Feminism has accomplished some great goals in its history. First and second wave feminism had a purpose and a really important goal to accomplish and it was effective in doing so. First wave feminism is responsible for women being considered people as opposed to objects that can be owned by a man which is very important and I’m thankful for the brave women who fought for that right. Second wave feminism is known for equality of women to each other for example, black women having equal rights to white women and females being granted the right to vote. There is a lot for feminists to be proud of. But contemporary feminism is a different thing altogether.
Normally, once a goal is accomplished a movement would dissolve and they would be content with their victory, but nope not feminism.
Now I have to concede that most feminists are normal people who are actually trying to help an issue that they see as important. But while most feminists aren’t crazy, some very prominent voices are. In general, American third wave feminism is stuck in an anachronistic belief that women continue to be an oppressed class. To feel worthy and pass their flaws off onto society they find problems–however petty and insignificant–and then offered themselves as the solution. A never-ending cycle that ensures the survival of a form of activism that has outlived its usefulness.
The first reason I oppose contemporary feminism is because it preaches equality yet the result it strives to deliver is actually quite sexist and therefore hypocritical. For example, feminists often generalize “men” into gross mischaracterization and stereotype. A viral Twitter thread asked women what they would do if men had 9pm curfew. One Tumblr user wrote: “night time would be so beautiful if all men [my emphasis] had a curfew, my mind runs wild thinking of all the things I’d do if there were no men [my emphasis] out after 9, I’d wear a pretty dress and walk.” Personally I feel bad for this girl because I’m sure she genuinely believes that she is unsafe and feels threatened by every man. Everyone knows, however, that one need not ban all men to create a safe environment. Yet when average men responded to statements like this via social media with #notallmen, feminists were outraged. While they may later argue that they only referring to “guilty men,” statements like these plainly paint a broad stereotype. Feminists don’t want to be generalized into what a stereotypical feminist is and yet they go out and create this exact problem for men; this is inherently hypocritical.
Take the example of rape culture: a hot-button issue in the eyes of feminists. Of course, rape is a terrible thing, but then feminists can be seen on social media encouraging false or exaggerated sexual assault claims. One current example of a way women do this is the #metoo movement. Females see all these other girls and famous women using this hashtag explaining some horrible situation. They decide to jump on the bandwagon and contribute their “unique” story of the time they were “victimized,” describing comparatively insignificant events like getting groped at a party. I feel like that should be somewhat expected and women should be able to assert themselves in the situation not just cry about it afterwards. Secondly, because it’s being shared online, I suspect it’s hard to resist embellishing the story to keep up with competing news and get the attention you think you deserve. Feminists claim to hate rape culture but by sharing all minor incidents of sexual assault they are contributing to rape culture and making actual cases of rape less significant.
Another thing that contributes to the sexism of feminism is how easily offended they get but how offensive they are to men. Examples of their thin-skin include how some feminists respond to “acts of chivalry” such as men holding the door for them. In a conversation with a man who works at my school, he told me about a time when he was in university and got reemed out for holding the door for a female student. If you think men wouldn’t actually have feminists flip out on them for this, think again, as you probably know someone who this has happened to as well.
In 2014, Girl Scouts made a petition to ban the word bossy, claiming that “When a little boy asserts himself, he’s called a ‘leader.’ Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded ‘bossy.’” Girl Scouts wants ban this word because they are scared that is discourages middle school age girls from being leaders. Even though they have no way of doing this other than a pledge you can sign on their website, it further proves how sensitive and easily triggered feminists are.
Other extreme cases include air conditioning being complained about. An article in the Telegraph cites a study that showed “air conditioning units are designed for the body temperature and metabolism of men and leave most women shivering.” It’s the same women that complain about how AC units are designed for men that also complain about other insignificant “sexist” non-issues. The worst the same feminist that make these ridiculous claims such as being attacked by the word “too” are considered by themselves and others as “strong.” To me, someone who gets offended by little things is not strong; they are very weak.
Everyone has seen girls’ clothing that somehow displays the message of powerful women, such as “girls rock” or “girl power” or something along those lines–which, to begin with, is ridiculous. Why should anyone be proud of their gender–something they did nothing to earn. But it is doubly ridiculous considering that if a boy were wearing a shirt talking about how great his gender is, it would be considered “contributing to toxic masculinity.” This double standard held by feminists where it’s praised for a little girl to be proud of her gender but “problematic” for a little boy to be, should be considered sexist everyday of the week.
In addition to this ironic sexism of feminism, I also object to the way it encourages women to use “inequality” as an excuse for their own shortcomings. In job interviews, if a female candidate is against a male candidate and she does not earn the position, feminism allows her to believe that it is because she’s disadvantaged or she has not been treated fairly rather than allowing herself to take the loss and improve for next time. I find this mindset to be toxic and not an ideal that should be preached.
Thirdly, feminism does not empower women, but it can make them believe they are a victim. Growing up as a girl, the only time I’ve been told that I am a victim or will have a harder time because of my gender is by feminists. I would have never considered the idea that men are superior otherwise. Feminists will preach to young girls that they are “going to have to work harder for the same results as a man.” However, going into adulthood with a preconceived notion that society sees you as less deserving can never help you achieve your goals because it gives you a victim complex and overall sets you up to believe you’re going to fail which will result in real failure or the lack of will to even try.
We can all agree that men and women should be equal–and they are! When I was speaking to a friend who is a proud feminist about this article, the first argument she brought up supporting the need for feminism was catcalling. If a major complaint third wave feminists have to complain about is something as minor as unwanted compliments, then I think, for the most part, society has done a good job treating men and women equally. While life will never be entirely equal, it’s important to accept that there are slight advantages and disadvantages to each gender. Feminists need to stop crying about who got the slightly bigger slice of pie like 5-year-olds.
In another world, I could see myself as a feminist. If feminists prioritized women in other countries, for example, Pakistan, where women aren’t allowed to be educated, leave the house after dark or drive, then I would be a proud feminist. If identifying as a feminist meant being against subjecting women to Sharia law, then I would be proud to call myself a feminist. The fact is that American feminists are for the most part not helping these issues. In fact, when a movement whose purpose it is to stand up for the rights of women fights for non-issues such as not being catcalled it takes away focus from real pressing issues elsewhere. Feminism is ultimately harming more than it is helping. Unfortunately, third wave feminism has completely tarnished the reputation of a movement that used to stand for equal rights but now exists as a sexist, hypocritical outlet for insecure women to find a target to blame their problems on.
Ladies and gentlemen, feminism has outlived its usefulness, now it’s just litter, strewn over our discourse like so much trash on the streets.
This is the second in a series of columns by 8forty writer, Just Debate It in which she tackles controversial issues from a strong point of view. 8forty and Just Debate It welcome thoughtful responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.