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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. 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.

  2. Hazel

    Very eloquently worded.

  3. 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

  4. 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.