Entitlement and Apathy, The Case of Women Against Feminism

women against feminism
Antifeminist? No, this is what a very very privileged girl looks like.

A few weeks ago, evidence that feminism had done it’s job came in the unlikeliest of forms, paradoxically when news of an antifeminist Facebook page called Women Against Feminism (with it’s spin-off on tumblr womenagainstfeminism), went viral. On it, followers submit photos of themselves holding up notes explaining why they don’t need feminism. These range from statements like “I don’t need feminism because I respect all humans not just one gender” to “I don’t need feminism because I’m not a manipulative idiot playing victim.” As the images posted to the timeline spread through social networks world-wide, people everywhere scratched their heads and wondered, where did we go wrong? The Tumblr and FB page spawned thousands of angry comments and parodies ridiculing the movement (like this and this for example) proving how right Henrik Ibsen was when he wrote, “To live is to war with trolls.”

Arguably (though they may hate to admit it) feminism’s greatest accomplishment is the fact that Women Against Feminism even exists. Its members are clearly a very lucky group of women that have never been burned by gender inequality in their lives, and so they assume that it isn’t real. They can work where they want, date whomever they want, they can wear what they want, vote for who they want, they have seemingly absolute freedom. In a world where seeing is believing, when there’s no visible sexism in one’s immediate social circle, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that equality has been achieved, over and done with. Once you accept that fallacy, then any politically active feminists out there are naturally going to look like they’re fanatically fighting imaginary dragons.

In one post a young woman holds up a note that reads, “I’m not a feminist because the men in my life care about and respect me.” Over and over again, they repeat “I am not a victim” and “the only people I’ve ever felt oppressed by are feminists.” How unbelievably lucky to live in a reality where the mere existence of an ideology founded on social and political equality is the only thing that has ever made you feel bad. But the more important point here is that not being a victim yourself, does not mean that there are no victims whatsoever. Just because you’ve never seen or experienced something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It’s like that epicly relevant Dr. Seuss quote, “I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we too should have rights.”

For the members of Women Against Feminism, it’s clearly difficult to reach beyond their own front yards and social circles and understand that somewhere far beyond what they can perceive with their own eyes and ears, gender equality remains one of the biggest issues facing humanity. In the words of John Lennon, “Living is easy with your eyes closed.” It’s sad to know that we can become so comfortably blind and wrapped up in our own safe and cozy lives that we struggle to see that the very rights and comforts Women Against Feminism cite as reasons they don’t need feminism anymore, are privileges not afforded equally to everyone – even within their own community.

women against feminism antifeminist

The big question becomes, when did feminism become a nuisance to regular people who are either ignorant of, or misinformed about the state of the world? And why did it become synonymous with hating men? Male or female, the concept of feminism is about giving equal rights to those who don’t actually have it. And we’re not talking about the right to dominate or emasculate men, which so many seem to believe, we’re talking about protection from violence, jurisdiction over one’s own body, and political autonomy. Stuff that no human (man or woman) should ever be deprived of.

And the biggest irony of all is that, in a sense, Women Against Feminism is right. They don’t need feminism because everything in their perfect lives is working just fine. The reason the world become so angry by their anti-feminist notes isn’t simply because they were based on an inaccurate definition of feminism, but because the whole thing was tantamount to gloating. What these women are doing is identical to what would happen if the world’s richest 1% came together to form a group called Rich People Against The Poor and started posting selfies about how society at large should get rid of all financial aid on the premise that they, being filthy rich, have no need for it. Except in this case, Women Against Feminism is filthy rich in social privileges. Aside from being ignorant, it’s totally tactless.

women against feminism
It would be difficult to look her in the eyes and say she doesn’t need feminism, or that she’s just playing victim. Her husband brutally cut her face because he felt her dowry was insufficient. Powerful image by Adrian Fisk

From their submissions, it’s clear that the women of Women Against Feminism are doing just fine, but for the rest of the world, until we get to a point when gender based violence is no longer killing more women each year than cancer (and war and car accidents for that matter), and when sexual violence against women is no longer an “epidemic” problem with 1 in 5 women sexually assaulted in the US alone, and when women are finally earning the same amount as men for doing the exact same jobs, the rest of us are going to continue to need someone to fight for women’s equality.

And though there are a number of radical feminist groups whose views can come across as hateful towards men, it would be a mistake to think that they represent all feminists. It’s the Fallacy of Exclusion, in which a trait seen in one group is viewed as exclusive to that group, allowing one small part speak for the whole. There are crazy fanatical people everywhere, in every group and organization, and it is unfortunate that these groups tend to be the loudest. Radicalization is not inherent to feminism, but inherent to being human, much like compassion, empathy and kindness are. All characteristics more worthy of our attention than hate, whether that hate is focused on feminists, antifeminists or just women in general. And therein lies the rub of the Women Against Feminism movement, it’s essentially about tearing something down instead of creating something positive. What good does it actually do, and who benefits? We can’t be sure, though who loses is painfully clear.

So no, Women Against Feminism, there is no hate here. In fact, we’re really happy for you. It must be really awesome not to need feminism. Our only hope is that one day, the rest of the world will be able to say the same.

 

Natalia Borecka

Natalia is the editor in chief and publisher of Lone Wolf Magazine. She founded the publication in 2012.

14 Comments
  1. Very well written, with a very balanced outlook. I completely agree with you. Women Against Feminism drives me mad; mainly because I find those who support it to be grossly misinformed. I agree that it is because of the feminist efforts made by previous generations that they now believe they themselves no longer need it. I cannot imagine a woman in today’s society wanting to go back to 1919 and accepting her “role” in the society.
    I’ve been studying third wave feminism a lot lately and I really wouldn’t be surprised if this WAF somehow falls under it. Irony!

    1. Talking about roles in sociotey, how many women were forced to go to war again?

      How many women serve equal jail sentances for the exact same crimes commited by men?

  2. Living is easy with eyes closed, what a perfect quote for these women. Very well said Natalia. I can’t help but think they are parroting what they are hearing from men or the churches in their lives. Ignoring stats or watching the newsEvery night and thinking pretty thoughts gets them through their day I guess. I sincerely hope their bubble never bursts and they are forced to see the real world, as we must. How nice for them to live in blissful ignorance and oblivion. My husband often says, women are their own worst enemies and sadly he is right, sigh.

  3. As a man born in 1971, who grew up around feminist his entire life. I am glad i made it this far with that much self hate. I use to think i should castrate myself for how horrible i was for being a man. It is the invisible shift of compassion from all humans to just women that is the damage of feminism. Feminism is so very powerful, feminism is the largest and most effective non-violent revolution in human history. We in the west live in a feminist world despite the bad shit that still goes on. Open your mind to the idea that there might be small repurcussions on men, like feeling like they live in a world that hates them, i know i felt that all my life. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/15/suicide-silence-depressed-men?CMP=twt_gu

    1. Natalia Borecka says:

      Jamie, the difficulty with feminism comes from it’s ambiguity. It’s kind of like calling yourself “religious” – it’ll mean vastly different things to different people depending on their personality. Feminism is open to interpretation, and you can take it as far as you want. But at that point it becomes a personal crusade that has little to do with the movement at large. Feminists don’t hate men, they hate the politics surrounding women’s bodies.

    2. Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s I can tell you the feminist movement was desperately needed. I endured assgrabbing, breastsqueezing, unwanted kisses, etc. just to keep my waitress job. When I stopped going along to get along, I was fired when some trumped up work related offenses were hurled at me, including missing money which the manager himself was taking. I watched girls get fired for the same accusation. Missing money. They got tired of the game too. Pay is still unequal in many work environments, and more sickening acts of violence seem to be escalating towards women in third world countries. Look at what happens to the women in the military, and on college campuses. I like men. I don’t like what some of them do.

  4. Maybe it would be more pertinent to interview some of these WAFs instead of making assumptions about there lives. Get a true perspective please and then write an article.

  5. Melanie Pack says:

    Feminism- Men=Women
    Not feminism- men <Women
    If your against feminism, it would be hypocritical to vote, divorce an abusive husband, and yo want it to go back to how it was before Feminism.
    So obviously women who are against feminism don't know what they are talking about

  6. Pele angelique Carroll says:

    Brilliant article. Powerful image.

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