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What Makes Men (and Women) Anti-Feminist?

Updated on August 9, 2013
Gender roles affect both men and women
Gender roles affect both men and women | Source

Dictionary.com defines feminism as "the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men." The feminist movement might define it more broadly, as trying to alter a patriarchal society that sets rigid gender roles for both men and women, and harms both in the process. Fully illustrating how men are privileged in our society and women are not can not be done in the span of an article, but to introduce the topic, let's look at a few facts.

First, men are privileged. What privilege means is that men have natural advantages in our society brought about by years of political, religious, and social supremacy that women do not have. Yes, today, men and women have mostly equal rights by the books (but not aways). Women can vote, after all, they can own land and property, hold jobs, inherit and generally participate in society as man's equal. But the image of men being stronger than women (mentally in addition to physically), men being breadwinners and women being child providers, and men being funnier, smarter, less prone to emotional outbursts, and ultimately more capable than women still exists. Here are some examples of how men are advantaged over women:

  • The wage gap between men and women. Women receive, on average, 80.9% of the salary that men receive, and the pay gap in 2012 actually widened compared with 2012. This is partly accounted for by women striving for or only being able to get "pink collar" jobs such as secretaries, child care workers, waitressing, nursing or teaching, which tend to have lower wages. However, 40% of the wage gap is unexplained by occupation, experience, education or other measurable factors, meaning women are working the same jobs as men but are receiving less. The AAUW (American Association University for Women) found that in the exact same occupation, women are earning 7% less than men.
  • In 2012, the percentage of female managers was only 38%. CEOs are much fewer than that - of the "Fortune 500" companies, only 12 are run by women.
  • There is a similar disparity in politics. Men hugely outnumber women in the House and Senate today. We have never had a female president. Studies have also found - probably obvious to anyone who keeps up with politics - that media coverage of female politicians is brutal, focusing more on their personality traits and physical appearance than actual issues.
  • In 2012, of the 100 most successful movies, women were hugely underrepresented in mere speaking roles - less than a third. Of the 100 highest grossing films, only 16.7% had female directors. Female characters are also more likely to be thin, attractive, and wearing sexually revealing clothing.
  • Rape culture. Women are often blamed for being raped or sexually abused in terms of what clothes they were wearing, their behavior, or for flirting with men.
  • Women must pay more for the same health insurance coverage that men have. Male reproductive health is assumed to be a standard part of healthcare, such as ability to get Viagra. Women's reproductive healthcare, such as birth control, is questioned and shamed. Reproductive rights are an additional struggle that women continue to face.
  • America ranked only 22nd in the Global Gender Gap report in 2012. This measured factors such as health, political empowerment, economic opportunity and educational attainment in women.
  • When women do make strides it is often met with contempt. For example, more and more women are the primary breadwinners for their families. However, this has lead to shocking outrage in some groups that support "traditional" roles. Anyone remember Fox News's all-male panel that laments over women who financially support their family to a greater degree than their husbands?

Doubting that sexism exists today in America is (or should be) impossible to do when looking at facts. But feminism has become a loaded word. "Strawman" feminism has persisted in image - feminists burn bras, hate men, don't shave their armpits and whine about tiny things like men having the audacity to introduce themselves. Sure, there are radicals in every social field, but I have never once met such a feminist outside of characters in evening sitcoms. Why do men - and even more heart-breakingly, some women - resent feminism?

As I asserted, men are privileged. Men are not judged by their appearance or sexuality to the extent that women are. But the context of feminism does, or should, address the dangers of strict gender roles that hurt men, too. A couple issues that men will bring up is - and I think they deserve to be brought up, too - are:

  • Men suffer sexual abuse and rape just like women do. Yes, this is true! Resources for male victims are inadequate. But this is a feminist issue, too. Why? Because a patriarchal society assumes that men cannot be raped, that men are strong and assert dominance. Society views male rape as a form of taking away masculinity, of putting men in a victimized role like women.
  • Men must sign up for the military draft, not women. It is wrong. But it is because women are perceived as weak and as having an obligation to "stay home with the kids." Women's equality in the military is another issue.
  • In divorce cases, women often get custody of children. Again, this is because of women's perceived role of child care.

All of these issues are gender issues, and no matter what the reason, they are inequalities that men are facing, too. Discussion of gender equality is absolutely necessary, for the sake of both men and women. This is why men ought to consider themselves feminists, too.

So, why do some women hesitate to call themselves feminists, or actively bash feminists?

A subject of a class I took at university was Global Issues, and at the beginning of my class, my professor asked how many of us considered ourselves feminists. Two people, myself included, raised their hands. Then, he gave us a presentation listing some of the aforementioned statistics and more about women's inequality. After what I thought was a powerful presentation, he asked the same question again. Only about five people raised their hands, and this was in a class mostly comprised of women. What a problem! Media and pop culture have made "feminist" such a derogatory word that even in the face of facts, women themselves can deny the problem? Feminists on TV are often portrayed as man-hating comic reliefs, or militant lesbians. "The feminist movement" is often a phrase uttered with contempt. Some women resent feminism on religious grounds, citing their religious texts of choice obediently, even passionately quoting women's roles as subservient to men. Sometimes women question the data itself or give excuses for it.

I don't believe that there is a woman in the United States - perhaps even the world - who has never felt uncertain or unsafe because of her gender. Women almost everywhere are expected to conform to gender roles that hurt them. The gender roles of men too can be harsh. Feminism ought to be viewed as a movement to break down gender roles for both men and women, and empowering women in the very real face of inequality, which is a cause that everyone ought to rally behind without a second thought.

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    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 3 years ago

      Ironically I recently tackled this subject matter when I read that a feminist called a woman who preferred "traditional lifestyle" a (gender traitor). She wanted to know how these women could be against the feminist movement.

      There were 3 things that came to mind why I think this might be.

      (Religious Beliefs) - One biblical example is Ephesians 5:23. "For the husband is the (head) of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. These women do not think of themselves as being "traitors" but rather as following the dictates of God and (embracing) their role of "helpmate". Naturally no devout Christian sees abortion as a choice and they are against premarital sex.

      (Unfair competition) - Traditional women hold feminist women responsible for the major changes in dating and courtship. They consider them to be sexually "easy" while attempting to be "equal" to men. The traditional woman feels this makes it that much more difficult to get a man of their own by abstaining from pre-marital sex or "making a man wait" because men have so many other "options" today. They also believe it is because of feminist that "chivalry" is dead.

      (Lack of respect) - Traditional women often complain about being disrespected by feminist women because they chose to be stay at home wives and mothers. This causes them to be defensive and often point out that "being there" for your kids is more important than having a career.

      As far as men who dislike feminism it comes down to them hating to have to second guess what they say or how they behave. They also don't want to feel forced to compete with women or have them as their bosses.

      One "pro-equality" man's opinion! :-)

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      Actions speak louder than words and I have seen tons of violence and vitriol attacks on men and boys done in the name of feminism. If feminism is so good why is it that SCUM a manifesto for the extermination men and boys well the author is a hero in the eyes of NOW. That 1 million strong feminist group that has women who say "All men are rapists that all they are" running the place despite the fact most rapists were actually molested by women as children and that the FBI only counts penetration rape as rape. Meaning that unless a woman commits anal rape she is not a rapist even if she drugged a man and forced herself on him. Also the majority of all those rape resources are controlled by feminists, who compared to big oil are a huge lobbyist group in Washington.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      Well since feminist are so focused on male extermination, mocking women who lose their husbands to suicide and lying about just about everything under the sun from the wage gap I bet you didn't take into account that men do more dangerous jobs and in fact do 8.14 hours of work in 8 hours compared to women's 7.75 hours leaves plenty of logical reasons to why men make more money. Feminists have really only made the bed they lay in now. All feminist fiction has one main plot point lesbian utopias are ruined by men even if men are responsible for the gears of society turning even though they are the minority of voters and people being given college scholarships for being minorities. Plus what should a person believe a book or the actions of a group? I certainly call bullshit on the dictionary after all the one you mention said "aint" is actually a word now.

    • aliasis profile image
      Author

      aliasis 3 years ago from United States

      Darkproxy, thank you for demonstrating perfectly the ignorance - and even willful maliciousness - some men have toward female equality. It's not feminists that give women a bad name, it's men who hate the idea of strong women asserting themselves in the face of a sexist world so much that pile on blatant lies, gross generalizations and try to speak for the feminist movement. I am sorry (very much) that you are against equality and don't recognize sexist society. I feel that your attitude is essentially one of the biggest obstacles women face in gaining equality.

      Also - calling women who say "all men are rapists and need to die" indicative of the feminist movement is like saying the Westboro Baptist Church is indicative of Christianity. Not only is it absurdly stupid, it denies the clear work that real feminists do for the sake of drama and finger pointing. Women who say those things about men are NOT feminists, as feminism by definition stands for against gender discrimination. However, if you're getting mad that feminists say society promotes rape culture, men have it easier than women in almost every field, and many - if not most - men don't necessarily realize just how sexist society is... then... cry more, I guess?

      "All feminist fiction has one main plot point lesbian utopias are ruined by men" you have got to be a troll because I refuse to believe any rational person could write this nonsense with a straight face and able mind.

      As far as your criticism of alleged sexist society... maybe you should read my article before you comment on it? :) Just an idea!

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      Alisa thank you for pulling the misogyny card when you were actually challaneged seriously the wage gap is a myth Forbes magazine has entire articles shooting that lame duck down. It was fun trying to converse with you but that was my bad you just can't walk the so called walk. I read your article and the links were dated or just mythical like a dragon named puff that lives on a mountain would youy like names of feminist fiction involcing extermination of men? Jo Anna Russ is pretty much only known for it and well there is much more.

      Houston, Houston, Do You Read? by James Tiptree Jr., pseudonym of Alice Sheldon

      The Day of the Women by Pamela Kettle

      The Holdfast Chronicles by Suzy McKee Charnas

      Stormquest is a 1987 sword-and-sandals B movie funded and paid for by feminists

      Ammonite by Nicola Griffith

      Retreat: As It Was

      Wanderground by Sally Miller Gearheart

    • aliasis profile image
      Author

      aliasis 3 years ago from United States

      Because you didn't read my article. Here it is again, in case you truly refuse to read it:

      "The wage gap between men and women. Women receive, on average, 80.9% of the salary that men receive, and the pay gap in 2012 actually widened compared with 2012. This is partly accounted for by women striving for or only being able to get "pink collar" jobs such as secretaries, child care workers, waitressing, nursing or teaching, which tend to have lower wages. However, 40% of the wage gap is unexplained by occupation, experience, education or other measurable factors, meaning women are working the same jobs as men but are receiving less. The AAUW (American Association University for Women) found that in the exact same occupation, women are earning 7% less than men."

      Women get paid less for the SAME JOBS. I didn't call you a misogynist, though frankly, if you are anti-feminist, you probably are one. There is no reason to not be feminist unless you don't think women deserve equal treatment, which you don't, so... I don't know why you're on this article in the first place if you're so set on hating people who work to eliminate the real sexism in our society.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      That 40% came from some random liberal feminist site. Not to mention you know who said all men are rapist and that's all they are? The Head of NOW a 100 million strong feminist group. You know where that 40% comes from the work place fatalities which are over 98% according to OSHA as of 2012. If only Hub pages would allow me to paraphrase your work I'd have a field day.

    • aliasis profile image
      Author

      aliasis 3 years ago from United States

      Oh, I see. Any facts you don't like - like those that come from leading world organizations - are "random liberal feminist sites". Whereas your "men work harder than women" fact, came from, I guess, totally sound statistics and research. Unfair wage inequality exists, and instead of finding this problematic, you accuse women. Instead of being concerned about inequality, you're making yourself to be the victim here, which is laughable at best. Yes, men have it so hard, all these women calling them rapists and doing crazy things like trying to get paid the same amount for equal work... pardon me while I don't feel bad at all.

      And no, I am not now nor ever going to read your hubs about how you don't believe in sexism and don't want women to fight for equality. Nope, nope, nope. If you can't even understand the definition of feminism and revert making "man-hating women" the poster child of feminism, you are not only doing it wrong, you are spitting in the face of all the women (AND MEN) who are working hard to reduce inequalities and make society a better place for both men and women.

    • Darkproxy profile image

      Darkproxy 3 years ago from Ohio

      I call it like I see it and no you are just trying to get more special treatment for women, me I am actually working on ending things like chivlary in court systems helping father's who are falsely accused of abuse by a lying spouse who wants more money. What have you done for men? Nothing is the answer, and I doubt that feminists aren;t bigots because they seem to be heroes to you for the more misandric bullshit they spew. Don't read my hubs I don't care the less moronic twerps that thing Hub-pages is the world that stay away from me the better. You proved yourself to be a moron the second you cried sexism. Guess what Rape Culture is a 1975 film about men being raped in prison. You have no brain and arguing with you is just fucking laughable enjoy the last word.

    • aliasis profile image
      Author

      aliasis 3 years ago from United States

      "you want special treatment for women"

      "you hate men"

      "moronic twerp"

      "sexism is false"

      "you have no brain"

      Oh, this is too funny. Other readers are honestly going to think I paid you money to prove my point. I still recommend actually reading my hub - sources for all info is linked - and maybe you can learn a thing or two about the reality of sexism and the struggles women face. You'd also know that I believe sexism affects men negatively, too, but since you're just desperately looking for a soapbox to spout your anti-feminist nonsense you probably didn't notice that. Again, thanks for the laughs - you are truly a man of wit and emotional maturity. haha

    • emilyzeinert profile image

      Emily Zeinert 2 years ago from Central Coast, NSW, Australia

      As I woman myself, if I were to identify with a certain "ism" it would be egalitarianism. I do not, in any way, consider myself a feminist.

      I have written a hub outlining why, as I believe it is something that many people need to understand.

      I don't HATE feminism but do disagree with the modern movement. The bad reputation that feminism has does not come from media, it derives from the radicals who are so prominent in society.

      For instance, on more than occasion, on motherhood Facebook pages, women have asked questions about how to resolve a dispute between themselves and their partner about naming their unborn child. Each time, my response is the same: continue to discuss, compromise, find a name you both like and that as the child is the product of the relationship, it should not be up to one nor the other to name the baby. In return, I have been bombarded with abuse about how I am "a disgrace to the sisterhood", "don't deserve to be called a woman" and that I was encouraging oppression. To me, the idea that I deserve to be stripped of my gender identity because I am in favour of equality for the sexes is baffling. More often than not, these women argued that I was the reason we needed feminism, etc. The concept that a man has no claim on a child because he did not physically endure the pregnancy and birth is ridiculous. That being said, how is it that women being seen as childbearers is offensive and a privilege in the same breath?

      The fact that we, as women, are able to create a lifeform within our bodies, while our male counterparts are unable to, seems like an amazing privilege to me. The mentality that women were designed to do nothing more than stay home and bear children is ridiculous and misogynistic but to say that women being seen as birth givers is offensive is ridiculous illogical.

      That's my perspective, anyway.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      I would like to see everyone get on board with helping feminists to eliminate violence against third world women. What some third world women face is truly horrendous. Remember the little girl who was shot for going to school? I think that feminists and everyone else should hold their representatives accountable for stopping the following everywhere in the world:

      1) Female genital mutilation

      2) Punishing rape victims

      3) Honor killing

      4) Strapping bombs to children

      5) Sexually enslaving women

      6) Murdering homosexuals

      7) Child marriage

      8) Domestic Violence

      9) Disciplining or Punishing Wives

    • profile image

      George McFly 2 years ago

      I think we are less scared to blame Patriarchy or "men" on this than what is more the cause.

      Religion.

      Why? Because many people right now will be bristling in reading this. The kind of fantastic fundamental beliefs are based around religious dictates.

      I known very decent people of many religions would be appalled at such barbaric and awful practices. In the same way, Many Christians would denounce Westboro Baptists.

      Take away religion and its interpreted beliefs, though, and you would not have these problems to the degree that you have.

    • profile image

      Oh Dearyme 15 months ago

      If you're a man, or a woman, you're anti feminist.if you're a 21st century fad following, script repeating automaton, you're otherwise. feminism is way past its sell by date. It's served its purpose - family has disintegrated and members marginalised, women are stressed and unsatisfied, children are abandoned, men are confused and marginalised and the think tank creators of 'feminism' have provided our fascist corporatocrisy with the massive resultant profits and enhanced pseudo slave population. And before the PC police and script repeaters blow a gasket - No women should not be tied to a sink, they should be women. Your definition and mine. They're the same.

      Ponder that.

    • profile image

      Secundum 12 months ago

      I think one of the reasons may be that 'Feminism' means very different things depending on where you live. In the UK, what you (author of article) would term 'Feminism' is generally referred to as 'equal rights' or some similar phrasing. 'Feminism' in the UK is associated with putting women in a position of power over men, reducing men's rights, giving women automatic custody in childcare cases, etc. (I could go on, but I think you get the picture).

      If you said to a group of strangers you were in favour of a bunch of things you addressed in your article, you'd be seen as a forward thinking, good person. If you claimed to be a feminist, you'd get a lot of funny looks and people would try to avoid associating themselves with you.

    • profile image

      Secundum 12 months ago

      I think one of the reasons may be that 'Feminism' means very different things depending on where you live. In the UK, what you (author of article) would term 'Feminism' is generally referred to as 'equal rights' or some similar phrasing. 'Feminism' in the UK is associated with putting women in a position of power over men, reducing men's rights, giving women automatic custody in childcare cases, etc. (I could go on, but I think you get the picture).

      If you said to a group of strangers you were in favour of a bunch of things you addressed in your article, you'd be seen as a forward thinking, good person. If you claimed to be a feminist, you'd get a lot of funny looks and people would try to avoid associating themselves with you.

      (Double posting so I can get notifications on this topic after signing up)

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