Why I’m not a feminist

I’ve been on the fence on this issue for a long, long time. Whenever I face an issue that I don’t have a stance on, I’m careful to not reject it or accept it outright without thorough consideration. I used to be a radical feminist as a teen, and I mean radical-man-hating-fist-thumping-angry feminist. And it didn’t help that my dad was one – in the real sense of the word. He’d always side with us girls and never our twin brothers because he believed that men have the upper hand in society de facto, so girls are in need of extra love and empowerment to make it out there. My dad, bless him, seems like a tough one on the outer, but on the inside, he’s all warm and fuzzy. I rarely see him as passionate as when he talks about the nature, animal cruelty, and kids. Anyway, when I reached my late teens, the anger that fuelled my radical feminism fizzled out and I become more mellow. Ever since, feminism has been on the back-burner, as I struggled with other issues in my life. And this morning I realized this: I don’t find the point of feminism as something I want to align myself with. I find that whenever one crucial issue in society is isolated and rallied for, it quickly turns into dogma and sectarianism. There are times where raising one’s voice,warring, and attacking is called for- but when this becomes the de facto state is when the original cause is lost. It becomes about people and power struggles. This is what I feel feminism , and other singular causes such as veganism,Green Peace, LGBT-issues, have turned into. They started out by addressing a rampant injustice, but then it attracted rebels without causes who were angry at anything and everything, and needed somewhere to channel their frustration. It’s the same thing with ISIS and their ilk.

There needs to be an overarching concept that transcends time and place. We have mental health stigma, poverty, corruption, climate change- the list is endless. We had other issues in yesteryear, and we’ll probably have more in two decades. Problems come with change and progress is dependant on how well we solve these issues. But to dwell on those issues hampers progress.

I think a nobler cause, for me personally, that I can relate to is to fight injustice in all its forms. Right now I’m concerned about the melting sea ice in the Arctic Circle that threatens polar bears who use the ice as a platform to hunt seals, and in the face of the disappearance of their habitat they are driven to the shores and land where they attack humans.

I’m concerned about this damning report on the silent plight of boys and men and the major social problems that it’s causing.

I’m concerned about how the West reacted to the Ebola crisis before and after it affected Westerners, and how trivial the thousands of Africans who were affected seem to us in the West as long as it does not involve us.

I’m concerned about Palestine and how the few on top get the last word because they got the deepest pockets.

I’m concerned about domestic abuse and the widespread misnomer about how easy it should be to leave.

I’m concerned about this war on drugs that is putting those most vulnerable at risk.

I’m concerned about these things. But they are transient. Because tomorrow there will be another issue, another crisis more acute than the aforementioned, and so I want to be adaptable and flexible. I don’t want to identify with a cause because that is extrinsic and whatever is extrinsic is finite and depletable. I want to tap into intrinsic motivation that comes from within me. 

I don’t want to embody something other than me. But I want to focus my being on things other than myself. Makes sense?

6 responses to Why I’m not a feminist

  1. These are, as always, some very interesting points you are making 🙂 However, to unleash a little bit of a discussion 😉 I recently read a good article on how feminism doesn’t automatically equal feminism and how a rebranding of the term might actually be happening at the moment. Perhaps you might be interested to take a look at it: http://beyoungandshutup.com/2014/09/24/are-we-witnessing-a-rebranding-of-feminism/ It is certainly fascinating how we think of feminists in terms of this aggressive image of “feminism” that you allude to.

    It might perhaps be more accurate to say that there are many gender movements that brand themselves as feminism — most prominently, unfortunately, the man-hating, furious, aggressive type of movement — and I myself can certainly not identify myself with all of them. And while a lot of the global issues you have addressed are just as pressing — I completely agree! — this doesn’t mean that gender inequality (and with it for instance the notoriously quoted and yet very real pay gap that continues to persist for the same exact jobs) is not a serious problem. Imagine you work at a cafe, and your fellow male coworker simply gets thirty percent more pay — just because. My own grandfather initially refused to support me because I “was going to have babies anyways”, so it wasn’t worth investing money in my higher education. Gender issues are real and cause great social and economical pain to women who struggle to earn enough money, education, protection — also in Western societies. As the article also says, gender issues are real and problematic also for men, who on a daily basis struggle to live up to the roles they are supposed to fill — in reference to your article on the male identity crisis.

    Ultimately, the question isn’t whether you’re a “feminist.” The question might perhaps rather be: what issues are important to you.? Sometimes, some group might term them feminist. But do you have to care…? People will always want to categorize others and themselves. Perhaps the more pressing issue is to actually tackle issues that continue to exist, whether we brand them under a certain banner — or not…

    (Sorry for the lecture. Your text inspired me).

    Like

    • Blues Fairy – Author

      I THOUGHT I HAD REPLIED! Darn wordpress :p
      I read the article and I understand where you are coming from. You say that gender inequality is still an issue and shouldn’t be placed on the backburner, and that there is a wide misconception about feminism.

      When I said that I’m not a feminist, what I meant was that I don’t believe in the movement that is today.The reason for this is because too often the issue gets drowned in a whole bunch of politics and scapegoating. The whole Katy Perry and Beyonce example in the article is what I mean. It becomes an exclusive club where you have to meet certain criteria. It becomes a power struggle.

      However, this does not mean that I don’t care for gender inequality. Oh believe you me, I’m very outspoken about this and I believe in empowering women by discussions and then letting each person choose their paths.There is a clear boundary issue when a woman’s actions somehow take away from feminism or women’s value everywhere. Or when a woman chooses to dress scantily, it’s forgotten that she wasn’t forced to do so by ‘sexist men’ but it is her choice – the way a Muslim woman might choose to wear hijab. A movement relies on an outcome and by doing that it neglects the message. You can’t force all women to adhere to certain concepts and theories in order to make a big wave in society. What I’m for is individual empowerment and fighting injustices in all forms. That includes gender inequality.

      I for one see myself as an individual and I won’t be pigeon holed by bigots who wish to deny me my rights because of my gender. I won’t request equality to a man, I request to be validated as an independent individual with inherent rights – not an auxiliary.

      What do you think about this? I’d love to hear your thoughts, because to be honest I don’t know much about today’s feminism and I could use enlightenment 🙂

      Like

      • I think we are actually pretty much on the same page, from what I can tell 😉 The issues persist whether we brand ourselves as a feminist (which in itself can be a lot of different things, because the term is controversial and used by several groups) — or not. And we feel strongly about certain “feminist” causes whether we count ourselves to a certain label — or not. The important thing is not the brand, it’s the action, right? 🙂

        So there’s not much more to say except thanks for elaborating!

        Like

  2. Everyone loves a good Cause, you know!

    We’re in what call post-post-(second wave)Feminism now. The first wave was the Sufferance movement — a fundamental step in social equality — and there was clear injustice, and righteous anger about it, then. The second wave came in the 1960s — the Gloria Steinem era — and there were still major injustices and righteous anger.

    Then came post-Feminism when women began enjoying what they’d gained during that second wave; there were many important changes. But in post-post-Feminism, women have forgotten some of the crucial battles — or decided they don’t matter that much. Sexualization of women is at very high levels these days, and the question is: have we reverted to older modes, or have we decided it’s okay for women to be — a little bit — sex objects?

    A problem for Feminism was that it presumed to speak for all women. It’s hard to get ten people to agree on something. Assuming 50% of humanity want the same things is… nutzo. Even at the time, there were multiple camps about what Feminism is (compare Steinem with Camille Paglia).

    Today there isn’t as much injustice for women and therefore not as much anger. There isn’t as much fueling the fire. And today, with the wide world web, everyone has their own approach to gender, so it’s not surprising there really isn’t a “Feminist” movement, per se.

    Like

    • Blues Fairy – Author

      Food for thought! Welcome back! I didn’t know all of that, and it’s fired my neurons up! That is so interesting.

      I’d say that humans in general have become very complacent and passive of late, so there’s no intrinsic motivation other than bandwagons and ‘likes’ .

      Thanks for the history lesson ! 😀

      Like

      • Yes, agreed. I really do think the interweb acts as a kind of social opiate sometimes. Humankind used to believe almost universally in some form of God. Now we also believe in money, power, and success, and I don’t think that’s been good for society.

        Like

Leave a Reply to MarvellineMarvels Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s