There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
I've had a few conversations recently that spurred me to write something because where I'm coming from requires quite a bit, in fact a lot of backstory.
And I don't fault anyone who comes to the instantaneous conclusion that anyone who refuses to identify as a feminist is somehow on the other team. I deliberately did NOT join this to another node in which in essence one core argument is males whining about lost privilege. There's just simply way too much loaded connotation, too many poorly articulated responses to feminism, and frankly too much emotional charge which is why I typically simply avoid the conversation. I know many will look at the title and just hit the downvote button. C'est la vie.
Some people think it crazy that I want equality for men and women, oppose mistreatment of women, but have no interest in feminism.
I will preface this by saying a lot of people who are feminists genuinely believe it to be about equality for women, and are often horrified when they find out just what feminism is in 2017. I don't judge anyone for being mistaken, and for demanding redress for grievances against women. In the words of Barack Obama, "Let me be clear".
On the surface it is a perfectly reasonable question: "since feminism is about equality, if you oppose feminism, why do you not want women to be equal?" But again, with every argument, you have to break it down into its component parts and have a look at the preconditions for the argument and the definitions used.
"Since feminism is about equality". Very reasonable premise. In fact, if you look at the dictionary (or more accurately, if one is practically smacked you in the face by an outraged woman open to the relevant page) it says this about feminism: "the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes." Or this one: "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men"
There's a lot to unpack here.
For starters, let's look at where "feminism" comes from - I mean, that's even before looking at what feminism became. Part of the problem here is that there's no One True Definition of feminism, and if you don't believe me have a look at women arguing amongst themselves as to what it is. More on that in a moment.
Feminism, arguably, came from the suffragette movement. Though touted as the movement that gave women the right to vote, that's a convenient historical whitewash that ignores that the suffragettes were rich white women wanting the right to vote alongside their rich landowning husbands at a time when not all men could vote. The short hand version is: rich white women used poor women as shock troops to burn down houses, attempt murder, throw acid in the faces of poll workers, and commit acts that today would have your movement classified as terrorism and rightfully so - in order to give themselves and themselves only a degree of privilege they wouldn't accord anyone else.
And it didn't exactly deal from the notion of equality, either. The suffragettes were born out of the social purity movements, those groups of women who wanted prostitution and alcohol eliminated based on the idea that they were social cancers and contrary to the Will of God. One argument made against women participating in politics was that it was a brutal and rough and tumble game and women were morally superior to all of this. Women readily agreed. In fact, since women WERE superior to men, they should be put in charge of things because men have massively screwed everything up. Or at least allowed to participate as equals until such time as men grew up and accepted that women were simply superior.
And that's where it CAME from.
So forgive me if I take issue with the notion that feminism is, or has ever been, about the equality of anyone.
Especially when, especially in the US they were also supporting white supremacy.
In fact, there were some attempts and rumblings about some other core inequalities at the time. Some 1800s lawyers drily noted that although men were always obligated to pay for and keep women, women had no obligation to honor, obey or even be a decent human being back. As noted in the linked article, she could assault him, take up with another man, and demand cash. A poorer man married to a wealthy woman could not do the same. Feminism was appallingly silent on this sort of issue. It was never on their radar to suggest that benevolent sexism was some kind of problem.
Fast forward to the 1960s, another flashpoint. If the suffragettes, feminism's first wave - had solved the problem of women not having the vote or property rights, the second in the 1960s addressed a lot of other ones. You couldn't be charged with raping your spouse, for starters. Abortion and security of person were not rights that women had. JFK had made women's issues a priority in his administration, and many of the cultural barriers women had faced in essence came down. The generations of girls born in the 1970s and onwards simply didn't grow up with the kinds of self-limiting blinders that previous generations of women had grown up with. Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs. Countries had female leaders who weren't queens. With the passing of the Equal Pay Act in 1963 and the Civil Rights Act, it would be hard to find a "right" that women didn't have.
In fact, I'd genuinely like to know what right women DON'T have in 2017 that men do, because yes, let's fix that. And I mean it. But at the time of this writing, the notion of men and women being equal is something that's practically acecpted as fact by everyone, with the exception of a few deliberately backward troglodytes who can't figure out that the slaves were emancipated, as well. If someone is advocating women shouldn't be able to vote, they aren't someone with real power men look at and nod appreciately to while soberly and thoughtfully sucking on the stems of their pipes, they're a crank.
Speaking of the 1960s, there was an interesting schism as well. Whereas they'll never get credit for it, a lot of men did work tirelessly for feminism during those times. Including formally for the National Organization For Women. The rhetoric of the day was about making men and women equal, and many men agreed - because frankly there are many, many men who hate the notion of inequality. But then again, eventually it comes around to realizing that to achieve equality you're going to have to look at society as a whole and realize that everyone has grievances, and, well, that's when the feminists decided that no, their movement was about goodies for women, and men could just continue to deal with whatever inequalities gender roles threw at them. Not only did Warren Farrell walk out, but so did a President of NOW and quite a few other women.
To understand the zeitgeist of the time, this is when man-hatred became chic. There were many movements that said any participation in life with men in any way was totally incompatible with feminism.
Because many of them had joined with a view to promoting equality and saw in third and post-second wave feminsm the notion that it should just be about gaming the system to benefit women and women only an abhorrence. Some paid dearly. The woman who recognized a need for and started domestic violence shelters for men was targeted with death threats and assassination attempts and had to move. Seems that feminism had never quite left its violent beginnings. Including attempted murder.
But never mind that, it's 2017, what does that mean for right now? I will completely acknowledge that the first and second waves of feminism won legal rights and changed cultural attitudes before things started to go south in the 1970s, and I will not want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. But they were not done and never done by anybody with any real interest in equality.
In 2017 young women make more money than men for the same job. The pay gap doesn't exist for the latest generations. (There is that pesky "choosing to take lesser paying jobs and having children" life choices thing, but still) Women are going to college and getting more degrees than men.
This is fantastic.
But go look at the problems men face. Homelessness. Suicide. Those are bad, and they're getting worse. Male suicide is EPIDEMIC. Men are being told that they are surplus to requirements, unwanted, evil, hateful, and when they lose their homes or the will to live, here's the feminist response.
And wow, have they ever intellectualized and scienced up the notion that women are superior. The Y chromosome is broken. The Y chromosome is eroding at an alarming rate. Science proves that men are simple, brutish and unevolved. And as Wonder Woman said in a joke that delighted women everywhere, men are simply unnecessary.
And that's all fine and good.
But here's where they lose me.
Remember the whole male suicide thing?
A couple of years ago there was a bona fide attempt to really look at why an alarming, startling and scary number of men were just quietly taking their own lives. To reach out, and to fix. International Men's Day used male suicide as a focus. It wasn't trying to win anything over women, it wasn't trying to do anything other than what feminists have been arguing men should do for generations - reach out to other men and RELATE for once, rather than being all macho.
So naturally, there was support for this initiative, correct?
Events were outright boycotted or cancelled. The groups who like to disrupt meetings by pulling fire alarms and attacking people (just like the suffragettes did) grabbed a hold of everyone from academia to parliament and demanded an immediate, and total boycott. AND GOT IT. York University, which had the most obvious and vocal boycott, had at least one male suicide during when the symposium would have been held. The one they opposed vigorously. And got everyone to cancel.
Of suicide prevention.
Why on GOD'S GREEN EARTH would anyone oppose suicide prevention?
Because the focus of International Men's Day (which feminists opposed on principle, men are naturally privileged and it's offensive to even set aside 24 hours, here) was not feminist theory, sarcastic critique of macho culture, the demonization of masculinity, an evisceration of patriarchy and some self-serving feminist rhetoric as to how men should just accept they're broken and inferior versions of women and do what women demand of them but for 24 hours try to figure out how to reach out to men AS THEY ARE in order to stop them from EATING SHOTGUNS or as my best friend tried to do, slitting his wrists and ending up spending two years in a mental hospital.
His name, ladies, is (redacted). He is a kind, generous, wonderful and gentle soul who wouldn't even hurt a moth. He's a brilliant, artistic, kind and articulate gentle human being. He never beat any women, raped anyone, advocated to put women in the kitchen, denied anyone their rights or did any of the sorts of systematic things that you accuse everyone else around you of daily. He was a good husband until his wife walked out on him to literally screw everyone in town. He remains a conscientious and decent father to his two children.
And he has worth as a human being. He's a human being. Not a "patriarchy". Not a "potential rapist". Not a "problem".
Apparently keeping him from doing that was less important than yet another lecture about patriarchy theory and God Forbid a conversation happen that you don't explicitly control and that's not in your own interest.
And you wear shirts that say "I bathe in male tears". When you wear that, I picture the expression on his face as he slashed his wrists for the first time. It's the same expression I saw on a young man's face when he went to school and realized that a female classmate wearing a shirt that says "Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them" is perfectly acceptable, whereas "Girls are stupid, kick them in the face" would get you immediately expelled. Heck, that can happen if you forget you're not supposed to hug a female teacher, or are simply too young to understand feminist theory.
I don't imagine someone that wants equality. I see someone who has it, and actively works to undermine and kill the other gender.
I don't see any proof you ever wanted it. If you want a four year old expelled from nursery school because him hugging you "triggers" you, or you think a mountain of male corpses is a good start, you're a vile human being.
And I do. I want it for women. I want it for men. I want it for transwomen, who feminists hate. I want it for transmen, who they also hate. I want it for people of color who you've marginalized but happily trot out every time you want to put forward this fake rainbow coalition of people you want to parade by to shame other people but only when it's convenient for you.
I also want it for girls and women who want to pursue their own destiny, do what they want in life, which gets maligned as choice feminism in opposition to TRUE feminism which is to realize if a pretty girl likes wearing a nice dress she's participating in her own oppression and that she should moderate her behavior to be a very narrow band of what's been approved by the hivemind. Nope. Sorry. Life's too short.
So no, I am not a feminist.