I’m doing it. I’m writing a response to the Women Against Feminism tumblr. A lot of feminists saw this tumblr account and their first reaction was frustration and calling these people stupid. They claimed that these women don’t even understand what feminism truly is. While I agree that many missed the point of feminism, I don’t believe that makes them stupid. In fact, I agree with a lot of what they were saying. I just disagree that it’s an argument against feminism. Isn’t it feminism’s job to express coherently what our goals are? If people aren’t getting it, we have more work to do. These women held up signs saying why they “don’t need feminism.” The truth is, none of us need feminism, on a personal level. I sure as hell don’t need feminism. I can go about my day, earning and demanding respect where I need it, building interpersonal relationships, and being a woman, all without feminism. I’m not a feminist for myself. I’m a feminist because I believe the world could benefit from change. I’m a feminist for other people. I believe we need feminism for the collective happiness of society to increase. It’s not about believing in the school of thought for your personal betterment, but that feminism’s goals will better all of society. Other people have several reasons why they believe that isn’t true, however. These are the main six reasons I’ve come across why a person chooses not to take on the label of feminist.
- “It should just be called egalitarianism/humanism/equalism.” If you are against feminism for this reason, you believe you’ve found a better term for it. Maybe you believe, by having the root fem, feminism is inherently unequal. I’m going to tell you something that most other feminists won’t: you’re right. The feminist movement is not equal. We focus on the marginalization women and women’s issues. We need to do this in order to achieve equality. But I’d even go as far as to say, equality isn’t the goal. What? Did Oshitbritt just say equality isn’t the goal of feminism? That’s it. I’ll never be a feminist. Equality is idealistic and unlikely within a capitalistic system. To try to achieve it, we end up doing a lot of “equal opportunity” bullshit, campaigns like Ban Bossy, talking about the pay gap like it can be rectified legally. We can work all we want towards giving women things until they appear to have completely equal standing, but equal opportunity doesn’t mean that we cease to be oppressed. Just think of the concept of the glass ceiling as one example. Women may have the opportunity to achieve, but our attitude towards women has taught us we can’t – or shouldn’t. Feminism’s objective is to free women (and all people) from oppression. It is not egalitarianism, because we believe equal opportunity isn’t enough to solve the problem. Feminism comes from within a broken system and suggests we need to change it. Egalitarianism is an ideal view of how the world would be if we were all born with equal opportunity, but it ignores the specific problems in this society we need to fix. Feminism isn’t humanism, because humanism already has a definition that really has nothing to do with either equality or liberation. Humanism means humans can be morally good and still be secular. It’s anti-religion. Many feminists may also be humanists, but they aren’t the same thing. Feminism is not equalism. We aren’t ready to take the fem out of feminism. We feel that women still have the need or desire to liberate themselves from the oppressive forces of capitalism.
“I’m not a man-hater” If you are against feminism for this reason, you probably have an image of feminists as yelling at straight, cis, white men about their privilege. It’s true. A lot of feminists are frustrated with this specific group of people, because they (GENERALIZATION) often don’t understand their own privilege. They don’t get how their actions affect the marginalized people. For example, I’ve gotten frustrated – no, angry – with straight, cis, white men (or boys) who have used the term slut. They haven’t understood yet that that word traps and controls women. It tells us we’re unworthy and unhuman because of actions that are perfectly acceptable for men. When people have hurt you, it’s hard not to feel disdain when they don’t recognize your hurt. Keep in mind, though, temporary frustration or anger is not the same thing as hate. Feminists typically hate the patriarchy or capitalism or whatever you want to call it, but we don’t hate men. Our hatred for the system will manifest itself as frustration towards specific people who, in our eyes, represent that system. Sometimes it’s extreme and sometimes inexcusable, but they are human emotions. We have to remember, the feminist movement is made up of individual humans. Humans are imperfect and so is the movement. Being a man-hater, however, is not a requirement of the club. You can be a feminist and not be a man-hater. You can even be a feminist and never get angry or frustrated about the system. Feminism is a way to analyze the world. It’s a more focused version of social justice. If you believe in the root causes of feminism, don’t be turned away because its members have emotions.
- “I don’t like angry feminazis telling me what to do.”
If you’ve used the word feminazi, I want you to stop and think for a moment. Think about what the Nazis did. Maybe run down to your library and pick up a copy of Anne Frank. Watch The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Now substantiate your claim that feminists are like Nazis. Beyond the term feminazi, I understand why people would have disdain for feminists who tout messages of what is right and, specifically, what women should do. This isn’t what feminism is about. Feminism, in theory, has its base in liberation and should never try to control the actions of others. With that being said, feminists believe that our actions have consequences. Everything you do has consequences of which you may not even be aware. Feminism has pushed for greater awareness. If you think about the #YesAllWomen hashtag, it’s all about sharing personal experiences. It has started a discussion on how others have hurt us. Those people may not have even realized the pain they were causing. People believe feminists support censorship. We’ve had a reputation of being unfunny and a buzz kill to particularly raunchy comedians. But it’s not true. Personally, I’m all for freedom of speech. I’ve mentioned it before; I think that’s one of the things our Founding Fathers did well. However, like I said, our words impact people. Feminists will call out rape jokes, because it could have hurt victims of rape. We’re not suggesting rape jokes be banished. We’re suggesting comedians and Freedom of Speech defenders think about how their words affect other people. Freedom of Speech never meant, “Hey let’s all be assholes because it’s our God-given right.” It means, “Let’s have an open discourse and come to greater understanding between human beings, because we have the ability for our words to be uninhibited by any other powers in our society.”
“All feminists have victim complexes.” Some feminists, quite honestly, do have victim complexes. It’s hard, when talking about social injustice on such a grand scale, not to try to bring it down to your personal level. By thinking about how the system personally affects us, we fuel our need to fight it. In turn, it looks to others like we’re playing victim. If you don’t feel like a victim, or you don’t want to feel like a victim, you can still stand for the things for which feminism stands. This is a great video that shows why feminism is necessary, beyond personal levels.
- “Women are already equal to men.”
As I mentioned earlier, equality isn’t necessarily the goal of feminism. Of course, equal opportunity is necessary and expected at this point. But we’re looking for something different. We want to be free from expectations of what our sex means for our behavior. We want to feel safe walking the streets at night. We want to be able to choose a life path that is right for us personally, and not dictated by our sex. We want society to view us as capable, emotional, intelligent, and full human beings. We want support for mothers (and fathers too). We want every individual to express his or her gender however he or she sees fit. We want to see more humanity in civilization. You can dispute any of these points and claim we’ve already achieved our goals, but most of these things are experientially based. Someone who doesn’t experience them can’t claim that all people don’t.
- “I believe in equality. I see the need for women’s liberation. I just don’t want to be political about it.” This reason for not being a feminist I completely understand. Some feminists may say, “You’re a feminist, then.” But it’s not up to them to decide what you are. It’s up to you. If you want to be a feminist ally, but not a feminist, that’s fine. If you don’t want to be associated with the movement at all, that’s fine. Some people are called to speak out against the system; some people are not. What really matters is your actions. If you are respectful of people, if you validate people’s personal experiences, if you’re conscious of your place in the world, then that’s enough for feminism.
If you liked my thoughts in this article, then you’ll love my upcoming book, A Man’s Right to Choose. Subscribe to my blog by email for updates. Or connect with me on one of my social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, or YouTube.
 Note: Certain clothes that would deem a woman a slut would also deem a man a fag or something along those lines. This is also oppressive and we shouldn’t tolerate it.