I don’t know if you’ve ever come across it before, but there are actually online groups of ‘women against feminism’. The better known of these contain photos of happily smiling females, holding up handwritten signs explaining why they don’t need feminism. For instance, one reads ‘I don’t need feminism because I respect all humans, not just one gender’. Let’s put the ‘are sex and gender the same thing’ debate to one side for now. This woman seems to think that feminism is about respect. Which it is, to a certain degree, but I think many of us care more about basic human rights and bodily autonomy. She also seems to think that if we make women equal, we are somehow detracting respect from others. Another sign reads “I don’t need feminism because I was never told not to pursue entomology because I’m a woman”. I’m really happy for this girl that she doesn’t believe that she has been subject to the same gender constraints as most of us. If this is true (I’m not going to argue that in any way, I am not her and I have not experienced her life) then this doesn’t mean that the women who claim that they have been discouraged from particular careers are lying. We don’t all have the same experiences, and I think that this woman might want to consider other people before publicly stating a disregard for feminism just because something hasn’t affected her. The feminism movement has been taking a more intersectional approach in recent years than it did through the first and second waves. As a white, hetero, cis woman I know that I have certain advantages. But those advantages make it easier to make my voice heard, to help fight for those who are more marginalised. If we all just got to a certain point and thought, ‘well that’s good enough for me, fuck the rest of the world’ then we’d be in a pretty sorry state. I think it’s pretty clear that I disagree with these women. I always try to be unbiased, but I actually just want to thrust a book in some of these women’s hands, and demand they learn a little bit about what feminism is before they denounce it.
Fortunately for my sanity, there are now plenty of parody accounts to give a bit of light relief. One of my favourites is the Tumblr account ‘Confused Cats Against Feminism’. This plays on the stereotypes of cats as selfish, and implies that the cats just don’t really understand what feminism is. Pictures of cats with signs next to them read things like “I am against feminism because it turns women into lesbians and lesbians hate cats”, and “I don’t need feminism because it’s not food. Is it food? Where’s my food?”. This Tumblr hasn’t been updated for a while, but it it’s well worth scrolling through some of the old posts.
I also highly recommend the twitter account Woman Against Feminism (@NoToFeminism). The twitter account consistently misspells feminism, tweeting statements such as “I don’t need femims women can’t be leaders what if they get periods?? They might start a war over a bad reason! A thing men have never done”. Another recent personal favourite is “I don’t need femimsms a female Doctor Who? What next, women becoming doctors in real life? Who will answer the phones????”
There is a certain relief in knowing that I am not alone in finding ‘Women against feminism’ baffling. Parody accounts, please keep going!