As a feminist, the tumblr Women Against Feminism makes me want to weep. Not because of the criticism, but because of the stupidity of the comments. Modern feminism has many flaws and feminists themselves don’t agree on many subjects. However, man-hating, bra-burning and making women “victims” is not what feminism is about. Feminists stand for equality between men and women, fight against gender bias and look to empower women as well as men to do whatever they want in life. Men and women alike are acting like feminism is a zero-sum game nowadays, slowly striping men from their rights. Needless to say they are missing the point. Historically, feminism has always been focused on women’s rights. Mainly because, throughout history, women had virtually no rights and were treated like second class citizens. In many countries this is still the case. Generations of feminists fought together to secure women’s right to vote, own credit cards and not to be raped by their husbands. Today, the focus of feminism has and must change to include men, as they are victims of gender inequalities too. Male rape and domestic violence go unreported because of the stigma attached to it. Men are also pressured by society to appear strong and they are told not to “act like a girl” as well as being subjected to the stress of having to approach girls they like without appearing like complete weirdos. Modern feminism fights against gender roles. Gender roles that give archaic concepts of masculinity and femininity. In those, women are “caregivers” and “helpless” while men are “protectors” and “strong”.
Feminism today is challenging those preconceived ideas about gender in our society. This does not mean that all women should be weightlifters or that all men should stay at home, just that men and women have the possibility to do those things without being discriminated against. However, in the world today more women have died due to gender-related violence than the casualty toll in all wars of the 20th century. In many countries, women are still treated like second-class citizens, are unable to drive cars, are forced into marriage and unable to go to school. So yes, it is true that in a society still mainly dominated by white males, feminism has a focus on women. And rightly so. While it is true that the situation of women in the West, especially white women, is particularly enviable, gender equality has still not been completely achieved. A quick look at the number of women in the Houses of Parliaments is a telling sign. Women represent more than half of the UK population, but make up only 23% in politics. The country where there are most women in Parliament today is in Rwanda, where 64% of seats are held by women. Also, women still do not earn the same amount than men, are jailed for losing their baby (I’m looking at you El Salvador) and are told what they can or not wear in places like France where muslim women can’t wear the veil.
Despite the constant reminder in our society as well as in the rest of the world, that women still have not achieved equality and still victims of gender related violence, women on the infamous Women Against Feminism (and twitter) say they do not need feminism and are waging a war against the whole movement. “I do not need feminism because I do not hate men”, “I don’t need feminism because I like being feminine”, “I don’t need feminism because I’m not a victim”. How does standing up for my rights and beliefs make me a man-hater ? Who said wearing dresses and being a feminist were mutually exclusive ? And I’m glad you’re not a victim. Me either. Not only are those remarks useless, but they are also incredibly stupid. It’s pretty much like saying “I don’t believe in global warming because it’s snowing”. The ice is still melting and the polar bears are still dying though.
You don’t need feminism ? That’s fine. But please do remember that some women aren’t as privileged as you are.