Feminist Beliefs I No Longer Agree With
A Breakup Letter to Feminism
When people make this kind of blog post, such as Salon's article about why the author left the GOP (here), many people respond by doubting if they were "truly" whatever they claimed to be formerly. To me this is similar to the No True Scotsman fallacy, saying that No True X could just give up being X to be something else. I think a lot of this has to do with the way humans are socially wired to create in-group preferences and out-group biases. When someone leaves our group for the out-group, we often look at them suspiciously, suspicious that they were a false friend or a spy for the other group all along. History is littered with examples of this, as is literature, but I won't bore you.
But the truth is, people are more complicated than that. And with politics, I value truth and rationality above any concerns about loyalty to a particular brand or group of people. Loyalty, in my personal experience, is too often used to silence the truth or to attack people for telling it.
There is no amount of real evidence that would satisfy people who would respond to this by doubting if I was ever a "true" feminist. They'd say "well she never castrated anyone", "she never went topless in protest", "she never pulled a scroll dripping with menstrual blood from her vagina to engage in a nude artistic protest", therefore "she was never a TRUE feminist".
But basically, I was just a liberal, and feminism was just another way of saying I rejected bigotry. I bought into the idea that feminist just meant gender egalitarian, and I believed that any decent person should believe in equality between the sexes in terms of political power. I thought that women needed better representation in sexist media.
I think I made good points in past articles on that subject, but I no longer see the world through the lens of patriarchy theory, and I have shifted away from feminist attitudes in a lot of my thinking. Predominantly, I think that the biggest feminist myth is that women and men are not significantly different in psychological makeup.
Therefore, everything, and good Lord I mean everything that women do that men do not do, and vice versa, are criticized as a result of sexist culture, rather than what they usually really amount to, which are biologically-based sex differences. See, biology does not just simply boil down to "some people have penises, some people have vaginas". It really does impact everything about being human, from hair growth, bone and muscular structure, to yes, behavioral traits. And to me, it's simply dishonest of feminists to put everything under the umbrella of patriarchy theory, when there are sex-based differences in psychology and behavior. I do not think these differences ought to result necessarily in discrimination, in fact, I think that because of these differences, women and men complement each other and should share in power equally in society.
You would think that that belief alone, that women and men should have equal political power, is enough to make me a feminist by default, but it isn't. This brings me to my first feminist belief I disagree with.
Feminism is Just About Gender Equality
You have no idea how many times I've argued with feminists and heard this, and I even argued this AS a feminist. Basically the line has become something of a cliché response to whenever women, or anyone, criticized feminism. They'll point to the dictionary definition of feminism and say, hey, if you think men and women deserve equal legal treatment or equal political rights, you're already a feminist!
To me, this is as dumb as saying "ISIS follows Islam, if you follow Islam, congratulations, you're already a member of ISIS!". If feminism were just about gender equality, I think more than 90% of people would be feminists. But feminism describes stances on many political issues. I used to like feminist Jessica Valenti for her book "He's a Stud, She's a Slut", which was about gender-based double standards common in society. But Jessica does NOT think feminism means mere equality, and when you read feminist blogs, or watch feminist Youtube videos, it becomes apparent that that is not what they're about.
Feminism is an ideology and a worldview. Feminists reject people who don't agree with the majority on matters such as abortion, taxpayer-funded birth control, patriarchy theory, and people who think like I do about gender being rooted in biological differences between men and women, not the official feminist platform that all gender differences are caused by oppression. Feminism labels women as oppressed, but ignores problems where sexism also negatively impacts men. Somehow, men are just so darn stupid they're oppressing themselves, apparently. Silly men.
I also dislike the way modern feminism considers itself legitimized by legitimate feminist concerns that exist elsewhere either in time or space. Like if you go back in time, or look to very poor war-torn countries, you can find issues where women were legitimately being oppressed. First of all, this has absolutely nothing to do with modern, western feminism. Secondly, I would argue that men in such societies were oppressed just as much, if not more than, women in those societies. I mean, who is oppressed in Afghanistan, the women who wear burqas out of fear of Islamic radicals, or the men who are expected to become directly involved in the military action? I am grateful that previous generations of feminists fought for my rights to do things like wear pants, vote, and go to college. I'm especially grateful that women during WWII proved that women were capable of factory work.
However, I dislike that the mention of all these things we have PREVIOUS generations of feminists to thank for means we have to accept feminism wholesale today. I mean, there was also undeniable harm caused by feminists in history, who have done things like legitimize promiscuity, attack the nuclear family, and shot up the divorce rate. I personally think feminism is one of the main reasons American pop culture went from classy to trashy. So no, I think it is completely ridiculous to insist that I or anyone has to label themselves "feminist" simply because they affirm a support for gender equality. And I think, in today's society, to be a true advocate for gender equality might be closer to being an MRA (men's rights activist). Defining your terms in such a way so that anyone who does not support you looks like an asshole is intellectual dishonesty.
Patriarchy is often a word tossed around in feminist circles. The cynical side of me thinks it might be just a term they came up with to silence accusations that they hate men. "No, we don't hate men, we hate patriarchy." Also tied to this view is the idea that non-feminist women are "participating in" patriarchy, whatever the fuck that means, and so they have a very "with us or against us" mentality when it comes to women. So much for a movement about, supposedly, women's liberation. They don't really WANT your liberation, they want your suffering. They want to jack off to your pain as another poor, pathetic victim of "the patriarchy".
People who know me well know my dislike of conspiracy theories. They have become common in our culture because people want something outside themselves to blame for all the things that have gone wrong with society, 9/11, wars, the plummeting economy, the deterioration of freedoms, and environmental crises. All conspiracy theorists do this, and to me, believing patriarchy is behind all the problems facing women and girls is not really all that different from saying our economic collapse can be blamed on the Jews. Both take a group that had nothing to do with anything and uses it as a handy scapegoat.
The feminists say blaming patriarchy is not blaming men. Seriously? Patriarchy is a word whose etymological roots derive from "father", and simply describes any society in which men have most of the political power. The thing is, most societies, past and present, were patriarchies, regardless of culture, and I think of this as proof that men are simply more dominant and more predisposed to prefer political leadership than women, who seem across all cultures to prefer domestic and private leadership. This is not because of some lizard people thing, but just because of biology; women have the babies, the babies need to be fed and nurtured and protected at home, men have to go out and be the ones protecting them and getting food for them.
Patriarchy theory also, ironically for the fact that feminists celebrate these women, ignores the fact that none of this means that women never held political power. I mean, you could say that women like Queen Elizabeth I and other female monarchs had social obligations that were placed on them because of the fact that they were women, but the fact remains that all political leaders have had social obligations and expectations placed upon them. Bess' father, Henry the 8th, ended up breaking with the Catholic church for the right to divorce, he didn't just easily get the right to do anything he wanted just because he was a man, as feminists might claim.
Political power is also not the only kind of power that exists. Because women have traditionally, in most cultures, influenced children in their early development more than fathers and men, that is one kind of power they've traditionally held. The neoteny (retention of biologically young or child-like characteristics into adulthood, with traits like smooth skin, large eyes, etc.) women have relative to men makes women look younger than they are and causes the "empathy gap" a lot of men's rights activists talk about. They look weak and helpless and innocent and naive physically even if they're not, relative to men. So they end up getting away with things men wouldn't or getting lighter sentences than men. Women also cry more then men, having physically different tear glands. Crying is an evolutionary strategy for women to emotionally influence men as a kind of negative reinforcement. They may not even be intentionally manipulative, but their bodies are designed for it. Another non-political power women often have, even in traditional "oppressive" and "backwards" "patriarchal" societies, is the power over all the household money. In Japan, for example, stay at home mothers are common, but they usually all control all the money their husband earns, from which they give him an allowance for personal spending. Women, as an "oppressed class" seem to do an awful lot of the shopping, too, whether with money they actually earned, or commonly, their fathers', boyfriends', or husbands' money. And divorce for women is like hitting the jackpot, what with the skewed way alimony and child support laws work.
So anyway, I think patriarchal theory makes way too many blanket assumptions that are not correct, and then the core of feminist thinking is mired in this flawed logic. It is rooted in Marxist thinking about class, but instead of the bourgeoisie oppressing the proletariat, it's men as a class oppressing women as a class. This creates generalizations and does not allow for nuances and exceptions. It also dismisses the women who have and who continue to have political influence. It also ignores advantages women have versus men that have nothing to do with political power. The theory also uses oppression as a model for explaining behaviors which have less to do with oppression than, in my opinion, they have to do with biological characteristics.
One of the earliest blows to my personal feminism was seeing the feminist reaction (ok, overreaction) to the song "Blurred Lines". Now, I have no great love for that song and I think it's stupid. But the fact is, it was just another dumb, catchy pop song, no better or worse than any other.
But that was not how feminists on various locales of the internet took it. They went on and on on long, rage-filled tirades about how the song somehow promotes rape, or at least, questions the feminist ideal for consent that it should be sober and firmly established at all times or the sex is rape.
Now, I think it is important that sex is consensual. And nobody really supports rape except for a few sick individuals who are probably not reading this because they're in jail right now. But is a song like "Blurred Lines" promoting rape?
I don't think so. Lines like "I know you want it, but you're a good girl" are deemed "problematic" by women, but to me, they just signify that the woman the song was directed at probably gave off nonverbal cues of flirtation/sexual interest, and the song does not say, interestingly enough, anything about forcing such a woman into bed with the singer BECAUSE of such signals. Verbal consent is great, but insisting on it ignores the fact that sex is about feel, look, body language, hormones, and pheromones first, and verbal communication second. And I can see how sometimes, getting mixed messages whether about sexual consent or about anything else, can be frustrating to anyone.
I didn't realize until before this how much of feminism revolves around and depends on us women being perpetually shaking out of the fear of rape. There have been numerous instances that have shown me that this hypersensitivity towards all things dubbed "rapey" seems like it's less and less about concern for actual rape victims, especially male rape victims, who are totally ignored by this theory, and seems to have more to do with keeping women terrified of men at all times. If you're enough of a crybaby, anything can be called "rapey". Feminists just can't get enough of talking about rape, as if it's everywhere. They even make up bullshit statistics that make it seem like a scary-sounding number of women will be raped in their lifetime.
More about "rape culture" NOT having anything to do with support for REAL rape victims can be found here. Basically, this author shares my belief that "rape culture" also only focuses on a binary, that men are only ever the perpetrators of rape, and women are only ever the victims. That is not the world we live in.
The Gender Pay Gap is Caused by Sexism
Nowhere near. The gender pay gap disappears when you truly are, as feminists claim, looking at women and men who do the same job. The original "women earn 77 cents for every male dollar" thing was NOT looking at women who do the same job as men and finding they still got paid less because they were women. It just so happens that women take jobs that are primarily indoors, domestic, and care-based like teaching, library science, and nursing, and that men tend to choose more outdoor jobs involving more muscle power usage and bodily risk, for which they get paid more, but also suffer a much higher rate of workplace injury and death.
But how dare a crab fisherman get paid more than a librarian?
Anyway, numerous studies have debunked the "gender pay gap" argument, so I won't waste too much time. Even ultra-liberal Huffington Post did an article on it, here. The wage gap is so obviously not a thing. And if it were a thing, wouldn't the companies hire more women than men in all jobs and discriminate against men, because then they could cut costs if it were really true that society expects women to work for less. Another thing that is inconvenient for feminists is the fact that women make different work-life balance choices, favoring more personal and family time to long work hours. If anyone suffers from sexist expectations, it's men, who suffer from the sexist expectation that men are work-machines who don't need family life or rest, because demanding such from bosses makes men seem weak but to women it's a given that they need these things.
Also, from a story I heard on NPR about a woman who worked in a top position on Wall Street, women get fewer bonuses than men in that ballpark because they simply did not ask for them, or did not ask for money with the persistence and courage that their male coworkers did. This is not sexist culture, it's biological drives. Men need to push to make more and more money, women might just help our culture with it's greed addiction because they seem to be content with less, and to recognize the need for work-life balance. But don't choose to take more time off than a man and choose not to ask for a raise and then blame sexism for the fact that he got a raise, that he ASKED for, when you did not get a raise you did NOT ask for. Ok? Simple.
Sexism is The Reason Women Do Not Choose To Major in STEM Fields
This goes back to the nature vs. nurture debate. Feminists would have you believe that patriarchy or sexism was at the root of women making the choice, as a general trend, to prefer humanities and social science fields over math and science fields.
This pisses me off for two reasons. First, feminism is about choice or liberating women, so then why bitch about women making the wrong choice. Secondly, this carries with it the myth, prevalent in our culture, that humanities and social science degrees are worth less than science, math, technology, and engineering degrees in the first place. If I have a bout of depression, I'm not going to consult someone who majored in computer science. If I want to find a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, I'm probably not going to care much about what mathematicians have to say on the matter. We have this belief in technocracy and in using science and technology as a panacea in our culture, but I think that it isn't and that there are really myriad uses for the humanities and social sciences.
Again, I think of this as a case of female and male nature being different, yet complementary or completing, towards one another. Yet the feminists see this division of majors by gender and think that it must not be the result of varying preference, but of varying socialization. "Women are socialized to not want to be engineers by the fact that Legos are seen as for boys" they cry. Ah. Except that I played with Legos, and K'Nex, and other building toys, and that doesn't make me a fucking engineer today. Legos are a gender neutral, not "male" toy. (I'll get to the whole toy thing later, it's another feminist issue that really makes me ill.)
Another problem with this is that it perceives that women have such fragile psyches as to be capable of being dissuaded from pursuing their dreams in life because of sexism. It ignores the courage of women who have done pretty amazing things in the STEM fields because it assumes that women are weak enough that they can be psychologically undone by anything remotely offensive, like a shirt.
This stuff makes me mad, I need a kitten break.
Society Marginalizes and Dismisses Violence Against Women
Like rape culture, this feminist claim is that society has some kind of hidden prejudice or misogyny that causes people to disrespect female victims of violence or to take them less seriously than male victims of violence. But the media and the way society is set up (with way more shelters for battered women than battered men, for example) point to just the opposite being true. People like Anita Sarkeesian go on huge tirades about how violence in women in video games is some kind of big structural problem for society, while for some reason, ignoring that those games are just as, and usually more, violent against men.
In fact, I see the opposite happening, I see men who are attacked by women shamed as "pussies", in other words, have their masculinity questioned, but women who are attacked by men are "strong survivors" but also, paradoxically "silenced victims of oppression", ha, like anyone's silencing them, they seem to be all you ever read about in the blogosphere and see on news networks. I just watched an hour-long special last night on CNN about the women who are accusing Bill Cosby of rape. Nobody is silencing or marginalizing them, people are, for the most part, congratulating them on having the courage to finally come forward with details that are somewhat embarrassing or even traumatizing to discuss and doing so anyway. But the feminist narrative is that women must always, in all cases, be VICTIMS.
So, this leads to them:
- Ignoring and marginalizing instances of male victimization, even mocking male victims mercilessly (see the below video).
- Ignoring and marginalizing instances of female perpetration, even to the point of supporting the female perpetrators (also in the below video). And:
- Supporting sexist attitudes, paradoxically, about women as helpless victims and men as big, strong bullies.
Basically, feminist theory relies on the pattern being men = perpetrators, and women = victims. In cases where this reality is reversed, feminists still need to find a way to blame men or "patriarchy" for the male victimization, or, more frequently, they tend to ignore that because it's an exception to the general rule. But it should be obvious that, probably due to biological differences, people in general have more empathy for females than for males, and this empathy-inspiring ability women have is not something, sorry all you feminist sign-holders, that you need feminism for.
This is so disgusting and immature.
Gender is Not Related to Biological Sex
The gender theory given by mainstream feminists today is that there is no biological basis for gender; that all of it is culture, and that physical sex does not determine cultural gender. Well, except the problem is, for the vast majority of people, their biological sex also determines a lot of their innate psychological characteristics. I know that there are people with various disorders who do not have a sex, or have an intermediate sex between the two usual sexes. But saying this disproves the concept that sex exists is sort of like saying that because neurological disorders exist, you can't create an intelligence test, because the person taking it might have a neurological disorder. Not that disordered people are less than human in any way, but talking about them is not a useful way to talk about gender or sex.
There are two genders, because in nature there are two sexes. I know this position will be extremely controversial, and I can hear the screeching. But, basically, all other types of genders and sexes are not truly outside this binary, they are instead some combination of male and female characteristics, like someone being transgendered is simply a biological man or woman choosing to identify as culturally the opposite. I have no real problem with that.
What I am more worried about is that people are insisting that gender has no relationship whatsoever with biology, as if there was just some kind of bearded man on a mountaintop handing us down these rules for patriarchal definitions of gender. The truth is, from a very early age, boys and girls exhibit psychological differences, as anyone who has been a parent or teacher of young children will know, and as we grow through puberty these sex differences in our brains become even more distinct. You can't neatly and cleanly separate mind from body here. Females and males have different levels of certain hormones, different stimuli affect their brain differently, they communicate differently, and they get pleasure from different types of activities. There's no conspiracy or evil in this, it's simply the way things are. Quit trying so hard to be special and an exception, and just accept that there are general trends, but you should do whatever feels more natural to you without having to worry that this should change the way you label yourself.
One thing I especially hate is the term "genderfluid", for Pete's sake, you aren't a special "genderfluid" person if you're a guy who enjoys embroidery or a woman who enjoys karate. You're just a guy who likes embroidery or a girl who enjoys karate. It's that simple. The term seems to reinforce gender stereotypes, by saying that if a man or woman acts in any kind of non-stereotypical way, they must be acting "as a man" or "like a woman" because of some kind of secret super special rare mega ultra gender identity, don't fucking make me laugh.
Girls and Boys Do Not Have Innate Preferences That Vary By Gender/Sex
Since it's December, the holiday season kicks off a great feminist holiday tradition: whining about kid's toys. You would wonder why these women have nothing better to do than bitch about this trivial fucking bullshit. I mean, we get told so often by feminists that feminism is about very serious political issues, but then find most of the complaints are about:
- pop lyrics
- a shirt
- razor blades
- Halloween costumes
- Disney movies
- Legos (the horror!)
- trees (probably)
So, it becomes harder to take feminists seriously the more they complain about trivial, non-problem, first-world problems. Are toys capable of sexism? Does playing with Barbie brainwash girls from infancy to become Stepford Wives? If anyone else said toys were a tool for brainwashing children, they'd be called crazy, but it somehow supposedly makes sense when feminists say toys are a male tool for brainwashing girls? What the hell?
Actually, the reason that companies make toys at all is because research and development teams spent all kinds of time and money testing their products and seeing which types of toys are more likely to be successful. Girls seem to naturally prefer pink and bright/light colors, and nurturing and social play. Girls also seem to prefer magic and fantasy play. Boys seem to enjoy violent, destructive play aimed at completing objectives and strategic planning. Boys like action, and boys like science/technology more than girls.
Almost everyone will be an exception in some way to these general trends, of course. When I was a kid, for example, I found Barbie boring, and loved computer games. However, the general trends are still valid ways for toy companies to predict what will be liked by boys and girls and to plan accordingly. It is exceedingly difficult, given these innate differences, to create a toy that both boys and girls will like equally. And as boys and girls get older, these preferences become increasingly divergent.
Apparently, I didn't have a complete list on how everything can be sexist.
Video Games and Gamer Culture = Misogyny
This particular sort of paranoia is, of course, related to their crap theories about patriarchy and rape culture and supposed negligent attitudes towards violence against women, which I've already talked about.
But basically, I have always identified as a gamer in addition to being an anime fan. I like video games AND tabletop games and play both as regularly as sleep, anime, money, and school allow. So, I think it's kind of offensive and kind of bullying when the gaming blog sites started to attack "gamers" as a subculture.
Gaming has had its share of critics since the early 90's, who have claimed, without grounds, that video games cause violence. They started by falsely accusing games of causing school shootings, such as the high-profile Columbine shooting. That incident started many of the calls for censorship of media, such as song lyrics and video game content. But they were just as wrong 20 years ago as they are now.
The weird thing is, it seems as though gaming journalism itself has turned against the gamer fandom. A harmless fan subculture has become a target for "basement dweller" jokes and calls for censorship of "sexist" video games like Grand Theft Auto. This is nothing new, but it's alarming that, because this is feminists rather than conservatives doing the calling for censorship, more and more people are listening.
I do not think that video games are sexist. Even when I identified as a feminist, I didn't think anime was sexist, and my reasons can also be applied to games. Basically, artwork, fantasy, and imaginative play are completely separated and removed from reality, and should not be treated with the expectation that they conform to what the censor wishes reality was. I also think that the freedom of speech for game developers, along with that of everyone else, should not be infringed upon. Guess that makes me a misogynist!
Sorry for how long this entry turned out. If you like my work, please check out my profile and other content, since Hubpages is puritanical and disables ad revenue on anything that does not meet it's weird content standards, and it doesn't differentiate blogs talking about sex and gender as social and political issues from pornography, so you can support me by checking out my anime content, which is mostly not censored in such a manner. It is never my policy to ban comments, but try to make them reasonable and respectful. No one deserves to be attacked just because they disagree with you, but I feel like I'm almost inviting attacks just for daring to speak out and tell the whole world what I really think. But, if you're not nasty to me, I won't be nasty back, so don't hesitate to comment.