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When I saw the Women Against Feminism Facebook page, it left me near-speechless.

Which isn't easy to do.0

There's a Tumblr page for it as well. As Amanada Marcotte of Pandagon gently puts it:

...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."

From the UK version of Cosmopolitan magazine:

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.

Originally posted to grape's musings on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Feminism, Pro-Feminism, Womanism: Feminist Issues, Ideas, & Activism.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

    by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 07:54:28 AM PDT

  •  A colleauge of mine... (16+ / 0-)

    ...in the history department starts her class on the ERA in the following way, and it's genius.

    She asks the auditorium if anyone considers themselves a feminist.  One or two hands go up.

    She then passes out a questionnaire asking a variety of questions.  Do you believe that women should be paid equally for equal work?  Do you believe that a woman is the ultimate arbiter of decisions regarding her body?  Do you believe that workplace discrimination should be outlawed?  And many more.

    She then puts the results of the questionnaire up on the overhead, and it becomes painfully obvious that the majority of the class supports the majority of the policy planks of feminism.

    While the process is revealing in a positive way, it's also revealing in a negative way - the word "feminism" has been successfully redefined by conservatives to mean things that it certainly does not mean.

    •  Funny how that works. (11+ / 0-)

      In 2012, my wife was one of those undecided voters that roam around out there, like unicorns. Conservative upbringing, not plugged into politics. Was unsure as to who she should vote for, was leaning toward Romney.

      We took one of those online quizzes to determine which party best represented their own views. The quiz itself stripped out the party identification and just went into policy positions.

      She was kinda shocked when the results had her most closely matched with the Green Party, followed by the Democratic Party. Amazing what happens when you take away the negative impression a label can have.

      "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

      by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 08:32:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's similar to how (4+ / 0-)

    conservatives turn environmental issues into a cultural divide. The occasional PETA protest or California hippie living in a tree is used to keep the average person in small town America from identifying as an environmentalist. Then they don't find out what's going on or reach out for help when a major polluter is hurting their community.

    Sure, I've read articles or had online debates with women who seemed to be using feminist theory to intellectually rationalize their distaste for men. Conservatives use that to keep women from identifying as feminists and working together to fight real discrimination.

    But, also like the environmental movement, I think part of the disconnect is a class divide. Both movements could work on making themselves more relevant to the working class outside CA and NY.

  •  There is this annoying trend (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, lgmcp, jan4insight, CroneWit

    I have noticed among people to declare themselves "egalitarians" in staunchly rejecting feminism because it implies being "even handed" which sounds an awful lot like being "colorblind". Well, I mostly notice it on Reddit where everybody is a libertarian who supports legalizing pot and thinks women should agitate more for "men's" rights, so in other words take that one with a grain or bucket full of salty salt.

  •  Thanks for the diary. The survey that is sent out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, raincrow

    at the beginning of class had similar results to a survey where they asked about rape and then stripped out the word rape, but with descriptions of types of rape without using the word. Similar results in that it seemed no body claimed they were rapists, but funny how they did meet the definition of rape...We need to educate. This will help if we can get a curriculum that taught, you know, actual facts, critical thinking and science.
    Naw, who am I kidding.
    I try to keep the faith but some days the dark creeps in and takes over.
    Peace and Blessings!

    “When you victim-blame, be aware that in all likelihood, at least one woman you know and love silently decides she cannot trust you.” ` Steph Guthrie

    by Penny GC on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 08:47:58 AM PDT

  •  Maybe off-topic a bit, maybe not. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grape crush

    My alma mater dismissed a frosh football hot prospect last month after a pickup basketball game during which he punched a female scholarship athlete from the same school in the face.

    Now he's been reinstated -- because a Lubbock, Texas County Grand Jury not only cleared him of assault but sent a letter to the university administration asking them to reinstate the young man.

    Having viewed video of the incident, I disagree with the reinstatement -- the young woman has said she welcomes it because she was only suspended for a month during her upcoming season.

    I think both should have been deprived of their scholarships and sent home without releases to play ball elsewhere, based on the videos. First of all she's a senior. I have no problem with her playing in this ball game, but she's an experienced player and shouldn't have reacted to the fouls by hitting an opponent in the head. Second of all the football player -- aside from being a conceited young ass -- is clearly not able to control his temper.

    Texas Tech University said it had a zero-tolerance policy toward violence. This reinstatement makes that hogwash of the finest kind.

    LBJ, Van Cliburn, Ike, Wendy Davis, Lady Bird, Ann Richards, Barbara Jordan, Molly Ivins, Sully Sullenburger, Drew Brees: Texas is NO Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 09:24:02 AM PDT

  •  This kind of upside down spin (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lgmcp, CroneWit

    is similar to the often repeated claim that Martin Luther King was opposed to affirmative action.

  •  My favorite riposte on such sites: (4+ / 0-)
    I'm not a feminist, but... I appreciate the right to help choose my government representatives. I enjoy the option of wearing pants or shorts if I want. I'm pleased that I was allowed to learn to read and write. It can be very convenient to control how many babies I want to have. It's awfully useful to be able to open a bank account and own property in my name. I like knowing that my husband or boyfriend cannot legally beat me. It's really swell to keep the money that I earn.

     ~ poster from One Angry Girl

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 09:45:00 AM PDT

  •  There is a real disconnect here (0+ / 0-)

    Feminism threads on DailyKos are frustrating. Here we have a thread complaining that these people , who clearly should be supporting feminism, are not supporting feminism. What good does that do?

    Clearly feminism is having difficulty resonating with the very groups that it needs to reach.

    Instead of attacking these women, how about discussing what their issues are. Assuming that you accept them as human beings with minds of their own  clearly there is something about feminism as it is portrayed that is putting them off.

    It seems that feminism is a religious issue here with a rigid doctrine and strong response to anyone who has the slightest dissent. This makes any real discussion impossible, even with those of us who really should be allies.

    •  You'r wrong. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow, Catte Nappe, CroneWit

      Here we have a thread complaining that these people , who clearly should be supporting feminism, are not supporting feminism.

      No, it's that these people who "don't need" feminism don't seem to know what feminism is. And why that happens.

      Clearly feminism is having difficulty resonating with the very groups that it needs to reach.

      Strip away the word 'feminism' and the ideas it represents resonate strongly with some of these very same women.

      The connotation of the word 'feminism' has been poisoned, much in the same way the word 'liberal' has.

      Instead of attacking these women, how about discussing what their issues are.

      Don't quite know how we should be discussing "I ♥ the D".

      It seems that feminism is a religious issue here with a rigid doctrine and strong response to anyone who has the slightest dissent.

      If feminism had a rigid doctrine, I haven't seen evidence much evidence of it.

      And I don't consider my response to you, here, it be strong.

      "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

      by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 12:09:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are missing the mark. (0+ / 0-)

        I am everything you say feminism is about. I am progressive, pro-choice, pro-workplace equality,  pro- pay equity, anti-harrassment,  pro-lbgt etc etc.

        However, like the women this thread is about, I have a negative view of feminism. The image I have of feminism goes much further than equality. In my opinion this is a fair view based on people write and say.

        If you want to reach people like me or these women, then then you need to be open to what we are saying.

        This thread is basically a hit on the intelligence of these women, rather than an openness to issues being raised. If you want to reach people in these groups, this is not a good way forward.

        •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CroneWit

          I am everything you say feminism is about.

          a) Great; then you're a feminist. Embrace it.

          b) Part of the point of this is that feminism, or most other -isms for that matter, aren't what I say it is. Or you. Or the posters on that Facebook page, who seem to be ignorant of what the word means and the movement that it describes.

          The image I have of feminism goes much further than equality.

          Ok, I'll ask: what does feminism mean to you?

          If you want to reach people like me or these women then you need to be open to what we are saying.

          What are you saying? That the application of the word 'feminism' to the concept of women being treated equally as men makes you feel icky? That you agree in principle but...what?

          This thread is basically a hit on the intelligence of these women.

          Intelligence, no. Ignorance, yes. It takes a fair amount of ignorance to put something like "I don't need feminism because I support equality" out there.

          That the Phyllis Schlaflys of the world can be opposed to the feminist movement, I don't have a problem with beyond that I think they are wrong. The issue is that the posters on the Women Against Feminism are against something they seemingly have the wrong idea about.

          "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

          by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 12:59:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You are missing the point. (0+ / 0-)

            There are several places I depart with what I understand of feminism (which I get from reading and listening including threads on DailyKos).

            One is the experience of my kids. Our public school actually had separate assemblies for boys and girls. The girls were told "watch out for the boys". The boys were told "don't abuse the girls".  Is this a feminist message? Do you understand the problem?

            I don't see public figures self-identifying as "feminist" who is pushing for messages of healthy equal relationships, or as a healthy sexual self image for boys. The messages that boys are bad seems all too common.

            Another is the fact that fathers still aren't seen as parents. They aren't seen as parents in society in general, and they aren't seen as parents in custody fights.

            The point is that my opinions on issues like this don't take away from the fact that I agree with you on all of the other issues that we have mentioned so far.

            It does mean that when I express these issues, I end up being angrily pushed away by most of the people who call themselves "feminists".

             

            •  The point? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CroneWit

              There are several places I depart with what I understand of feminism...

              Such as?

              Do you understand the problem?

              That the school made it clear that boys are not to grope the girls without their consent? And that the girls don't have to put up with it if it happens?

              That's a problem with or an indictment of feminism?

              More like it's the school district covering their asses against being involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit...such lawsuits that 50 years ago wouldn't have been possible if not for the efforts of feminists.

              The messages that boys are bad seems all too common....Another is the fact that fathers still aren't seen as parents.

              Why do mentions of society's treatment of men seem to always come into discussions about women's rights? What does that have to do with feminism or equal rights for women?

              The point is that my opinions on issues like this...

              ...Show that the issue you have with feminism is that you believe it's anti-male. Is that right?

              It does mean that when I express these issues, I end up being angrily pushed away by most of the people who call themselves "feminists".

              Do you think that bringing up the problems with society's view of men into a discussion of, say, how pay for women is unequal would rub a few people the wrong way?

              "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

              by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 01:44:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The point is (0+ / 0-)

                The point is that feminism pushes many of us away. I believe in equal pay, reproductive freedom, lgbt rights all the things that you say are feminist issues, yet I still have a negative view of feminism. I would think that you might want to know why (especially if you want people like me to be allies).

                I wrote the last post to express how I feel, not to start an argument on these details. I would feel much better about this discussion if you would at least acknowledge my concerns, rather than just dismiss them.

                You and I agree on so many things about equality, I still feel pushed away enough that I don't want to be identified as a feminist. It is these additional things, beyond equal pay and reproductive rights, that are the problem.

                Feminism is clearly turning many people off, such as these women, and it isn't because they are "ignorant". It is even turning many people off who agree with you on most areas of women's rights.

                Dialog includes listening. Insulting people or dismissing their concerns is not a good way to reach out to people if you want their support.

                •  The point's that you feel you weren't listened to? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  CroneWit

                  "I would think that you might want to know why..."

                  Yes. That's why I asked "Ok, I'll ask: what does feminism mean to you?" and "That you agree in principle but...what?"

                  And you decline to respond.

                  "...not to start an argument on these details."

                  But...in the prior sentence, you said I might want to know why. And now you are saying that you don't want to get into the details.

                  Do you understand how you've contradicted yourself?

                  I would feel much better about this discussion if you would at least acknowledge my concerns

                  You haven't expressed any. You've only supplied some vague references to things involving men and how you feel put-upon because you say a self-identified feminist didn't want to talk about the ways a man has it tough during a discussion on women's rights.

                  Do you understand how petty that sounds?

                  It is these additional things, beyond equal pay and reproductive rights, that are the problem.

                  Again; like what?

                  Feminism is clearly turning many people off, such as these women...

                  As I discussed in the diary above.

                  ...and it isn't because they are "ignorant".

                  They don't know what feminism is about yet they are against it. That's ignorance.

                  It is even turning many people off who agree with you on most areas of women's rights.

                  Again, if you're a supporter of women's rights, you're acting like a feminist, regardless as to whether you like the label or not.

                  Dialog includes listening.

                  And ignorance breeds fear.

                  Insulting people or dismissing their concerns is not a good way to reach out to people if you want their support.

                  Well, good thing I haven't insulted you, then. As for your statement of you're concerns, they're awfully vague and don't seem to be much relevant, other than you've had your feelings hurt by a 'feminist' because they didn't take you all too seriously.

                  Hell, a cop has pulled me aside when I wasn't doing anything wrong. Doesn't mean that I don't think we need law enforcement.

                  "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

                  by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 03:40:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  You have this backwards. (0+ / 0-)

                    I am making the obvious observation that many people, including women and people with progressive views on equality and woman's rights, are turned off by "feminism".

                    I am not here to argue point by point. I feel that I expressed a couple of concerns, and I feel that you dismissed them out of hand. That doesn't prove anything, that is just how I feel.

                    I am only making a suggestion. Go back and read what you wrote in your article from the point of view of the women involved....

                    Maybe if you understand the feelings of people who are being turned off by feminism (even though as you point out, they agree with the basic tenets of feminism) it would help you reach to them.

                    I am not here to argue, I am just offering a hopefully helpful suggestion. It is very difficult to listen to people you feel are ignorant, let alone reach out to them as allies.

                    •  I'm not the one who's backwards on this. (0+ / 0-)

                      ...many people, including women and people with progressive views on equality and woman's rights, are turned off by "feminism".

                      Yet they don't seem to have an idea as to what feminism at its core is about. But they're against it.

                      That's the point of this whole diary.

                      I feel that I expressed a couple of concerns, and I feel that you dismissed them out of hand.

                      The stuff about men's role in society or feeling slighted when others didn't want to engage with you over those concerns when the conversation wasn't about men's roles in society?

                      Go back and read what you wrote in your article from the point of view of the women involved....

                      Like the one who wrote, "I like men looking at me when I look good"? Or the one who thinks feminism is about demeaning men?

                      What you don't seem to understand is that whatever those women think feminism is, it isn't what they're describing it to be.

                      Maybe if you understand the feelings of people who are being turned off by feminism...

                      Those feelings are based on a mischaracterization of a position, basically a big strawman argument. That's what I understand.

                      It is very difficult to listen to people you feel are ignorant...

                      Yes. It's hard to listen to someone who doesn't seem to know what they are talking about.

                      "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

                      by grape crush on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 08:48:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Feminism is failing to connect with these women (0+ / 0-)

                        Feminism is clearly failing to connect with these women. Clearly they want equality. Clearly they reject feminism as they view it.

                        You are blaming these women for this fact. I fail to see how this helps anything. What if you are right and it is ignorance that keeps these women from embracing feminism. So what?

                        If equality and feminism are really the same thing, and these women say... "I want equality, but I don't want to call it 'feminism'"? How is this a bad thing. Why do you have to call these women "ignorant"?

                        •  Again... (0+ / 0-)

                          Clearly they reject feminism as they view it.

                          And clearly, their view of feminism is skewed or incorrect.

                          Point is that they don't like a word.

                          You are blaming these women for this fact.

                          The fact that they don't seem to know what it is that they're against? Yes.

                          I've also blamed various characters on the Right who have misrepresented feminism and feminists themselves who haven't articulated what feminism is about very well as of late.

                          ...and these women say... "I want equality, but I don't want to call it 'feminism'"?

                          That's not what they are saying. That's what you are saying. Those posters on the Women against Feminism Facebook page are saying they don't need feminism.

                          I am one of the people that you say should be "feminist".

                          No. What I am saying is that with the views you say you hold, you are a feminist, no matter how much you dislike that word.

                          You believe in wage equity? Congratulations, you've taken a feminist stand on the issue. Pro-choice? Congratulations, you've taken a feminist stand on the issue.

                          Are you trying to persuade us to join you? Or, are you trying win the argument? You can't do both.

                          a) With the views you say you hold, you already are a feminist. No need to persuade you to join anything.

                          b) I already won the argument. You're just refusing to accept that you lost.

                          c) Nonsense. Persuasion involves the action of arguing your position. You have to do both.

                          Or you can stick to your dogma...

                          My 'dogma' is that feminism is about equality. Those WAFers think they're two different things.

                          Tell me, what is the 'common ground' between those things? The earth can't be both flat and round, can it?

                          You are failing to persuade me.

                          I don't need to. If you hold the views you say you hold, you are already a feminist, no matter how much distaste you have for the word.

                          Final iem; I'd like to repeat what I wrote in my diary:

                          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
                          Sounds like the conversation we're having, isn't it?

                          "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

                          by grape crush on Fri Jul 18, 2014 at 06:58:14 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  Let me put it this way. (0+ / 0-)

                        I am one of the people that you say should be "feminist". I am progressive, pro-choice, in favor of wage equity pro-lbgt and I believe in equality. And yet I have a negative view of "feminism" (as do these women).

                        Are you trying to persuade us to join you? Or, are you trying win the argument? You can't do both.

                        You have a discussion with us, and truly listen to what we are saying... not to win the argument, but to find common ground. Or you can stick to your dogma dismiss everything we are saying as "misunderstanding" or ignorance.

                        You can't do both.

                        You are failing to persuade me. Feminism is generally is failing to connect with me.

                        Blaming this on my ignorance might make you feel better about the rightness of your cause, but it doesn't do anything to connect with me.

                        And that, in my view, is the reason that feminism is failing to reach so many people who should be natural allies.

    •  The attack here is on the drool-warm koolaid of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grape crush, Sentido

      self-hindrance.

      As long as people are willing to fight for equal protection under the law, including (but not limited to) equal pay for equal work, equal access to business and investment opportunities, equal access to political office, and freedom of expression with respect to sexual and gender orientation, I myself don't give one damn if they support "feminism."

      Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

      by raincrow on Thu Jul 17, 2014 at 12:23:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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