As we’re learning, the anti-feminist movement is dark and deeply disturbing. Writers such as Laura Bates in Men Who Hate Women, and Vice UK Features Editor Hannah Ewens, describe an alarming increase in young men spewing vile, often incorrect “facts” about feminism and women, fueled by incels on the Internet.
Unless you’re an expert in the field of de-programming radicalized minds or perhaps carrying out research like Bates, I strongly advise steering well away from discussion forums or even social media posts from such men. There’s no arguing with them, especially since many of them fill their time by trying to wind people up. You can do without an exploding head.
It’s not just men who believe that feminism has gone too far either. Some women decry feminists or announce themselves “anti-feminist”, because apparently our “way of promoting equality is messed up and wrong”. (And yes, that was a response to me on social media today.) Despite most definitions of feminism including variations on “equality for women” or “equality of the sexes”, anti-feminists insist on their own definition and stick their fingers in their ears when challenged. You tend not to get many examples from them of our messed-upness, so again, probably not worth delving into their world.
Meanwhile, in the real world, many women experience milder forms of the “gone too far” complaint every day, and it’s okay to stand up to that nonsense.
Eye rolls when you call something out — because didn’t you object to something similar only yesterday? It’s like we get a limited number of ‘objections’ per week and no matter how many times we hear sexist BS, exceeding that quota is ‘taking things too far’. Interestingly though, since very few men call sexism out unprompted, it’s seen as the woman’s job to do that. As with most cases of bigotry or discrimination, witnesses will usually look to us for a reaction first. There’s apparently a line though; if we react every single time, we’re over-reaching.
“We’ve already got a women” is another one. Even if it’s not said out loud, the thinking is often that one or two token women is enough. Feminism, in the form of too many women becomes “unfair” or, according to Yoshiro Mori, the ex-Chief of the Japan Olympics committee, “annoying”.
Apparently we talk for too long, so our speaking time should be limited, if not our numbers. (He resigned in March because of that gem.)
“It makes it harder for men to succeed.” I’m always tempted to yell “Of course it does; you have competition now.” Instead though, I recommend a calmer response — pointing out that more competition doesn’t make it “unfair”, it makes it fairer, — just not for the demographic used to winning by default. There are simply more candidates for the job/club/whatever, so men have to up their game.
“It discriminates against men.” — This is a double standard, pure and simple. Unless you’re saying that there’s no discrimination against women, (for which I’m ready with a thousand examples), you can’t rage about discrimination against men while doing nothing to end it for women. Pick one.
Oh, and if you do have an example of discrimination against men, by all means campaign against it, fight it with all you’ve got. See how it works?
“Men are losing out.” — In most instances, granting equal rights to one group doesn’t mean taking anything away from the dominant group. No one is saying men can’t get jobs, we’re just saying that everyone should have an equal shot. But yes, men do lose out — they lose the advantages that simply being men brings.
“Feminists hate men.” — Sigh. First of all, that would be “misandrists” not “feminists”. Many feminists are married to men and have sons, brothers, cousins and male friends whom they love.
You can love men and be a feminist, believe me. Saying we hate men is lazy and deflective. In the past, feminists were called man-haters for daring to fight for the right to vote and own property. It’s a tired old trope.
Sure, some feminists may hate men but they’re not the majority. Most feminists hate the patriarchy and the way it bolsters men at the expense of women, and we get irritated and annoyed at men who look the other way, (including our loved ones). From unfair hiring processes to rape kits that never get processed, there’s a lot to hate and that’s what we aim to change. If it makes men feel a teeny bit unpopular from time to time, that’s okay — women get that every time we try to claim a space in the Boys’ Club.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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