Not too long ago, I couldn’t understand why a woman would not identify as a feminist. I knew the term came with a lot of baggage, but I was willing to defend it. I was determined to take the movement back from the misandrists and the perpetual victims.
I still believe that institutional gender…
I completely understand and sympathize with OP, but I don’t think a generalization of feminism and feminists is very productive. Feminism, like the men’s rights movement, is a wide spectrum that shouldn’t be judged by the voices of a few radical idiots. :/ The same applies to Libertarianism, Conservatism, Liberalism, world religions, and so on. Of course, sometimes you have to cross the line but I like to believe that these kinds of ideologies aren’t inherently bad. Anyway, some of the headlines in your post… yeesh. They make me want to hang my head in shame for being part of the same movement as those people claim to be. But I don’t want to be looked down upon for calling myself a feminist. I want to have faith in people—that they won’t automatically judge me to be a radfem just because I’m open about my position as a feminist. Because in real life, no matter how much I bitch about certain ideologies online on personal blogs and stuff, I still do my best to be polite and respectful to people whose beliefs I don’t necessarily agree with, and I sure as hell hope they can do the same for me.
I have been told that if I am pro-equality, I am a feminist whether I want the label or not. I have been told that my personal choices and private habits are invalid and weak-minded. I have been told that consensual sex with a male partner is rape, no matter if I enjoyed or wanted it.
I became a feminist because I believe in individual agency and treating all people with basic dignity. I quit because I care more about those things than I will ever care about making men feel bad for existing.
Fuck your little club. Buy a different phone next time, dumbass.
Struck the goddamn nail on the head. Seriously, how can feminists still hold these kinds of beliefs in the 21st century? I thought that nowadays, the majority of the feminist movement consisted of third-wavers (is that the word for contemporary feminism inclusive of trans*, LGBT and men’s rights?) but I guess not. Radfems have turned the words ‘patriarchy’ and ‘privilege’ into parodies of themselves.
"Making men feel bad for existing" is a great way to put it. I used to hear a lot of "oh, men should be taught not to rape" "men are rapists" "men are always the ones who initiate rape". Actually, women are capable of rape too (if not statistically as much), and men are not programmed to rape for gods’ sakes; they’re normal human beings who can control themselves. Men do not think about sex all the time either, just such a sickening generalization that I see people make, men and women alike. Honestly, it seems that radfems (and radical men’s right activists) subscribe to certain tenets of evolutionary psychology which have not been proven scientifically. For the record, I support the creation of men’s centers (and shelters).
Anyway, OP is free to do as they like. And I don’t blame OP for leaving a movement that has such a vocal, radical minority. I personally think changing people’s perception of feminism can only begin with rational, respectful interactions that aim to learn from other movements in addition to teaching others about moderate feminism. I’ll never push feminism onto others or specifically mention it, but if someone asked me about it, I’d tell them that yeah, I’m a feminist. And I would do my best to respectfully argue for the movement if I had to.
It’s not like we can hold a meeting of feminists and kick the shitty ones out. Anyone can take up the title of ‘feminist’, and the best sane, moderate feminists can do is to strive to engage with others and put forth a more inclusive, rational version of the movement. You can’t force people to change their beliefs, but you can show them your side of the story. The same goes for men’s rights activists; the ones who don’t want to be associated with the radical woman-hating (but usually feminist-hating) ones. I accept said movement, but it is fraught to the core with radicals, just like feminism is.
Some people characterize feminism and related movements as ‘the oppression Olympics’… I do not agree with this. For example, I believe that if a woman hits a man and it’s not in self-defense, the man is well within his rights to defend himself by using physical force against her. If my country, Canada, decided to invoke a military draft for whatever reason, I would oppose it, but if push came to shove, I would volunteer myself in place of say, a male friend or relative. Both men and women should be drafted, if a situation like that ever arises. I would rather face violence in the place of a man I care about than watch him risk his life.
Although I don’t support military drafts, I support female soldiers on the front lines, but I don’t support having different physical fitness requirements based on the soldier’s gender. If a woman wants to fight on the front lines, she has to be capable of moving injured soldiers quickly and efficiently like her male counterparts are required to, due to higher requirements for men at the moment.
As with racism and LGBT rights, women’s rights still has a long way to go even in the West. Especially in the U.S., with the active opposition to abortion and all.
TL;DR: We need to stop generalizing, and I’m sorry to see all the sane, non-radical people like OP slowly leave the feminist movement—hey guys, we still need feminism :”(