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Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Atheism, Drama, Feminism, Freethought Blogs, LGBT Rights, Mental Illness, Nonsense, Philosophy, Politics, Progressive Politics, Skepticism, Socialism | 100 comments

They’ve Finally Done It! The Feminists Have Convinced Me I’m Not One Of Them.

More than that, I no longer want to be associated with the term “feminism” at all. It’s inherently sexist and favors one group over all others. Of course, I’m mainly talking about third-wave “gender” feminism, and not the sort of feminism that embraces equality and pushes for women’s rights, such as the ERA, affordable contraception, sexual equality, equal pay, maternity/paternity leave, freedom over one’s body, and mandatory child support. I’m completely in favor of that. Just as I’m in favor of  equal opportunity, equal rights, and proportionality of representation, especially in politics. 

But there’s simply more nonsense in third-wave feminism than I can rationally accept, beginning with the dehumanizing cruelty to people who don’t identify as third-wave feminists or who accidentally make a verbal misstep. (Godwin alert: lurking in certain comment threads is the online equivalent of watching Polanski’s The Pianist; brilliant film, rent it now.)  While I’m fully aware that women still suffer a disproportionate amount of visible domestic violence, rape, and negative sexism, ignoring men’s legitimate concerns leads to a backlash. We’re seeing it now. It’s why the Men’s Rights Movement exists. Moreover, concepts such as “privilege” are fine to describe groups in their most general sense, but completely inadequate to describe individuals. Terms such as “mansplaining” don’t invalidate an argument. And finally, especially post-college, the number of women against this new wave of feminism seems to outnumber the men. To be honest, most women who aren’t involved in politics or academia don’t even seem to be aware of it. Of course that’s just my perception, and I could easily be wrong, but I don’t see any battle-bound feminists in my everyday offline interactions. Accommodating men, on the other hand, actually jump through hoops to give women what they want. They cross streets when they see single women approaching. They try to avoid elevators because a woman might be spooked in a lone man’s presence. But all women are not the same and it is extremely insulting to presume that all of them want men to behave this way.  Most women aren’t obsessed about remote “stranger danger.” Most are aware that, realistically, they’re in much greater risk of harm every time they get into a car.  Unfortunately, this new wave of feminism leads to a type of paternalism that is both patronizing to women and inherently misogynistic. It plays into the stereotype that women are illogical, histrionic, and weak. Seriously, what’s next?  Laying your jacket over a puddle before a woman can cross? Even when you know that her precious feet will get wet regardless? Life is full of problems, and all human beings deserve compassion and kindness, not just women. Moreover, feminism isn’t kind to women; it’s only kind to women who agree with a very dogmatic and somewhat antiquated perspective of gender stereotypes.

As a woman, I can say all this without being immediately labeled a misogynist, but not without being verbally attacked and potentially libeled. Sadly, most of these attacks are either perpetrated or eagerly supported by powerful middle-class men. Can you see the irony here?  Does it remind you of the Republican Party? Further, while I can’t speak for minorities or other marginalized groups, I can say that a significant number of people within those groups feel much as I do about feminism. We want equality and respect, not patronizing reparations for past wrongs. Nor am I speaking for all women; I’m merely speaking for myself.  I’m telling you how I feeeeeeeel.  And if you’re a man whose motto is “Listen to the women!” it would behoove you to take what I have to say into account because I am one of many.  People are free to determine what they want and need, and I’m happy to do everything I can to support them. On the other hand, I feel that feminism has fallen apart completely. Women are not a minority; educated middle-class Western women are not oppressed; and when prominent feminist men attack successful women as gender-traitors and chill girls, that’s the end of the line for me. Why? Because they’re being sexist and encouraging victim mentality. And that’s the last thing women need.

So I’m dropping the word “feminism” in favor of more gender neutral terms, or words that actually mean something useful, unless we’re talking about mating rituals or other situations where gender might actually be relevant. (Notably, it isn’t relevant for some.)  And this is my last post on the issue, at least until the next eruption of ridiculous online drama that becomes too compelling and ludicrous to resist.

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • I have dropped feminism and adopted ‘Chill Girl’, I think it’s a rather apt description when you compare us to them.

    • I’m cool with chill girl and later on I might even have a chilled drink.

      • i’ve got 4 daughters, all of whom are going to read this asap. my wife and I thank you on their behalf.

  • io

    This is everything I wanted to write today but, because I’ve been told off so many times on twitter for slating feminism I dumbed my blog post down & instead asked people to explain it to me (feminism) – quite sad I’ve had no replies

    I’m considering re-blogging this over on mine though once I can get to a computer.

    Wholeheartedly agree with everything you have said

    X

    io (@ampatheist)

    • Don’t be scared; we’re in the right, since all we want is to be heard and to have our questions answered. I’ve asked to have the concept of “assumed privilege” explained to me multiple times; I’ve read about it; and no one can explain it adequately, because it doesn’t make sense. It’s just a word for stereotyping based on either inherent or transient characteristics such as race, gender, socio-economic status, etc. And when you try to put all these factors together, it’s impossible to determine who has privilege over another and why. Not to mention, it completely discounts the ability to empathize. Real privilege, however, is much easier to spot. You have it over the beggar on the street. I have it over a man desperately in love with me. And so on.

      That said, be wary of disclosing your full name online, because people can be extremely cruel when blinded by ideology. But it’s important to stand up and be counted. Also, feel free to use anything I’ve written with attribution. XO

  • Thank you so much. Your post does away with much the noise and clutter surrounding this topic. This ‘discussion’ can be something of a mine field for anyone to get through. Your direct expression and clarity are most welcome, appreciated and very much needed.

    Peace
    Vince

  • Egbert

    It is actually liberating to throw off these labels. Now others will try to impose labels on you like ‘chill girl’ and ‘gender traitor’ etc., which has nothing to do with your real thoughts and feelings, but everything to do with controlling your identity. Of course, you’re free to self-identify as something else, only falling into the same trap again.

    Once you see this as an interplay of labels and identity, you can see how it’s all a game and delusion.

  • SecularJustice

    I totally agree that feminism has been hijacked. I agree the word itself is too loaded and should abandoned.

    But would you consider yourself a believer in what is called Equity Feminism?

    • Yes, I’d go even further than that, since I support diversity programs, better rape shield laws, and so forth. So I guess I’m to the left of equity liberal/libertarian feminism, but those are just my political views. I’m not buying into modern feminist theory at all, since it’s just watered down radical feminism, anyway. And it makes no sense as applied because radical feminism is not tolerant of men or transpeople.

      The problem is that feminism isn’t a single ideology, it is a tangled cluster of political views that is presented as a single ideology in academic circles, political arguments, and darkened corners of the interwebs. So yes, the label “feminist” can be easily be applied to my views, I would just prefer that it not be, since at this point it’s merely confusing and misleading.

      • Copyleft

        “I’m not a feminist, I support equality.” That statement used to be ridiculous; these days, not so much.

  • Clare45

    “Because they’re being sexist and encouraging victim mentality. And that’s the last thing women need.”
    Exactly. And I think I will follow your example and no longer call myself a feminist. I did think of myself as an equity feminist, but as you say, the word feminist has been hijacked,so I will not use it any more.

    • It just causes resentment at this point. And it does nothing to clarify your actual beliefs. This is the reason that the feminist movement hasn’t progressed in ages, and as with everything else, we have to rally around specific causes rather than a jumbled ideology that has become meaningless except for in the worst way.

      • Copyleft

        The thing is, there would be nothing wrong with feminism as “advocacy for women” if they could just admit to it.

        That’s what today’s feminism is, but a lot of people keep pretending it’s still an all-encompassing “justice for all” agenda, which is simply not true. It doesn’t -have- to be dishonest–but as things stand right now, it sadly is.

  • James

    Very nice piece.
    I think you will find that if you make it known to a man what your position is concerning these issues, he will start to make his own criticisms known to you.

    There are many, many men who have problems with some of the claims made by feminists but they would rather keep quiet than be labelled a ‘misogynist’, a ‘dinosaur’ or a ‘rape enabler’. Many women who speak out often get targeted as well (just look at Erin Pizzey) and are called a ‘gender traitors’ but I was never really aware there was a war going on.

    Stay skeptical but be careful, the ones you speak out against have been known to use underhanded methods to silence the opposition.

    Ciao.

    • Oh, I’ve been attacked endlessly over my views, both by women and by men. So be it. I’m just sharing my opinion with whoever cares to read it. It isn’t law, and it shouldn’t be safe from scrutiny.

  • Patrick

    Camille Paglia wrote in “Sexual Personae” that sexual harassment complaints, ogling, wolf whistling, even date rape, are white girl problems. Women of color expect men to act a certain way and they can give as good as they get. They don’t go to bed with a man, think better of it later, and decide after the fact that it was rape.

    Also, to some extent gender feminism is incompatible with skepticism. Gender feminists regard logic, empiricism and the scientific method as tools of male oppression. They think that feelings and emotions should be given equal weight. So to the A plussers, I would say which will it be? Gender Feminism or Skepticism? You can’t have your cake and eat it too.

    • James Emery

      THIS is pure strawman. Pure.

      • Mark Neil

        No, actually, it isn’t. The book Feminist Jurisprudence quotes a number of prominent feminist Law professors who openly state that Neutrality and Objectification are male traits and having those be the foundation for laws inherently biases the law against women. TheCommonMan does a two part video on youtube examining the book and concepts within.

    • I really don’t think “date rape” simply means changing your mind about a sexual encounter, even if some have abused the concept that way. The more accurate term is “acquaintance rape”, meaning sexual assault by someone who is known by the victim and where there might even be some previous sexual history, but where the sexual encounter in question was coerced. Like marital rape, it’s not a complicated concept.

      And I think Paglia calling “date rape” a “white girl problem” is an example of her really talking out of her ass. (If anything, women of color have a higher rate of sexual victimization of all kinds, which cannot be pushed aside by some cheap stereotype of earthy black girls who know what real problems are.) Mind you, I think Paglia has had some genuinely right-on and insightful things to say, but she often cancels it out by making off-base Ann Coulter-like statements that just make her sound stupid. Some people don’t come with a filter, I guess.

      • Yeah, there’s a big difference between morning regret and forcible, coercive, or otherwise non-consensual date rape. If there’s no consent or no capacity to consent, it’s rape. And it is a tremendous violation.

        As to cat-calls and what some women consider sexual harassment, (e.g., a pro-equality t-shirt worn by a woman? Blog comments in threads over which the woman has complete control? A request for coffee/possible proposition in a crowded hotel?), I do consider those to be “white girl problems.” I wish my life were so smooth and easy that such things would register on my radar of “slightly inappropriate.” But as it stands, they don’t. That doesn’t mean that they don’t honestly and sincerely feel uncomfortable to someone else, though. But just like I don’t have the right not to be made uncomfortable by the way certain parties have treated me, they don’t the right not to be uncomfortable because of the way others have treated them. This, of course, ends as soon as any legal violations occur.

        • Shane

          hmm does that mean the times that women had sex with me when I was drunk and not able to give consent and explicitly said that I did not want to have sex, is rape? Most people I have talked to seem to have the opinion that I was not raped.

          I think that technically it was rape but thats not to say that I was necessarily emtionally harmed by it, even if I was pissed off in the morning.

          • Short answer: Yes.

          • Trina

            This is a good example of ‘gray area’ issues. (Please note that ‘gray area’ was in quotes). Rape is rape, and that’s all there is to it. But, unless it’s the first time a person has been drinking, he/she has some understanding of what happens to us when we drink too much. I take responsibility for my choice as to how much I drink, and with whom. I consider it a form of self-defense. I hope that makes sense to readers here. I’m not condoning rape under any circumstances, but saying that we need to care enough about our well-being to exercise basic sane behavior. And young women and men need to be taught to think in those terms (I think the lack of that is often at fault). JMO

  • PJLandis

    I still think feminism is a good, general purpose word. I’ve always believed it simply meant that you believed in equality, that women were neither better nor worse than men solely because of their gender.

    • I believe that too. But look at it this way, this group of feminists told me that holding that belief meant I belonged to the “clown school of feminism.” — Jadehawk. So if feminists want to claim the word for a very specific and alienating dogma, they can have it. My vocabulary is large enough to accommodate them.

      • James Emery

        Hi BluHarmony,

        Can you please reference where JadeHawk made this comment?

        • It was on Butterflies & Wheels. I don’t know if it’s been deleted or not. If you search for bluharmony aka GenderTraitor, you might be able to find it. I was told that another comment (I don’t know who made it) calling me an attention whore was deleted, but I have no idea at this point.

      • PJLandis

        Yeah, I get what your saying. I just wonder about places where women remain second-class by law and culture to a degree that you don’t see in most of the US and Europe very often.

        If feminism, at least under that banner, is only the province of the extreme or controversial ideas even in places where the basic feminist ideas are widely accepted, then it could hurt the cause in places where the fight for equal rights is still hot (e.g., India).

        • I have every intention for fighting for all the same rights, both here and there. But sometimes it’s important to address the most egregious human rights violations first. At any rate, it’s a matter of prioritizing your efforts and donations, and to that extent, to each his or her own. I strongly believe in equality — both legal and social — for all people. I don’t know the best way to achieve this goal, but I’m fairly sure that the petty concerns we’ve been dealing with recently aren’t the way.

          • PJLandis

            “I’m fairly sure that the petty concerns we’ve been dealing with recently aren’t the way.”

            Right on, Sister!

        • Zed Zero

          If the US version of feminism is trivial, self indulgent and weird it will be exploited for anti-feminist propaganda in undeveloped countries. The women of the US should be take into account that the exploitation of women around the world where beatings, slavery and premature death still exists in great quantity trump their little comments section squabbles here in the US.

          • You bring an important point to the discussion, and yet your assertion still misses a few vital points when discussing American feminism as part of the global continuum.

  • James Emery

    Seriously, have you READ some of the stuff posted on MRA sites? Most of it is all about how the women are putting them down, and there are plenty of fun rape jokes. This has nothing to do with a reaction to feminism per se, but merely is a reaction to an attempted equalization of male-female privilege in society. If you have trouble understanding privilege, I’d suggest these:

    http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Privilege
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_privilege

    You might also have a read of some of the PHMT posts. They’re around.

    • I have read those sites on privilege, as well as many more. My concerns have not been addressed, since I have already noted that (assumed) privilege is something that applies to groups rather than individuals. On an individual level, money is the privilege that trumps most others. Situational, relative, and transient privilege is also relevant to any given interaction. In my opinion, it is more important to look at individuals as individuals, and to leave generalities aside, especially when discussing specific situations. Yes, men have traditionally had certain advantages and sexism still exists. Yes, I think we should fight it whenever we can. But as a woman, I can say that I would never want to be a man, especially with the mixed signals they’re constantly getting. I have often enjoyed the (real) privileges that come with being a woman, even though feminists adamantly deny that they exist (at least in respect to men in general). And I have not come to my conclusions without reading about the issues extensively and from various perspectives.

      I agree with you that MRA sites can be horrid; I do not support them in any way; I condemn rape and death threats (even if it’s just trolling); and I do not agree with abuse or harassment that any individuals in the movement have suffered based on gender or sexual orientation. This includes any comments on womens’ looks and any videos made to ridicule women for being women. But the feminists in this tempest don’t have clean hands. I’ve been called mentally ill, a bitch, a narcissist, and my FB photos have been discussed at length. So if you’re going to focus on these acts as being wrong, they should be wrong as applied to all women, and not just those who call themselves feminists.

      Moreover, I don’t condone or support cyber-bullying, period. We should all treat each other with tolerance, if not respect.

      • Egbert

        The word ‘privilege’ is being misused, as it can be applied to anyone middle-class enough or educated enough, especially in America. This is a clash between class war ideologies of the radical left and middle class sensibilities.

        • It’s also being abused to dismiss people’s valid arguments on the basis of irrelevant characteristics.

        • Egbert

          My comment was really a response to James Emery, as some culprits have been misusing the term in a paranoid way, while others exploit it for their own control and power.

          • Very true. The problem is that I have yet to see it used in a helpful way or in a way that is little more than ambiguously descriptive in a broader sociological context. Yes, some of us are born having things that others don’t, and that’s a privilege. But this observation is so obvious as to be useless.

          • Egbert

            Those whom are the real ‘privileged’ are perfectly happy with the divide and conquer of communities. My major error for the last few years was to see religion as the great evil, which seems true once you start looking at all the evidence (and ignore the evidence to the contrary). Thus, to divide between the religious and non-religious keeps our energies away from attacking the real privileged and exploiters.

            And once atheists start to get established as a community, the ‘raising awareness’ meme, a concept that goes back to radical feminism and even back to radical Marxism, starts to shift atheism from a rather dull critical and rationalist mentality to a cynical and paranoid attack on others, while the energies of atheists are exploited by the latest book or some other fund raising scam.

            Sure, we can raise awareness to the point of realizing the ideology and control we’ve been duped into following, but that inevitably leads to the destruction of a community created in a negative way in the first place.

            What I’m hoping is that those who are intellectual enough to realize the ideological delusions implanted within us, can create a positive community that actually wants to help each other become more enlightened, rather than divert their energies into futile and hopeless causes.

          • This comment is simply excellent. Yes, I was hoping that too.

          • Egbert

            Thank you, and I hope others come to a similar realization.

      • Just this

        • I understand an appreciate your points, although I don’t agree with all of them (just like I don’t agree with a lot of what GWW has to say & I don’t agree with Cristina Rad, both when she was anti-feminist and now). But I like your approach to this discussion and will link to your blog in my blogroll, if you don’t mind.

          • I don’t mind in the least. 🙂 I believe in respectful approach. Always. 🙂

    • James

      THIS is pure strawman. Pure.

  • Vic

    Reminds me of communism.

    There are so many sub-ideologies, it’s basically impossible to ask two random communists about a topic and get two similar answers.

    As a communist myself, I am often asked, why I want to kill people so much.
    I do not deny the atrocities committed by communists or communists-in-name only, but to conclude that I support the building of labour/death camps is a bit of a quick-shot.

    Feminism, especially in historical context, accomplished many important steps for women’s rights and feminist writers succesfully changed how gender and traditionalist values are perceived by society in general.

    However the group split up over time – as groups tend to do – and nowadays somebody who supports equal opportunity can be called feminist… and those which think men are a sickness society has to be cleaned from can be called feminists (albeit I’d say the latter are but a fringe group).

    A analogue would be Islam. There are religious movements within Islam which support peace, equalitay and democratic, even secular values. And there are groups which oppose those.

    Since the religion lacks any centrified leadership (like e.g. the catholic church), it is impossible to talk about ‘Islam’ in general.

    Just like it has become to talk about ‘Feminism’ in general.

    Defining oneself under a new term can help to make discussion about these topics easier.
    (I personally prefer equalist or egalitarian. I have a MRA past/background, but I distanced myself from the movement because they did not distance themself clearly enough from traditionalists and, in my oppinion, do not put enough effort to distinguish between themself and those who think MRA websites are a place for misogynist views. There are, however positive examples: Certain MRA webisites now have two comment threads: A ‘free-for-all’ thread and a heavily moderated one, where they invite people with other views and critics to participate. In an ideal world we’d need no moderated comment threads when having a discussion about political or social topics on the interent, but alas, these topics can quickly escalate (on the internet quicker than in real life, I’d say, although I saw some rather worrying, almost ‘heavy-handed’ discussions at my local communist meeting).

    • Egbert

      Do you not see that this has everything to do with identity or false identities (false consciousness) and nothing to do with any intellectual tradition or philosophy?

      As I said above, the rush to label oneself or others, is the first trap into a new false consciousness, defining oneself in opposition to others, creating a conflict that does not exist in reality.

      When atheists begun to change their thinking and realize ‘atheism’ was inadequate, they immediately turned to other terms like ‘secularist’ or ‘freethinker’ because those were more general and seemed to allow for the embrace of more complex ideas involving ethics and politics. But no such self-labeling secularist of freethinker has any connection with the historical and traditional context of thinkers of that period, and thus does not fully understand the meaning of the terms. Instead, they become new identities and more hostile ideological conflicts with others.

      • Vic

        The rush to label oneself and others can lead to misconceptions about others and inflict misconceptions about me in others due to different understandings of certain labels. Is that the false consciousness you speak of?

        I think it’s human nature to think in terms of ‘me’ and ‘others’, and, in that sense, of ‘us’ and ‘them’. I will always treat people in my immmediate surroundings differently than people far away (even if, rationally, people not currently in my sight could be in dire need of help or something similar)

        A label can provide both inclusiveness (by easily identifying likeminded people even if you are not personally acquainted) and exclusiveness (which can be problematic depending on the hostility of the members of the groups).

        As far as I understand, you suppose it’s more important to judge every individual (and its stances and positions) by itself, as opposed to generalise a group according to a label?

        To that I’d answer, it would be great if we could have every individual judged solely by his unique consciousness, but seeing how changes in society and political decisions are currently rather fast happenings, I’d say the easiness to gauge affirmation via a group label (wile not precise due to the generalistion of the group’s members) is more important than the input of every single individual.

        While the latter would be a more fine-grained picture of a population, I do not see the harm in scaling the filter according to the affected number of people.

        If, one day, gloabl decisions will be made, it would be ideal to have every human judged individually, but I’m afraid it would be just impractical.

        And choosing between a non-perfect, but working system and a system weighed down by the will to create a representative image as close as possible, while in the end all decisions will be, in one way or the other, a compromise, I’d rather support the faster, but less preicse method for the sake of having a form of organisation at all.

        Conflicts do not arise due to people giving themselves labels, but due to the decisions made by ever single individuum identifying with those labels.

        A label does not only grant a ‘group personality’ in the sense of agreement. To choose a label by oneself one will show which compromises one is willing to make to agree with an idea.

        Even without the ‘group personality’ granted by a label, people in agreement with each other will have conflict with people not in agreement with them. The front lines might be just less simple to draw.

        And as I said, labels change and groups change too. They both grow, split, divide and absorb others. Labels are a tool, it can be used for good (influence, lobbying, advertising) and bad (fighting, generaliation, losing individuality, being divisive). And that is, in the end, up to the individual consciousnesses which choose the label.

        Disregarding what I said above, I would say that politcal and ideological labels are something of a tool from the past and with the development of new technologies and forms of hierarchy and organisation, we will be able to pay more attention to every individual, instead of requiring individuals to join voices in order to be heard. And that would be, in my oppinion, a positive development.

        • No, I only wish for specific judgement in particular situations where we have the needed information. As a general concept, I have no objection to the idea of privilege. Its true, some groups likely do have more privileges than others. All I’m saying is that just because you belong to a specific (frequently disadvantaged) group, doesn’t automatically mean you’re A, B & C, or that your opinion is wrong.

        • Egbert

          Sorry I did not reply sooner. By false conscious, I mean in the sense of not being aware of being manipulated by the control and power of others. Ideology, in our modern era, is the way we’re being controlled, although ideology is no different to our western understanding of religion, they’re both forms of control. Only the individual can break out of ideologies, groups tend to form ideologies by labeling and other mythological structures.

          • Vic

            Thanks for your answer.

            While I still do not think labeling is inherently harmful, even useful in certain cases (as described above, since organisation of any level includes the loss of individuality, and some form of organisation will be what humans will ive in (in the foreseeable future, I think)), I agree with you that ideologies can be forms of control; and I agree wholeheartely that they can be control structures equivalent to religions (with all the attached negative aspects).

            In my eyes, it just becomes problematic the more dogma an ideology incorporates and obedience it demands (stating the obvious, I know).

            This just seems to be a case of what your (or rather, we both, if I may go so far) ideally would want and what I, personally, think is practically possible (so far, further development of society and technology).

  • I can appreciate your frustration with certain things that you’re identifying with the “third wave” — but the third wave hasn’t really begun. I don’t wish to make any assumptions about what history you are an aren’t aware of with the term “gender feminism”, so rather than write a long-winded response, I would just like to route you to something I wrote a couple of months ago, which might help clarify a few things. Granted, those are *my* perspectives…I will never claim they are “the” perspectives. I’ll just note that the term “feminism” all by itself has been demonized in certain quarters…when there is no singular definition of it. It is a very broad term, covering a really diverse continuum of perspectives.

    That said, only YOU can say what you are or are not. I wish you well.

    • I’m fully aware of the history, and I’m simply using “gender feminism” as a rough term for what’s being taught as feminist theory in academia now. This theory does not comport with my perception of reality and does not have adequate evidence behind it. Moreover, taken to its extreme (radical feminism), it leads to ridiculous results. Liberal and libertarian feminist thought comes much closer to my views on the matter. So does equality grounded in and supported by law (aka equity feminism).

      That said, I don’t claim to have all the answers either, and I wish you the best as well. I just don’t want to see other women attacked as I and others have been for holding the “wrong” feminist views. (And they are, in reality, feminist views.)

  • David

    /cool runnings slow clap

    This so hard it hurts.

    When i was growing up i remember that feminism used to be very well defined. It was a movement that sought to improve the lot of women in the world by gaining them the same legal and civil rights and responsabilities as men. It was a reaction to a problem (and considering since the problem was MILLENNIA old, it was solving it pretty goddamn fast when you think about it. Took only 2 generations to get things most of the way they should be) but lately it’s become something I can’t attach myself to.

    There are so many definitions of feminism that are mutually exclusive that a true feminist is about as elusive as a true christian and equally hard to define.

    The most distressing the the one where feminism is supposed to be some omnigender equality movement. Godless Bitches had an entire show that was essentially 90 minutes of “feminism is just as much about helping men”. And yet the language they use is explicitly gendered. The good thing is feminism, and everything bad is patriarchy (an implicitly male term). Rather then using the obvious and self evident terms like equality vs enforced gender roles (of which the feminism of my youth was one facet) they instead c choose to frame it as an inherently female concept vs some legion of doom like male concept dedicated to ruining everyone’s lives.

    I grew up having gender neutral speech hammered into me. I try very hard not to say “Mankind” or give gender assignment to gender neutral terms because i don’t want to be sexist. And here is what is supposed to be a primary engine of combating sexism..and instead of fighting it, it has embraced sexist terminology.

    And none of the people putting this forward would see this.

    Anyway, long story short, excellent post and thank you for saying what I would certainly be branded all sorts of wonderfully vile things for saying.

  • “Unfortunately, this new wave of feminism leads to a type of paternalism that is both patronizing to women and inherently misogynistic. It plays into the stereotype that women are illogical, histrionic, and weak.”

    Well said. I think this hypersensitive new brand of feminism creates the opposite intended effect and actually takes women backward in time several steps.

    • Zed Zero

      A union shop is established to protect the worker from management abuses but, the union becomes so hostile to working with management the workplace becomes a full time battleground.
      If feminism is hostile towards men then your life will be a full time battle ground. We need core philosophies of living with each other or we need to live as a warrior.

  • Bert Russell

    Why don’t we just call ourselves “egalitarians?” Isn’t that what feminism is actually about anyway?

    • It should be. I’m not against reparations when needed, either.

  • I’m kind of curious (ha, ha) why you single out “third-wave” feminism as the particularly aggressive hateful kind of feminism. Because, if anything, second-wave feminists were far more dogmatic, anti-male, anti-trans, and anti-sex than third wavers ever were. Particularly the second wave “radical feminists”, although you can see a lot of spillover of their ideas into supposedly liberal second wave feminists like Gloria Steinem.

    Third wave feminism actually arose as a reaction against the kind of narrow minded and often transphobic and patronizingly racist attitudes endemic within second-wave feminism. Of course, the third wave has been around for a while now and set up it’s own dogmas about “privilege” and “kyriarchy”.

    • I don’t mean to single out any type of feminism other than the one that’s invading atheism right now. No one is happy with the labels for feminism. Every feminist believes that theirs is teh “good kind.” “Gender feminism” offends some since it was a label coined by a conservative woman (and also used & adopted by Stephen Pinker and his sister). Second wave feminism, in reality, never ended, and it is now inextricably intertwined with the third wave, and radical feminist theory has become slightly tempered and mainstream, at least in academic circles. By waves, I’m merely referring to the time frame. As I’ve said repeatedly here and elsewhere, there are as many types of feminism as there are feminists; in that way (and in many others), it’s just like religion. I would fall somewhere to the left of equity/liberal/libertarian feminists if the atheist feminist club allowed for any diversity of viewpoints. But it doesn’t. Unless those viewpoints come from the top down. And that’s the problem.

  • Jennifer Allen

    I learned long ago to eschew labels. I don’t like to be misunderstood.

    For example, I don’t say I’m an atheist; I say I don’t believe that gods or other supernatural entities did or do exist.

    And I don’t say I’m a feminist; I say I seek equal rights for all, specifically including political, social, and economic equality of the sexes in both theory and practice.

    • Oddly, by not labeling yourself you end up labeling yourself as well. But I agree, clear explanations of your views are always best.

  • As a proud second-wave feminist (I was 12 when Ms Magazine was founded), this really breaks my heart. I feel like my generation failed you by falling asleep and thinking we had solved all the problems, gave up on the Equal Rights Amendment, and didn’t notice that there was a brewing war on women and that you younger women were losing rights to abortion and birth control.

    • I don’t think you failed us; I think we failed you.

  • Trigger warning. No, seriously, trigger warning. Because you can’t make this stuff up –

    http://atheismplus.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=740

    • Zed Zero

      What does trigger warning mean?
      Regardless, this stuff is pure troll bait. I hope 4chan doesn’t discover this forum.

      • Good article on the degradation of the term “trigger warning” to the point of meaninglessness –

        http://www.theawl.com/2012/05/when-trigger-warning-lost-all-its-meaning

        The thread has been purged, due to attention from those “not of the faith”. I have managed to retrieve it and am archiving it elsewhere. Mirrors (warning – the pastehtml site is safe, but may trigger malware alerts or be blocked by content filters). Prepend pastehtmldotcom to –

        /view/cb7wkuimd.html
        /view/cb7wh1k2d.html

        • Zed Zero

          I am glad they deleted some that rot. I was very embarrassed to even be called an atheist. Thanks for heads up.

          • Zed Zero

            I saw that. What they deleted was a couple of individual posts which I won’t even repeat as I don’t want it get out. Let’s just say they were on the road to proving Rick Stantorum correct.

  • I am so saddened to read this. Threat of stranger danger or violence against women is no laughingstock. It is REAL, sorrily enough. And no, I am nothing more at risk when I get into a car. I am ten times more likely getting raped than dying in a car accident. I am a proud third wave feminist and FEMEN sister.

    • Clare45

      I don’t think all that “poor me” or “Me too” stuff is helpful in any way. Very negative.

    • Zed Zero

      What are you referring to? I hope you are not conflating rape with dirty words in a comments section.
      It would be a disgusting trivialization of an real crime. This trivialization of an important issue part of the problem not the solution.

  • I liked your article, Maria, especially after I read this one: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/07/its-really-time-for-the-harassment-to-end/, where the author claims “misandry” is made up word and that all men are taught that women are subservient.

    I also found it shocking how many guys were just “well, things suck for women so you should just let them get away with saying that kind of stuff, since it might be true for some”. Shocking. Talk about reducing both sides to stereotypes and bullshit rhetoric that insults everyone.

    What I think will really shock people is that the rise of women is a phenomenon that hasn’t fully manifested itself. In 20 years, the wage disparity will actually be on the other end since women are getting more educated then men.

    Everyone should read the book “Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Male”. It’s an intriguing read.

  • Barbara

    You have a new fan! Bravo!!!

  • Michael Werner

    I am sorry, but I wish I could get a handle on all of this argumentation better. I hear charges and countercharges, parsing of language to rediculous levels, needless anger and frustration. I hope this works out between all the parties as it looks pretty self destructive. I hope all can really see the underlying humanity in everyone and get to some common ground such as affirming the inherenet worth and dignity of all people. Keep love in your hearts all.

    • Growing pains. I’m hoping this is just a way of shaking out a better movement!

  • Rachel

    I’m sure this has already been said, but I needed to tell you myself that it was refreshing and a relief to know that someone else thinks so similarly to me and that I’m not the crazy one to think that these people need to apply a little more skepticism to themselves. Reading this made my morning so much better. Thank you.

  • Steve Andrew

    I’m a bit late to this, maria, but just wanted to say – great article, thanks for posting! 😀

    The biggest thing that has annoyed me about the recent net-storm is the immediate shutting down of any dissenting voices, even if they only express minor disagreement. You’re right, the word “mansplaining” is just one symptom of this. A bloke politely disagrees? Accuse him of mansplaining and boom, instant shut-down.

    I also liked your distinction between different types of privilege – it’s something I hadn’t really considered before. The term “privilege” is often thrown around online as if it’s an absolute thing.

  • Sergio

    Great article… can’t agree more!.

  • Chill Chick

    I just came across this post via John Loftus’s blog, I know it’s way late to be responding to it, but hey, I’m a chill chick. When radfems call me a chill girl as an insult, I wear it as a badge of honor. It just means that I give guys the benefit of the doubt and realize the fact that the vast majority of them are normal, decent human beings. Guys don’t need to walk on eggshells when they’re with me. I’m not constantly looking for an excuse to bite their head off. If a dude inadvertently says something sexist, and I know he didn’t say it maliciously, I treat it as a teachable moment and gently explain to him why what he said could offend some women. Most of the time they guy apologizes and thanks me. I think it’s a much more productive approach than screaming at every guy that he’s a rapist.

    • bluharmony

      I agree with you completely. Anyway, chill girl beats sister-shamer and gender-traitor hands down.

  • Love. This. Article. You are my new favorite blogger and have captured my own feelings perfectly.

    • bluharmony

      Thank you — what a lovely thing to say.

  • ThePrussian

    Welcome sister, we’ve been expecting you.

  • Fb

    Whole lotta words to tell us you don’t really understand the issue. Yes. middle class western women aren’t oppressed. That’s why the street harassers make sure the women they are harassing are making a certain amount of yearly salary. And posters online make sure they are only calling lower class women bitches. Certain women who make enough money have a magic shield from these realities.

    Of course this is not true, but Maria tells us that looking at these issues is paternalizing, so maybe we’ll just all read “the Secret” and we’ll pretend these realities away?

    Meanwhile, she gives no criticism to the MRAs. And if feminism deserves criticism, the MRA movement deserves it just as much. So this leads me to think Maria doesn’t really have so many gripes against feminism, but proclaiming that youre not a feminist in this age of Backlash is an easy way to get positive attention.

    • bluharmony

      Whole lot of words to tell me that you don’t understand anything. Also, I do criticize the MRAs just as much as I criticize the feminists, with one significant difference — everything the feminists ask for, they get — not so the MRAs. Otherwise, both are equally bad, as far as I can tell. As for fairy tales, you’re the one who believes them. I prefer to see for at least some evidence for claims, even if they’re made by women. We’re not illogical, silly, and pathetic creatures, like you seem to think. We can and do provide evidence when it exists.

  • So nicely said. Thank you.

  • Ad hominem attacks seem to be the rule of the day in many areas of life. It’s amazing how effective it is when in public, especially if others hear the politically correct thing coming from your opponent. I find that sarcasm works very well, as well as breaking the mold of the argument by pointing out what an opponent is doing when they make a personal or manipulative attack:

    “Ok, I see what you just did there. You said X which implies that I’m Y and you’re doing that because you can’t argue the point so you have to try to assassinate my character. Why can’t you just argue the point? Is it because perhaps you don’t have one or haven’t thought the issue out, or is it that you aren’t used to other people’s opinions being different than yours? It’s no wonder they don’t speak up since you do things like what you just attempted to do.”

  • Bravo!

  • bind bind

    if you really are for equality you would be for absolutely no chold support. Equality means 50% access per parent, equal major/minor reversed holiday access time distribution, and each parent working to take care of their own financial responsibilities while the child is in their care.

  • Hypnic_Jerk

    It’s nice to know that women out there are starting to realize men face issues as well, I mean that sincerely. But in my opinion the damage is done. Any intelligent man out there who’s aware of how risky it can be getting involved with a woman, should have some serious doubts about following through with their emotions.

    No matter how peachy things are at the beginning there’s no crystal ball for us to determine how the love of our life will react ten years in the future, and she becomes bored and decides to file for divorce. Where the courts typically, almost always favours the women . Alimony, custody are slanted to favour women. And if you’ve been following the news, a judge in NY state recently tore up a prenupt agreement in favour of a woman. In BC Canada they are about to pass a law where the courts would recognize a man and woman living together even if not married as the same as a married couple regardless. So get those prenupts in order, too bad a precendent has been set where prenupts may not worth the paper their written on.

    I’m young and moderately successful I have chosen to go through life alone, me and my dog. It took some getting use too, but to be honest the alternative scares the hell out of me. I went through what I thought was a great two year relationship where I thought my SO was ok with the idea of a prenupt, until the day I asked her to sign it. My defenses are up, even when a great woman shows any interest in me, we get along. Because of my awarness of what I can loose if things go south I instinctively never allow that relationship to evolve because of what I could loose. I’m aware 50% of relationships work out. But if my parachute instructor told me my parachute has a 50% chance of deploying. I’m not jumping.

    Again, the sentiment is greatly appreciated but until laws are changed my life is going to be a solo, childless event. I suspect more men are going to start doing the same.

  • Awesome piece. I agree with all of these points, especially the part about (what I would say is being grounded in an) antiquated perspective of gender stereotypes.

    “Unfortunately, this new wave of feminism leads to a type of paternalism that is both patronizing to women and inherently misogynistic. It plays into the stereotype..” Great stuff.

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  • IndigoLamprey

    New fan here! Two questions I had regarding this post though. You said, “and when prominent feminist men attack successful women as gender-traitors and chill girls, that’s the end of the line for me.” First off, why are feminist men attacking successful women? Are you supposed to be unsuccessful in order to fit in?!? Secondly, ‘gender-traitors’, seriously? They’re using language analogous to what racists are using?

    • bluharmony

      Apparently, if you’re successful then you’re either “privileged” or betraying the sisterhood by giving in to male-dominated society… or something. And yes, that language has been used, initially by someone who calls herself Skeptifem, who was interviewed on teen Skepchick. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Martine Atherton

    I have just discovered this post and agree with everything you say. Thank you for being so eloquent.

    • bluharmony

      Thank you so much for your kind words.

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