And you’d think I’d have learned my lesson about clickbait titles. Apparently not.
Before you fly into a righteous indignant rage, let me pitch my angle.
Feminism is supposed to be a movement geared towards striving for equality between the sexes.
Despite what you hear from celebrities that refuse to associate with the word, and men who chortle and guffaw at the idea of “ugly lesbians who are angry they can’t get any, and so decide to hate men and try to put men down” (probably an actual Rush Limbaugh quotation), it’s not about man hating. It never was and never will be.
“But,” you ask, “where do idiots like Limbaugh get the idea that it is about man hating? Surely Limbaugh isn’t capable of an original thought, it might trigger a stroke or he might overheat and pop like a cyst.”
And you’re totally right. The idea that feminism is angry man haters didn’t come from men seeking to destroy the feminist movement and keep women in their place.
It came from angry man-haters.
Before you lose your shit, let me reiterate: I am a feminist (inb4 “u hav penis, u can’t b a feminist lul,” go fuck yourself, I’ll proudly use the word and you can bitch and moan all you want about how I should be using the word “ally,” and I’ll continue to totally and completely ignore you).
Feminism needs to be critically assessed and pushed forward, and it’s causes are good ones.
But the reason it’s struggling is because of the stereotypes that prevent it from being taken seriously. Try to support or even utter the word feminism, and half the room is going to giggle and say you’re either a weak beta whipped piece of shit if you’re a guy, or an angry bra burning miserable ugly and resentful man hater if you’re a woman.
Pretty hard to persuade anyone of anything if the conversation starts with those assumptions.
But those assumptions exist because the stereotype is actively perpetuated by radicals who brandish the word and use it to excuse over zealous generalizations about men (what spurred the #notallmen shit that everyone hates in the first place) and general anger and bile.
The worst part is, that anger and bile and hate that enables the stereotypes that then ensure no one who calls themselves a feminist ever gets a word in edgewise, is often rationalized and excused by even moderate feminists as “justified”.
Why, you ask?
It usually looks like this:
“Of course they’re/we’re angry! We’ve been second class citizens for hundreds of years etc and we’re tired of it! And no one listens when we ask nicely, so now we’re yelling because we’re pissed! We have every right to be angry. In fact, complaining about our tone, tone policing, is just a construct of patriarchy that’s oriented to ensure women know their place and don’t speak out of turn! It’s just more silencing! Furthermore, when you complain about us being angry, you’re totally distracting from the point!”
Well yes. You’re correct. Women (and other marginalized groups, for that matter) have every right to be totally pissed and fed up with what they’ve been through and continue to deal with. But having a right to something doesn’t mean you should do that thing, or even that it’s a good idea.
I have every right to tell every single person I know and dislike why they should hate themselves because they’re useless pieces of human refuse. But I shouldn’t. Because that would be pointlessly mean, and not terribly helpful or productive with anything.
So yes, you can be pissed, and probably are, and that’s okay. But expressing that in hot and wild anger and fury is just going to get people to go “oh look, another angry feminist we don’t have to listen to. Them feminists sure is angry miserable people. Someone needs to get laid, amirite? Either that or it’s that time of the month.”
By leveraging the “we have every right,” you’re basically doing what homophobes do in the US all the time.
It’s the “hurr durr but freedom of speech means I can say what I want!” argument.
CAN IS NOT SHOULD. Having a right to do something means you can do that thing, it does not mean that you should, or that you’re excused of liability when you do.
Because what you’re doing when you (talking to radicals now) fly into a righteous rage of mouth foaming indignation is ensure feminism flounders and doesn’t make any headway in the public sphere and sway minds.
So do me, as a feminist, a favor, and don’t perpetuate harmful stereotypes of feminism.
In fact, if you’re going to be a radical about it, don’t even call yourself a feminist.
And feminists, when you see radicals, tell them and others around you that they are not feminists. Strip them of their power to destroy the movement by being bad examples.
After all, you know what they say, the best way to fight a protest/movement isn’t to yell and scream and argue with it, it’s to join it badly and make everyone else in it look bad.
I’m pretty sure people say that anyway.