It’s no secret that we’re huge advocates of the feminist movement here at Gurl – we write about feminist issues, gender equality, and sexism on a fairly regular basis, and we spend a lot of time encouraging you guys to feel all of the *girl power* out there. But even as we speak up for women and applaud the efforts of modern-day feminists, we still have to admit that the feminist movement is no where near perfect. Yes, we can say that there are some things really wrong with feminism right now and still be feminists. Critiquing what’s going on in terms of gender equality doesn’t mean we don’t believe in the movement, it just means you recognize that there is always room for improvement – especially when it comes to a sensitive issue like this one.
When I saw this Ask Reddit thread on what’s wrong with feminism right now, I not only had an outlet to read about things I personally have been thinking and not saying, but I was also able to see new perspectives and learn some new things. It was really interesting, and I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention. On a personal note, I spend a lot of time trying to educate friends and family members on feminism and sexism when they don’t understand my views. I’ve often found myself feeling frustrated at the criticisms I’ve heard about feminism – like that all feminists are annoying – but at the same time, I have to agree that some things need to change or we won’t be able to continue moving forward.
Judging from the comments and emails we get, I know a lot of you guys feel the same way. Here are 12 things that are wrong with feminism right now that we all need to keep in mind:
The Label 'Feminist' Has A Negative Connotationibbity: I identify as feminist, but I don't identify as a feminist, i.e. I believe in the equality of the sexes and I oppose gender discrimination but I won't hang the tag of A Feminist on myself because that seems to me to be announcing to the world that I agree with all of what modern feminism says, which I don't. And one of my biggest criticisms of modern feminism is that every single time I tell people this, I get yelled at and told I'm an enemy of feminism and that I must want to see women's rights taken away, because "OTHERWISE YOU WOULD IDENTIFY AS A FEMINIST." You are not permitted to identify as "feminist, but not a feminist" by the modern feminist movement, and if you do, you are labeled an enemy to be attacked regardless of whether you try to explain your reasoning or not. It's a very all-or-nothing-either-you-are-us-or-you-are-our-hated-foe kind of mentality and I sincerely doubt that I'm the only person who finds it off-putting. I'll admit it: I've gotten frustrated with women who refuse to call themselves feminists yet say they believe in feminism. But after reading this response to that, I can get a better understanding of what they're trying to say... and maybe they have a really good point.
If You Don't Agree With Everything, You Can't Be A Feministshoup88: You can be vilified pretty quickly for holding a different view. I also dislike how kneejerk the reactions can be when determining whether something was caused by sexism or not. I used to regularly frequent Jezebel, but I just started finding the articles more and more ridiculous. Sometimes bad things happen to women that have nothing to do with their gender. I have these issues with feminism myself. There are a lot of views and opinions connected to the feminist movement, and it's way too much to expect every feminist out there to agree on everything. Everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on something and it doesn't always mean they aren't feminist. And I agree on the Jezebel note - sometimes things are called sexist when they don't need to be, and I think that's hurting the movement more than helping.
Pop Stars Are Using It For Their Own Gainweastwardho: Pop feminism is the most watered down version of feminism. More emphasis should be placed on people reading bell hooks, Angela Davis and Judith Butler, etc. rather than basing their knowledge on whatever Emma Watson/Lena Dunham is talking about. The commercialization of feminism is weakening the movement as a whole, and we need to be better at calling in rather than calling out. I agree to a point. I don't love when celebrities seem to use the feminist label for their own benefit. Remember how Taylor Swift said she wasn't a feminist and then suddenly she realized it was hurting her brand and she became the blonde poster child for feminism? She's not the only celebrity who radically changed her views on feminism (Beyonce is another one). It's not that people can't change their beliefs, it just feels fake to me. While I think it's great for celebs to bring awareness to this issue, I think they have to do it in the right way for it to work.
It's Not Intersectional EnoughSnailyboo: That it should be intersectional, much more than it currently is. How feminist movements work is different from country to country of course - I know that feminism here in Denmark very often forgets that not all Danes are white and that being a not-white woman in Denmark comes with a heap of extra obstacles to work with. I've made a point of educating myself on my own time and joining various groups as well, that put focus on this issue. That made me both more aware of the problems and of the events held to create discussions about it. The feminist movement doesn't include everyone, and that's just a fact. It's mainly for young, middle class white women, and that just isn't okay. It needs to change.
People Forget That Feminism Is About Choicepocarisweats: When people forget that feminism is about having a choice. For example: if a woman chooses to be a stay home mother, she shouldn't have to get shit from the community for being "old fashioned" or whatever other things people say. Yup. This is a very frustrating thing when it comes to dealing with hardcore feminists. We have to remember that we all have a choice, and that's the beauty of feminism!
We Focus On Smaller Issues Instead Of Bigger Ones Too Oftenmorerokk: Not enough attention towards actual issues. "Manspreading" is not an important issue. Not enough attention towards men's issues. Male DV victims don't have many male shelters to turn to, and the Duluth model (that some states follow) pretty much says women can't abuse men. In the UK, a woman cannot even rape a man, in legal terms. Worst she can get is a sexual assault charge. I have to agree on this as well. I'm all for the push to stop manspreading, but come on: in the scheme of things, it's nothing. And yes, the patriarchy needs to include men more. For real.
You Have To Be Politically Correct All The TimeFortheloveofsteak: The ones that are uber politically correct and nitpick everything. If you're ardently against me calling of a group of people "guys" or calling my annoying neighbor a b____ so much that you need to write a 4 paragraph post about how insensitive I am, then it's time for you to find a hobby (or go through some real shit to see what's really important in life) I love that a lot of uncomfortable issues are being confronted right now and that people are forcing society to talk about uncomfortable topics. But at the same time, I think we're on the brink of making everything way too politically correct. It's hurting the feminist movement!
You Have To Be Body Positive To Be Feministasblue91: Not nuts about the sect of feminists insisting that you're a bad feminist if you're not fat-positive or if you choose to diet. They're not necessarily the majority of feminists, but they're vocal and magnified for their extremism. This is similar to "feminism is about choice." The body positive movement is wonderful and I'm not saying I'm not behind it! But I think people have a right to their opinion. I also think it's okay to be a feminist and still want to lose weight or work out - that doesn't mean you don't believe in equal rights.
Women Are Attacked For Making Feminist MistakesSquidwardsUnsureFace: Witch-hunting other women/feminists who make some minor error and accidentally offend people instead of going after the people who deliberately offend and harm oppressed groups constantly, and aren't sorry about it. Like the woman who was hosting the "Women and the Internet" forum and then she got hounded because "some women in developing countries don't have the Internet." If a woman says she's a feminist and then accidentally uses some out-of-date term, or uses the word "bitch" or whatever, she's witch hunted far more than, say, a really sexist male celebrity who's widely known for it and who is unrepentant about it. So much yes right here. I see articles online ripping women apart for making a mistake that could come across as anti-feminist, and a lot of these articles are on sites pushing for feminism! What's empowering about bashing another woman for a mistake? We need to be less harsh on people.
Sometimes It's Made To Be Too SexyaIIeycat: Some strains of "sex positive" strains of feminism can sometimes put too much pressure on women to be sexually active when they don't want to be, or active in ways they don't want to be. Related: there are posters up all over my college campus that say "Consent is Sexy". Consent is mandatory! Not everything has to be sexy. This is a good point that I've never really thought of!
Some People Can't Accept That There Is More Than One Way Of Thinking About Feminism--Dia--: The fact that most feminists don't seem to appreciate/understand that there are many schools of feminist thought. I'm tired of people who think their understanding of feminism is The One True Feminism. I feel like we kind of covered this, but it's true. There is more than one way to think about feminism, and it's so important to remember that.
It's Really Hard To Critique Feminism Without Being JudgedThesnowbelow: I have a few but to be honest I've never really felt comfortable talking about them and I think that's my biggest criticism. If I don't 100% agree with everything to the fervor that everyone on the sub does then I am a self-misogynist. I wish conversations about feminism were more open and inclusive instead of the "you're either with us or against us" mentality (again personal opinion) This is a huge issue. I feel the same way. I have critiques with the feminist movement, and I feel like I'll be attacked if I voice them. That is NOT the point of feminism and should be the opposite of what we want people to feel like. Everyone should feel free to speak their mind!
What’s your biggest issue with feminism right now? What do you disagree with here? Let me know in the comments.