If you haven’t already, please read my previous entries: Feminism and Antifeminism (in that order), as they provide the necessary context for this post.
This whole “antifeminism” thing can be confusing, as someone who opposes gender-feminism, but not equity-feminism would, technically, be an “antifeminist” even if they don’t identify as such. It leaves a lot of wiggle room and doesn’t tell you a whole lot about what the person actually believes. So to make my position clear: I believe that women, as a class, are no longer disadvantaged relative to men, as a class…in most western post-industrial nations. As such, I oppose “first-world feminism”, but not “third-world feminism”. In fact, I’m very pro-feminist when it comes to countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.
I believe that, in the first-world, we are pretty much equal…with men generally facing more legal disadvantages, and women generally facing more social disadvantages. I believe such things still need to be fixed…but that feminism may, in many cases, get in the way. To clarify: I believe that the ideological denial of male disadvantage makes it difficult to address the instances in which men actually are disadvantaged relative to women. I’d like to give you some examples, if I may, which I feel highlight this sort of ideological denial.
A common feminist interpretation of “sexism” (emphasis mine)1:
Sexism is both discrimination based on gender and the attitudes, stereotypes, and the cultural elements that promote this discrimination. Given the historical and continued imbalance of power, where men as a class are privileged over women as a class (see male privilege), an important, but often overlooked, part of the term is that sexism is prejudice plus power. Thus feminists reject the notion that women can be sexist towards men because women lack the institutional power that men have.
A common feminist interpretation of “privilege” (again, emphasis mine)2:
what is commonly called “female privilege” is better described as benevolent sexism. Systems like the draft and chivalry often seem advantageous to women at first glance, but when examined more closely they in fact reinforce sexist institutions that keep both women and men from true equality. Also, it should be noted that, while men have what’s called male privilege that doesn’t mean that there must logically be a “female privilege” counterpart. This is because, although many strides towards equality have been made over the years, women as a class have not yet leveled the playing field, much less been put in a position of power and authority equivalent to that which grants institutional power to men as a class.
According to many feminists (no doubt borrowing quite heavily from critical theory and, by extension, the Marxian critique of socioeconomic-class dynamics), women can’t be sexist against men, and any benefits enjoyed by women are really disadvantages. I don’t think an otherwise intelligent person would reach such a conclusion without engaging in some considerable mental hoop-jumping. I believe such things are the after-effects of a conflict between ideology (women are disadvantaged, not men) and reality (X, Y, Z instances where men are disadvantaged). Being unable to dismiss reality, yet holding a contradictory belief would undoubtedly lead to quite a bit of cognitive dissonance. In order to quell that dissonance, one ultimately has two choices: deny reality, or deny ideology. What we see above is, I believe, the result of ideology winning that particular conflict.
I believe that men and women are equally capable, should have equal rights, and should be held to the same standard. When I look at feminism, particularly in the west, I don’t see that happening…I see the opposite. I see feminists denying female-agency, fighting against equal rights, and demanding that women be held to lower standards than men. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met a few feminists who actually do want equality, and they’re wonderful people (though, many of them appear to be egalitarians who have simply mislabeled themselves), but the vast majority of western feminists do appear to fall into the other category.
Furthermore, I’m disturbed by the totalitarian and cult-like tendencies I’ve witnessed from many feminists, as well as the subversion of public discourse by the advocacy research being peddled by feminists in academia. In fact, these concerns are what ultimately led me to create this blog in the first place. I hope to elaborate on all that I’ve mentioned in this post, from the cult-like tendencies, to the feminist denial of female agency, as each issue deserves its own entry. But for now, a rough outline of these issues should be sufficient.
1 – Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, Editors unknown. October 19, 2007. N/A. Apr 10, 2012 <https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/>
2 – Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog, Editors unknown. February 9, 2008. N/A. Apr 10, 2012 <https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2008/02/09/faq-female-privilege/>