Feminism and feminists have been painted in a mythical light that makes many women turn the other cheek to the idea of identifying as a feminist. Patriarchy has a vested interest in having women view the fight for their own equal rights through tainted lenses. It’s time to lift the veil and reclaim the fight for our rights. Here’s a few of the myths debunked.
“Feminism has fought no wars. It has killed no opponents. It has set up no concentration camps, starved no enemies, practiced no cruelties.
Its battles have been for education, for the vote, for better working conditions…for safety on the streets…for child care, for social welfare…for rape crisis centres, women’s refuges, reforms in the law.
If someone says, “Oh, I’m not a feminist,” I ask, “Why, what’s your problem?
Feminists are all man haters: Many feminists live with men and have male children. Why would they hate men? Just because a woman believes that women should have equal legal rights with men, and be recognised in her own right for things which are uniquely female (childbearing, child rearing for starters) doesn’t mean she hates men. Nor does it mean she wants men to lose their rights. Giving women equal rights and recognising them in their own capacity does not detract from men’s rights!? Only a few very threatened men see things that way but their voice has been loud and it has tarnished the goal of feminism and caused women to avoid the F word for fear of being labelled a “man hater”.
Feminists are just angry: Interesting how dismissive society is of women’s anger! Why shouldn’t women be angry about discrimination? Why shouldn’t we be angry about rape, domestic violence, and the difficulties we face in managing our own fertility? So what if a woman is angry!? People ask why feminists are angry but a better question would be why do so many women NOT seem angry? However having said that, feminists don’t get around yelling at men for sport. They aren’t stabbing men in dark alleys simply because they are men. Feminism and violence do not go hand in hand. Feminism is a peaceful movement and feminists are no angrier than anybody else. Everyone gets upset about something, loggers get angry at environmental activists and vice versa, football fans get upset at other football fans that support different teams, feminists get upset about the way women are treated. Big deal, get over it.
Feminists are all hairy lesbians: We’ve already touched on this one in our first point (that feminists all hate men). Lots of women live with men in intimate proximity so unless that’s all an elaborate hoax to throw men off the scent of feminism, it’s unlikely that all feminists are lesbians. As for whether they are all hairy or not, who cares? What personal grooming has to do with the validity of someone’s politics is hard to establish. I’m sure there are no shortage of men with hairy backs in positions of power, should they be taken more or less seriously because of their hair? Let’s start dismissing the views of men with hairy backs or beards!
Feminists are humourless: This is a great one for keeping feminist numbers to a minimum, after all, who wants to be labelled as humourless? This came about because of the huge number of vulgar, violent, sexist jokes about women and their bodies. If we don’t accept ourselves as the butt of foul jokes it’s because we’re humourless and we “can’t take a joke”. It’s not because that sort of joke is in poor taste, it’s because feminists just want to suck all the fun out of life. Jokes about rape, jokes that make our bodies seem disgusting, jokes that make women seem stupid, are in poor taste, that’s why they aren’t funny. At this point someone invariably says “but what about all the jokes about men?”. What about them indeed! Firstly, reverse discrimination doesn’t work.You’ll never prove that it does. Secondly, a vulgar, violent joke is never funny, no matter who it’s about. Saying “gross jokes about women aren’t funny” is never followed by a “but gross jokes about men are fine and dandy’ clause, in my experience. Besides that, the overwhelming majority of sexist jokes are about women.
Feminism has gone too far: Really? Because we can vote? How often can we vote for other women? How many women are the leaders of countries around the world, how many parliaments are filled with equal numbers of female and male politicians? Is there a single country in the world where more women are involved in politics than men? Until women can walk the street (and sleep in our beds) without fear of rape, until our intimate partners are always arrested and punished for beating us, until the caesarean rate is not 1 in 3, until we can access healthcare easily, until we are judged for our merits – and our merits are not cosmetic, until the world’s impoverished people are not overwhelmingly women with children, until women own equal shares in property and business, feminism hasn’t gone far enough! Please spare me the “men are victims too” speech about rape and domestic violence because firstly, feminism is opposed to ALL violence, not just violence against women, and secondly in the vast majority of cases when men are raped or beaten by lovers THE PERPETRATORS ARE OTHER MEN.
The thing is, it’s patriarchy that says men are stupid and monolithic and unchanging and incapable. It’s patriarchy that says men have animalistic instincts and just can’t stop themselves from harassing and assaulting. It’s patriarchy that says men can only be attracted by certain qualities, can only have particular kinds of responses, can only experience the world in narrow ways. Feminism holds that men are capable of more – are more than that. Feminism says that men are better than that, can change, are capable of learning, and have the capacity to be decent and wonderful people
So everyone should stop telling lies about feminism. In fact if you’re not educated about it you shouldn’t participate in conversations about it at all. Having to explain this stuff is getting kind of dull now that we’ve been doing it for a century.