Was talking about #WomenAgainstFeminism today on Twitter, a trend that I see largely as a reaction to (1) extremist feminist politics found readily online and (2) ignorance/stereotypes about feminism. I tried to handle my frustration with a bit humor but quickly realized this is actually a really emotionally-fraught topic for people. Maybe not the time for sarcasm.
Most the time, feminism in action doesn’t explicitly call itself feminism. I’m talking about things like campaigning for sex ed, same sex marriage, equal pay, maternity leave, reproductive health access, transgender health care, representation, implementing sexual assault/harassment policies, getting women into stem, etc. I think this confused void about what feminists *actually do and believe in* allows the space to be sensationalized by a loud, extreme minority and predatory media sources who see a “hot story”. Mainstream onlookers who don’t know their history or what feminism is (and don’t take a second to learn…) naturally take the bait and then end up railing against something that isn’t even an accurate representation of feminism in the first place. Then feminists are pissed, and anti-feminists are pissed (though misogynists are usually quite happy) and we’ve whipped ourselves up a nice divisive shitstorm of “whose side are you on”?
I understand it’s unpopular amongst some feminists to concede that extremism exists; “there’s nothing wrong with radical action” and “they’re a part of the movement too”! I think those are valid points (and I certainly don’t think the solution is to silence/disown anyone), but I also think we have to admit that it can really alienate people from the cause, and perhaps #WomenAgainstFeminism is proof. What do you think?
I’m a huge fan of Laci Green and usually agree wholeheartedly with her, but I have to disagree with her reprisal of the oft-used analogy between feminist extremism and religious extremism, which is simply not applicable.
There is a reason religious extremists are also known as “fundamentalists”: their views, however hateful and extreme, can be (and are by them) traced back to the belief system the are founded upon. The WBC, for example, may be picking and choosing what to hate and focusing on the terrible hellfire awaiting those who sin, but all that is in the Bible. Same for the jihadis and the Quran. The man-hating and so-on that allegedly exists out there under the name of extreme feminism (I’ve never encountered it but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist), on the other hand, goes directly opposite to everything feminism has ever stood and stands for, namely equality and an end to sexism.
To compare sexism towards men on the part of self-proclaimed feminists to religious fundamentalists, even only for the points of “loud and unrepresentative”, is to suggest that sexism towards men is a part of feminism’s core beliefs, which I am pretty sure it is not.