Increasingly women are declaring themselves against feminism. From popular groups like the nearly 50,000 strong Women Against Feminism social media movement, to the many women who didn’t support the women’s march earlier this year, women are turning their backs on feminism.
According to one survey, only 20 percent of women in the US consider themselves feminists. Why? Because women are seeing the feminist movement as angry and blaming men for women’s challenges. In another New York Times survey, results showed that only 18 percent of Americans consider themselves feminists, however, 85 percent claimed they believe in ‘equality for women’. Considering that believing in equality for women makes you a feminist, this is interesting, if not a little disturbing, especially in the light of increased violence against women. But what is most mystifying is the vitriol anti-feminist women are spouting towards feminists.
Yes, women are against feminism, but not for the reasons we think they are.
1. Women Are Against Feminism Because We’ve Settled
We’ve settled for the status quo. Perhaps we’re too tired to fight for more, exhausted from doing the lion’s share of domestic chores, working hard for less pay, single parenting, and juggling the monolithic demands put on us. So, we’ve settled. For lower salaries, for partners who don’t make the grade, for passionless lives, for less money for the same work. We don’t expect more from our sons, or male partners, or society, yet make excessive demands on ourselves. We are still caught in the programming of being the perfect, beautiful, successful, feminine, mother and/or career woman. And, more than ever, women are burning out with the crazy demands we pile on ourselves or allow society to place on us.
We’ve settled because we haven’t broken through the glass ceilings in ourselves. We’ve settled because we haven’t broken past the limitations we place on our own talents. We’ve settled because we don’t truly believe we deserve more.
2. Women Are Against Feminism Because We Victimise Ourselves
Women have been propping up men and male systems for centuries, in the shadows behind powerful men, having their talents unacknowledged or stifled while we are portrayed as less than men, and only good as sexual objects or mothers. Perhaps we’ve taken on some of this societal conditioning and this victimisation has become a well-trodden path in our own minds.
It’s time to take up our feminine power. To be feminine is to stand up for what is right. To be moved and to reach out and do something. To stop and help the homeless man in the street. To speak up for the unfair treatment of the underdog and to take a passionate stand for what we believe in. We are society’s conscience and the world needs us more than ever. We can be heard and create ripples of change.
Powerful women wear big girl panties – they are self-responsible, they call the shots in their own lives and take the fallout when they fail or make bad decisions. When you don’t objectify yourself and allow yourself to be objectified, especially sexually, you have agency, choice and power. Powerful women are unafraid of failure, being unpopular, of being vulnerable and taking the lonely road.
3. Women Are Against Feminism Because We Don’t Really Understand What it is
Feminism is the belief in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. It is the idea that women should have the same rights and power as men. It is a movement that seeks to dismantle people being discriminated against for who they are; be it gay, a different race, transgender, disabled or female.
Feminism is about equality. The reality today is that over half the world’s population of women are in a position of less power. This is just a fact. More women are subjugated to men; are abused and raped. We do live in a world that is dominated by the patriarchal values and where men are in power. When last did you see a parliament filled with women, or a boardroom bursting at the seams with female CEOs? We’d be naive and unintelligent if we were to say that there is equality in the world. There just isn’t. This doesn’t make men wrong. This makes the systems wrong. And it’s time for a change. We will all thrive when there is fairness and women have more power.
Feminists are fighting for a good life for everyone, men included. We want all people to be free to live happily in safety, free from violence or slavery, and to have choices, respect and equality.
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence … If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. – Emma Watson
4. Women Are Against Feminism Because We See a Skewed Version of Femininity
Women are against feminism because we want to be popular, seen as attractive, sexy and positive by men and society. It’s trendy to be ‘not a feminist’. It seems in today’s social media age, young women find it more important to be attractive to men than speak their mind or fight for what’s right. Feminism is perceived as something that is unfeminine, asexual and assigned to women who are aggressive, ugly and definitely single.
It’s time for the rise of feminine, powerful women – with all their feminine intuition, insight, softness, kindness, warmth, compassion, wisdom, power and strength fully realised. The world benefits when women are women. And women fighting other women are contributing to the separation they say feminism breeds.
We need to look to the amazing female feminist role models in the world today, like Malala Yousafzai, Jane Goodall, Emma Watson, Ellen Page, and so many others. The world needs this feminine power, not masculine women trying to fit into a patriarchal world. We need to bring feminine qualities to the corporate world, and feminine values to education, health and communities.
I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists … Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word? – Ellen Page
5. Women Are Against Feminism Because We Haven’t Embraced True Sisterhood
Women around the globe are spruiking about the power of being in circle with their sisters and of standing strong together. Yet, some of these sisters are lobbying hatred at other women they’ve labelled as feminists. They’re criticising and shaming women who stand up for themselves and speak out about the issues facing all women, such as abuse, domestic violence, unequal pay, lack of choice, and unequal access to top positions.
Recently, my two oldest daughters, aged 12 and 13, were having a fight when one called the other fat, and the personal insults flew. I sat down with them and told them that as women, they are part of an ancient code that is in their DNA. While they have a familial bond, there is a bond that is so much more than that. The bonds of sisterhood. I told them, you are part of something far greater than yourselves and you must enter this sacred movement with gratitude, reverence and love. Your life will be rich with sisters, women who will be your friends, your support, those who understand you and love you. While men will also love and support you, you will need your sisters in life.
Perhaps it’s time to examine feminine values. To be a woman is to be inclusive, compassionate, strong and kind. Powerful women don’t criticise each other, compete, or tear each other down. They don’t screw each other’s partners. When women fight each other, everyone loses. We are the creators of life; we’re wild, magic beings of unfettered power, and it’s up to women to lead the way and hold up the torch of our highest self.
6. Women Are Against Feminism Because We’re Afraid to Speak Up
Every nine seconds, a woman in the US is the victim of domestic violence. One in four women in America will experience domestic violence during their lifetime, and three women are murdered every day in the US by an intimate partner. In Australia, on average across 12 months, one woman is killed every week by a current or former partner. Of all Australian women, 25 percent have experienced sexual violence by someone they know and a quarter of all Aussie women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or former partner. And, females are five times more likely than men to require medical attention after being abused by a partner. If you’re not feeling motivated to stand up for equality for women after reading that, then I don’t what will motivate you to create a different world for yourself, your sisters and your own daughters.
Women are being killed for being women, and because men are using their physical strength to dominate and control. Men get abused and raped too, but mostly a man can walk down a street without fear of attack, or fearing for his safety in the way a woman does when down a dark street at dusk or in a bar full of drunk men. How many more women must die at the hands of domestic violence or abuse before we say: “That’s enough, no more.”
7. Women Are Against Feminism Because We Don’t See the Truth
We don’t see the extent of the abuse of our sisters. The families selling their daughters into sexual slavery in Asia, due to poverty. The young street girls being forced to satisfy white men in Thailand, or the girls married off to men old enough to be their grandfathers. We don’t see the women who are under their father or brother’s control and have absolutely no power over their lives. We are blind to the truth because we live selfish, privileged lives of excess in the West. Our sisters and brothers need us. Domestic violence is growing. While these are extreme cases of inequality, don’t think your own life situation is equal and that, as a woman, you are getting a fair deal.
While far less radical, but no less important, a friend who is buying a new home recently shared how she was being treated as a non-entity by the real estate agents, who focused solely on her husband and blatantly ignoring her presence. What is noteworthy here, is that firstly – these agents were women, and secondly – she is an accountant and the one who manages the family’s finances. It seems some women have adhered – consciously or unconsciously – with the patriarchy in dismissing women as inferior, or believe that women have very little power or say, so don’t bother with them.
The contribution made by women to society is grossly undervalued, so much so that women themselves don’t value what they do. How many mothers are asked what work they do, only to reply, “I don’t work, I’m just a mum.” We do not value women in the same way we value men, and it’s become so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t even realise we women are perpetuating this.
8. Women Are Against Feminism Until We Believe Something Different is Possible
The world cannot continue without the fullness of over half its people. Today, there is no other option but to be a feminist and to work for equality for all. The world needs you and we need everyone to be a feminist, if we are all to live a better life.
The revolution begins inside each one of us. And it’s not a revolution of women. It’s a revolution of feminine values, awakening in both men and women. It’s time we believed we can be more than we are; that we demand more from others and the world. That we believe in a better future for all, and in the truth that we can create this future, together.
None of us are free until every last person is living in freedom, and feminism is about fighting for this liberty and each individual’s freedom to choose what’s right for him or her.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. – Nelson Mandela