Person: I’m a woman and I don’t need feminism
What she’s actually saying:
- My life is perfectly okay and I don’t really care what other women go through
- I think feminists are just whiny and can’t take jokes that perpetuate harmful stereotypes
- I believe that people are just obsessed with political correctness
- I am blind to the fact that there are still problems faced by women
- I have forgotten that feminism gave women rights such as the right to vote
- I have no idea that feminism is an egalitarian movement that fights for everyone’s rights regardless of sex, gender, sexuality, race, religion, nationality, and ethnicity but mostly focuses on women’s rights.
- I am more concerned about semantics rather than human rights
- I can’t distinguish between real feminists and shitty people who call themselves feminists
- I still believe in the false notion that feminism is about hating men
- I actually don’t understand what feminism is
- I feel that the definition of a movement shifts with its most vocal and active members, and I am seeing such a growing number of dishearteningly cynical, misinformed, or downright underhanded (see: Sarkeesian-brand ‘feminism’) things done and said in the name of feminism that I no longer wish to be identified under that flag.
A movement founded on getting men to stop forcibly telling women what they need should not be, y’know, forcibly telling women what they need. You can support a thing without having to identify with a movement, especially if you feel that the movement no longer represents your best interests or contains a number of people you consider to be taking it in an unpleasant direction.
“I can’t distinguish between real feminists and shitty people who call themselves feminists” is an awful scapegoat - who are you to say who is and isn’t a real feminist? Anyone who acts under the flag of feminism is representing feminism, you can’t just hand-wave counter-productive behaviour with “oh no, they’re not a real feminist”. Especially when people like Sarkeesian are considered by many within the movement to be a real feminist - exploiting the oppression of women to make money, intentionally using misinformation (to prove something that’s real enough to be proved without misinformation, no less), and appropriating feminism to benefit yourself; if these are considered attributes of real feminism, I have no idea what grade of evil gets you branded as a ‘fake’.
This isn’t anti-feminism, there are far too many strains and submovements of feminism that decrying it is ignorant. It would be downright stupid to deny that our ingrained cultural biases don’t impact women negatively, and even men in some cases. But women should have a choice. Feminism was founded when men pushed women into a corner, skewed their reality and told them “you need us big strong men to take care of the clever things, the heavy things. You shouldn’t have to vote, you shouldn’t have to worry about learning, you’d be much happier being a housewife”. Feminism broke through to give women a choice, something they’d been constantly denied. Liberal Feminism, Radical Feminism, Conservative Feminism, Sex-positive Feminism: there are so many submovements within feminism, each with differing views.
Yet somehow, the internet has begun to homogenise it in a way only the internet can, and now you often have to either identify under this catch-all ‘one true feminism’ flag that contains people you disagree with, or risk being ostracised, looked down upon, or being outright told that you ‘need’ to get under that flag.
This “with us or against us” ideology silences women, tells them what’s best for them, and robs them of choice. That sure sounds a lot like the very thing feminism set out to fight.