July 29 2014
Feminism: Are You For It or Against It?
A new blog called Women against Feminism is getting a lot of attention.
Since we at IWF have internal debates over the meaning of feminism and whether we identify with it, I was interested in what Cathy Young had to say about the Women against Feminism blog yesterday. Cathy writes:
While some women whose declarations are featured on the Women Against Feminism blog believe that feminism demeans women's traditional roles, many others say they embrace gender equality and female empowerment -- but believe that modern Western feminism has betrayed these principles.
Most feminists have dismissed them as naive, misguided and ignorant about what feminism really is. But in fact, many of the criticisms offered by the rebels are remarkably astute, and addressing them could be the key to a revitalized movement for equality.
Cathy admits that many of the comments on the blog are silly, especially by younger women, who often say that they aren’t feminists because feminism belittles men. Nevertheless Cathy argues that there is truth in that criticism, citing the collective anger against men at the #YesAllWomen hashtag.
Another facet of current feminism: the rhetoric that there is a “rape culture” on campus and that the only remedy is the elimination of due process for the accused. Rape is a terrible crime and all accusations would be taken with utmost seriousness but that should not mean abrogating the right to a fair hearing for the accused. Angry contemporary feminism simply does not recognize that a man who is accused of this crime can sometimes be innocent.
According to Cathy, feminists could profit from taking seriously the criticisms of “Women against Feminism:”
Women against Feminism should prompt the feminist movement to reexamine its prejudices. Instead, too many feminists have responded by mocking the dissenters as stupid, ignorant man-pleasers. Ironically, in doing so, they validate another complaint often heard from the new anti-feminists: that feminism claims to speak for all women and is intolerant of different opinions.
Feminism is very much a hot topic right now, perhaps because of the importance of the female voter. While many of us see feminism as a good idea that somehow lost its way, over at The Federalist Leslie Loftis has an alternative view of feminism as a movement flawed from the start. But I found her comments on the “having it all” debate most interesting.
Feminists, as you know, find it terribly unfair that we women can’t have it all. But Loftis asks: Who does have it all? Well, nobody. But men don’t get hung up on not being able to have it all:
Men, on the other hand, didn’t have some masculinist movement telling them that they could have it all, much less that they had to do it all on their own. Nor would they have been as receptive if they had. Unlike girls who tend to engage in pretend play in which they are the princess, then the chef, then the teacher or the pupil, all in the space of an afternoon, boys tend to also play games with rules, even if they’ve made them up by consensus. The boy who isn’t fast learns to hit the ball harder or to catch. They train each other in tradeoffs. The rules don’t bend. The boys adapt to the world the way it is. (I host large parties and play dates often. This plays out in my yard, every time.)
While this seems infinitely sensible to me, I can imagine it will raise hackles in other quarters. Discuss among yourselves.