Antifeminism

The general definition of antifeminism is summed up broadly by Wikipedia1:

Antifeminism is opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms.

Michael Kimmel, feminist, defines it in a more insulting way. For him, antifeminism is defined thusly2:

the opposition to women’s equality.

Clearly there’s a disconnect here.  As I’ve already shown in my entry for “feminism”, feminism involves a bit more than simply “women’s equality”, and so opposing feminism (which is what the “anti” prefix indicates), wouldn’t necessarily mean you oppose equality.

There are quite a few people out there calling themselves “antifeminists”.  In fact, I’m one of them.  Based on what I’ve seen, I’d have to say I believe most of us are not opposed to equality.  Most seem to look at feminism, or various strands of feminism, as standing in the way of equality, and oppose it on those grounds.  Because of this, they/we accept the label “antifeminist”, some even wearing it proudly.

From a prescriptivist perspective, it makes sense to use the Wikipedia definition as it is etymologically sound.  Aside from that, it would make sense to prioritize the definition used by antifeminists to describe themselves, as opposed to the definition used by feminists to marginalize their opposition, given the obvious bias.  However, from a descriptivist perspective, “antifeminist” does appear to be used more often as an insult…and as an insult it usually means something similar to Kimmel’s definition.  Based on the above, I think it’s fair to go with the Wikipedia definition of “opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms” as the primary definition, and use something resembling Kimmel’s definition as the second definition, with an indication that it’s used this way as a pejorative.

For the purposes of this blog, I shall be using the term exclusively to mean the Wikipedia definition:

Antifeminism is opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms.


References

1 – Wikipedia contributors. “Antifeminism.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Apr. 2012. Web. 10 Apr. 2012.

2 – Kimmel, Michael (2004). “Antifeminism”. In Kimmel, Michael. Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. pp. 35–7..

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