When I saw the Women Against Feminism Facebook page, it left me near-speechless.
Which isn't easy to do.0
...rarely do you see [this kind of egocentric thinking] so stupidly on display. They usually try to dress it up a little more than this.This Facebook page opens itself up for submissions of pictures and testimonials from women who post their reasons why they don't need feminism...reasons like, "I like men looking at me when I look good" or "I don't need to grow out my body hair to prove I'm equal to men" or "I ♥ the D".1
Not all posts are that shallow, but there seems to be some fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism can be loosely defined as..."a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending a state of equal political, economic, cultural, and social rights for women."
It's a site that is extremely depressing to look at, because these are women who firmly identify as people in opposition to feminism. They don't see why feminism is necessary, they don't see how it can benefit them, and, worst of all, they don't actually understand what feminism means. They feel LET DOWN by feminism. They've been exposed to bad stereotypes of feminism, and the generally sexist representation of women as a whole. As a result, they truly believe that feminism is about playing the victim. They think that feminists hate men, that feminism is about belittling men in an attempt to elevate the status of women. These are women who believe feminism is a movement to justify the behaviour of "sluts", demonize men, and patronise women.Women Against Feminism showcases people possessed of a greatly distorted understanding of feminism similar to how the understanding of what the labor movement is about has become warped over time; they don't need feminism because 'women' like unions aren't necessary because 'jobs'. It's an understanding that lacks depth, is ignorant of history, and is naive when it comes to what the world can be like for women.
Not that the posters on the org's Facebook page are saying much that's different from similar sentiments expressed by the likes of the anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly:
“The feminist movement is just not compatible with happiness. They are not for equality; they want to kill everything masculine.”You would hear similar from Michael Levin. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Jerry Falwell. Or other anti-feminist conservatives.
Conservatives like these believe the women's rights movement has been so successful that it's not necessary anymore, if it ever really was in the first place, and has become so extreme that feminism is now a 'war on men' and a 'war on marriage'.
And how does it become that way? The easy answer is there have been years of feminism's opponents misrepresenting what feminists believe and what feminism hopes to achieve. Years of presenting the shrill fringe as representative of the entire movement. Years of negative reinforcement of a stereotype seeping into the public's consciousness and bubbling back up in these Facebook posts.
The harder answer is that feminists have done a poor job as of late in articulating the core of what the movement is about and what it means for women. What you see on these Women Against Feminism pages is a clear indication that the left is losing its handle on the conversation over women's rights and equality.2 And it's not going to be easy to regain that lost ground; efforts to explain the defects in the oppositions logic and reasoning - to honestly engage with someone who clearly doesn't get it - are seen as hostile and met with resistance and denial, ultimately ending up as a validation of their anti-feminist stance.3
The end result of which is what have there on those sites; another example of a group of people who end up acting against their own interests...at least up until the point where some jarring life event occurs to convince them otherwise.
(footnotes below the fold)
...........footnotes, comments, etc.........
0 It's like watching Michigan's GOP candidate for Senate Terri Lynn Land's 'Really?' campaign ad.
1 I'll assume that last person isn't talking about Dallas or Detroit.
2 Liberals in general have lost control of many of their bread-and-butter concerns, be it equal rights, the need for a strong labor movement, reasonable restrictions on firearms, poverty, and so on.
3 At which point they're now playing the victim, but 'they don't need feminism' because they're not victims. Or something.