8 Lies About Feminism People Cling To And Why

The only time you will see me actually use this meme: right now.

“This is what a feminist looks like”.

It’s the slogan of the Feminist Majority Foundation.  I have a bumper sticker and a coffee mug with those words on them. And recently, I found a cover photo with that slogan for my Facebook profile.  But I NEVER thought that I would get some sort of backlash from people who seem to think that “feminist” means something it doesn’t.

One person actually told me that he sees feminism as the mirror of chauvinism, that feminists hate men, and this sends a shiver down his spine.   THEN my roommate (shout-out here to Tania Smith) sent me this video about straw feminists in the media…and I realized there is a serious conversation to be had about ongoing misconceptions about feminism.

In starting to look at the various misconceptions people DO have, I came across a post on the blog One Chosen Family entitled Six Myths You Believe About Feminism-~-it’s a great post, but rather than just parrot the analysis they give you, I’ll go over the six “myths” they discuss, talk about a few I’ve encountered myself, and then talk about straw feminists and how these lies get perpetuated.  It might get a tad long, bear with me.

MYTH #1: Feminism is just about women

Wrong.  Feminism is about equality.  Both women AND men are involved in the feminist movement, and for good reason.  Feminism is about deconstructing preconceived notions about gender and gender identity that foster prejudice and hate and rebuilding the idea that people are people.  So no, it’s not “just about women”.  Feminist organizations like the Feminist Majority Foundation also actively support the LGBTQ movement, and work to help men who are also being hurt by the Patriarchy.

MYTH #2 (my observation): Feminists hate men.

This meme: all of the misconceptions about feminism in one convenient place...

Lies!  Feminists do not hate men!  Okay, it is entirely possible that a few individual feminists hate men, but it is also possibly that a few dogs are also mean-~-that doesn’t mean ALL dogs are mean.  The reality is that a) there are male feminists and b) feminists don’t hate men, we hate the Patriarchy.  We hate the system of oppression that prioritizes the desires of men above the well-being and autonomy of women.  But there are women who remain complacent with this system, and men who are actively fighting it.

MYTH #3: Women can, and should, out-compete men.

Maybe reactionary feminists think this.  But they’re also the ones who maybe hate men and think women should rule the world.  And they’re a fantastically small minority when you look at the number of feminists there are and the number of things they believe.  Women have different perspectives than men, it’s true, and they should be brought to greater prominence in fields like science and politics-~-not to dominate men but to balance them and to help them.  Men and women shouldn’t just be partners in creating babies, they should be partners in creating the world we want to live in.

MYTH 3#: Men need to defend themselves from feminists.

Feminism is not victimizing men, people.  The Patriarchy is victimizing everyone.

MYTH #4: Feminism is an attack on family values.

This is what Republicans want you to think.  They want you to believe that working mothers and single mothers and sexually active women and women who think are a threat to the family, because the family is the Most Important Thing.  1) Not all families look the same.  I myself consider a number of people to whom I am not biologically related to be family, and they act like family to me as well.  2) It is entirely possible for the concept of the family to evolve.  The nuclear family wasn’t always the standard.  It may not always be the standard.  And it isn’t the standard in every culture.  3) Honestly people need to just get over this concept of female sexuality.  It is an absurd double standard.  Men sleeping around is probably a greater threat to the concept of family because they are statistically more likely to abandon their children and/or less likely to be involved in the lives of illegitimate children.  In those cases, single mothers are probably just doing the best they darn well can.  Let’s not ignore some of the real issues at play here.

MYTH #5: Feminists are lesbians.

First, that’s just backwards.  Some lesbians are feminists.  Feminists support the LGBTQ movement (or at least, many do).  But to say that most or all feminists are lesbians would be absurd.  In fact, a colleague of mine went so far as to tell me that sometimes, when lesbians actively support things like birth control, they are given strange looks because they aren’t at risk for pregnancy.  This kind of myth is just another example of people projecting their hatred in a way that they think will gain support, muddling two groups they dislike, or trying to otherize feminists so as to paint the movement as alien and dangerous.

MYTH #6 (my observation): Feminists don’t actually DO anything, they just rant a lot.

This is what we like to refer to as “slactivism”: just blogging, just liking things on Facebook, just ranting.  Obviously there

Above: members of the Feminist Majority Foundation

is nothing wrong with blogging, or talking to people about oppression and the need to change it, or really anything that forces people to THINK about the problem…but many feminists, and especially many feminist organizations, do a lot more than that.  A number of fantastic groups such as Equality Now, the Feminist Majority, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List, are actively fighting to promote strong women leaders and campaigning for women’s issues.  We don’t, as one person told me, “just yell a lot in college while running around getting our Mrs degrees so that we can become stay at home moms”.  Nope.

MYTH #7 (my observation): Stay-at-home moms aren’t feminist.

Says WHO?  If you CHOOSE to stay at home because you are able to make that choice, good for you!  It is when we force women to stay at home that feminists have a problem.  Women who choose to stay at home should absolutely be supported.  Being a mother is an incredibly tough job.  Hayley already covered this in her last post.

MYTH #8: Feminism is over.

I already discussed this a bit in the third installment of my WTF Feminism Series, but I’ll say it again here for good measure.  Feminism is not over.  First-wave feminism (suffrage) is over, because women have the right to vote.  Second-wave feminism has died down.  But third-wave feminism is alive and kicking.  Feminism was never just about the ability to vote or the ability to hold a job.  Until women can walk down the street at night without having to worry about being attacked, until women’s right to access things like birth control are no longer under attack by our leaders, until women are no longer being driven out of certain fields, until “pink collar” and domestic work is no longer devalued by our society, feminism will still be here.

WHY PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS

First, we have politicians who WANT you to believe this.  We have radio talk show hosts and TV show hosts and Fox News and none of this is helping.  But we also have feminists misrepresented in the media all the time, and this bad reputation often keeps people from identifying as feminists even if they agree with what feminists are fighting for.

The media deliberately pokes fun of feminist events and movements, obfuscating the issues at play and demonizing feminists as crazy, as they did during the SlutWalk Campaigns of 2011

I’m just quickly going to talk about straw feminists here, and I’ll likely talk more about it later.  What I’m referring to with this term is the creation of characters in TV shows and movies who identify as feminists but then are portrayed as crazy, over-the-top, man-hating, etc.  It creates and perpetuates a distorted view of feminism that in term undermines the movement…exactly what the writers likely wanted, unfortunately.  On top of that, it makes the things that feminists are fighting for seem absurd.  This video, which you should watch as it gives far more analysis on this subject than I am giving you here, gives a great example from the show Veronica Mars where a group of straw feminists push for programs like escorts across campus at night, etc, in response to a series of rapes on campus.  All of the ideas they are promoting are great ideas, and women across the country have been fighting for similar programs to create safer campuses-~-but the association with straw feminists paints them as absurd or unnecessary.  On top of that, the use of straw feminists as antagonistic characters prevents strong female characters from identifying as feminist, which is equally problematic.

The video is about ten minutes long, but definitely worth watching if you’re interested in this subject.

I’m just going to leave you with the definition of feminism found on the Feminist Majority Foundation’s website:

Feminism n. the policy, practice or advocacy of political, economic, and social equality for women.

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~ by Randi Saunders on April 14, 2012.

57 Responses to “8 Lies About Feminism People Cling To And Why”

  1. I enjoyed your post and, frankly, I’ve found myself wanting to get more involved lately. I’d love to hear ideas about how I can do that. I don’t know where to start…

  2. I think there are a lot of ways–and a lot of different levels at which–people can get involved. For me, starting this blog was one way that I increased my level of involvement. You can also look for opportunities to volunteer with feminist organizations like a local NOW chapter or women’s clinic, or even get a group of people together to try to do advocacy work, etc. It honestly depends on what it is you want to do and how you want to approach it

  3. [...] this a follow-up to Eight Lies About Feminism People Still Embrace and Why.  My Eight Lies post was meant to shed some light on the sort of misconceptions people continue [...]

  4. [...] post is by Randi Saunders, who is the primary author of The Radical Idea blog. It was posted on The Radical Idea and with Randi’s permission is being REBLOGGed here on Matrifocal Point. [...]

  5. Don’t you just love it when anti-feminists come and tell you what your ideology is about! I just stumbled on a post where someone claimed that feminists aren’t for gender equality but for the promotion of women on the expense of men. They also used other typical straw man arguments to try to make feminists look bad, complete with a “feminist” meme slide show:

    http://perniciously.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/so-you-think-you-are-a-feminist/#comment-1957

    Usually I would have just looked the other way but seeing as I started a blog to discuss feminism, I might as well talk to the ones who oppose it instead of just preaching to the choir! Hats off if they’ll publish my comment…

  6. i think the last wave of feminism wont be over until there are men

  7. [...] feminists and the issues they want to discussion.  The use of straw feminists, which I discussed here, is a perfect example of this: the portrayal of feminists as absolute lunatics deters potential [...]

  8. [...] 8 Lies About Feminism People Cling To And Why [...]

  9. I have a question about this statement ” Until women can walk down the street at night without having to worry about being attacked,”

    I keep seeing stats like roughly 90% of rapes are done by people known to the victim, so how does your statement apply?

    • Even if statistically speaking a woman is unlikely to be attacked by a stranger on the street, the fact remains that many women do FEAR being attacked on the street, and this causes them to alter their behavior. Take the issue of street harassment as an alternative example to rape: something like 30% of women move homes due to problems with harassment in their neighborhood, and a substantial number feel unsafe walking the streets alone at night. People’s perceptions of their safety very much influence and in many cases limit their behavior, regardless of what the statistics say.

    • I really love when I read a wonderful article with intelligent arguments and one person fixates on one detail to harass the author. This piece wasn’t focusing on how often women are attacked on the street and it had nothing to do with the fact that small towns may or may not be safer than big cities.

      That being said, there were some excellent (relevant) points made for feminism and I’m glad I read it.

  10. “Take the issue of street harassment as an alternative example to rape: something like 30% of women move homes due to problems with harassment in their neighborhood, and a substantial number feel unsafe walking the streets alone at night”

    I’ve only seen that statistic of 30% on your blog. My daughter and 2 oldest granddaughters, plus any of their friends never seem to have these kinds of problems. OK we live in a small town/county. So is this statistic more of a big city issue?

    • My guess is that it is more of a city issue, because I live in DC and I am from New York and have experienced issues like this for years. That statistic comes from an NGO called Stop Street Harassment, and their website would have more information about it, but it is definitely more likely that it’s an urban problem

      • OK so living in and around a big city has its drawbacks. And living in a small town, like the John Melloncamp song, has many benefits.

        Then I would suggest when one talks about stats and the possibility of
        sexual assault, it may be a good idea to preface the remarks with “in the big city environment “. In fact the chances for all crime increases exponentially
        in big cities.

      • While that IS true, the statistics aren’t JUST drawn from urban environments. So I can’t say that this is only a problem in cities. I definitely know people who have been harassed in suburban areas or smaller towns too. When I draw on statistics like this, I’m going by what researchers who are not me have discovered, and so I’m not comfortable adding caveats or whatnot to their research.

        These are statistics. They may not be representative of the people you know, but they are the accepted statistics that I am working off of.

        On top of that, sexual assault happens in small towns. Street harassment happens in small towns. These problems are in no way limited to urban environments, and I wouldn’t want to make a statement that this was the case on this blog.

  11. “So I can’t say that this is only a problem in cities”

    “My guess is that it is more of a city issue, because I live in DC and I am from New York and have experienced issues like this for years. That statistic comes from an NGO called Stop Street Harassment, and their website would have more information about it, but it is definitely more likely that it’s an urban problem”

    You just contradicted yourself. And I did not say small towns are immune from big city problems, but it is a far safer environment . We don’t lock our doors. You can’t say that in the big city.

    • I didn’t contradict myself, though I understand how it looks that way. I said that it may be more prevalent in cities but is not limited to cities. How is that a contradiction? MORE of a problem somewhere doesn’t mean ONLY a problem somewhere.

      And I don’t need to defend that small towns have the same crime rates as cities. Obviously they don’t. I’m not saying that. I’m saying that these statistics indicate that in the aggregate, across the sample surveyed, which may have included any combination of urban and non-urban environments, this is what was found. That’s all.

  12. “I didn’t contradict myself, though I understand how it looks that way”

    Yes that is correct, but I do get your point and agree that anything can happen anywhere. But the overall threat of all crime is much, much greater in large cities than in small communities. That is why many people think small communities are the best place to raise a family and I agree. I mean for people to go about their daily lives thinking that any stranger they see may harm them or their family in some way is not the way to live. And when it comes to rape, I’ve seen stats like 7% are from strangers and the other 93% are from friends, intimate partners or men they casually date. So it appears the only way for any woman to be completely safe, is not to go out at all at night, not date, and keep her doors and windows locked at all times. Such are the risks of large cities, more so than small communities.

    • I’m going to have to disagree with you there. While it is true that everything carries some risk, there actually isn’t anything I have found to substantiate what you seem to be claiming, which is that these problems are negligible outside of cities. Date rape happens everywhere. Intimate partner violence happens everywhere. But it is less likely to be reported in smaller, tight-knit communities because of issues related to stigma/others not believing them.

      Look, I think small communities are great, and obviously I think we need to work to make communities safer so that people don’t always have to worry that they or the people they love are in danger. I’m not saying everyone should live in cities or anything crazy like that. I’m saying, I live in a city. You obviously prefer small towns, and so you live in a small town. And that’s fine. I’m not going to sit here and have a comment argument with you about whether you should raise a family in a city or in a small town, that’s not what this post or this blog are about.

  13. “Date rape happens everywhere. Intimate partner violence happens everywhere. But it is less likely to be reported in smaller, tight-knit communities because of issues related to stigma/others not believing them.”

    I will agree and disagree here. Yes date rape and intimate partner does happen everywhere. That national stats state something like 64% of rapes go unreported for the reasons you state. And to suggest there is more stigma in smaller communities is just incorrect.

    If you were a victim of sexual assault, I’m sorry for your trouble. And if that is the case , I respect you’re being extremely cautious. And I don’t blame you. And as the father and grandfather of all girls, I am as anti rape as it gets. When I was young, rape carried the death penalty. But I also think crime prevention in general is our individual responsibility too. We must all be wary.

    • I didn’t say there was more stigma; I said people are more likely to know the survivor/their perpetrator in a small town because there are less people, and this may be a deterrent if, say, the perpetrator is someone well-liked.

      I do agree that everyone needs to be wary and that we all need to work towards reducing crime. But in the case, that starts with changing attitudes, and those attitudes are what I was referencing in the post when I said that feminism’s work is not done.

  14. Here’s what you actually said “But it is less likely to be reported in smaller, tight-knit communities because of issues related to stigma/others not believing them.” And you changed that to “I said people are more likely to know the survivor/their perpetrator in a small town because there are less people, and this may be a deterrent if, say, the perpetrator is someone well-liked.”

    There are small tight knit communities even in big cities. I only know a few of the people on my street. I do agree, with less people, you have less crime. I would never dream of arguing on whether the work of feminism is done. I just like to point out inconsistencies whenever I see them on any topic. I lived in fear of being killed at any time in Vietnam. It was the longest 13 months of my life. I do not know how anyone in the US could stand to live in constant fear. I know the women in my family do NOT live in fear. And no they are NOT feminists, but if they were, I would fully support them. Just telling it like it is.

    • I think that argument was more consistent than you’re making it sound: YES, people are less likely to report in tight-knit communities because if people know and like their attacker they are less likely to be believed and more likely to be stigmatized. YES, there is stigma surrounding rape, and if you live in a smaller community word spreads faster and that’s a disincentive.

      Honestly, sir, right now what you’re doing isn’t just pointing out what you perceive to be or have decided are inconsistencies: you are deliberately refusing to accept my points because they do not match your experiences. I am saying this one more time: your experiences and those of your family may not necessarily match those of every parent or every woman in America. That doesn’t make what I’m saying incorrect. This is what I have learned, in school, in rape counselor training, through my own research. Right now, you are just trolling a 20-year-old’s blog because you can.

      And for the record, I think it’s great that your family members don’t live in fear. And I’m not saying every woman in America lives in fear all the time. But what I am saying is that my school hands out rape whistles to freshmen. My mom worries about me walking home alone at night. I have friends who have been assaulted. There are people out there who are willing to hurt other people, and that’s wrong, and that needs to change. And that’s the ONLY point that is relevant to the post that you decided to have your small-town-vs-big-city argument on.

    • I think that argument was more consistent than you’re making it sound: YES, people are less likely to report in tight-knit communities because if people know and like their attacker they are less likely to be believed and more likely to be stigmatized. YES, there is stigma surrounding rape, and if you live in a smaller community word spreads faster and that’s a disincentive.

      Honestly, sir, right now what you’re doing isn’t just pointing out what you perceive to be or have decided are inconsistencies: you are deliberately refusing to accept my points because they do not match your experiences. I am saying this one more time: your experiences and those of your family may not necessarily match those of every parent or every woman in America. That doesn’t make what I’m saying incorrect. This is what I have learned, in school, in rape counselor training, through my own research. Right now, you are just trolling a 20-year-old’s blog because you can.

      And for the record, I think it’s great that your family members don’t live in fear. And I’m not saying every woman in America lives in fear all the time. But what I am saying is that my school hands out rape whistles to freshmen. My mom worries about me walking home alone at night. I have friends who have been assaulted. There are people out there who are willing to hurt other people, and that’s wrong, and that needs to change. And that’s the ONLY point that is relevant to the post that you decided to have your small-town-vs-big-city argument on.

  15. “But what I am saying is that my school hands out rape whistles to freshmen. My mom worries about me walking home alone at night. I have friends who have been assaulted. There are people out there who are willing to hurt other people, and that’s wrong, and that needs to change. ”

    I think what your school is doing is a good thing. Your mom is right to worry. I think knowledge is power. I think unfortunately there are some people in the US that live in constant fear. I am not comparing my family with every other family in the country, but I’d like to think we are a typical American family. Just typical, nothing more. I’d like to see rape and other crimes disappear, but we both know that’s not realistic. I have nothing against the big city, but I do prefer a small community. But the fact is, with more people you have more crime, more pollution and so on.

    I didn’t come on your blog to give you a bad time. I was only expressing my opinion. I’m used to going to an opinion poll site. When I do polls there I invite all opinions not just those who agree with my side. It’s more interesting that way. Don’t you agree?

    • I do agree. But I think your comments have really gotten hung up on the big city/small town issue, and as much as I like and welcome views that differ from mine–which is why I never ever block comments unless they contain hate speech, as is my official policy for this site–I think debate is only useful insofar as it is going somewhere. Making up contradictions in what I’m saying and completely ignoring the actual substance that I wanted to talk about when I published this don’t accomplish that. I’m sorry if I seem averse to differing views, I really am not.

  16. “But I think your comments have really gotten hung up on the big city/small town issue,” There are some stark differences between the 2. Not saying one is better than the other, but they are quite different.

    I’m sorry if I seem averse to differing views, I really am not.” No I never said or implied that. I was talking of my experiences at an opinion poll site I’ve been going to for 5 years. And I salute your fairness. I have been blocked on some other feminist blogs for only stating an opinion different from the majority. And as its your blog, you are fully entitled to do whatever you choose. And for the record I never block anyone from my polls , even though they call me every name in the book. My oldest granddaughter (age22) is still going to college after 4 years, but not full time, as she works full time. She is working for her nursing degree. If I remember, I’m going to ask her if they gave her a rape whistle. She goes to a community college but they have 4 year nursing degrees. I have to say I don’t really see her much anymore, certainly not like when she was growing up. But if I don’t forget , I am going to ask her about if they have a rape counselling center at her college. Her sister is a senior in high school this year. I don’t know if they have those things in her school.

  17. I really found your blog useful and informative. I am a 21 year old female and live with a older brother and a single mom. Despite being brought up by a single mother my brother has somehow adopted this ancient idea about the role of women and the role of men, and often thinks himself superior because he is a male. He often calls me a feminist in a negative connotation because i refuse to conform to his way of thinking (that men are superior and a women’s job is to care for the man). I read your blog trying to understand why he thinks of feminism as negative and how to show him that being a feminist isn’t being a man hater.

  18. [...] example, when people say that feminists hate men, they aren’t talking about feminist scholars, they’re talking about feminist activists, [...]

  19. Reblogged this on Fact Or Feminist ?.

  20. I will believe that “feminism” is about gender equality the day that women are forced to sign up for the draft, all alimony payments are made null and void and you rename your ideology with a gender neutral name.

    • Edit: The day feminism campaigns for the above noted.

      • http://theradicalidea.tumblr.com/post/48689951822/a-list-of-mens-rights-issues-that-feminism-is

        It’s not just about women. It’s about patriarchy.

      • So…your enemy is the “patriarchy”? The term is blatantly sexist and offensive. The word in and of itself implies that the enemy is male, which implies that women have never been oppressed by other women or that women have never oppressed males. You also insinuate in the link above that men concerned with male rights should ally themselves with those whole label themselves “feminists.” I should hope the irony of that statement speaks for itself without an explanation. Under this logic one wonders why the NAACP didn’t name themselves Caucasionists.”If you support the liberation of African Americans from the oppression of White Privilege, join the cause of Caucasianism.” Absurdity…. Feminism was the promotion of womens liberation in the past and in it’s most current and COMMON USAGE is a special interest group FOR and BY women and for said group to use “patriarchy”, a gender specific word to denote their enemy, is BY DEFINITION a sexist hategroup. You can play semantics all you want but it is obvious through the feminist tract record what their methods and goals are. “Don’t you just love when anti feminists come on here and tell you what your philosophy is about?” – I don’t need to tell anyone what this philosophy is about because the writer has made it abundantly clear that she views “patriarchy” as the enemy. It isn’t gender equality in the crosshairs but men who would oppress females. Mens issues have NOTHING to do with this save as a quick inclusionary statement lest anyone point out the obvious exclusion based on gender or as we like to call it in the real world, SEXISM. Maybe when she admits that the MATRIARCHY is just as oppressive as the patriarchy we can talk but then again pulling out one card would cause the entire house to fall…

      • Your comment makes me wonder how well you read the author’s post. You say that “when she admits that the MATRIARCHY is just as oppressive…” but you neglect to notice that she actually DOES refute the concept that women should rule over and oppress men. The blog definitely does NOT say that women should hold all of the power, so much as that power should not depend on gender and that this is not a reason why anyone should be oppressed. Your comment refuses to even consider the points made in this blog, and I wonder whether you have read it at all.

      • I’m curious if you even read my post. What you fail to understand Laura is that “patriarchy” is nothing more than a politically correct and thus sanctioned synonym for masculinity. Feminism as an egalitarian mythos is dead set on eradicating any and all diversity including racial and gender normative behavior and thus to reduce society to a more gender neutral and thus more female friendly world. True equality is an absurdity and outright impossibility as there are, whether you like it or not, fundamental differences between male and female biology and thus froma a materialistic and thus scientific viewpoint, differences between male and female psychology as evidenced by common experience and the natural development of gender roles over the course of our cultural evolution. Anyone who denies the impact of biological conditioning on psychological evolution has an agenda to push or just plain isn’t paying attention.

      • I am curious to know what you mean by certain parts of your post.

        You write: “…differences between male and female psychology as evidenced by common experience and the natural development of gender roles over the course of our cultural evolution.”

        The author of the blog writes that: “Women have different perspectives than men, it’s true, and they should be brought to greater prominence in fields like science and politics–not to dominate men but to balance them and to help them.”

        Are there differences between male and female perspective based on psychology and sociology? Yes. Nobody is denying this, especially since there is clear evidence from neurological research that there are physical differences between the male and female brain (notably the difference in the relative size of the corpus collosum). The author of this blog does not say that there is no difference between male and female psychology, but instead that these differences should not stop men and women from working together, and in fact are helpful in the accomplishment of various modern tasks.
        Additionally, you note the “natural development of gender roles over the course of our cultural evolution.” I wonder what definition of “natural” you are using. Here’s one from Merriam-Webster: “being in accordance with or determined by nature,” where nature is defined as “the inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing.” What I believe you mean by natural is that this progression stems from biological factors. You might have been right 15,000 years ago, as the gender roles of hunter-gatherers probably involved a strong basis in biological differences. At that time, women generally did not hunt because their well-being could not be deliberately compromised (the survival of the human species depends on the ability to reproduce, and from a strictly biological standpoint it is necessary to have a lot of women because human females usually can only reproduce at a rate of one baby per 3/4 of a year) and they ended up taking care of the children. This is a “natural” reason why women took on their initial roles in society. However, I wonder what you think is “natural” about any part of our modern society. There is no natural reason why women should be excluded from government, the sciences, or any other field; and any biological differences between men and women only help to create their different perspectives. This is the position that the author of the article takes, a position that is reflected by other feminist organizations (response to Myth #3).

        You say: “Anyone who denies the impact of biological conditioning on psychological evolution…”
        Conditioning is a learning process. It is usually separated into classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Personally, I have never heard of biological conditioning, so please give me a definition if this is the meaning in which you intended to use the word “conditioning”.
        But perhaps you simply meant that we cannot disregard the influence of biology on psychological changes across the existence of the human species. Again, nobody is denying the biological differences between males and females, but feminism asks why these differences in biology, which contribute to differences in perspective, cannot be used to further the growth of our society.

        You say: “Feminism as an egalitarian mythos is dead set on eradicating any and all diversity including racial and gender normative behavior and thus to reduce society to a more gender neutral and thus more female friendly world.”

        First, I would like to ask you what “racial normative behavior” is. Think about it and get back to me.
        Second, I do not understand where you get your evidence that feminism reduces diversity. It does not. It actually advocates for greater amounts of diversity in every social structure. Feminism is not intent upon eliminating “gender normative behavior” (by which I think you mean the concept that women should take on home-oriented tasks while men should be the breadwinners of the family, correct me if I am incorrect about your meaning), as the author of this article states in the response to Myth #7. If this is your evidence, then I do not understand how your claim is supported.

        You say: “‘patriarchy’ is nothing more than a politically correct and thus sanctioned synonym for masculinity.”

        Again, I ask you for a definition. The Merriam-Webster definition of “masculine” is: “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man.” This could again mean multiple things, so I am going to address what I believe is the one you intended: anyone who has a penis. Obviously any reference that I make to the blog post here would not make a difference, since you directly refute everything that the author states as well as the post’s sources (and if you did not research any of the sources, I highly recommend that you do so before giving me a response). So I ask you for your own evidence. Please give me reputable evidence that “patriarchy” is a synonym for masculinity and not simply a word that, yes, has an etymology based on gender difference, but has come to take on another meaning.

        I recognize that I am not going to single-handedly change your view of what feminism is; but I do not understand where your facts are coming from, and thus do not understand how you are supporting your claims.

    • Additionally, if you choose to refer to me personally again, I suggest that you use the name I have actually provided. Otherwise, you compromise your credibility.

      • Calling someone the wrong name by mistake has nothing to do with credibility and I’m was well aware of what your given name was. That has nothing to do with this debate. Moving on.

        I will explain my position and you may make of it what you will. I am certain I will not change your mind because I am aware that there are hardwired differences between male and female psychology. Our perspectives are fundamentally different due to biologically evolved methods of processing information. If you do not understand or agree with this statement than you will not understand my position. Consciousness, being a fundamentally physical process of the brain itself, is subject to natural selection. It is logically valid and even necessary to the understanding of gender difference to acknowledge this but many fail to take this to it’s natural conclusion. For the hundreds of thousands of years that our species has been evolving different traits within the seperate sexes were selected for. If this were not the case than there would be no reason that societies would be patriarchal in the first place. The natural role of males among social groups for the majority of our existence was that of hunting and fighting. If this were not so men would not be physically and paychologically adapted for this. You have even admitted this yourself in your post. The self evidence of this statement is for all but a select few obvious, mainly the dull and agenda driven. The converse of male adaptation would be female adaptation. Nurturing and emotional, her role for the entire paleolithic span and was gathering and rearing children. When viewed from this framework it is only natural to conclude that this patriarchal system would be handed down to us from the past culturally and I certainly do not need to provide evidence of that to you. The problem you face is that you cannot demonstrate how the integration of the two sexes into each others evolutionarily defined roles is desirable or advantagous or pragmatically even possible. The only thing “equality” has done is masculinize women and feminize men, and the western world is literally falling apart at the seams because of it. You claim that feminism is for the equality of the sexes but what you fail to realize that the true diversity equates to the destruction of masculine pursuits. Most men, and I’m sure this is shocking, simply do not wish to be politcally correct. We enjoy racy jokes and derogatory name calling. We enjoy competition and leering at women. We naturally gravitate toward dominant behavior. We view war as a good thing when it means defending our land and culture from others and we have no reservation about using it. You simply cannot understand my position because you aren’t a male and no amount of unnatural legislation is going to change human behavior. Most feminists aren’t even aware of the destruction feminism is doing by trying to scale back masculine behavior as defined above. It is sad and humorous at the same tiime to observe seek to systematically view the male gender from a feminine perspective and scratch their heads in wondering why we “just don’t get it.” For the same reasons you don’t get it. If you did, we wouldn’t be different and feminism as a philosophy wouldn’t exist in the first place.

        By the way, I didn’t say racial normative. It was racial and gender normative.

      • Your comments on this blog stink of social Darwinism from a gendered perspective. The comments above functionally defend sexism and say that it is acceptable because men enjoy it. You have functionally categorized feminists as “dull” and the majority of your claims remain unwarranted. The claim that the “dominant” behavior that you describe is necessarily beneficial is unsubstantiated-~-war is not necessarily the answer as frequently as it is employed, and it has harmed countless people over the years.

        You claim that feminism is ruining the western world. To that, all I have to say is: citation needed. Just because you feel threatened that women are entering career fields that we have previously not been able to access, and because women are contributing to schools of thought where their voices were not previously heard, doesn’t mean that the Western world is falling to pieces.

        At the end of the day, we carry out roles that we are socially conditioned to fulfill. Feminism simply contends that women shouldn’t be confined to subservience simply because they are women, and that gendered hierarchy is no longer necessary or even necessarily socially desirable. It contends that men who have what you would consider “feminine” behavior shouldn’t necessarily be punished for it, and that being feminine is not necessarily a negative thing. I don’t see how that diminishes equality, nor do I see how that doesn’t promote men who fall outside your concept of traditional hypermasculinity.

        One more thing: you’re getting dangerously close to violating our comments policy. I’d be careful what rhetoric you choose to use going forward.

      • Social Darwinism, huh?
        You have completely missed my point.

        “One more thing: you’re getting dangerously close to violating our comments policy. I’d be careful what rhetoric you choose to use going forward.”

        I see where this is going. Further discussion will be pointless if you consider dissenting free speech a dangerous display worthy of silencing. No where have I used profanity, vulgarities, or threatening language. If you expect feminism to be taken seriously from an intellectual point of view it would be wise not to threaten unnecessary censorship.

        If you believe you can refute the concept of evolutionary psychology and its deterministic effect on culture and gender roles than do so. If you did not intend this blog to be an online forum for the discussion and debate of these ideas then you should close the comment section or make it private or at the very least place a disclaimer that diversity of opinion is not part of your definition of tolerance.

      • You have used insulting and derogatory language in reference to feminists generally and towards certain other users. I have done nothing to censor your ideas and I have always been firmly committed to this blog as a forum for debate. I am unclear as to how I have been intolerant–you, however, have referred to feminists as “dull” and have been antagonistic towards other users. I am simply warning you that if you cross the line into ad hominem attacks I will have to block your comments, because THAT is my standard. We have a pretty clearly stated comments policy, and it doesn’t say that vulgarity or threats are the only grounds for blocking a comment. I apologize if that was unclear.

        I am not denying that psychology plays a role, I am simply contending that psychology is related to social conditioning, and that this conditioning is based on societal norms that are not rooted in biological capacity. For example, women will do worse on math tests simply if they are reminded that they are women and that women are “worse at math”; barring that, women have been shown to perform just as well as men at math, so there is no biological basis for this claim. It is socially derived. These kinds of issues are the entire premise of my critique. You have yet to show me that this is not the case, or that it is not socially beneficial to have women contribute to fields like math now that we have debunked the myth that women can’t do math.

      • irst off I want to explain that in no way have I intended to make anyone feel personally attacked or degraded. By nature I am not a sensitive person so if I have stepped on anyones toes I wasn’t aware as it wasn’t intentional. As far as the usage of the word dull I used it in reference to anyone who was unaware of the basic common sense observation of psychological differences between the genders and targeted no one specific.
        “If this were not so men would not be physically and paychologically adapted for this. You have even admitted this yourself in your post. The self evidence of this statement is for all but a select few obvious, mainly the dull and agenda driven.”

        As far as women and math go I see no evidence that women are any less capable at math than men but It does appear that women are less interested in it’s application than men. I am of the opinion that masculinity and the feminine both exist on a scale like any other attribute. Some individuals will lean more to one way and others to another. Without a differentiation among characteristics within a population competetion between advantagous traits would not occur, rendering the driving force of natural selection impossible. The most compelling evidence for me that gender goes beyond socialization is the necessity of psychological adaptation to social roles. If during our evolutionary development men were responsible for group protection and hunting than it is logically consistent to conclude that evolution would select a mindset that was advantageous to these endeavors. Physically stronger, aggressive males would on average out compete lesser males and would pass these traits forward. It is a case of biology influencing social norms and social norms influencing biology. Does this mean one gender is superior to the other? Of course not. Only the dull and dimwitted would reach that conclusion. As someone brought up earlier, the size of the corpus calloseum in women is vastly larger and more sophisticated, leading to more communication between brain hemispheres and greater simultaneous computation. I can tell you as a man I am not built for multitasking and most men I’ve asked state the same concerning themselves. Multitasking served women more advantageously in the past and as to be expected women today are on average naturally at ease juggling tasks compared to the male brain. Under this view it would stand to reason that dividing social tasks among men and women according to their natural strengths is natural and would be a great benefit to us all. Am I advocating a tyrannical black and white interpretation of this? Absolutely not. As stated earlier all characteristics exist on a scale. There are always exceptions to any rule but advocating inequality in function does not translate to inequality of persons. Everyone, no matter their gender or their falling on the scale of characteristics is deserving of respect and have the right to live unoppressed. One thing I notice in society is that stereotypical masculinity is frowned upon as juvenile or unnecessary at best and as worthy of eradication at worst. I do not advocate destructive male behavior as that is obviously unreasonable but I do stand staunchy against raising little boys contrary to their natural inclination. Instead or repression, masculinity should be channeled into healthy outlets and the same can be said of feminine behaviors. I’m going to pause here.

      • No one has said anything about eliminating masculinity. I actually don’t know where that’s coming from.

        I am glad, however, that we have made progress from “feminists are a sexist hate group”.

      • Don’t write that off just yet. Your local chapter may not be as gung-ho about wiping out the basic functionings of society but alot of mainstream feminist thinkers seek to counteract the natural progression of civilized life.

      • By the way excuse some of the gramatical errors and spelling. I pressed post on accident before I edited. If you need clarification, ask. This was typed on a smartphone.

  21. If feminism is all about gender equality, why not call it humanism?

    • Humanism already means something/refers to a set of ideologies. You could argue that feminism is a subset of humanism which focuses specifically on the structures surrounding gender, since there is overlap, but feminism encompasses a range of ideologies dealing with that structure and just calling it “humanism” overlooks the nuances of feminism

      • Translation: Feminism is not about men. If it had ever been about gender equality we wouldn’t have chosen a name that was gender specific.

    • Because feminism has never been about gender neutral equality. It has been and is today a movement for women to enjoy the benefits of sterotypically traditional male privileges without any of the responsibility that goes with it. Women serving in the military is a perfect example. They want women to be allowed to join the military IF SHE WANTS TO but to date I have not seen a sincere attempt to have all women signed on for compulsory national conscription or “the draft” in American vernacular speech. True equality would be the feminists most horrifying nightmare actualized. No more special treatment would mean that the portrayal of women as a group being boogeymanned by the “patriarchy” would effectively END. We could, if they were truly equal to men, just tell them to “suck it up” or “rub some dirt on it” concerning EVERY feminist issue, but that isn’t being campained for. What is being campaigned for is the promotion of women to the station of mens privileges without his responsibilities. Next time someone with the offensive sexist label of “feminist” asks you to donate to one of their myriad politcally correct campaigns, give her the Equalist answer she’s looking for: “Man up and pay for it yourself.”

      • I’m wondering if you understand what the term patriarchy means, especially within feminist theory. The Patriarchy (note the capital P as I am referencing the specific institution as opposed to the idea of a patriarchal system) is the systemic gender-aligned oppression of people pervading within many cultures in which males are seen as superior, especially males that fit a traditionally masculine ideal. You should also notice that I said it was an oppression of people and not females. If there is any source of misandry or any infringement on a man’s right to do something it stems from the Patriarchy, also anyone who identifies outside of the gender binary, or identifies across the lines of the gender binary, faces similar and often greater discrimination. While Feminism may have imperfect etymology in some people’s opinions it should not hide the fact that people in general would benefit from its advancement towards its goals.

        P.S. I am a cis-gendered caucasian heterosexual male who identifies more strongly as a Feminist than almost any other identifier available to me, including the ones I listed at the start of my post-script.

      • I’m wondering if you understand what feminism is, especially within the feminist movement. From what I can gather from your post, it was simply a lengthy way of expressing “the patriarchy is to blame…for EVERYTHING.” You adressed nothing in my previous post and simply gave a definition for what you erroneously believe feminism to be. If feminism only means what we wish it to mean than it loses all credibility as a worldview. You twisting words around and then claiming that the etymology is imperfect only hints that this is being made up as you go along. Under your umbrella catch all definition I could make feminism out to be anything I choose and then when questioned as to the inconsitencies simply blame the “Patriarchy.” The term was chosen to denote the belief that women were somehow oppressed by men alone. You can wiggle all you want but historically, linguistically, and rationally you have been exposed as the antimale bigot you are. One must wonder at the motives one would have for their self loathing as you describe yourself as a heterosexual white male, THE Devil himself according to mainstream feminism. If you are aspiring to be a lapdog of sorts I can guarantee that your submission garners no respect from your handlers.

      • See, that was my attempt to be polite. I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that your arguments came from a place of ignorance as opposed to a place of aggression. I will try to remain as civil as possible but I can not assure you that will be the case. Mainstream feminism is in no way anti-male and your limited capacity of understanding that fact is somewhat infuriating. Feminism is an egalitarian movement that hones in on the faults of an outdated societal structure of gender-based dominance, known as the Patriarchy to indicate this oppression. Feminism does not claim that women have only been oppressed by men or that all men are oppressors to women. Also, my identification as a Feminist is in no way a submission to anything, it is merely my belief that discrimination is incredibly amoral in all its forms.

      • “See, that was me giving you the benefit of the doubt…. coming from a place of ignorance…”
        You can keep your smug, self righteous moral superiority savior complex to yourself and out of this debate and stick with the facts anytime you’re ready.

        “I will try to remain as civil as possible but I cannot assure you.”
        Take a deep breath and relax. It’s only an internet debate.

        “…and your limited capacity of understanding is somewhat infuriating.”
        Translation: Jacob finds dissenting opinions “infuriating” and then blames faulty mental faculties on my part because he cannot possibly conceptualize that someone may have reached a conclusion that differs from his…Quite the bastion of tolerance.
        I understand what you are trying to say. I really do. It’s just that your position is deluded and muddled in rationalizations. When the obvious is pointed out to you that the implied gender of the word Patriarchy and Feminism denote who is opressing and who is the opressed, you backpeddle and claim that the etymology is incorrect. You cannot escape the conclusion that you are either a bigot or grossly misinformed. By the way, how does one self identify(cis gendered) as a male psychologically if gender roles are a social construct? -BigFatRealism

  22. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hegemonic_masculinity

  23. […] I’ve read this blog post before over at TheRadicalIdea and I thought it was great: http://theradicalidea.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/8-lies-about-feminism-people-cling-to-and-why/ […]

  24. I cant access the link to the video mentioned in the blog
    …Please update the link as i think the link is broken.

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