GIRL TALK Social Issues

Feminism: The New Age Scarlet Letter

I once met a woman who thought all feminist were lesbians, and another that thought we were a bunch of make-up hating uglies who couldn't get a good man.

By Ciara Rouege

Mainstream feminism has been running rampant for the past year, and almost every female celebrity is trying to jump on the bandwagon— Beyonce and Drew Barrymore are among a few A-list names pushing the movement. U.N. Global Women’s Goodwill ambassador Emma Watson has now joined the roster after giving a stirring speech supporting the HeForShe campaign.

“The more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man hating,” Watson said in her speech. “If there is one thing that I know for certain, it is this: that has to stop.”

Time Ideas blogger and contributing editor at Reason magazine Cathy Young said Watson is asking men to ignore their own problems to help womankind. Young is one of many men and women who criticize the feminist movement for allegedly promoting female superiority.

Over the years feminism has earned a bad reputation in America and across the world. New age feminism seeks to change that by pointing out radicalism and inviting men to support our cause. In her speech, she acknowledges that men have issues that most be faced and wants encourage more gender equality in the feminist agenda.

Watson’s feminism brand revamp couldn’t come soon enough.

ALL LABELS COME IN DUELING COLORS

Women Against Feminism encourages people to share their reasons for supporting the counter-culture in a feminist mainstream world.

I once met a woman who thought all feminist were lesbians, and another that thought we were a bunch of make-up hating uglies who couldn’t get a good man.

Feminist shouldn’t reject criticism because in one form or another these remarks are true. There are feminist who are homosexual. There are feminist who believe make-up represents an oppressive patriarchal institution, and those who use radical feminism to ignore the deep seeded problems preventing them from having a healthy relationship.

Feminism is no different than any other ideology, and should not be judged based on generalizations or radicalism. For example, ISIS is not a fair representation of Islam or the Westboro Family Church of Christianity. Bill O’Reilly and Sarah Palin are not quintessential Republicans, while all Democrats don’t agree with President Obama or Wendy Davis.

The “I love my boyfriend” and “I don’t hate men” statements on the site implies that most of the participants believe all feminist are women, which is far from true.  A potent point in Watson’s argument was to make feminism more open to men.

Women Against Feminism gives a voice to people who believe mainstream feminism is outdated or problematic. The downside is that the site attempts to fight man-hate with feminist-hate.

Publishing a series of declarations and titillating comments about the virtues of anti-feminism is over emotional and intellectually vacant. Scrolling through the post, the visitor doesn’t find a single rational or creditable argument to be against feminism. One post states that feminine inequality is nonexistent with no factual support. In most countries women continue to out number men for degrees, and yet in 2013 only 14 percent of executive roles were held by women in Fortune 500 companies.

“Men and women already have rights where I live,” says one submission, echoing the sentiments of hundreds of others on the site.

I found this attitude toward women’s issues to be particularly disturbing. If its not happening to me, then its not something I should concern myself with: the thought lacks humanity.

Although Staton and her comrade Susan B. Anthony were wealthy and influential they fought to give all women the right to vote. Not all the feminist protesters during People vs. Liberta in 1984 had been sodomized or raped by their husbands, but they came out. They believed that a woman is still a rape victim, even if her husband is the rapist.

I’M NEUTRAL, DON’T SHOOT ME!

It’s natural to not like labels, and the feminist title is a difficult tag to wear.

Beyonce recently started accepting feminism identity, after a decade of leading the girl power group Destiny’s Child in the ’90s and sampling renowned feminist writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her latest album. Since having her babies and joining the Bossy campaign with Sheryl Sandberg, she seems to slowly be coming out of the closet.

Labels are hard to wear because they confine us to a certain identity. They aren’t flexible enough to encompass our thoughts or change as we evolve at different stages of our lives. And not to mention no one wants to be rejected for representing the “wrong” group.

I’ve realized my generation has a particular disgust with labels, so we try to avoid them at all cost. We don’t want to be perceived as too liberal or too conservative, too religious or too whatever.

I’m proud to be a feminist. I’m not going to allow an uneducated public to pressure me into feeling otherwise.

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