Why Saying “I’m Not a Feminist” is NEVER an Okay Thing To Do

There are a lot of misconceptions about feminism in the world.

There are many different reasons for this, of course.  Feminism is a complicated topic.  It’s hard to look at approximately 50% of the world’s population — women of all races, all nationalities, all ages, all sexual orientations, all income brackets, all political affiliations, all education levels, etc — and define a simple, clear message that everyone can agree upon.  Especially since the advent of 3rd wave feminism, there are countless splinter and “niche” groups working under the greater feminist umbrella, and often working directly at cross-purposes to one another, or talking about completely different topics.  In an age where information is readily accessed with the click of a mouse, we’re faced with an overwhelming glut of information regarding feminism, and very little of it is concise or clear or speaks with a single voice representing all of us.

But when it’s stripped back to the bare essentials, feminism *does* have one simple, easily expressed goal:  gender equality, and the elimination of sexism.  We disagree (sometimes vehemently) on how best to *achieve* that goal, of course, but the goal remains the same for all.  And when you strip it back to that — when you say, “gender equality” instead of “feminism” — there are very few people who’ll argue against it.

And this is why the way we express ourselves about feminism, and the way we self-identify, needs to see some serious change.

If you believe that sexism is a bad thing, and that a person’s gender does not determine their worth, then you’re a feminist.  You may not agree with *every* feminist group (no one does — there are simply too many of them out there) — but you’re a feminist, of some description.  That’s all there is to it.  Saying “I’m not a feminist”, then, is a lie — and worse, it’s hurting feminists (and people) everywhere.

When most people say “I’m not a feminist”, it’s because they’re misguided about what feminism means.  They’ve bought in to a harmful stereotype — the man-hating, (often) lesbian, radical feminist who burns bras, thinks men should be slaves, and considers all penetrative sex to be rape.  This is a stereotype that was created by (and has been largely perpetuated by) the oppressing class, as a way of discrediting the perfectly logical claim that women are people and should be treated as such.  It’s a caricature, designed to make feminists look laughable and ridiculous and unfeminine, and unsexy, and unlovable, and criminal.  So when you characterize all feminists this way, it’s no different than characterizing all Scots as “cheap”, or all Irishmen as “drunks”.  You’re buying in to a bigoted stereotype, rather than learning about the individual people.

And when you buy in to that bigoted stereotype, and say “I’m not a feminist”, you’re also lumping yourself in with the people who actually ARE bigots.  You’re aligning yourself with the people who believe that women’s rights should be taken away so we can go back to the “good old days”.  You’re aligning yourself with sexual predators and rapists who don’t want their victims to have rights or be treated as people.  You’re aligning yourself with the Taliban who shot Malala Yousafzai in the head for wanting an education.

Do you really want to be on the same side as those people?

I’m not saying that you should blindly help any cause that identifies itself as “feminist”.  There’s no “supreme guiding council of feminist elders”, and no peer-review process, to determine the validity of any particular group’s claim to feminism.  There are plenty of self-identified “feminist” groups out there who have views that may not, in fact, be particularly helpful ones.  There are radfem groups who call themselves feminist but believe in the subjugation of men (I happen to strongly dispute their use of the term “feminist”, since by definition any group that advocates sexism is not, in fact, feminist — but that’s an issue that’s still considered up for debate in the broader feminist community).  There are feminist groups who are anti-choice, or who align themselves with religious organizations, or who are sex-worker exclusionary, or trans-exclusionary, or classist/racist/etc in their aims, and I disagree vehemently with all of those things.  And there are many feminist groups advocating for very specific, niche causes that may or may not be relevant to a particular person’s life — for example, a group dedicated to eliminating sexism in the medical profession might have a very good point, but not be relevant to me personally, as I’m an arts worker, not a doctor (dammit, Jim!).  So just calling yourself “feminist” doesn’t make you right, and it’s still important to research the motivations and background of any group you’re looking to join up with or support.

One of the biggest groups who commonly say “I’m not a feminist” are, unfortunately, men.  They’ll say, “I believe in women’s rights and equality, but I can’t be a feminist ’cause I’m a guy”.  And that’s just ridiculously misguided.  Not only is it perfectly possible for a guy to believe in gender equality (thus making him a feminist), it’s supremely important for people who are NOT women, who are NOT a part of the oppressed class, to take up the banner of feminism and make a conscious choice to support feminist aims.  Because it’s the oppressing class (in this case, males) who has the majority of the power — and thus, it’s males who have the most power to change things.  It’s been proven time and again that it’s easier for men (and especially white men) to get top positions at most jobs — they’re the bosses, the ones in charge of salaries, the ones in charge of hiring, and the ones in charge of policy.  They’re the majority of the politicians.  They’re the educators at universities.  They’re the police and the lawyers and the judges who enforce and influence the laws.  So if they’re working with feminist aims in mind (ie, a CEO who implements fair hiring policies, or a politician who fights for women’s reproductive rights), they’re in a position to do much more to help the cause than almost anyone else would be capable of.  They’re the ones who, by and large, have the ability to tip the scales and start the workings of a fair society.

Another group that commonly denies feminism is people of colour.  This is a more problematic issue — people of colour are already a part of an oppressed class, whether they are female or male or anything in-between.  They’re already fighting for fair wages, fair representation, and fair application of the law.  And many feminist groups are, unfortunately, very whitewashed.  Because it’s white people who have traditionally had more education & wealth, it’s white women who largely spearheaded the early feminist movements, and it’s white women who have remained at the forefront.  Many feminist groups are blatantly racist (or at least racially insensitive), and when you bring religion into the equation (people of colour are traditionally more attached to their faith, for a variety of reasons not worth going into here), it gets even more difficult — many feminist groups actively attack religious organizations, without regard to the people who worship that particular god, and this can be a massive turn-off for otherwise pro-gender-equality types.  And because feminism has historically been white, it’s difficult for people of colour to break that barrier — too many, already exhausted from spending a lifetime being oppressed for the colour of their skin, walk into a feminist meeting only to see a sea of white faces and no one who looks remotely like themselves, and they feel automatically excluded.  It’s hard to blame people for feeling that way.  In the end, though, we’ll never be able to make feminism more POC-friendly without having some people of colour standing in those rooms.  Some are going to have to break down those barriers, and walk into those rooms full of white faces, and decide they’re going to stay.  And those of us who *are* white need to recognize this difficulty, and welcome such people with open arms, so that more of them will feel comfortable saying “I’m a feminist”.

What I find, personally, the most painful, are those women who believe that identifying as feminist will make them seem unattractive.  They’re victims of fear — fear of being hated, fear of being spurned, fear of being alone.  These are the people who media depictions of feminists are directly attacking, and directly oppressing.  I just want to take those women and say, “It’s okay! What they said on TV was a lie — you can be a feminist and still be beautiful, and feminine, and a stay-at-home-mom, and people will still love you”.  And they tell me that they’re “not as strong” as I am, or that they “don’t belong”.  And that’s so wrong, because you don’t have to be an exception — or an exceptional person — to be a feminist.  You just have to believe in equality.

In most media depictions, it’s the loudest and most strident voices who get the most airtime.  These are the people who are easy to pick out of a crowd, and they give entertainment and good sound bites.  They’re also the people who are easiest to ridicule and discredit.  So we need more of the “normal” people, the ones with perfectly rational and moderate views (the ones that the majority of us espouse) to stand up and say clearly, “I’m a feminist”.  We need to drown out those radical voices, and get voices of reason to be standing at the forefront.  Because until we can “normalize” feminism, it’s never going to be fully successful.

And it really should be perfectly “normal” to believe that all people should have equal rights, right?

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59 Responses to “Why Saying “I’m Not a Feminist” is NEVER an Okay Thing To Do”

  1. Saying you can’t be a feminist because you’re male is the equivalent of saying you can’t be for non-human animal rights because you’re human. It is absolutely necessary for the oppressing class to stand up for the oppressed.

  2. Why is gender equality associated with one sex? The only true way to gain gender equality is call it just that, by having the word feminism associated with a valid and much needed issue, you segregate males as to use the point in the comment above me ‘i can’t be a feminist because I’m male’

    • Any equality movement is, by default, named after the oppressed group. The movement in support of equal racial rights is called the “black rights” movement. The movement for queer/straight equality is “gay rights”. So of course the movement for female-male equality is “women’s rights”. Don’t be fucking daft.

      Sent from my “contract free” BlackBerry® smartphone on the WIND network.

      • It was called the “civil rights movement”, and civil rights activists like Martin Luther King welcomed white civil rights activists, like the Freedom Riders, as a vital part of the struggle for civil rights.

        Before this, the movement to give black slaves their freedom wasn’t called the “black rights movement”, but the abolitionist movement, and again many of the instrumental members of the movement were neither slaves nor black, John Browne being one of many who fought and died to help end slavery.

        The fact that white abolitionists were not suffering under slavery does not mean they were not an important part of the movement to abolish it.

  3. Just your last few sentences show how ignorant you actually are, you say gender equality is womens rights, bullshit. There is no such thing as gender equality when you are using it under the banner of one fucking sex.

    • We are talking about a society where males were, for millenia, and in certain ways still are, the privileged class. We’re talking about a world where being born without a penis is still seen as some sort of a “handicap”. We *have* to talk about gender equality in terms of bringing women up to the level that men have already enjoyed for centuries.

      Sent from my “contract free” BlackBerry® smartphone on the WIND network.

  4. Sophie Miller Says:

    I am absolutely not a feminist. I am a woman, I am white. The reason? I am an equalist. I believe not only in gender equality, but also race, ability, human rights and social and economic equality. To put all those aspirations under the banner term ‘feminism’ is just insulting. Don’t get me wrong, I support the women and men whom I meet that identify as feminist (90% of my peers) and I recognise that the changes that feminism has made to the world are largely good. However, the term and the ‘movement’ do not represent what I believe in as the ultimate good. I also think something that strives for equality but is gendered by nature in its very terminology undermines the cause. Because at the moment there is a disparity between women’s and men’s rights that is still relevant to strive for equality under the banner of feminism. But what about when we reach that state of equality between gender? Then it will be no longer appropriate to call the movement of gender equality ‘Feminism’ as that will disturb the overall goal of gender equality.

    So please do not assume that just because I also believe women should have equal rights, that my beliefs sit under the banner of feminism whether I like it or not, because they certainly don’t. We are entering a period of human history where not only does the ideology matter, so does the way we present that ideology – I am a proud equalist and my cause extends beyond the limitations of a gender based struggle.

    • If you are so narrow minded in your views of gender that the mere presence of “fem” in the word frightens you, then you are merely an illustration of the reasons why feminism is still entirely necessary.

      • I posted quite a long and thoughtful response in the hopes of highlighting that I am not “frightened” by the fem in feminism, rather that my interest in furthering the equality and rights of women falls under a broader and more relevant cause for me, the banner of equalism. Aggressive and thoughtless comments really don’t put me any more towards believing in the relevance of your beliefs to the world, quite the opposite.

        Seems like you are vehemently defending the terms you use without putting much importance on the desired outcome. I certainly have no issue with feminists or feminism. My issue, as an equalist is that I am being appropriated in to a cause I don’t support (feminism) based on a mutual goal (equal rights for all genders).

        • It didn’t merit a longer response because the conflict you’ve latched onto is ridiculous. If gender truly doesn’t matter, if both genders are truly equal, then there should be no problem whatsoever with a word that contains “fem” standing for both. By insisting that anything with “fem” in it cannot stand for men, you’re buying in to the very system you claim to oppose.

          • My point is I don’t identify with feminism because equalism extends beyond gender equality, and by lumping me in the cause of feminism merely because I think women should have equal rights, you are undermining the breadth of the issue. Its wrong to say “if you believe in equal rights you are a feminist” because for me, equality as an ultimate aim encompasses far more than the gender divide. Can the ‘fem’ stand for the fight for equality for people of different educational opportunities due to social economic disparity? Can the ‘fem’ stand for the fight for differently abled people to be recognised as equally valuable within society? my point is that for an equalist like myself, the gender fight is a tiny part of a greater picture and I oppose being lumped into your narrow viewpoint at your convenience. Yes, equalism stands for womens rights, but not in isolation.

            I am proudly not a feminist, because equalism stands for so much more than that, whilst still encompassing the outcomes feminism stands for.

            • Can a person not be more than one thing?

              Intersectional feminism (the 4th wave) actually embraces all of the various fights for equality that you named, but it’s even simpler than that. A person can be a feminist AND believe in fighting other social disparities.

              Saying that you believe in equal rights for both genders but aren’t a feminist, then, is either a lie or a delusion.

              • why can’t YOU accept that an equalist can believe in women’s rights? I don’t need to broaden the terms of feminism, or jump on board with any number of its transmutations, because equalism perfectly encapsulates what I believe in. In one word. Without all the bullshit.

                I am not saying that you can’t be a feminist, or that being a feminist means you can’t care about other things. But I am an equalist. So what? Don’t call me a feminist, because I absolutely don’t identify with that – that was my whole point in posting.

                You have made no allowance for any other equally valid beliefs, and you have the gall to call me deluded and narrow minded?

                You are a feminist, and I am an equalist, and that’s great. If you are a feminist that also believes in equality across a whole range of human issues, and fights other social disparities, then I dare say you are secretly an equalist anyway.

                So good for us for giving a shit about the world. Now please stop hating upon those that don’t identify with feminism as it by no means is an indication that they don’t support many of the things you believe in, and it in no way means that they are ‘deluded’ for identifying as an equalist or any other term that represents their beliefs.

                • The trouble is that it’s not equally valid.

                  By choosing to use “equalist”, and by deliberately highlighting your “non-feminist” status, you are undermining all of the work done by feminists. You are tacitly endorsing those who actively work against feminism and its goals. You are tacitly endorsing those who send rape and death threats to my peers on a daily basis. You are tacitly endorsing the monsters who murder women for seeking such basic things as higher education or sexual freedom.

                  You are choosing to be a part of the problem, rather than a part of the solution.

                  • I’m fairly sure that by stating “I am an equalist, I believe in equal rights for humans across a wide spectrum of issues, including and not limited to social class, gender, race and ability” , that people won’t think I am endorsing rapists or those who don’t support equal rights for humans. By not allowing other movements to support your cause you are the one thats undermining feminism.

                    I have stated several times, I have no problem with feminism and I appreciate what the movement has achieved – but accepting that feminism has done good work and that its okay to be a feminist and actually BEING a feminist are two different things.

                    So if you think that saying I am an equalist is undermining feminism then the whole thing must be far more tenuous and flimsy than you would lead people to believe.

                    I believe the solution is to strive for equality across the world, and by choosing to be an equalist I am participating in spreading the solution.

                    By choosing to cling on to a convoluted, and controversial terminology you are making this a personal argument about the validity of a word, rather than meeting those who may share your goals with open-mindedness and positivity.

                    I think you, and feminists like you who can’t get past whatever ideological issues you are holding on to from the past are the ones undermining the outcome of equality.

                    • So you’re also out to change the words used to refer to, say, children’s rights? You think that the civil rights movement should change its name and be simply the “equal rights” movement? That the LGBT rights movement should just be “equal rights” as well?

                      I am an activist and supporter in all of these various movements. Being a part of any one of them does not detract whatsoever from my participation in the others.

                      If you insist on claiming that you are NOT a feminist, then you are not in favour of equal rights for people of all genders. Feminst = “in favour of equal rights for all genders”. That’s literally the definition of the word.

                    • I’m not out to change the words for anything, even feminism. I am explaining to you the reasons why I identify as an equalist instead of a feminist.

                      Yes, I don’t identify with any other ‘ism’ except equalism, however all those other movements you mentioned are supported by equalism. Although out of all the ones you mentioned, feminism is the only one walking around asking people to identify with them. The other movements you mentioned are quite content to have your support without needing to be a part of their ‘ism’.

                      So yeah if its about subscribing to an ideology then no I don’t subscribe to any one of the several you mentioned. However I support the outcomes that those movements also support because I am an equalist.

                      I’m not asking you to no longer be a ‘feminist’ however I am asking you to stop ignorantly lambasting those who support a cause that encompasses the outcomes to which you so readily defend.

                      I reiterate also, if feminism and all it has achieved is totally undermined by me, one human, not identifying with it then it really isn’t all you say it is. Rather, I think that I don’t undermine it by not choosing to identify with it.

                      I think that by choosing equalism, my stance is parallel instead of opposed to your feminist stance.

                    • One person alone is meaningless. However, there are many people out there using “equalist” (mostly from men’s rights activism groups and other hate-speech aligned bodies, so you might want to look into who you’re putting in your corner).

                      If you truly support the goals of feminism, you should simply call yourself a feminist. And in favour of civil rights, children’s rights, LGBT rights, etc. Use the words. What scares you about them? Do you fear retribution if you utter the dreaded f-word? Do you fear that people will see you as somehow “different” if you just use the correct terminology?

  5. ” KarenElizabeth Says:
    January 18, 2015 at 11:36 PM
    So you’re also out to change the words used to refer to, say, children’s rights? You think that the civil rights movement should change its name and be simply the “equal rights” movement? That the LGBT rights movement should just be “equal rights” as well?

    I am an activist and supporter in all of these various movements. Being a part of any one of them does not detract whatsoever from my participation in the others.

    If you insist on claiming that you are NOT a feminist, then you are not in favour of equal rights for people of all genders. Feminst = “in favour of equal rights for all genders”. That’s literally the definition of the word.”

    parcan64 Says:
    January 18, 2015 at 11:51 PM

    I’m not out to change the words for anything, even feminism. I am explaining to you the reasons why I identify as an equalist instead of a feminist.

    Yes, I don’t identify with any other ‘ism’ except equalism, however all those other movements you mentioned are supported by equalism. Although out of all the ones you mentioned, feminism is the only one walking around asking people to identify with them. The other movements you mentioned are quite content to have your support without needing to be a part of their ‘ism’.

    So yeah if its about subscribing to an ideology then no I don’t subscribe to any one of the several you mentioned. However I support the outcomes that those movements also support because I am an equalist.

    I’m not asking you to no longer be a ‘feminist’ however I am asking you to stop ignorantly lambasting those who support a cause that encompasses the outcomes to which you so readily defend.

    I reiterate also, if feminism and all it has achieved is totally undermined by me, one human, not identifying with it then it really isn’t all you say it is. Rather, I think that I don’t undermine it by not choosing to identify with it.

    I think that by choosing equalism, my stance is parallel instead of opposed to your feminist st

  6. ALSO when you say :
    “If you insist on claiming that you are NOT a feminist, then you are not in favour of equal rights for people of all genders. Feminst = “in favour of equal rights for all genders”. That’s literally the definition of the word.”

    So you are now actively encouraging me to give up my belief in equal rights for all genders.

    You are so winning for feminism right now! Would it kill you to be a little more inclusive? Or does it suit you to remain an ignorant hypocrite?

    An actual troll could not have done more to harm the cause of Feminism, and feminism as an inclusive fight against disparity (intersectional/4th wave – as you mentioned above) than you have just done.

  7. Also:

    this is the LITERAL definition of feminism:

    feminism
    [fem-uh-niz-uh m]
    noun
    1.
    the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men.
    2.
    (sometimes initial capital letter) an organized movement for the attainment of such rights for women.
    3.
    feminine character.

    Oh yeah that totally advocates for males rights in general doesn’t it? No actually, it advocates for the rights of women to be equal to men. an entirely different thing.

    • Equal rights for women and men. Both of them are right there in the definition you just quoted. The assumption has traditionally been that men already have all of the basic human rights, and women need to be brought up to the same level in order that both genders be granted all available human rights. If you’ve followed anything about feminism in the last ten years or so, you’ll have noticed that a discussion of what, exactly, those basic human rights are, and whether men have all of the correct ones just yet, is an integral part of what’s happening.

      But in any case, the larger point stands: why not just use the term, if you are (as you said at first) a supporter of the strides that feminism has made?

      • Yes, I am a supporter of SOME of the things that feminism has achieved in the past. I am grateful, as a woman to enjoy those liberties available to me in a post-feminist world.

        However there are men all around the world who don’t enjoy the same liberties that I have- due to my skin colour, my birthplace, my physical ability… why is advocating for mens rights OR equal rights for all humans somehow not good enough?

        You say above that there are feminists and feminist movements you don’t endorse or agree with, why then must I support ALL people and movements that identify as equalists in order to be an equalist?

        You are placing different expectations upon us.

        • I am not saying that you have to support all feminists or all feminist movements, though. As you pointed out yourself, I actually discourage blindly supporting all feminists, since there are many conflicting groups using the banner (some of which shouldn’t be using it at all). I am simply saying that to refuse to use the word, and especially to identify yourself as vehemently NOT feminist, is not correct.

  8. note the key terms there?

    “the doctrine advocating … rights of women”

    and “the movement for the attainment of … rights for women”

    where do human rights and equality of human experience come in to that? I implore YOU to use the correct terminology if you truly believe in equality.

    But feminism by its own definition is just evening out the status quo.

  9. A great quote on why equalism and feminism are different, and why its not okay to malign someone who supports a different cause, or supports the same cause differently to you:

    “Hi I’m Jarrah Hodge, writer and editor at Gender Focus. Welcome to Feminism F.A.Q.s. One question I’ve heard a lot is about the term “feminism”. In my video, “What is Feminism?” I said feminism is about equality of the sexes. So why not another term like “equalism” or “humanism” some ask.

    Feminists believe that our society’s gender inequality requires a specific lens. Because women are generally marginalized compared to men, they need narrative space for themselves and allies to discuss women’s issues and experiences.

    Without naming the issue of women’s inequality, without analysis of and action on the systemic power structures that generally privilege men over women in our society, there’s the possibility that it might get de-prioritized.

    But being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t be an “equalist” too or that you can’t focus on other forms of discrimination. I, for one, believe that feminism goes hand-in-hand with other movements for equality such as anti-racism, because feminist equality can’t be only for some privileged groups of women.”

    – See more at: http://www.gender-focus.com/2012/08/07/feminism-f-a-q-s-why-feminism-not-equalism-or-humanism/#sthash.OwDJbKx3.dpuf

    hence back to my original comment of I am an equalist not a feminist. Why can’t I be both? Because I choose to not be, as I don’t identify with feminism as being more important than how it is broadly addressed as part of a wider push to equality across several areas of disparity and oppression.

    • Even the quote you included specifically says that it’s okay to be an equalist AND a feminist. It’s an inclusive label, not an exclusive one. You can be both an equalist and a feminist, if you truly feel that equalism has something to offer that feminism does not. But you cannot possibly stand there and say that you enjoy the freedoms feminism has wrought, and encourage equal rights for women, without simultaneously including the word “feminism” in how you label yourself.

      • yeah its okay to be both. It is also okay to not be a feminist. I have enjoyed those freedoms accidently, by being brought into a western, post feminist world. I can absolutely look at what feminism stands for and not identify with it as being relevant to me. I believe the cause for womens rights is equal to the cause for LGBT rights, childrens, mens, poor peoples and many other types of rights. I don’t feel any need to align myself with a movement that just specifically focuses on that.

        Equalism, encompasses my ideals for gender equality whilst not sidelining any other ideals. My issue is not that you are a feminist, my issue is that you refuse to accept someone who based on an educated enquiry, chooses not to be.

        • Ah, so here we reach the crux of the issue. “Not relevant to me”. How very selfish of you. If you enjoy the freedoms feminism has wrought (accidentally or not), you have seen why feminism is relevant to the world, if not to yourself. Aligning yourself AGAINST something that has brought positive things to your life, because you have decided that it has nothing more to offer you, without considering at all what it might have to offer to others in the world? Yikes. Spare me from people like you, please.

          • EQUALISM fights for the equality of those who do not enjoy the freedoms I have. EQUALISM allows a space for oppressed men, disabled people, animals and many other disparities in the world.
            EQUALISM allows an ignorant person such as yourself to hold feminism higher than the other outcomes I have mentioned, out of respect for your existence.

            Equalism allows me to think you’re wrong, whilst supporting your right to be wrong. (equality of the right to opinion, free speech)

            I hold true to the cause for womens rights under the banner of EQUALISM, without compromising the cause of any other peoples who are suffering.

            So you see, it is MORE thoughtful, more positive to align myself with the cause for Equalism.

            • Whomever said that I hold feminism above any of the other “isms” in my life? I don’t. I’m a vocal advocate for a wide variety of causes. If I were to say that I hold any one cause above others, based solely on the amount of time, money, and energy that I put towards it, I’d have to say that I’m a trans rights advocate above all else.

              My objection is simply to the fact that you, and so many others, think it’s valid to say that you’re “not a feminist”. If you are not a feminist, then you are either a bigot or you’re lying. That’s all there is to it.

          • Clearly you find the fight for equality for all humans irrelevant to you? because somehow you are missing that I support the rights of women, I support the rights of men, children, animals etc. Is it because you are a woman that you feel more strongly about the word ‘feminist’ over ‘equalist’?

            Do you feel as though you are betraying the ‘sisterhood’ by opening up to the idea that equalism also supports women, but only as equally as it supports other things?

            my feeling is feminism is becoming more and more irrelevant not only to me, but to the world, and simply because I enjoy some freedoms historically given to me by the feminist fight is no reason to carry around an archaic movement based on what it HAS done in the past.

            Feminism NOW is irrelevant, not because I no longer need it but because we, we the whole damn world, need something better, something more inclusive.

            So to spout the crap you are spouting about ‘inclusiveness’ , ‘acceptance’ , and equal rights whilst excluding my right to an opinion, by not accepting that my belief could be valid, by not giving the movement I support equal standing alongside feminism – YOU ARE undermining everything you say you support.

            Particularly when I repeat, Equalism is in parallel to Feminism not opposed to it.

            • I consider “equalism” irrelevant, because it merely gloms together a bunch of pre-existing movements under a single label.

              If equalism is parallel to feminism, then you are a feminist.

              • parallel
                [par-uh-lel, -luh l]

                adjective
                1.
                extending in the same direction, equidistant at all points, and never converging or diverging:

                clearly not.

                • If you are striving for the same goals as feminism, you’re a feminist. This isn’t a difficult concept.

                  • I am not striving for the same goals, I am striving for universal equality, of which ‘womens rights’ is just one tiny part.

                    • If you believe that women need to have equal rights, you’re a feminist. If you don’t believe that, you’re a bigot.

                      A person can be intersectional and see the ways in which issues cross boundaries without needing a separate label for it. Equalism adds nothing to the overall landscape.

                    • Actually the drive for true equality, not just between genders, requires the acceptance that a lot of these issues are entangled.

                      Furthermore, that a unified approach (equalism) which addresses all the issues simultaneously whilst not giving priority to any is the best chance we have of putting humanity on an even platform.

              • Actually the drive for true equality, not just between genders, requires the acceptance that a lot of these issues are entangled.

                Furthermore, that a unified approach (equalism) which addresses all the issues simultaneously whilst not giving priority to any is the best chance we have of putting humanity on an even platform.

    • Just because another person makes the same mistake that you do doesn’t mean you are correct.

      • You are a dumb person masquerading as an intellectual if you really believe that is a sufficient response.

        I wasn’t endorsing either of the opinions that I posted above, merely showing you that other opinions exist, a fact that you seem to be blissfully unaware of.

        Stop trying to tell people who have different, thoughtful and introspective beliefs that strive for a better human existence that they are wrong.

        Stop judging the things that others care about and value as being inferior to the things you care about and value.

        I totally accept that you are a feminist and not an equalist, and that you may believe in other people having rights as well without having to choose equalism.

        However, your method, and your narrow mindedness is seriously undermining your credibility.

  10. Hugely part of the problem with accepting feminists and feminism is the pig-headed belief that your way is the only right way.

    Have you learnt nothing from history? the righteous who refuse to accept anyone else’s perspective are the ones that do the damage.

    *hint* thats you.

    • Equalism does nothing but cloud the issue — you have yet to demonstrate that it offers anything exceptional that is not to be found within other ideologies. As I have already explained, it is entirely possible to hold to multiple “isms” and allow them to inform one another without requiring an unbrella term.

      An analogy, if you will: Dr. McNinja is a Doctor, and a Ninja, and the adoptive guardian of a young boy named Gordito. He does not need an umbrella term to encompass all of these. His doctoring often informs his ninja-ing and his parenting. His ninja-ing often informs his doctoring and his parenting. His parenting often informs his doctoring and his ninja-ing. They all work quite well together.

      The same principle applies here. I am a feminist. I am a trans rights activist. I am a gay rights activist. I support the civil rights movement, children’s rights, animal rights, and am generally in favour of broad-based socioeconomic change in the world. I can be all of those things, completely without conflict. I don’t need an umbrella term — especially not one that is burdened with the abuses of MRAs and anti-feminists.

  11. I´ve read some of your posts and i think you are having a misunderstanding with the definition of feminism. From wikipedia:

    “Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women(…) A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women”

    So, while feminism indeed seeks gender equality, it does so from the viewpoint of women. It focuses on women to achieve equality. It assumes that women still lack some perceived liberties in society (which i don´t entirely disagrees) and that, by promoting these liberties, they can achieve “gender equality” to men, who are, by this definition, totally free in society (which i totally disagrees). If women really becomes totally free in society, they will have more liberties than men, because men are not so free as you may think. What i am saying is that women would need to lose some liberties to become as “free” as men are. In a world were feminism is triumphant, men would be have less liberties than women. (I am not saying feminism promotes some kind of matriarchalism. What happened is that past patriarchal societies removed not only the rights of women, but also some rights of men and while feminism can be made as a solution for women´s right, it cannot be used to promote men´s right, as feminism, by definition, seeks equality by the viewpoint of women, and not men). If men´s rights concerns you, feminism is not your answer for that. because It may strive for the same goal (equality), but it does so from a different viewpoint. Feminists cannot fight for men, because it is not their cause. There is a similar movement called masculism, who seeks gender equality, but from the perspective of men. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masculism

    But i don´t like these tags, as i don´t apply them to me. it´s somewhat limiting. I prefer to see all people as just people (not man, woman, White, Black, and all other kinds of segregations) and to promote this vision to people around me. Why have a Thousand gods if truth is as simple as: “people are just people”? (Sorry for any instance of bad english)

    • Nope, you are the one who has an incorrect definition (Wikipedia is hardly a decent source). Modern feminism (often called 4th-wave feminism, intersectional feminism, or 21st century feminism) is very much concerned with the rights of all people regardless of gender. Viewing male rights through the lens of feminism is useful and helpful to all.

      Masculism and the men’s rights movement are hate groups that promote rape apologism and misogyny.

      • Wikipedia may not be the best source, but it is a relatively good source. People who says wikipedia isn´t at least a relatively good source don´t know wikipedia very well.

        I would like to see your sources about 4th wave feminism.

        I think you don´t understand men´s movement. Think men´s movement as the same as feminism, but from a man´s viewpoint. another page of wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Men's_movement.

        While it´s true that there are people who use the movement as an excuse to do just that, feminism also have their own share of problems, like “radical feminists” (a.k.a feminazis), who are totally anti-men.

        Feminism may be supported by man, but they don´t have main roles in the movement, and work as second-class members, just an helper from “outside”. they have auxiliary roles, not main roles, and that´s fine, because the protagonists of feminist movement are women themselves, the main interest of the movement are women´s rights, and no one is better to fight for an cause than the most interested one. Adding to it, i don´t believe, as a man, that women in the feminist movement has a good grasp of men problems and so, are incapable to lead a movement for men, although they may be helpers and supporters.

        • The fourth wave is well-established — it’s made up of mostly younger women who grew up in the Internet generation, and is defined as being markedly different from the 3rd wave due to its greater awareness of a variety of gender models, LGBT issues, race issues, etc., and how those interact with feminism. Roxane Gay is a great intro to 4th wave thinking (her book “Bad Feminist” was my favourite read of 2014).

          As I understand the men’s movement, there is not a single issue that they tackle. Not one. There is absolutely no point to the movement besides existing as an anti-feminist hate group.

          • Being honest, i really don´t understand the men´s movement as it is now. i was just showing that a movement like feminism can´t represent men. It would need a new movement, leaded by the interested party: Men.

            In my understanding, there is only one major problem in men that really need to be resolved, the other problems are just minor issues that don´t concerns me. If a movement for men would tackle this single issue with seriousness, i would find it very important.

            This issue i am talking about that would justify a movement for men is that men, in the society as we know, (at least in my country) lacks a whole sphere of life in their education: The Emotional and Caring sphere. Men are educated to be strong and stoic, as if emotions were some kind of weakness, or “feminine emotions”. the only emotions perceived as “male emotions” are negative ones, like hate and anger. The same way women were educated to be “Reproduction machines”, men are educated to be “Battle machines”. By preventing boys to receive the same caring and patience given to a girl, as if man are emotionally invulnerable, we create a generation of men that don´t bother in maturing their emotions and growing up emotionally. This kind of education is obsolete in modern times, but persists in a lot of families around the world. Then, when a man grow up and become an emotionally unstable individual, who can´t handle their own emotions, we say that to be problematic and quarrelsome is part of men´s nature, as if it was a natural result, and not an artificial one.

            Like most types of opressing frameworks, the major contributor of the opression is the mentality of the opressed itself, as men support this type of education for their own sons and a different education for their daughters, as if it was normal. It´s similar to the mother who teaches her daughter to wash dishes and let her boy get away without any responsability, perpetuating the old mentality that “washing dishes and cooking are for woman”.

            • The problem with any sort of “meninism” is that males are simply not the oppressed class. Het, cis, 20s-to-50s white males do not experience the sort of broad-based, widespread, societally-based oppression that women, people of colour, non-binary folks, non-hetero people, etc., are subjected to on a continual basis.

              The “major problem” that you point out is something that feminism already addresses quite thoroughly, because the reason why men are discouraged from “feminine” pursuits is because anything feminine is seen as inherently lesser than anything masculine. If feminism’s goals were to become reality, then whether something was feminine or masculine would cease to matter, and men would be allowed and encouraged to do healthy things that were previously derided as “weak”. We don’t need a “new” movement to address that.

              • So men are not oppressed?

                May I offer some reasons for why I believe men are indeed oppressed.

                1) Men are typically forced to work for longer before being entitled to the pension despite having a shorter life expectancy.

                2) Male victims of domestic violence face a number of problems.
                They are often simply not believed by the police or authorities. A female abuser can simply assert that he was the abuser and she will in all probability be believed over him. A man who calls the police because he is being abused by a woman will often end up being arrested while his abuser goes free.

                3) Men are more likely to be jailed than women for the same crime.

                4) Men receive greater sentences for the same crime.

                5) Men are more likely to be executed for the same crime that a female committed.

                If a person is more likely to lose his freedom or even his life simply due to his gender, then I’d say that’s a pretty strong case of oppression by gender.

                6) While the rape of women is taken seriously, the rape of men in prison is fodder for comedy. There are many rape crisis centres for female rape victims, but scant few resources for male victims of rape.

                7) Men who marry and are divorced by their wives, even if she left him for another lover, have to pay alimony to these women at far greater rates than women have to pay men.

                8) Men are far less likely to win child support, and be forced to pay sometimes oppressive amounts of child support under pain of imprisonment should he not be able to afford it.

                Debtor’s prisons seem like quite an oppressive condition to me.

                9) Men are far more likely than women to commit suicide. Is that due to all their privilege? Or are men more oppressed than most people realize?

                10) Far more money is poured into women’s health than men’s health. Breast cancer research receives far more money than prostate cancer research, despite the fact that cancer is more common in men.

                11) There is a Violence Against Women act. This completely ignores the fact that intimate violence against men is far more common than is popularly realized.

                I could go on, and will do so if asked as this is not the end of the list of ways in which men are oppressed.

                Can you make a comparable list of the ways in which women in the Western world are oppressed? I am not arguing that there is not oppression of women in certain Middle Eastern countries, but that can be and should be a separate topic. For the purposes of this discussion let’s focus on the concrete ways in which women are oppressed in the Western world.

                Also, if I may in advance, please do not make any personal attacks or get insulting. Let’s have a discussion about the facts, not a slanging match.

                • Literally every single point, yes EVERY point, you just listed is actually something that is amply covered by modern feminism.

                  1 – if we achieve work equity and wage equity, this problem disappears.

                  2 – if patriarchal notions of violence & victimhood as gender-linked were to disappear, then it would no longer be “unmanly” to be a victim and more support would be available. Tear down the patriarchy and your problem disappears.

                  3 – Again, get rid of patriarchal notions of gender essentialism and you’re covered.

                  4 – Ditto

                  5 – Ditto

                  6 – Phallocentric world views and, again, patriarchal notions of gender essentialism, are to blame. Add in a dash of puritanical sex-negativity for good measure. Being penetrated is seen as being equal to being a woman, hence any man who receives penetration is seen as inherently lesser (because he is inherently more like a woman). And forms of rape that don’t involve violent penetration are not acknowledged widely. Fix rape culture and you’re covered.

                  7 – achieve wage equity/work equity and close the gender gap in housework and your problem is solved.

                  8 – patriarchal notions of the traditional “roles” of women and men are to blame, and the false, gender-essentialist notion that women are “naturally” better at childrearing. Get rid of gender biases and you’re covered.

                  9 – you’re drawing a conclusion from a very shaky premise, here. But even assuming your premise were supportable (it’s really not, but let’s play pretend here, shall we?) men would be far more likely to seek help for mental health issues if gender essentialist thinking and patriarchy were eliminated from society & if seeking help were not seen as “womanly”. A society without patriarchy would be a society in which help could be asked for and given without ones gender being thrown into question.

                  10 – breast cancer research also receives a lot more money than cervical cancer research (a bigger killer). Susan G. Komen created a monster, and honestly their organization is incredibly problematic for a vast number of reasons. “Save the boobies” campaigns would be a lot less successful, though, if we weren’t all so busy objectifying women and caring more about their secondary sex characteristics (breasts) than we do about women as people. Meanwhile medical research is still incredibly male-centric. Until very recently it wasn’t even common knowledge that women have different heart attack symptoms than men, because literally ALL studies on heart disease had been done on male patients & it was just assumed that women and men were the same. Heart disease is the biggest killer of women largely because there have been very few proper studies, due to the male-centric views of medical research.

                  11 – Again, gender essentialism and patriarchy. Men who are the victims of violence have their gender thrown into question if they report. Underreporting due to patriarchal pressures & skewed media coverage due to traditional notions of what is “masculine” and what is “feminine” are to blame. Get rid of patriarchy and men would be more able to ask for & receive assistance.

                  • Hi Karen Elizabeth,

                    Thanks for your reply and apologies for my late reply. I’ve been meaning to reply for ages, but have not until now had the time to get my thoughts out of my head and onto the keyboard.

                    I see that you firmly believe that all the oppression that men in Western societies endure is due to patriarchy, and that if we get rid of that, then the disadvantages men face would go away.

                    Let’s say that I buy for the moment, perhaps we can discuss patriarchy later.

                    But irrespective of who or what’s to blame, the fact remains that men do face certain types of oppression which include being more likely to be arrested, charged, imprisoned and put to death than women who have committed the same crimes; a father having to be at least twice as a good a parent as a mother to have any hope of winning custody; having little to no resources to help them when they are victims of intimate partner violence, along with a societal non-recognition of this; an obligation to risk their lives, be wounded and die in wars in which they have to fight simply because they’re male – wars in which able bodied women avoid by virtue of their gender. In New York subways, there is even a rule that has been introduced that has seen men – and only men – being arrested for the crime of sitting on the subway with their legs too far apart – women are exempt from this.

                    Anyway rather than debate whether or not dismantling patriarchy is the answer to all of this, I invite you now to have your say.

                    What oppression do first-world women face today?

                    I absolutely acknowledge that in some countries, women are forced to wear veils under threat of public censure and even violence; and in some countries women are not allowed to drive. There is no doubt that these are but two of several genuine examples of female oppression in non first world countries.

                    I provided eleven examples of ways in which Western men are oppressed in society today.

                    I could provide more examples, if you’re interested, but for now I’d like to hear the other side of the coin from you.

                    Can you provide some examples of ways in which Western women are oppressed?

                    Maybe you could provide a similar list to mine, in which you list ten or eleven ways in which First World women (e.g. women in the USA) are oppressed today.

                    I’d genuinely like to see a clear list of the ways in which women are oppressed.

                    I’ve had my say about men’s oppression, now over to you!

                    Cheers,
                    Mark

  12. I’m an equalist not a feminist.

    I want equality between men and women, and that means not only examining women’s issues, but also looking at areas where men suffer: the older age at which men are forced to work before being entitled to the pension; the higher sentences men receive for the same crimes committed by women; and the lack of resources for male victims of rape and domestic abuse being some of those issues.

    These are issues that are pushed to the side in a movement dedicated to women’s rights and women’s causes.

    I am also in favour of equality for women, and am anti discrimination against women – or against any group – even Goths! Joking 🙂

    I am pro equality, but I am not a feminist.

    Not ok with you?

    That’s ok, I can live with that.

  13. Reposting a reply to Karen Elizabeth’s June 14 2015 post here, as on my browser it displays as one line per word when posted as a reply, making it really hard to read.

    Hi Karen Elizabeth,

    Thanks for your reply and apologies for my late reply. I’ve been meaning to reply for ages, but have not until now had the time to get my thoughts out of my head and onto the keyboard.

    I see that you firmly believe that all the oppression that men in Western societies endure is due to patriarchy, and that if we get rid of that, then the disadvantages men face would go away.

    Let’s say that I buy for the moment, perhaps we can discuss patriarchy later.

    But irrespective of who or what’s to blame, the fact remains that men do face certain types of oppression which include being more likely to be arrested, charged, imprisoned and put to death than women who have committed the same crimes; a father having to be at least twice as a good a parent as a mother to have any hope of winning custody; having little to no resources to help them when they are victims of intimate partner violence, along with a societal non-recognition of this; an obligation to risk their lives, be wounded and die in wars in which they have to fight simply because they’re male – wars in which able bodied women avoid by virtue of their gender. In New York subways, there is even a rule that has been introduced that has seen men – and only men – being arrested for the crime of sitting on the subway with their legs too far apart – women are exempt from this.

    Anyway rather than debate whether or not dismantling patriarchy is the answer to all of this, I invite you now to have your say.

    What oppression do first-world women face today?

    I absolutely acknowledge that in some countries, women are forced to wear veils under threat of public censure and even violence; and in some countries women are not allowed to drive. There is no doubt that these are but two of several genuine examples of female oppression in non first world countries.

    I provided eleven examples of ways in which Western men are oppressed in society today.

    I could provide more examples, if you’re interested, but for now I’d like to hear the other side of the coin from you.

    Can you provide some examples of ways in which Western women are oppressed?

    Maybe you could provide a similar list to mine, in which you list ten or eleven ways in which First World women (e.g. women in the USA) are oppressed today.

    I’d genuinely like to see a clear list of the ways in which women are oppressed.

    I’ve had my say about men’s oppression, now over to you!

    Cheers,
    Mark

    • I live in one of the most Westernized countries in the world. I’ve had bosses openly pay me less money because I am female. I have been turned down for jobs because I am female. I’ve been flat-out told to “get a woman’s job” and “get back in the kitchen”. I’ve also faced innumerable examples of “soft” sexism — my ideas being challenged more solely because they are coming from a female source (I’ve tested: my male partner works in the same industry as me, at the same level, and if I give *him* my idea and he suggests it first, it’s not challenged), being told to “calm down” at times when I am perfectly calm & speaking rationally, being criticized for having emotions (whether or not I’m expressing them), etc.

      I’ve been dragged into a car by a male person who stated that he intended to rape me, and I fought him off. I was unable to press charges because the police refused to take my report, on account of the fact that I’d willingly gone drinking with this person.

      I am unable to walk down the street in my city without experiencing street harassment. Doesn’t matter what part of the city I’m in, what I’m wearing, what I’m doing — the only thing that stops it is walking with male accompaniment.

      I had fewer opportunities in sport, despite being a national-level competitor. Men who I came up through the ranks with made money off professional sport, while I was never offered sponsorship deals, despite being one of the top in the country.

      My worth as a person is judged directly based on my appearance. Never once have I seen a man criticized in my field of work for not being “put together” enough, even in ripped clothing. I work in a carpentry shop and I’ve been told I look “unprofessional” for not wearing makeup.

      My clothing costs more and is made in a less durable fashion. I have to shop in the men’s section for work clothes, and then either alter them myself or pay for alterations to be done in order that it fits, as there are no appropriate clothes for women in my field.

      Women are asked to do more “domestic” items at work, with no extra pay — planning for work socials, bringing cookies, cleaning up after others, bringing coffee to other people, etc. And yet we are excluded from many of the social activities in workplaces — trips to the pub, golfing, company “retreats” are often male-only affairs.

      The glass ceiling exists and is well-documented. The gender wage gap exists and is well-documented. Ask any woman you know when she was last sexually assaulted. Then ask any man you know the same question. Gender equity will only be achieved when we lose this idea that women and men are fundamentally different (patriarchy), and start treating women and men as *people* and equals.

      • Thanks for your reply, Karen E, I hear what you’re saying.

        I will take some time to think over what you’ve said here; a lot of it makes sense. I started to craft a reply to you, but it was a bit scattered, so I’ll just leave a short one here for now.

        What sport are you into where you’re one of the top players? I do understand your frustration that men at the elite level of sport do get paid a lot more than women as a general rule.

        I think it’d be great to have integrated teams with men and women playing just the best players of both genders – do you play any mixed sports?

        Got to go now, but I do appreciate your response.

  14. When it’s stripped back to the bare essentials, the Men’s Rights Movement *does* have one simple, easily expressed goal: gender equality, and the elimination of sexism. We disagree (sometimes vehemently) on how best to *achieve* that goal, of course, but the goal remains the same for all. And when you strip it back to that — when you say, “gender equality” instead of “Men’s Rights Movement” — there are very few people who’ll argue against it.

    And this is why the way we express ourselves about the Men’s Rights Movement, and the way we self-identify, needs to see some serious change.

    If you believe that sexism is a bad thing, and that a person’s gender does not determine their worth, then you’re a Men’s Rights Activist.

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