Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Reflections on WomenAgainstFeminism

In recent days, I've been contributing to the #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtag on Twitter.

I've been having lots of fun!

That tag trended last night, which invited a lot of scrutiny from self-professed feminists who couldn't believe in this day and age that there are women against feminism.

It's just as well that Twitter only allows for 140 characters because I would have ranted against that.

One the most common responses to the #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtag was that feminism is about belief in equality.

The implicit message being that if you believe in equality, you're a feminist.

Anyone who has any dealings with feminism knows that it's BS.

Because it's not just about "equality". It's about a particular vision of equality. It's about a platform of political, social and cultural demands to achieve this equality.

I believe in equality. Just not the feminist version of equality.

What is disheartening is that young feminists believe that their version of equality is the only possible.

They act like it's unthinkable to oppose abortion,promiscuity, universal daycare, gun control, contraception, etc., and still believe in equality.

But they don't understand how any woman can be against feminism.

As if relying on the power of the state, and not one's own resources, was somehow empowering.

The most arrogant thing about the response to the hashtag was the assumption that women who oppose feminism don't know what it's about. Like some of us don't deal with it on a daily basis.

Take the recurring trope of hairy armpits. The issue of hairy armpits epitomizes the conflict itself. Feminists make a big deal about body image and like to demonize any kind of standard of body image that might possibly marginalize women. And so body hair becomes an issue because some women are comfortable with their body hair.

Now of course a feminist will say to anti-feminists: if you want to shave your armpits, shave your armpits. They think that anti-feminists believe that hairy armpits is some kind of requirement. As if we're all that stupid.

They don't understand the criticism.

It's not that feminists have a problem with women shaving their armpits. It's that they condemn those who express their disgust at hairy armpits and want women to follow the cultural expectation of not showing their hairy armpits.

Feminism makes a big deal of these trivial matters, but when opponents express opposition, they turn around and say "but it's not about hairy armpits! Do what you want! You want to shave, knock yourself out!"

Yeah, well if you tell a women: lady, you smell, maybe you should considering passing a razor, that's when feminists get upset.

But they pretend they're really not like that. They don't get upset at these minor matters at all.

It's not like there aren't feminists who don't care about important things like sex trafficking.

But a lot of feminist energy goes into trivial matters. Look, sometimes I don't shave my arm or my legs, and if I feel insecure about it, I work on my self. I don't expect society to change its cultural expectations because I'm lazy about shaving. I don't blame anyone for their opinions on body hair.

But feminists assure us that if you can't look like a gorilla and still be appreciated for your self as a woman, then you're oppressed.

And you can multiply the issues ad nauseum: weight, fashion, make-up, cosmetic surgery, television shows, etc etc.

And when they detect anyone whom they think is indulging in sexism in trivial, this blogger describes exactly their reaction:

But it seems like feminists engage in “therapeutic alienation” (I stole the term from John McWhorter) a lot of the time. That is, a legitimate and terrible hurt was done to women as a group in the past and that psychological scar is still present, so that hurt manifests itself even in situations where the outside stimulus wouldn’t logically call for such a deep-felt emotional reaction. [...] It’s why some women insists that society has it out for them and is built to oppress them at every turn even when they’re successful, comfortably middle class academics in positions of power. It’s why #YesAllWomen exists, perpetuating the idea that all women are constantly afraid to leave their home less they be swarmed by men like zombies in a Romero movie. It’s why “innocent until proven guilty” when applied to rape cases is deemed as victim blaming. I’m not saying that sexism doesn’t exist. It absolutely does. But it has to be dealt with realistically, not treated with reactionary rhetoric that decries the fact that the world isn’t perfect and that women still have problems. Claiming that the very world is out to get you because you’re a woman in 21st century America who has to deal with gender-related annoyances sometimes helps no one and accomplishes nothing, and it diminishes actual examples of sexism that legitimately should be treated with such gravity. It’s incredibly unproductive to just point out how some people you come across are assholes to you, and use that as your reason for why society needs to change.

Now we all know feminists engage in this kind of rhetoric.  We know they bitch about all kind of societal standards on a wide gamut of relatively minor issues. But the moment you express your disapproval of this practice, and state that it's one reason why you oppose feminism, then suddenly feminism isn't about that anymore. The minimalist definitions of feminism come out and so long as you believe in equality, you're a feminist, and if you think that feminism is about this, then you don't know what you're talking about.

Of course we do, but feminism doesn't like to be challenged, and has a tough time defending itself. Which is often why feminists resort to emotion rather than logic and facts to make their arguments. It's all about how a woman feels, not about truth.