Stop looking for reasons not to be a feminist

[dropcap]F[/dropcap]eminism is the F-word of 2016.

I like to think that most people in this day and age are feminists — self-proclaimed or not. Yet a lot of people I encounter are very against this movement, and some are even offended by the word itself.

“Oh no, I’m not a feminist!” they say in a hushed whisper, like I’ve just accused them of murdering their own family. The conversation will then suddenly shift, and then they’ll give me their “reasons” as to why they aren’t a feminist. And frankly, their reasons suck. Here’s a few I’ve encountered, in order of popularity.

Reason 1: “I don’t hate men!”

First, let me pull out my trusty dictionary, because you seem to have confused feminism with misandry. Feminism is the belief that all genders should be treated equally. Yes, different schools of feminists have different ideas behind the resolution of the world’s current inequality, but, at its most basic, this definition is what feminism is. Equality for everybody. If you think all feminists hate men, you’re sorely mistaken.

Reason 2: “Feminism isn’t equality since it’s all about women.”

Feminism is precisely about equality. It is called feminism because in the gender binary of male/female identities, privilege has mostly been granted to males over females as Western society has been traditionally patriarchal. It is not about the limitation or denigration of men, as many people mistakenly believe. Rather, it is about elevating the position of women, and other less privileged groups of people, to an equal status.

If you think all feminists hate men, you’re sorely mistaken.

 

Reason 3: “I don’t like the name. I consider myself a humanist/egalitarian.”

All of these terms are relevant when we talk about equality, but they are not interchangeable. Feminism focuses on the disparity between the societal power of the genders and aims to eliminate that difference. Humanism and egalitarianism predate feminism, because they came before the idea that women should legally be seen as persons.

So just to be clear, humanism focuses on equality, but mostly in regards to secularism. It is predicated on acknowledging that religion is not a requirement for ethical reasoning. By and large, humanism focuses on the use of logic to advocate for freedom of thought, tolerance, representative politics, and education for all.

In contrast, egalitarianism focuses on a fundamental equality that entitles everyone to certain resources (such as food, shelter, social status, respect, etc.) in the hopes that an equal allotment of goods will achieve overall equality. Egalitarianism, as a resource-centric approach, it doesn’t carry forward the same nuanced conversations about gender.

Despite the fact that all three advocate for a version of equality, the inequalities focused on within each theory are different. Ultimately, this is why they are different terms and not interchangeable. If you think all genders should be treated equally, then you are a feminist. There’s nothing more to it.

Reason 4: “I’m a guy. Feminism doesn’t do anything for me.”

Au contraire, my friend. Sadly, this is a response to feminism I hear frequently. Sometimes it stems from ignorance, other times from a place of insecurity. There’s the fear that if others are evaluated at an equal level, men will be pushed aside for their female counterparts. And though it is an unfortunate, divisive fear, it is nonetheless a real one.

Unjustly real, however, because feminism doesn’t just help women or underprivileged genders — it helps everyone, including men. Part of feminism lends itself to the breaking down of traditional gender roles. Although these vary from culture to culture, there are some gendered stereotypes that transcend those differences.

Feminists want to do away with socially-imposed limitations on what somebody has to be (or not be, for that matter) in order to be accepted by society. What the abolition of such restrictions will do is free all genders, males included, to be themselves however they choose. For instance, men are generally seen as the providers rather than the caregivers — a role women traditionally fill. Along with this title comes a handful of attributes that are seen as ‘manly,’ and which all men are expected to be; tough, stoic, and unemotional, to name a few. These in place can suggest that men should not be otherwise.

Reason 5: “It’s 2016. Do we even really need feminism?”

Reminding me that it’s 2016 isn’t proof that we don’t need feminism. But to answer the question, yes, in 2016 we still need feminism. While we may have come a long way, gender inequalities are very real today. I have experienced gender discrimination first hand, and I know that we need to continue to take steps against misogyny and prejudice.

This is my story. I used to be a senior line cook. I had a good gig being the night shift supervisor at a nice little bar. I was in charge. Now, I’m assuming you don’t know much about the politics of the culinary realm, but you should at least know that female chefs and cooks are pretty rare. We can’t take any shit and we have to be better than any guy in the same position. It’s tough.

A woman you care about has a story just like mine.

 

So cue me being a badass, running the kitchen with a new guy I’ve never worked with before. Now, kitchens have a clear hierarchy. The “new guy” is lowest you can be on the pyramid, and that means dish duty. No glory in the dish pit. You scrub, you rinse, and you prep stuff for the line cooks. Everyone starts there.

In that regard, kitchens are egalitarian. But on the guy’s second shift — and keep in mind he barely knew the menu, didn’t know how to plate the dishes properly, and hadn’t memorised where things were kept — he decided that taking orders from a woman was not something he was willing to tolerate.

I’m the supervisor, so I was filling orders and asking him to fetch things so that everything would run smoothly. But three hours in, during the middle of the dinner rush, he just stopped in his place, and said that he was done being the ‘kitchen bitch’ and that he was going to cook because that’s what he was hired to do.

“You’ve spent two days on the job, you don’t graduate that quickly to the line,” I told him. “When you know what you’re doing you can cook, but that’s not now.” I was trying to diffuse the situation, and get him back to his job so that I could do mine.

“I know how to cook and you aren’t going to stop me.” He almost sneered when he said it before he disappeared into the front. Two minutes later the bar manager walked in. He kicked me to the curb and let the new guy run the show.

My pride was hurt and I had to save his ass a few times that night, but everyone got their food — and that’s what’s important. Cut to the end of the shift, when we were cleaning the kitchen in a testy silence. “What the hell is your problem with me?” I finally asked, because frankly I deserved to know.

He snorted, full of derision. “I don’t take orders from girls.”

This is why we need feminism. No one should be derided, shown prejudice towards, or otherwise discriminated against because of their gender. It’s all too common of a problem. My story is not unique. Any woman can tell you her story of being discriminated against simply for her gender; a woman you care about has a story just like mine.

Feminism is not about bringing down males to the position of everyone else. It’s about lifting everyone else up to that plane of privilege, where someone is evaluated by their abilities and not solely by their gender identity.

So if you’re not a self-identifying feminist, I only have one question: why? Seriously, stop looking for reasons to not support gender equality. It’s 2016.

49 COMMENTS

  1. If egalitarian/humanism is not the right term (and movement) then we need a new term but certainly not “feminism” which is for the most part gynocentric and fails to address issues that affect men and boys and in some cases actually harms males. For instance the Duluth model of domestic violence which feminists created and which always positions men as perpetrators and women as victims.

    • A large part of feminism, arguably the main goal, is to challenge / end patriarchy. Patriarchy harms everyone: it oppresses women by limiting their opportunities, choices, and voice. It harms men by invalidating anyone who doesn’t comply with the societal standard of being overly masculine, non-emotional, and entirely dependent. It is racist, classist, ableist, sexist, cissexist, and transphobic. It benefits no one, with the exception of upper class, financially secure, mentally and physically capable, white, men.
      Feminism is called feminism because it focuses specifically on gender and gender disparity and their effects on inequality. Feminism does not position men as perpetrators and women as victims; it allows a safe space for all genders to be who they want to be. Men can be feminine; women can be masculine; it speaks for those who don’t align with any gender or prescribed sexuality.
      The idea that feminism is inherently harmful because of the first three letters is an interesting controversy to me because we never question words like “mankind,” “fisherman,” “mailman,” etc. All words commonly used that are obviously gendered, and yet everyone freaks when we call a political movement for equality “feminism.”

      • Unfortunately, another reason why Feminism is losing ground is because of the pushing of “patriarchy” theory. Evidence continuously debunks this myth over and over again. Patriarchy is defined as a system in which all of the societal power is held by men as a class, and is used to oppress women as a class. If we breakdown societal power into subparts we get: education, political, Economic and social subsystems.

        First, Educational. In the educational sphere it is clear that women have the power. They are more likely to be in education, less likely to drop out of education, more likely to get degrees and finish their education, more likely to teach, and more likely to be on decision-making boards concerning education.

        Verdict: Females have the power.

        Second, Political. In the political sphere, women still have more power. Women are the majority of the electorate in the majority of states. In a democratic system, the will of the majority is the will that is enforced as law. Therefore, women as a class have more political power than men as a class. Just because women don’t choose to use this power to elect other women does not mean they do not have the power. If every woman in America wanted a female president, there would be a female president. If every man in America wanted a male president, there would not be a male president.

        Political power is perhaps the most potent in that it shapes programs and policies for people. Politicians understand this too well and that is why programs are almost never set up for men. For instance in health, even with the longevity and poor health experienced by men what we find is that the services available to them are considerably less than what is provided for women. The United States has seven national offices for women’s health but none for men. They have web pages for women and girls but none for boys and men. For instance there is a womenshealth(dot)gov and a girlshealth(dot)gov but none for menshealth(dot)gov or boyshealth(dot)gov

        Verdict: Females have the power.

        Thirdly, moving onto the Economic sphere. Despite producing and being responsible for the existence of less than 50% of the US’ GDP (Gross Domestic Product), an estimated 63% of it is controlled by women. Yes, women control over half of the US’ GDP, despite not producing even half of it. That means that they control not only their own money but a part of men’s money, too.

        Verdict: Females have the power.

        Finally the Social sphere. More difficult to quantify, but just as easy to understand. All throughout society there are obligations for men that place power in female hands. The obligation of chivalry, carrying with it protection, financial support, emotional support and submission to a female whim. The obligation of instigating a relationship, placing all risk of rejection on male shoulders. The obligation of trust, meaning that men feel forced to believe women in the face of all evidence. This, combined with the undeniable fact that issues affecting men are given less support than those affecting women, such as domestic abuse, rape, alimony, prison sentences or any number of other things, shows a lack of male power.

        Verdict: Females have the power.

        To truly understand why this is – that we are not living in a patriarchy, you need to understand how men are deemed disposable in nature. I recommend looking up a video by Karen Straughan “Male Disposability”.

      • Actually no, it doesn’t harm everyone, it actually benefited everybody. Without so called “patriarchy” you wouldn’t even have the civilization we have now, so saying that it harms everyone is like saying agriculture is bad. I’m sure there were (and are) other ways to get by in the world, but this was the best and most effective way to organize society. This stems from the fact that women and men are fundamentally different, physically, emotionally, and in our way of thinking (e.g. from risk taking to handling stress), something that feminism refutes. Note that I didn’t say better or worse, just different. Kind of like different tools for different jobs. And I should state the obvious, that not all men and all women are alike, there is a certain bell curve of femininity and masculinity, with some women having more masculine traits than even some men on the opposite side of the curve.
        Now that we are a mature and rich as a civilization and can afford to think about, for example, whether perhaps a few women could in fact be firefighters and cities won’t burn down.. we can have these social experiments. Whereas in the past, we just couldn’t afford to have these “luxuries”. Hence traditional gender roles are the way they are. They stem from the having the best people for the job. Nothing shocking here.

        Women are not victims of anything, they simply need to get “in touch” with their feminine side. And overwhelmingly most do. Most are most happy being caring mothers, caretakers and other typical feminine roles. But of course the whole “equality” movement got hijacked by the radical feminists that will not be satisfied (will they every be?) until absolutely every woman is in a position of a traditionally masculine role, with the power of the most powerful men to match. The question is why? Why go against your natural predisposition? Why are these feminists pressuring the overwhelming majority of women down a path they don’t want to go? They are not doing them any favours.

        You mention that: “Feminism does not position men as perpetrators and women as victims […] it speaks for those who don’t align with any gender or prescribed sexuality.” How inaccurate! If you talk to a feminists or read their literature and blogs online it is precisely a mentality of perpetual victim hood. And men are set as the perpetual evil. How sad really!!!

        As for “speaking for those who don’t align with any gender or prescribed sexuality”, well that’s fine but I don’t think they need feminists as a champion. The women who want to break down society norms and do something outside of their stereotypical gender roles have no problems doings so, just look to Margaret Thatcher, Marie Curie or Sandra Day O’Connor from the Supreme Court. They got to where they were by being good in their field and gaining the respect of their peers, not by being entitled feminists who demanded that something would be given to them.

      • “Man” when used in the context of “mailman”, “fisherman”, etc. is a gender-neutral term. It might be a good idea to brush up on etymology if you want to talk about language. As for “Patriarchy”, it is a wholly unfalsifiable term up there with “God”. The rest of what you said was similarly little more than sophistry.

  2. Feminism is dying rightfully so because women are now the privileged gender in most areas of life in modern societies. For every “boys club” today, there are 10 “girl power” strongholds, AND many of those “boy clubs” are places 99.9% of women don’t want to approach even with a 10 foot pole, like grimy and health-threatening jobs. Interestingly enough, it’s mothers of boys who have been the most successful at ramming the flank of feminism’s Warship when they witness firsthand the ACTUAL REALITY of 21st century feminism, often with horror, how their sons can be vilified and even sacrificed at the hands of powerful feminist lobbies.

    For those rarifying feminists who truly have fair and balanced aspirations towards all genders, it’s time to reconsider both your label as feminists (yes, I’m talking to you Christina Sommers), and the overall agenda. When you’ll have the courage to rename yourselves “humanists”, you’ll be ready to tackle big issues such as parental equality and fair societal assistance for ALL in need of support.

  3. The arrogant, elitist, and condescending and downright distant approach you feminists have with non feminsts is another reason on my bucket list.

    It never occurred to you smug jerks that many of us don’t identify as feminist and poudly don’t qualify anyway because we are morally opposed to your agenda?

    For example my views on abortion and the transgender agenda proudly disqualifies me already.

    Don’t bother acting as if feminism is about equality anymore. It is NOT.

    Feminism is about removing secure moral limits of society in the disguise of “simply challenging social norms ” and “change”.

    And by the way, the equal pay gender gap is a myth and there is no female oppression in the west. You banshees have no real solutions for women in the east also.

  4. Also, you feminists over dramatize everything and you POLITICIZE trivial matters and you have POLITICIZED gender and daily life activities.

    So don’t bother acting clueless as to why we don’t want to be feminist or offer up some lousy reasons to why we aren’t a feminist jerk.

    You folks also g around policing language and silence women who proudly expose your agenda. NEWSFLASH: FEMINISM IS NIT SYNONYMOUS FOR WOMEN AND NOT ALL WHEN ARE LIBERAL

    Feminism has become a social political movement purely for liberal minded women.

  5. put your “trusty dictionary” away and go look up the feminist penned hashtags #killallmen #killallwhitemen #maletears #endfathersday etc.
    so to answer your question on why people would not want to be called a “feminist” – it’s because they don’t want to be involved with a bigoted cult.

    as for your story – you don’t hire an experienced chef to do dish washing, you hire fresh-out-of-school kids to do dishwashing unless you’re clinically stupid and want to overpay someone for menial work. so from the way you describe it; the reason he was hired in the first place was to replace you due to your obvious incompetence and I’m willing to put money on the “I don’t take orders from girls” line was completely fabricated.

    it’s funny because the only women that ever have these stories are feminists – normal unindoctrinated women never have these stories.

  6. You banshees also state over and over again that you don’t hate men. You’re right. You don’t hate men–you hate masculine men.

    You clowns think that turning men effeminate or getting them “in touch with their feminine side”(in old school terms ) is magically going to make the world a better place. You totalitarian banshees have no real solution.

    You also exploit the tragedies that some women face (especially in the east) in order to form some lousy connection with your self serving agenda.

    Female victims are used as PAWNS through emotional and psychological manipulation. You also use these women and throw them in the face of the public to manipulate us.

    For instance, you banshees have distorted and snatched the issue of domestic violence to make it all about women. Acting as if the definition of domestic violence is “a crime against women” when it isnt. You take those cases and act like the problem is men. NEWSFLASH: Women are more likely to be victims of dv in comparison to men due to natural vulnerability. Very little to do with “sexism”. You self centered clowns also ignore that there are groups far more vulnerable than adult women–children, the mentally handicapped, elderly, and the severely physically disabled

  7. He snorted, full of derision. “I don’t take orders from girls.”

    This is why we need feminism

    ————–

    That right there is also enough to push me away from your delusional social-political movement. Get over yourself and seek therapy if you think silly little “issues” like this are “oppressing” women.

    No we don’t need feminism and especially over that.

    You feminists always place way too much weight over these stupid “insults” and comments from someone like that.

    Are you asking for a utopia or actually revealing the you want to police language and thoughts?

    By the way comments like this can be easily made toward any group of people but it is convenient fo you victim mental banshees to CHERRYPICK situations like this to fit your narrative.

  8. “Stop looking for reasons not to be a feminist”

    Totally not a cult.

    “If you think all feminists hate men, you’re sorely mistaken.”

    True. Not all feminists hate men. Just the feminists who brainwash students in gender studies classes, write propaganda articles for The Guardian and Independent, lobby for anti-male laws and so on. Your not manhating feminists are not the ones in charge.

    “It is called feminism because in the gender binary of male/female identities, privilege has mostly been granted to males over females as Western society has been traditionally patriarchal.”

    First of all, citation needed. Also, if we assume that this is 100% true, what difference does it make? Who cares what it used to be if now it’s nothing like that. In modern western societies women have more rights and privileged than men.

    “it is about elevating the position of women, and other less privileged groups of people, to an equal status.”

    First of all you need to demonstrate that these groups are indeed underprivileged, without using falsehoods, debunked myth such as the wage gap and dishonest tactics.

    You later claim that feminism helps men too. Okay. What has feminism done about the insanely high male suicide rates? About the court bias and prison sentencing disparity? Men get 60% more jail time compared to women for the same crimes, after all. What has feminism done to fix the broken family court? Well, feminism has done something – made everything even worse than it was. Great job!

    “Feminism is not about bringing down males to the position of everyone else. It’s about lifting everyone else up to that plane of privilege, where someone is evaluated by their abilities and not solely by their gender identity.”

    Great! So when are we disposing of hiring quotas, women-only scholarship, affirmative action etc? Can’t wait!

  9. It’s about as necessary to say you believe women should have equal legal and political rights as it is to say slavery should be illegal; consequently, it’s about as necessary to self-label as a feminist as it is to declare oneself an abolitionist.

    Modern feminism, or what I call “regressive feminism” has become obsessed with generating new pseudo-academic jargon and perpetuating conspiracy theories about crypto-misogyny. It inculcates a perpetual sense of grievance in the people who subscribe to it, pandering to their paranoid neuroses. It has become deeply opposed to honest dialogue, as even a casual glance at any given facebook thread reveals. Metaphorically speaking, it has become a cancer on civil discourse.

  10. I don’t need to look for reasons not to be a feminist. I’ve met a feminist, actually quite a few.

    Seriously, if you want people to identify as feminists you need to sort out the people in your movement that give feminism a bad name. It’s your responsibility as it’s your movement, your identity. Don’t put the blame on everyone else for your problems. If you spent as much energy and effort cleaning your house as you do trying to recruit new members you’d have quite a few more members.

    • Feminism itself is the problem. They can’t clean out ther movement becauae they refise to admit that the battle has already been won in the western world.
      There is no female oppression in nations like Canada or the U.S.
      They are left making up nonsense victimhood cases because they have nothing else left to offer.

    • You’re right. I stopped calling myself a feminist after reading an article in which Gloria Steinem said that the alternative to feminism is masochism. By that time, three local feminist leaders had verbally and emotionally abused me, Masochism would have been continuing to associate with those feminist leaders. I stopped identifying as a feminist. I’ve come to the conclusion that feminist leaders are glory addicts who create inequality between women so they can continue to think up ways to give glory to themselves.

  11. The author wrote this, “I only have one question: why? Seriously, stop looking for reasons to not support gender equality.”

    So do tell what rights/opportunities do men have that women don’t?

    If feminism had anything to do with equality I would support it completely, but it doesn’t and never had.

    As for not hating men I just have to ask you to prove it doesn’t, there are plenty of feminists writing poison about boys and men so in order for you to verify that feminism/feminists don’t hate men just simply show me a feminist mainstream source that has a single good thing to say about boys, men or masculinity without wanting to change them.

    • “So do tell what rights/opportunities do men have that women don’t?”

      I’d say the biggest issue faced by women in the first world is their infantilization by feminists, feminists push so hard for women to be protected many women are beginning to loose out on constructive criticism and personal development through hardship because they’re taught not to take risks. I think this is a genuine and deeply damaging social issue that affects women and isn’t acknowledged often enough.

  12. “Feminism is not about bringing down
    males to the position of everyone else. It’s about lifting everyone else
    up to that plane of privilege, where someone is evaluated by their
    abilities and not solely by their gender identity.”

    This is literally the opposite of what 90% of the feminists I’ve spoken to or feminist literature I’ve read says. I strongly believe in equality for each and every person on the planet and because I do is exactly why I consider myself an anti-feminist. I find the very zeitgeist of modern feminism antithetical to the notion of equality as well as other ideals I dearly cherish such as freedom, reason and justice.

    Also on a side note that’s bugging me the wonder woman picture at the top has a wonky eye…

  13. “Feminism is precisely about equality.”

    Really? Feminists insist a (female) rape accuser’s story must be accepted as 100% true because women are morally superior and have no cause to ever make-up a rape story. Sounds fair and equal to me.

  14. Article started off with reason and logic but devolved into basically a story on how the author got her feelings hurt by a Gordon Ramsay type of kitchen bully… As for feminism, you wouldn’t want to support something that actually hurts women, hurts their chances at a meaningful life as mothers and good partners, hurts their relationships with men, and basically tells them that they need to be less feminine and more like men in everything. The equality part is bullshit. That is such old news.

  15. Another feminist article starting of with the appeal to dictionary fallacy.

    And it does not better. All 5 reason are absolutely valid. Just one hint: Privilege is what the 1% have over the 99%. If you think then men have privilege then you fell for the apex fallacy.

  16. We are not confusing feminism with misandry. Feminism is about woman supremacy and the destruction of Western civilization using lies, manipulation and shame tactics, and a significant fraction of its ranks involves an insane degree of misandry. Misandry is just hate of men, whether they are a feminist or not.

  17. Because Feminism is unpalatable as an ideology, and because women lack the wherewithal to impose Feminism on society by brute force, the only option available to feminists is this pathetic PR campaign which continually tries to characterize Feminism as something it is not.
    With all these damage-control type articles, it is evident that it will never succeed.

  18. Equality – Split the bill on dates, child custody, domestic laws, auto insurance, life insurance, equal rewards and punishments, etc. The list can go on.

    But since the this current wave of Feminist don’t want to forgo paying same amount of auto insurance, let the male have child custody, pay the same life insurance, serve the same time as the male for the same crime and so forth. Then they truthfully don’t want equality but control!

    And how they love their romance novels, the Fifty Shades of Grey fantasies, but get disgusted at males and their visual needs. How they say women should do want they want. But when these women do want they want. Like compete for Miss Universe, they would complain that they are all almost naked and being sexual objectified. Also they complain that we just don’t take their word for accusations they make. There is a reason why it is called innocent until proven guilty.

  19. “Feminism focuses on the disparity between the societal power of the genders and aims to eliminate that difference.” Let me stop you right there. That’s my reason not to be a feminist. As your headline requested I will stop looking as I have found it.

  20. Lol a one time experience in a kitchen, with an asshole and all the sudden this is why we need feminism? Maybe your self view is a little skewed. You may have been a super bitch to him and didn’t even know it, why? Because deep down, you enjoyed slapping him down, he saw what time it was and did away with your BS all together. Kudos to him. Rise up!

  21. Every man has a story too. Sexism occurs against men too.

    Your rebuttal to #4 – Reason 4: “I’m a guy. Feminism doesn’t do anything for me.” is completely contradicted by, just a few paragraphs below and in big bold type: “A woman you care about has a story just like mine.”

    So let’s not pretend that feminism is just as much for men as it is for women.