning and washing. My boyfriend knows he’s expected to contribute equally to the running of the house and is more than happy to do so. That goes for every relationship I know of. I can’t think of a single female friend I have who would be fine doing all the cooking, cleaning, washing, etc. even if they were a stay-at-home parent.

      1. I am so sorry….I think you missed my point entirely. I know that, because of your use of the word choice. CHOICE to work, CHOICE of partners (CHOOSING one who shares responsibilities in the home or even CHOOSING your partner instead of forced into marriage with a 60 year old man), CHOICE to pursue a career you actually WANT and that gains you respect and provides you with money to spend as you CHOOSE!.

        For more than 1,000,000,000 (that’s billion not million) women……THEY HAVE NO CHOICE! They are still bound in cultural slavery! Yes I said SLAVERY! Even if they work the money is not theirs to spend as they CHOOSE! Sexual slavery, on a level American women cannot comprehend.

        We need to stop whining and help those who are suffering horrible horrible gender bias! I am afraid you have grown up privileged (having CHOICES) and see being the sole housekeeper of your home as a fate worse than death. Women in America are in la-la land.

        More than 1,000,000,000 women around the world live without choice! NO choice at all. If they dare whisper feminist ideas they find themselves, dead, disfigured, taken out in the middle of the desert or forest and left to die alone and beaten to the point of torture. Uttering a feminist view like, “Why don’t you wash the dishes you use.” would put more than1,000,000,000 women in danger of being beaten and bloodied or worse. They have no CHOICE!!!!

        How lucky you are! You have not earned the privileges you have, You were given those privileges as a gift the day you were born an American. It was just luck that you were not born in China and left to die in a forest simply because you were a girl.

        Lucky lucky girl! You are so lucky that you have CHOICES!

        To end this rant of mine, I want to say I am glad you are still greedy for more here in the states. I am glad you look for an easier future for women. I apologize for my use of caps, this is just a subject that I am passionate about. Please forgive my strong words, but I do hope you will read them and that htese words will give you a broader perspective on the subject. Thanks for tolerating my rant.

        1. I completely understand. What I am hearing is that, while American society is not perfect in terms of gender equality, we have far more choice in the matter than women have around the world. A lot of what I write is inspired by things I experience in every day life, so it’s not surprising I’m looking more at my own society then any other.

          After reading your comments, I am seriously considering expanding some of these conversations to other countries. A lot of the ideas I express here are also in those other countries, many even have laws aimed at gender equality, yet women still have it far worse. It think that’s why I often talk more about society and perception as opposed to laws.

          There’s a feminist blog I like to read written by a college teacher. I remember reading a story which I believe was written by one of her students (shared with said student’s permission). She discussed growing up in Africa and realizing she didn’t have to get married or endure FGM. Even there, women technically have a choice and it sounded like she decided to leave it all. But in leaving it all, women must also leave their families, their societies or even their countries. I’m not really sure if that can really be called a choice at all. Most of us would endure a lot if only to stay connected to families.

          So much is about how women are valued, accepting they aren’t just a burden and recognizing their contributions to society. Part of that involves the recognition that women can not only do many of the same things as men, but that women in traditional roles, with traditional feminine traits are also equally valuable.

          I often wonder if some of the gender problems around the world would change if money wasn’t the be all, end all of everything. A stay-at-home parent, while they may not earn any money for their efforts, should be seen as equally valuable to a businessperson. They both act in worthy, necessary roles in society.

          Look at me, now I’m ranting! Long story short, I think it’s all connected. What gives us in America real choice is that most families, men and women in this country accept choice, even if they do so reluctantly. I’m at no risk of losing my family and all I know if I make a decision they disagree with. If my partner treats me poorly, there are plenty out there who won’t. This society doesn’t hinder my choices (most of the time). Around the world, all the laws aimed at gender equality mean little, if society doesn’t accept gender equality.

          I will have to write something on this. There’s a lot to say here. I’ll have to do some research first.

          1. Thanks again for your in depth reply and polite acceptance of my ranting. : ). I will be looking forward to your future posts on the subject. It took over 270 years for women to get the vote (I’m counting from 1650 even before the USA became a separate nation) in America and even then, women in 1920 had few independent financial rights, protection from rape, protection of labor laws, or were allowed to exercise the right to vote by their families. So I probably will not live to see real change in women’s rights around the world.

            Changing culture is a slow process and you are correct about the factor of money playing a significant role,

            I do hope that women in America will gain a bigger vision about where work needs to be done. This does not mean to stop work here, it just means to focus much more money and time on the desperate lives of those who are not as privileged as we are.

            Thanks again for tolerating my passionate rants. All the best to you! : )

            1. I get it because I’m just as passionate about my main issues. I don’t like to make a big statement if I haven’t done at least a little research. Outside of some documentaries and that FGM project, I know little more about the plight of women globally than that they suffer. The news only offers so much. I know that 1 in 3 women in the US are assaulted in their lifetimes, 1 in 5 women on college campuses are assaulted and 1 in 6 men are assaulted in their lifetimes. These are things I’ve learned through my college education and by simply existing in the states. However, although I know female infants are often killed in countries like India, just for an example, I don’t know enough about their culture to say what percentage of infants that amounts to or what specific cultural ideas influence that.

              I think there’s always going to be ebb and flow. There’s a lot of successes for gender equality in the United States and a lot of people who would like to see that progress reversed. The same can be said for the rest of the world. Have you ever seen old photos of Afghanistan or Egypt before is became what it is today? They used to be completely modern. Women could and did wear short skirts if they chose to and there was no problem. There’s so many complexities going on around the world, but part of the problem is there are always people who want to push back. The fact that women had that freedom didn’t stop them from losing it. No woman anywhere will ever be 100% until society catches up to the laws that try to ensure equality.

              I know a lot of people who are discouraged. They don’t understand how any efforts could possibly change the world. I don’t think that’s how it works though. The women in the US who fought for the right to vote did get to enjoy all the other rights women enjoy today. It’s not about change happening overnight. All efforts to encourage discussion and change perspectives are aimed at a future I won’t live to see where there will be more equality for all than there is today.

              1. I am glad to hear that you are not discouraged knowing what a tremendous struggle lies before you and all women. I do hope that you will learn as much as you can about the issues world wide, and maybe give you support, in your writings, to women who are born, live, and die without any choices.

                We are so incredibly lucky, you and I, born when and where we were, here in the USA. Even with all the problems that still exist here, we are tremendously lucky to have the choices we have. It is so important that we help other women to gain those the right to make those choices too.

                You inspire me.

  12. This is a really thoughtful essay on this topic. I too, came across the #womenagainstfeminism movement through that Jezebel article. It makes me feel like I’m banging my head against a glass wall – I can see people, but I can’t reach them, no matter what I do. Sometimes I think people take an alternative position just to be contrary, but I do think that there are enough people (women and men) who just don’t get the fundamentals of feminism and totally miss the point that, at it’s core, it really isn’t that complicated and all this…vitriol and misplaced anger towards it as a movement is totally unnecessary 90% of the time.

    1. Yeah, a lot of those signs didn’t point out anything that feminism actually does. They’re just girls who don’t know what feminism is.

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