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Articles > Politics March, 08, 2019

Why do We Still Hate Feminism?

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It seems to me that in 2018 we should all be striving for equality, so why is it that people are still put off by the term “feminism”?

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I realised I was a feminist.

I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by strong, opinionated women throughout my life such as my Mum, school friends and teachers. In fact, there was never really a moment when I considered the possibility of not being a feminist until I was speaking to a friend at work and she told me that she would never call herself a feminist. I pressed her, keen to understand how exactly she could feel this way, and she told me that she believed in equality but that she didn’t hate men. This appears to be a common denominator among those who reject the term feminist, but I feel this is a misunderstanding of the foundation of feminism: equality.

I suspect part of the problem lies with the word “feminism” itself. The prefix “fem” could be seen by some to be an exclusive term, leading some to question the role of men or those who don’t identify as female within this movement. Admittedly, feminism has traditionally focussed on the betterment of women within society; however, its core aim has always been eventual equality for all. It’s for this reason that “meninism” has always struck me as misinformed.

Gender stereotypes exist for both men and women and no one is benefitting from any of them. Take for instance the disproportionately high rates of male-suicide which many have attributed to the societal pressure on men to keep their feelings to themselves. Or the disparity between parental leave for men and women, which puts an unfair pressure on both parents to adhere to their given role within the family unit. In my opinion, feminism aims to break down the gender discrimination at the heart of these issues. Fundamentally, feminists aren’t striving to create a dystopian, matriarchal society in which women rule supreme. Rather, they are trying to create a world in which we are all the deciders of our futures.

“the betterment of one group should not be achieved at the expense of another”

For that matter, while I appreciate that early feminism tended to focus on the struggle of select groups of women, the same cannot be said of contemporary feminism. A new emphasis has been given to the unique struggle of women of colour, LGBTQ+, disabled women, men and everyone in between in the world of today. Essentially, the betterment of one group should not be achieved at the expense of another. I realise that some might argue that positive discrimination comes at the expense of others, but it’s important to remember that this is merely a way of balancing out the scales. Equality is not the same as equity and sometimes it is crucial to give people a head start if we truly want to give people access to the same opportunities.

The fact of the matter is that feminism aims to improve the lives of each and every member of society regardless of their gender. At this divisive moment in history we can’t afford to be squabbling over terminology. Instead, we should unite our efforts and create a society based on equality for all!

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  1. Amber

    I completely agree with the writer of the article. Feminism is about equality for everyone, men included. While it can be argued that women in the Western World have more equality than those in less developed countries, and this is certainly true, I think we all need to remember that there is still further to go for all of us. Stereotypes need to be eradicated as they are detrimental to society and the opportunities that people are given- some jobs are seen as being exclusively for one gender and so we seem to be having to force the opposite sex into doing these jobs so that there is ‘equality’. This positive discrimination is still discrimination and it can be seen as belittling the parties involved as it could be argued that they didn’t get the job off of their own merit but because of their gender.
    The media often focuses on the idea that women need to be given more power, and I think this actually damages the view that people hold of feminism as they see it as women trying to show themselves as superior to men- which is not the point of equality. Therefore I think it is important for all of us to reduce discrimination and give more voice to the problems created by the media version of feminism- for example, victims of sexual abuse are not always women, men are often perceived to be weak if they don’t like fighting, both men and women are constantly held up to impossible levels of beauty and physical prowess- but the media gives more voice to the fact that women are being held up to these standards than men.
    Let’s start with equality. For everyone. No discrimination

  2. Greg Heffley

    I think…women are actually more privileged than men now in the western world men always get shafted in courts they are never given benefit over a woman, the wage gap is a proven myth and there is a culture to just hate white men now, I’m all for equality but 80% if the time nowadays it’s not about that.

  3. Lin

    I think one reason some react so aggressively to feminism is that there seems to be this overlay of mocking it. Search up “Feminism jokes” and most of the images on google is mocking towards feminism. For people who may not be as informed, they would be more likely to focus on the layer of mockery and treat feminism as a joke, as thats easier than swaying someone’s mind. In some causes they may see it as trendy depending on whether the person sees others doing the same, especially as mocking feminism/left wingers/the LGBTQ+ has become more popular again (Tiktok is especially bad for this)

  4. James

    I think…Essentially ‘A new emphasis has been given to the unique struggle of women of colour, LGBTQ+, disabled women, men and everyone in between in the world of today’ is equality. I squabble with the terminology because feminism in the oxford and cambridge dictionary means advocating equal rights for women. Modern feminism is about egalitarianism and equality in opportunity for all, but there is still the undertone that injustice of women is greater or more important than race, age, disability, sexual preference, religion etc. ‘Fem’ as the author said is in the title – not race not age. It therefore has a huge bias in the way it is viewed despite it’s positive overarching current message I agree and support all the intersectional feminism mainstream views of today by and large but do not support the term itself. The word has too much taboo for me. I would just say I am an egalitarian and believe in equal rights and opportunity for all

  5. Jeff

    I think hating feminists is a little extreme. There are numerous reasons to dislike certain actors in any group. There is no denying that there are people on the extremist level that are man hating, lesbian for a cause kind of people, but they do not represent the masses.

    As a man I readily accept that I will never understand the experience that women go through, I won’t understand the feeling of walking down a road alone and feeling afraid purely based on my gender. I will however understand walking down the road alone and feeling afraid because I am alone and anything could happen. I’m less likely to be sexually assaulted walking down the street, but more likely to be mugged.

    Neither men nor women can fully understand one another, but that is no more true than no man can understand another man, and no woman can understand another woman.

    I think the main issue I have with feminism isn’t that they are man hating, because I don’t think most of them are, my issue with feminism is the same issue that I have with any sort of collective, be that a political ideology or social. Everyone within the group will think about things in different ways, some will strive for equality, some will strive for empowerment, some will twist figures, some will not look into the nuances of every issue, and some will go along with an idea without doing their own research.

    There are no clearly laid out criteria of what it means to be a feminist, so anyone can say they are one and no one can say they aren’t. It’s not explicitly anti-feminist to want 50:50 representation in everything despite there being areas that more men tend to want to go into, just as there are areas where more women want to go into. But every issue has nuances and the problem with any sort of group think is that nuances can get pushed aside for a cause.

    I don’t identify as a feminist, not because I don’t hate men, but because I don’t want a group of undefined ideals to define me. I don’t know what everyone means by equality, what I want is everyone to be given the same opportunity, I want people to be given the chance to show that they are the best candidate for something. I don’t want there to be quotas but I want there to be a lack of prejudice.

    I identify as someone who wants no prejudice in society and nothing other than skill and mindset to determine whether someone is qualified for a position. The way someone acts to determine what people think of them. And the way they treat others in the way the that people treat them. But I do not identify as any group, I’m just me, being me, doing my thing.

  6. Kathleen

    Feminism is not just needed globally, it is needed in the West still to. I find it funny how some men claim they know the female experience in the western world, and use the suffering of women in low income countries to discredit the suffering of women in the west. Once again, men telling women who they are and now, even what they are allowed to be upset about.

    I wonder if they know what it is like to be a women walking on their own? Or what it is like to have your appearance be the basis of your worth? Do they know what it is like to live as a black women? There have been huge improvements in women’s rights in the West – created by both male and female feminists – yet we still have a long way to go.

    I also find it unusual how many men take feminism as a personal attack against them. Feminists want to alter patriarchal values and this would benefit men and women – for example, men repressing their feelings to be ‘manly’, and there being an overall lack of mental health services for men . A commenter below has pointed out the old fashioned rule ‘Women and children first’, which apparently feminists ‘agree’ with. Feminists do not agree with this – it belittles women and portrays women as weak, holding up the old patriarchal standard of women needing saving from ‘heroic’ men.

    I suspect a lot of people who ‘hate’ feminism have a closed, bias view of it seen through websites such as YouTube. I wonder how many of these so called ‘anti-feminists’ have actually read an esteemed feminist magazine, journal, book or poem; or listened to the words of a respected feminist speaker. I wonder how many of them have had real debates with feminists, that were not held in the depths of YouTube’s or Tumblr’s comment section.

    I’m not defending every feminist – there are extremists in every social movement. And feminism itself is not ‘one size fits all’, two feminists can have very different beliefs. But to ‘hate’ feminism seems like an emotional response, sourced from the threatening of masculinity, rather than a balanced and well read one.

  7. Hazel

    Very eloquently worded.

  8. Rupert James

    I think…after having debates with many feminists, I believe feminism is concentrated far too much on the western world, as there is equality, and not concentrating on developing nations where there is a difference between men and women. In my opinion feminism has completed its main purpose and in the 21st century it sparks arguments between men and women. We do not need to positively discriminate and give people jobs just for political correctness i.e. giving a job to someone just because they are woman, it should be about their talents. Many sectors there is equal pay. I do not believe in feminism in the western world and we should be having debates over these types of things when we should be finding a way to prevent global warming and the end of human civilisation due to it. Also, I find it disgusting how some feminists insult and abuse successful women just because they are not in the supposed “struggle” feminists should really have a hard look on themselves and not hate every being on Earth

  9. Charlie

    The reason I hate feminism is because it screams at any stats showing women don’t have at least 50% share of anything, without trying to understand the context and the reasons behind it, and assumes that is the result of active discrimination. I am not saying there isn’t, but we need to be more scientific than that.

    Take gender pay gap as an example, has anybody considered that part of the reason is that more women than men have chosen to take career breaks for children, not because they are forced to but because of their motherly nature? This is not just a cultural thing. We can observe this in many mammals, where the male hunt for food and the female look after the young. To point finger at any organisation where men earn more than women on average and say they need to sort this out is over-simplification. What is the organisation supposed to do? Give all female employees a bigger pay rise or promotion? That is actually discrimination in the other direction.

    The other reason I hate Feminism is that discrimination goes in both directions,why only fight for women? I understand the author said ‘fem’ doesn’t mean only fighting for women, but I have not seen it in practice. For example, have they ever questioned why women and children can go on a life boat first on a sinking ship, or why there are more female headteachers than male?

    Hope I won’t be branded as sexist for hating Feminism. I have nothing against equality, but Feminism is not exactly about equality.