There is a dangerous ignorance within society today. Quietly walking amongst the city workers, the college students, and the children at play, it creeps through America and infects every individual; its name is sexism.
We live in a society divided by philosophy, wealth, race, age, sexuality, and gender, and lately it appears that some of the population is attempting to keep it this way.
The new wave feminists of the 21st century have endured immense ridicule. They have been coined as “man-haters”, “oppressive”, and many other terms that essentially declare feminists abhorrence for men and women who support traditional gender roles.
This new wave of ridicule is not only incorrect it is unproductive.
There is a Facebook page called “Women Against Feminism” that has become popular in recent years. Its followers are mostly millennial women declaring their objections to modern feminism. However, the “feminism” that these women are attacking does not exist. Instead, it promotes a warped idea of modern feminist goals by reprimanding feminists for so called beliefs that are “anti-male” and “destructive to society”
When feminism began, it started out as a declaration against controversial and unequal qualities of society in which women were politically, socially, economically, and philosophically lesser or unequal to men.
These same ideals, though different, are still the intentions of modern feminists. Their goal is to seek political and social change in order for women to be equal to their male counterparts in the workplace, at home, and in social settings.
As Cheris Kramarae would say, “Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings”. However, this new wave of anti-feminism does not see it this way.
Antifeminism is an ideology that believes that all or some aspects of feminism overemphasize gender inequality and a patriarch society.
This belief has existed since the inception of feminism in the 1800s; however, today’s anti-feminists not only disagree with feminism, but they feel attacked by the movement due to a misconception of modern feminism’s convictions.
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Today, young women against feminism feel that the movement is trying to control the female gender and steer all women in a very specific direction with regards to their social and work environments.
Here is what one antifeminist comment reads on their Facebook page:
“I’m a woman against feminism. I do not fear my femininity. I actually like it. I feel no need to be masculine”.
Somewhere along the road, antifeminists began feeling as though feminists were against being feminine.
There is a crisis in this country in which women are repeatedly ridiculed for either being too focused on their appearance, or not enough.
Just look at Hilary Clinton during this presidential election.
Aside from Donald Trumps repetitive sexists comments, the media has focused on her outfits, her makeup, her hair, etc… and she is just one of the millions of women that face the same kind of speculation every day.
Feminists are not against feminine women, in fact, they are quite indifferent towards them.
To be “feminine” is a piece of our discourse that describes how “womanlike” an individual looks and behaves.
Femininity as well as masculinity is a social construction that divides the sexes by creating a specific identity that represents an entire gender.
That is exactly what feminists do not want. Instead, they want women and men to be judged by their intelligence, their personalities, and their individual identities.
Whether or not a woman is “feminine” is entirely beside the point and has nothing to do with modern feminist ideology.
Now that we have cleared that up, here is a different line of reasoning from the “Women Against Feminism” page:
“I think the whole “strong independent woman, who don’t need no man” mentality is ridiculous. Where would women be without men? Men built just about everything […] the new wave of feminism is demonizing men and turning them away from women”.
This comment is terrifying.
A very sad and popular belief is that women have followed in men’s footsteps since the beginning of time.
However, true history proves that this is incorrect. Fore example, Harriet Tubman was an abolitionist and crucial historical figure during the 1800s. She is one of the most influential people in our history and if anything, men followed in her footsteps.
In today’s world, Malala Yousafazai has changed female education in Pakistan and advocated for women’s rights in a world that does everything it can to prevent female freedom.
Michelle Obama has made tremendous strides towards improving education for girls as a primary issue in the discourse of women’s rights. She has done so separate from her husband.
If you want more examples of independently outstanding women, check out this eloquent article that features just some of the greats.
These women are fighting for equal opportunity, not a female takeover of the world. And they are certainly not demonizing men.
This isn’t about men being evil and women being victims, this is about a systematic, ongoing double standard in which women have to work harder to be accepted in their workplace, only to receive unequal pay from that of their male counterparts.
They must dress and look a certain way in order to gain respect, and then, dress in the opposite way in order to attract a man. A women’s life in modern society is filled with boundaries, rules, and constrictions; while her male counterparts rarely face the same obstacles.
In her most recent work of art, Beyoncé asks:
Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a God? […] Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about you husband or your father?
Sexism is a quiet toxin that oozes throughout the world, and solidifies itself within our society.
It is deeply rooted in our culture, in our history, and in our identities. Men have always dominated human evolution and women have always fought so hard to be heard and respected within that world.
This year women will finally be included on the face of our currency; and it is only now that a woman might be president.
This isn’t about hating men it is about supporting women. Men will not loose anything if women gain more equal opportunity.
If anything, society will thrive. Just to show how crazy the U.S. is for hindering women from the same advantages men receive, even Saddam Hussein “advocated” for equal opportunity:
“Women make up one half of society. Our society will remain backward and in chains unless its women are liberated, enlightened and educated”
Scary right? I know that is a controversial quote to use, but it sure illuminates how bizarre the U.S’s objection to modern feminism appears. If a woman spends so much time having to worry about appearance and is never treated with the same respect as the men in her workplace, she cannot be an equally productive member of society. There are too many things asked of women that are not expected of men, and that is a fact, which is detrimental to a community as a whole.
Yet, to avoid being coined as “man-hating” it is important to reiterate that the goal is gender equality.
Modern feminism wants to end the sexual objectification and gender sterotypes of women and men alike.
Antifeminists have argued that modern feminists are against marriage, and promote “hook-up culture” in protest to traditional gender norms. But again, this is not the case. If anything it’s antifeminists that constrict women and their role in the dating world.
In Observer magazine, an article declared that feminists encourage women to “forgo monogamy”. The article argues that hook-up culture, supported by feminists allows men to use apps in place of women:
“With the rise of technology men can outsource everything women were traditionally known for to their iPhone apps. If they’re hungry they can use seamless, if they’re horny they can use Tinder. The only thing they still need us for? Babies.”
This disturbing argument perpetuates traditional gender roles by proclaiming that women’s job is to please men.
Women use tinder to have sex for their own benefit too. To state that men use these apps in place of women is to say that women are objects for men to use. The quote so, (please excuse my sarcasm) eloquently ends by explaining women’s primary duty to their man, to provide him with a child. So I guess technology hasn’t found a way to completely outsource women.
This kind of way of thinking is extremely detrimental to everyone.
A post on the Women Against Feminism page reads:
“Feminists just love to hate everyone, especially women who prefer traditional gender roles. […] The human race would not survive if it weren’t for mothering women.”
This misconception that feminists hate motherhood has created a problematic dichotomy between equal opportunity, and being a mom. This is certainly not a binary intended by feminists.
Being a mother does not make you the enemy of feminism. Feminism is working towards creating equal opportunity for women with or without children.
In fact, the Huffington Post wrote an article about a feminist movement that is not only advocating for assured paid medical leave for mothers, but they are also trying to get paternity leave for fathers. The article gives an example of a law firm that has begun allowing paternity leave, which has ended up increasing the amount of female partners in their firm!
Efforts to close the gender gap are not accomplished by belittling males, but through supporting both genders equally. Modern feminism, like any movement, is not perfect, however the accusations made against this discourse are inaccurate and distract from the progress that society is making towards a more equal environment.
You don’t have to be a feminist, whatever the reasons against it may be, but certainly, everyone can agree that protesting a movement through a misrepresentation of their principles is a step in the wrong direction for humanity.
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Cover Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr (CC by 2.0)