Anti-Feminism is the New Feminism

I identified as a feminist because I believed in “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes” (Oxford dictionary). I read. Without, I hope, stooping to dualism I felt a kinship with other women, especially mothers once I joined those ranks.

Then I joined Twitter and I bonded with anti-feminists, Honey Badgers and other critics with whom I enjoyed insightful, progressive discussions about the movement. They were all ultimately respectful of my decision to defend my label but at some point I began to feel that I was spending a massive amount of time explaining who I was and where I sat- on the periphery of the movement- to the detriment of the amount of time I had to spend talking about things that really matter. At the same time I was contributing to feminist discussion on there and finding that as a voice consistent with the dictionary definition of feminism I was a heretical voice within the movement. Not only this, but, for my trouble, I was constantly insulted and slandered- I’ve been called a rape apologist, a victim blamer, my competency as a mother has been questioned and I’ve been instructed to ‘hand in [my] feminist card on the way out’. I can hear a
chorus of voices raised “That’s just a minority of rad fems, you can’t define the movement by them!”. Well, I would dispute that it’s a minority- lack of grace in discourse aside, the theories those women were defending were mainstream… But, anyway, even if my criticisms did only apply to a minority, it is absolutely my decision who I choose to identify with. I can hold views consistent (certainly with the dictionary definition of) Feminism but reject the label and while I will happily see Feminism reinvigorated and detoxified it’s my right to refuse to do it. I am not a woman against every feminist and I continue to come across free thinking admirable creatures that wear that badge. We’re often brought together through their outrage at our hashtag but a little discussion can reveal much concurrence and we develop mutual respect which is a credit to all involved.

In response to all of the banal quotes feminists bandy around about how ungrateful and sacrilegious #WomenAgainstFeminism are, consider: only wealthy, property owning men had the right to vote in Britain till the Chartists fought for it, I’m yet to meet a man who continues to identify with them. Alexander Fleming invented antibiotics that have saved and will continue to save countless lives, we are not all ‘Flemingos’. Douglas Adams in explaining our reaction to technologies (politics being like social technology) said that “Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.” Political movements don’t have a right to exist based on past performance. We should make the changes we need to make then move on.

Not to say that there is no progress to be made in the lives of any women- another reason I tired of the movement was that I wanted to talk about rape as a weapon of war, I wanted to talk about the situation in Islamic countries and the effects of Capitalism (as we know it) on women across the world- but my peers were too busy language policing Guardian journalists and attacking obtuse misrepresentations of their messages. In my community there is still work to do- particularly nurturing healthy attitudes to sex, in women and their partners, but the work that is coming from within the feminist movement is largely counter productive. The cult of victimhood, objection to the truth (that poster ‘1 in 3 rapes happens when the victim is drunk’: yes we need to explicitly tell everyone that getting drunk does not make you morally culpable for becoming a victim of rape but we also have the right to know statistics like that so we can make decisions based on full possession of the facts.), whorephobia… None of this is helping.

One surprising aspect of contributing to this movement has been the fact that I now find myself standing virtually shoulder to shoulder with Christians and conservatives. Now… I’m an Atheist, I’m permissive, I’d sooner be in prison than wed (whether or not it’s true they have play stations), I believe in rehabilitation for criminals, I loathe borders, hell- I even think we should be working towards a cashless society (in favour of a Resource Based Economy, not contactless bloody payment cards)… In short I’m pretty sure that my brethren and I would disagree about quite a few issues. However I am so fucking pleased and proud to be counted with them because I am constantly advocating for freedom of speech and respectful discourse (the antithesis of what is available in any feminist hash tag) and they have bestowed upon me the honour of proving myself. White Christians and conservatives are, like men, fair game in our society. They hold so much reputed ‘privilege’ that the consensus is that they don’t deserve the same respect as everybody else. Bullshit. I think anything’s an appropriate subject for humour (it’s a Scouse thing, my great nan always said “If you didn’t laugh, you’d cry about it”) but I hate hypocrisy, it’s not funny if you would see your arse if the tables were turned, and the mockery cannot preclude respect. Every human being must be free to speak and be heard… And, yeah, (feminists) every human being is free to insult and ninety-nine-times-out-of-a-hundred-all-out-slander each other. But. If you’re doing that you’re only making a dick out of yourself.

One last thing, I apologise to Matthew for not getting back to his comments regarding this on Facebook- I was in the throes of the same debates on Twitter, I didn’t find the time but I hope this goes some way to answering your concerns.

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47 thoughts on “Anti-Feminism is the New Feminism

    • I love your article, anyone who’s down in the comments here: I recommend ‘How to Use Affirmative Consent…’ most highly.

      That kind of action should lead to the scrapping of this disgraceful law.

      What’s particularly interesting to me this morning is that your objections to this law are totally consistent with those espoused by, leading French feminist (since the 1970s), Elisabeth Badinter in her book ‘Dead End Feminism’. Rape is a heinous crime that we should continue to fight but broadening the definition to allow for people to have sex consensually then change their mind and rebrand it as rape does not help them and it certainly does not help society to focus energy and resources on helping victims of real trauma.

      • thebibosez says:

        It does not speak well of most feminists that they reject Badinter’s insight and instead turn every sexual interaction or encounter into some micro-variant of rape.

  1. Perhaps movements need a cohesiveness and all, but I’ve often thought much of such dissonance and clinging to party lines is one of identity. I am this thing, and if the mantra isn’t quite right, then I was wrong not about the movement, but who I am as a person, because that’s a major thing I was basing my time and personality on. And who wants to wake up and realize they’re not sure who they are now?

    Mind you, it doesn’t have to be that way. But people just tend to commit and they cannot only not look back but have a hard time accepting even small things might not be kosher or quite accurate.

    I like how you left room to be open to many ideas and still hold to a lot of the one’s traditionally identified with feminism (even probably moreso than some of the banal feminists of today you talk about).

    You sound like you know who you are. That’s a rare thing these days. Good on ya.

    • Thank you very much I think that’s a really astute point about identity. I’ve definitely experienced incidents where people who are otherwise pretty intelligent and analytical throw their hands over their ears and refuse to listen to what I’m saying and it feels defensive and I do think that they’re protecting their sense of self. Was I a simple misogynist I bet they’d give me more of their time!

    • I think you’re right about that. I was a member of a socialist organisation some time ago and I was frequently asked by other members “As socialists what do we think about…”. I was unusual in that I’d reply “I don’t know, what do you think about…” which worked very well as a starter to an interesting, educative conversation but spoke volumes about people’s desire to learn the line rather than think for themselves.

    • apostrophegirl says:

      And the problem with cleaving to an ideology (as a socialist, I know all about the issues this raises!) when applied to feminism – especially the kind of feminists that Elizabeth is up against – is that there is no one ideology. I do still identify as a feminist. I still identify as British, but that doesn’t make me the sort of flag waving xenophobe the Daily Express would have me be.
      I see feminism as still necessary for precisely the reasons E marks out – rape as a weapon of war, the repression of women in certain religions – plus a few more such as the still massive pay gap.
      Other feminists find it more important to have exactly the same number of women and men in every given situation – these women are not publishing charts on why men are so under represented in primary schooling, for example, or nursing. Others still feel it is a charter for them to decide not only how men act (“Men: this is how you talk to women”, as if all women are exactly the same.) but also how other women act. I’m not Laurie Penny or Laura Bates. I have different experiences, upbringing, ideas. Yet if out view of feminism is different to them, we become the enemy. Which completely defeats the object.
      Feminism, like all ideologies, only works if there is support and consensus. Elizabeth’s experiences are proof that feminism has neither.

      • The repression of women in certain religion like Islam, I guess..?
        I’m all for liberty, I’m all for a new monetary system, and that every person needs to be equal, and that men and women are different but equal, but massive pay gaps..?
        There will always be gaps as long as people meticulously looking for it..

        And for that religion bit, not every Islamic country does that, some have better understanding of implementing the Qur’an, others are just plain jahiliyah..

      • Noor says:

        The idea that Islamic (or other religions) countries hate women is one-sided propaganda put forth by feminists, and a lot of anti-feminists buy into this as well. Fundamentalist religions are restrictive to both genders – often in differing ways, but women are still often spared the worst.

        For example, on clothing like the burka, how many men in Afghanistan do you think are walking about with their arms and legs showing? Hell, if you look up traditional Arabic dress for men it’s covering up the entire body as well and almost all of the face.

        I can explain more if you have any specific examples in mind, and you have to look at the bigger picture of how gender roles there have both advantages and disadvantages for both genders. Lots of MRAs have written on this topic, debunking the idea that radical Islamic countries are particularly oppressive to women.

      • ChandraSekhar says:

        @Noor
        Re: The idea that Islamic (or other religions) countries hate women is one-sided propaganda put forth by feminists

        Its not done just by feminists. Its HISTORICALLY done by cultures “competing” against other cultures. Right-Wingers do it enormously.
        State uses “OMG look what they are doing to their own women” OR “look what they WILL do to OUR women”

        1) There is this PBS documentary “Outlawed in Pakistan” about a young girl who claims she was raped. PBS promotes the view that a grave injustice is done to this girl by the men and the system (cops, judicial, etc).
        But if you watch the documentary, there are slips here and there which reveal deeper truths.
        – The girl on her own volition actually is enamoured with a guy and even marries him (photo evidence). Then she seems to have regret and alleges gang rape.
        – The Haji who gets them married even says “No.. why would I touch the girl, or even see her face. I also have women in my family” (See the default attitude of society. Girls and women are to be given that much protection).
        – An inter-family war breaks out, naturally, and the girls BROTHER is MURDERED!
        So basically MEN are out destroying OTHER MEN over women.
        And yet PBS
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/outlawed-in-pakistan/

        2) Note that “oppression of women” is just one amongst many tools to dehumanize the Other.
        The West has ALWAYS propagated “Atrocity Literature” via their superior media power to demonize Hindus, Muslims, Vietnamese, etc. All in the service of CENTURIES of Colonialism, or Imperial War, etc.
        Textbook “Orientalism” (as propounded by Edward Said).
        Look up Nick Turse’s work on what America did in the Vietnam War.
        “Kill Anything that moves”.
        The Vietnamese were dehumanized into “mere gooks”.

        From WIkipedia
        In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. … We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about life and human dignity.”

      • Noor says:

        I’m not familiar with all your examples, but I do very much agree that all societies use the threat of women being harmed to demonize others. Western conservatives think Muslim men abuse their women. Muslim men think Westerners abuse women (via male gaze, sex objects, all that). Male feminists think other men abuse women.

        The standard feminist response to conservatives alleging misogyny in Islam is that they’re hypocrites (as feminists view conservatives as misogynist too). But they all take “protection of women first” as the default standard.

  2. thebibosez says:

    Many awakening anti-feminists find after a while that continuing to tote the baggage of feminists while trying to reform them is not worth the grief and they then drop the feminist label completely. Other, like Christina Hoff Sommers,,cling to the feminist label forever:

    Although her critics refer to her as anti-feminist Sommers thinks of herself as an equity feminist who faults contemporary feminism for “its irrational hostility to men, its recklessness with facts and statistics, and its inability to take seriously the possibility that the sexes are equal – but different.” http://www.easse.org/en/expert/228/Christina+Hoff+Sommers

    • TheTruthfulOne says:

      “..the possibility that the sexes are equal – but different.”

      Rest assured, this statement is not possibility, but eternal truth!

      ..When either is in their most vulnerable moments, yet treated with selflessness by the other, nothing is stronger, through complimenting the other.
      -In mortality and eternity.. each will cease to exist without the other.

  3. Well you are obviously a nasty rapey misogynistic tool of the evil patriarchy:)))) I liked your article. You are right – freedom of speech must be sacred and absolute. it is the most fundamental right we have (or used to have before the PC thought police began attacking it).

    I get those accusations all the time by the way. I’m accused of being ungrateful and probably just expressing my opinions to kiss up to men.

      • It’s a hash of conspiracy theories, like 9/11 truth for crying out loud, it isn’t to be taken seriously by anyone with a GCSE in Science.
        A resource based economy is simple; it’s the system we have now, more heavily regulated across the supply chain, from gathering to to consumer, with the profit motive stripped out.
        The costs measured in Energy instead of money, unit semantics to the mathematically minded.
        I wrote a blog about this; it’s just an outline of such an idea, this has been in academic circles for decades now, as our economy has to change and I’d rather trust Engineers from functioning industries than online charlatans, to produce something that worked.

        https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/46522339/427/

      • Loads of smart people worked in The USSR, many were party members. It’s basically communism, you know the system that abolished private property and killed millions via gulag or starvation.
        I’m all for national train networks, paid for by tax, that makes sense, but removing all private property messes up societies.
        Next you’ll be telling humans don’t need families to grow up well.

      • “And of all the mechanisms of defense of this system there are two that repeatedly come up. The first is this idea that the system has been the “cause” of the material progress we have seen on this planet. Well…No.
        There are basically two root causes which have created the increased so-called “wealth” and population growth we see today. One: the exponential advancement of production technology; hence scientific ingenuity. And Two: the initial discovery of abundant hydrocarbon energy-
        Which is currently the foundation of the entire socio-economic system.
        The free-market / capitalist / monetary market system – whatever you want to call it – has done nothing but ride the wave of these advents with a distorted incentive system and a haphazard grossly unequal method of utilizing and distributing those fruits. The second defense is a belligerent social bias generated from years of propaganda which sees any other social system as a route to so called “tyranny” with various name droppings of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and the death tolls they generated Well, as despotic as these men might have been along with the societal approaches they perpetuated, when it comes to the game of death- when comes to the systematic daily mass murder of human beings- nothing in history compares to what we have today.” – Zeitgeist : Moving Forward

      • That was just a perfect response to you, & the words left you with no choice but to resort to MORE name calling, because you can not think of a reasonable response. Seriously, if you can do nothing but attack me, you are out of logic, & have therefore NOT invalidated anything I have stated.

      • You haven’t stated anything but re-iterating a vague statement from a pseudo organisation with no grasp of science, reality etc.
        You’re as indoctrinated as any religious, political, or cult member and I’m unlikely to convince you, whether I ad hom you or not.
        There are a great deal of flaws, just google ‘Zeistgeist debunked’ or use rationalwiki.
        There’s a simple rule, before choosing to believe or follow any ideology, group etc it’s best to look into both sides of it.

        The basic rule is that anything claiming to solve all problems with solve none, and probably make more, religions operate like this.

        That’s why I’m tentatively a humanist, despite it having some odd colonial baggage.

      • That wasn’t a vague statement, that was specific, & pointed out your exact tactics, & flaws of thought; which I further pointed out, via calling bs or your many fallacies. You are continuing to distort our actual aims & proposals, while acting the fake skeptic, & insulting me personally, BECUSE your argument is so obviously weak. You do not even know how illogical you are being, which is why it is so easy for me to point out. Present evidence to validate your argument, or evidence to invalidate mine? I will continue to wait.

      • This seems to be a pretty through debunk, I’ve checked it against most of the books I have
        http://theuklibertarian.com/2011/05/09/the-venus-project-and-zeitgeist-debunked/comment-page-1/

        This thing is a cult, much like any cult, it makes no sense and is seriously flawed. It comes damned close to the stupiities of communism, which is pretty daft.

        I’m not fan of libetarian, burn the government, or anarchism either.

        TZM is about one step about David Icke, who is just absolutely insane, you guys are just misguided and basically seem to support reforms of our system much like myself a green party person who would have nuclear power would go for.

        Sorry to be hugely defensesive, it’s just the moment you go for this, or religion, feminism, or whatever some-one’s sacred cow is, they don’t take to it well.

        The best thing, is to be part of no-one group and just keep thinking and learning until you can have a clear idea what you think, not what some group want you to.

      • You don’t need TZGM to notice that; any one who can do elementary mathematics can work this out, The Exponential function isn’t exactly point theory.
        Making a new movement, ironically wastes more resources and time than involving yourself in current politics to move it along, like joining the greens say.

      • How do casino’s stay in business? Are the odd’s in favor of the house? Or do you believe in the gambler’s fallacy? While the Zeitgeist Movement knows the Libertarians are wrong about money, we agree with them that gov’t is also the problem. You see the .gov may regulate markets, big biz, can still lobby congress & buy it’s will into power. .gov is no longer accountable to the people, but to the biz. Now has controlling power over gov., the fix is in, playing politics-as-usual, is still keeping business-as-usual, in power. But you are right this isn’t rocket science, people should know better.

      • They stay in business through advertising, lies and corruption like every other unsustainable business model. I’m not an eejit, i went full-blown anarchist at one point, but it doesn’t work and the smart thing to do is have social accountable states where people don’t starve.
        Most governments aren’t representative or accountable, we have a weird thing with the EU here, in principal I like the idea, in practice it’s a nightmare.

      • So you just said, .gov is nightmare, but you want me to work in the system?
        …. Here’s your cognitive dissonance cap! Have fun being an anarco- governmentalits! please, let me know how far that get’s you, sir?

  4. I like a lot of feminists and what the stand for, I also have massive problems with the whole concept, the problem is try to say this and women drop you as if you wore last weeks colour lipstick to school when you were about 14.

    Many feminists have problems with any woman in the media who tells everyone they’re not a feminist, but why should every woman wear this label, Lana Del Ray and Katy Perry do really well and have huge voices, they don’t look repressed to me, why should they shut up just because they don’t want to join the cool feminist gang?

    Too many feminists have a problem with transsexuals, why many have deep urges to be women and it’s genuine, they risk violence to become women, this must be sincere in most cases, so why the hate? I dream of a utopia where men and women wear what they dam well please and walk down the street, maybe there would be fewer operations if this utopia came true but I’m sure some men and women would still not feel right the sex they are.

    I don’t want to drop the feminist label I just want to ask questions without being dropped by the cool gang, fundamentalist God heads are annoying because they never question their “faith” and many feminists are exactly the same.

    Please check out the website, I got so sick of Lana bashing I wrote a blog about it

  5. This reminds me a bit of “right is the new left”, an idea from slatestarcodex. I am not a feminist but I am a leftist, and I find myself in pretty much the same boat as you with respect to people I associate with, for what are apparently the same reasons.

    Weird that this is a “thing” now.

  6. I suffer from the same problems, feminism have shown its true face to me as well and I would love to say that I support the issues that they present in the name of justice, hell even social justice but when I investigate closer I come to the same conclusion as you do.

    The side that wants equality is the republican, christian, gun-swinging, fear-mongering MRAs and I honestly hate the idea that I am there, I always thought of myself as a liberal and I most definitely am but when it comes to gender equality something went very wrong on the liberal side of things.

    I salute you as our newest comrade to the fight for equality.

  7. Good stuff.
    On the subject of dismissal of (or contempt for) conservatives, you will see this not just amongst feminists, but amongst a lot of non-feminist Progressives too. I saw this first hand in the US Atheist communities, where stereotypes of loony Religious Right gradually extended to conservatives as a whole. Susan Jacoby even wrote a hit-piece called ‘Surprise, Right Wing Atheists exist’ where she accused them of being the modern Social Darwinists.
    And this very dismissal of adversaries meant that they cant see things from the outside. In 2002, independent conservative and ex-president of Los Angeles NOW Tammy Bruce wrote a book.
    The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds
    In this CSPAN vid, she describes the assault on free speech, and gives a fiery and informed defense of free speech. Well worth watching if you can spare the time.
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?169711-1/book-discussion-new-thought-police
    I dunno how many people listened to her then, but we are now facing the consequences.
    Full disclosure: I am not a conservative. I am a MRA, classical liberal.

  8. I don’t really disagree with any of your core points and values. Freedom of speech is important, and like you, I’d also defend this for people like Christians, even if I disagree with them on a lot of things. I also see that some people call themselves feminists, yet believe pretty much the same things as me.

    But at the same time, I personally can’t call Antifeminism the new Feminism. To me, it makes antifeminism sound like it’s all about women. It can be about that (for those mainly concerned with how stay at home moms are treated), or it can be mostly about men (for most male MRAs, I would say), or both. I guess feminism doesn’t have to be all about women either (for those who just want justice for all, but prefer to use the name “feminism” just out of convenience). It’s kind of arbitrary what meanings people put in these names. A person’s beliefs and actions are more important, and not the label.

  9. Thank you so much everyone for taking the time to reply so valuably. I can’t wait to discuss this further with you all and obviously check out your work.

    Really busy couple of days… But await responses!

    Elizabeth x

  10. I feel like I could have written a lot of this myself.

    There’s a saying “I thought I was a feminist until I spoke to some on the internet”… That’s how it was for me. I considered myself a feminist but I increasingly found myself saying “I’m a feminist, but…”

    “But I don’t hate men…”
    “But I’m not transphobic…”
    “But I’m ‘sex positive’…”
    “But I don’t like slut shaming…”
    “But I support sex workers…”
    Etc etc…

    There comes a point where you get tired of having to use those caveats, and just decide that if feminisn describes so many different and conflicting ideologies, maybe feminism is a meaningless label.

    Some will say “but that’s not real feminism” well, that’s what you say, but others disagree, why is your feminism the real feminism and not their’s?

    Or “Why can’t you promote your values from inside feminism?”… Well I tried that. But I got shouted down, insulted, accused of misogyny… Attempts to point out flaws in arguments or raise issues get dismisses as ‘derailing’ ‘what-about-ism’ (what about teh menz?!)… In short, my voice was not welcome.

    I feel more free to express my opinions without the constraints of feminism.

    Just as religion doesn’t have a monopoly on morality, feminism doesn’t have a monopoly on equality.

  11. Noor says:

    “I loathe borders, hell- I even think we should be working towards a cashless society (in favour of a Resource Based Economy, not contactless bloody payment cards)”

    Anarcho-communism, perhaps?

    • Communism? Oh man. I mean I have a massive issue with the idea that you can combine Anarchism and Communism… Anarchism with a bit of syndicalism, a bit of localism… I’m more interested in liberty and eradicating cash though.

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