Obviously, Gurl.com is very pro-feminism. I, too, am pro-feminism, and I wince whenever another woman proudly states that she is not a feminist. I respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and I definitely acknowledge that the feminist movement isn’t perfect and could certainly be improved upon. I know there is an extreme feminism out there that scares people, and I get that. All that said, I still hate that there are a lot of women out there who are absolutely repelled by the idea of feminism. It is so disheartening to see girls look repulsed by the idea of being called a feminist. It’s very upsetting to me that some women are proud to be anti-feminist, because being that way is only hurting their own gender from advancing and gaining equality.
But, again, I respect that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, even if I strongly disagree with it or feel that it is an unfounded opinion. This is why I’m always curious to hear why a woman doesn’t want to associate herself with feminism. I want to hear the reasoning not to try to forcibly change your mind, but to better understand what you want out of the movement. I also know that a lot of our readers don’t like feminism, or our idea of feminism, and don’t want to feel the pressure to be called a feminist. So when I saw this Ask Reddit thread on why women don’t like feminism, I knew I had to share it.
Maybe you can relate to the reasons below. Maybe your own reasons for not being a feminist are different. Either way, I want to hear your opinion! Find out why some women don’t like feminism, then add your own thoughts in the comments below.
It Has Become A Marketing ToolAnother common critique of feminism is that it's become too much of a trend. Was it frustrating for me to watch celebrities like Taylor Swift and Beyonce denounce feminism, and then use the term to make money and gain fans a few months later? Yes! Do I think there could be worse marketing tools? Definitely! But let's hear this user's opinion: dicksalsa says, "I see feminism is being used as a marketing tool a lot and it really makes me question the sincerity. Every time I see people on facebook/social media getting all excited about so-and-so's new feminist ad campaign, it's like really? This is capitalism. A couple of commercials with a feminist message doesn't reflect the company's core values, it means that someone in marketing figured out that women are a huge part of their target market and now feminism is getting to be a big thing, so why not cater to that? Woohoo. Similarly, I could not give less of a shit which celebrity now openly identifies as feminist. As if "identifying as a feminist" is brave and transgressive these days. Donating or bringing more attention to a specific cause is great and I'm not complaining about that. But I kind of judge celebrities who make a big deal about nonspecifically identifying as a feminist, or if they only promote like one cause that is very immediately self-serving. In general I just wish it was less choice feminism and feel-good facebook quotes and more action. People getting involved on a local level, volunteering, voting, donating. People trying to learn about issues that don't affect them and being actual allies. Those are all good points. Personally, it's not a reason I would use to be anti-feminist, but I still get what she's saying.
It's A Trend With No Real MeaningAlong with feeling annoyed about celebrities taking over feminism for popularity, a lot of people get frustrated that feminism has become such a "trend." User SocialIQof0 says, "I wouldn't call my self 'anti' feminist, but I won't call myself a feminist either. I think 'feminism' is just the latest trend. It has no real meaning. As other people have said, it's watered down. Feminists are constantly saying, 'That's not REAL feminism' or 'That IS feminism.' to the point that there is no discernible meaning to it. Feminism is whatever any woman or man looking for a cause wants it to be. It grates my nerves when feminists downvote me or make snarky remarks about my not adopting their label. I don't need it. I'm out there every day showing people that women are as good as men are. I've been successful and I try to have the back of other hardworking women I know. Giving them recommendations or helping with resumes and applications. Helping them with school work. Supporting their businesses. I've called out sexism every time I've seen it (at work, at school, at home). I think that does more good for changing things than slapping a bumper sticker on my car and taking up a label. What you call yourself doesn't matter nearly as much as what you do." It's fair to say that a label doesn't necessarily mean you ARE what you're calling yourself. And I hear what this girl is saying about actions being louder than words. It does make sense! It just stinks that so many people associate the term itself with negative connotations.
Feminism Focuses On White Women OnlyAnother huge complaint about the feminist movement is that it focuses mostly on middle to upper class white women and ignores or silences the struggles of women of different races, classes, and more. User CartoonDuck points this out, saying, "Feminism needs intersectionality bad. I'll occasionally share the statistic, "Black women earn college degrees at over twice the rate Black men do," and every white feminist I've told this to has responded as if it's a good thing. It seems most White feminists I've met see me (a PoC woman) as an accessory to legitimize their suffering. I once had a woman ASSURE me that she supported BLM before going to town on how she hated Chinese people. White women are now the largest beneficiary from affirmative action. Check me if I'm wrong (I can't fact check on mobile), but aren't they earning degrees at greater or similar rates than their male counterparts too? And at greater or similar rates than their percentage of the population? Maybe it's time to look at other issues (disparity in STEM workforce, harassment in graduate studies, etc), or maybe, actually look at the issues PoC, LGBTQ, disabled, and working class women face." It's definitely true that intersectional feminism is greatly needed. I can see how that would turn people off.
Feminism Is Not About Equality AnymoreA lot of people feel that modern-day feminism has taken things too far, and made it about more than just equality. User antisocialmedic explains, saying, "I just don't call myself a feminist anymore. I think feminism has historically been immensely important, and I think it still is in many parts of the world. But I live in the US, and I think we should be pooling together for the sake of everyone's equality now, not just for the sake of advancing women. There are still a lot of gender issues that lead to discrimination in day to day life, but it isn't always women who come out on the losing end. I also don't like the way modern western feminists tend to behave- at least the vocal ones. It's like they're looking for shit to get offended about. I mean, "manspreading"? F****** really? Safe spaces and trigger warnings? We used to have to worry about being raped and beaten by our husbands and not being able to vote. The pay gap used to be real and not just an (unfortunate) symptom of motherhood. So these days I call myself an egalitarian. I want everyone to be equal. I am concerned about issues regarding gender, sexuality, race, religion, and so on. I also don't want to be associated with the vocal modern feminist (I realize most feminists are still sane, reasonable people). I hear a lot of people complain that feminism takes on issues that aren't very important and makes it more about complaining about men than making things equal. I guess in some situations that could be fair, but... I'm not discounting her opinion, but I do think you can be feminist and still agree the movement needs work!
There Are More Important Things To Worry AboutSimilarly, some people feel that it just isn't really interesting, and they would rather not spend their time thinking about it. User RadioactiveAppendix says, "I am just not that into it. I just don't spend that much of my life focusing on the fact that I'm a girl and what isn't fair about it. I just have other hobbies, interests, and passions." Focusing on social injustice issues isn't everyone's cup of tea. Fair enough.
There's Too Much CompetitionSome women are intimidated by feminists, so much so that they don't want to call themselves feminists because they don't want to deal with it. User FeckAllThat says, "I'm not sure if I fit in this group but I'm the type who feels like I have feminist views but I get a lot of backlash from 'proud' feminists. I sort of feel like the term has been hijacked to be a negative by extremes feminists. These types make me not want to bother voicing an opinion sometimes because they're waiting to be offended. I often find that these types of women can be the most vicious despite preaching tolerance and equality, so I don't want to associate with them." I felt that way for a long time too, and to be honest, I still feel that way sometimes. I'm a feminist, but I don't look like the stereotypical feminist, and sometimes I feel like other feminists don't take me seriously. I have some traditional views that radical feminists disagree with. But feminist should be about letting a woman choose, not forcing women to be one certain way.
A Lot Of Feminism Is Too ExtremeI think one of the biggest reasons so many women rebel against feminism is because they feel it's too extreme. User napoleon_on_a_horse explained, "I am anti-certain-types-of-feminism. For me, feminism is about equal opportunity and being treated with respect - for both males and females. I think people use feminism as a catch all, to the detriment of the legitimate movement. It can be used to dismiss and legitimize a wide variety of practices and behaviors. I'm anti feminism when it takes away choice from men and women, when it ignores the problems and struggles men face or say, when it ignores race and class, when it is petty or hateful, and when it puts women on a pedestal or "better" level than men. Of course, this isn't real feminism. Real feminism is about equality. Just gets twisted. I get what this girl is saying, but it's important to point out that what she's describing is radical or extreme feminism. The basic meaning of feminism is equality for both genders. Radical feminists are the ones who often put women over men, and that's a different group of people!
It's More About Female EmpowermentGoing along with that point, a lot of people have started to think this way: that the term "feminism" means "female empowerment" and not "equality. This makes them reject the term feminism altogether. User hermitsdayout explains further, saying, "I don't consider myself anti feminism per se, but I don't support most of the current feminist movements. First, second, third wave feminism was on par - rights to vote, own property, work, etc, that stuff was needed. Unfortunately I feel that current day feminism no longer meets the definition of gender equality, I personally feel that feminism is now about female empowerment, and too many of the men I know have suffered as a result. I don't support feminism, I support genuine equality. I agree that there are feminists out there who are too extreme and put too much hate on men. I also know that female empowerment is really important. I think it's important to realize there are people who hate men, and people who support female empowerment, feminism, AND men.
Feminism Is Used As An ExcuseA lot of people feel that feminism is an excuse for acting entitled. User Sin-D-lite explains that, saying, "Its being used as an excuse too often. Things not going well for you? Blame the men! You ended up in a shitty job because you didn't do well in school? Its because men suppress you. He got that promotion instead of you? Men do not want women in power! Or maybe, just maybe he was just better at the job than you were. Yes there are real problems that still need to change but i think many like the victim role they put themselves in so they can blame others instead of themselves for their own mistakes." As with almost anything else, I'm sure there are women who do use feminism as an excuse even when it's unfair to do so. I also know that a lot of women don't, including myself, and I think it's unfair to assume every feminist is that way just because some are.
The Feminist Movement Is UnnecessaryThen there are people who believe that feminism isn't needed because there is already equality and women are doing just fine. User itwasthewrongway says, "In my country (US), I don't feel it's needed. I feel there are issues for both sexes that need to be addressed, but feminism isn't the way to do it because it's focused on women (even when it says it's not)." I just... I mean I'm not going to sit here throwing stats at you, but feminism is still needed.
Men Face Issues TooOkay, this response is long, but I'll let this person take it: g0ldent0y says, "I wouldn't say i am anti feminist. I actually self identify as a feminist, but i have a many problems with most of the core believes and therefore am very critical about that stuff. For a little background. I am a trans woman, hang out in LGBT spaces online and offline a lot. I date a cis lesbian that is actually a hardcore feminist, and we discuss feminist issues like a lot. My biggest pet peeve is obviously the trans exclusionary part of feminism. In my experience feminism is not as accepting to trans women as they want you to believe. I don't say that the majority of feminist is that way. "And then, because I have now lived as both genders in this world, I have a different understanding of those things. And my own experience is such a counter to what feminists made me believe before I transitioned. I get a lot of flak when I say that my life as a woman now is in many points a lot easier than it was before. So much so, that I would say it even is easier in general. The common feminist narrative made me believe that it would be so much harder now than before. I get treated with MORE respect now, way friendlier now, somehow face LESS sexism directed to me then when I lived as a man. I know this sounds unbelievable, but you have to trust me there when I say its true. One example: I was always lanky, to the point of almost being underweight. As a man I got shamed for this almost every day (eat a burger). When i switched to female, this disappeared like completely. Now I get praised for it. I still see that this is a feminist issue and that it is there because of the different expectations of beauty put on the different genders. But it still made my life easier. It might be the environment where I live (Europe that is, if interested. I think we have a lot less open sexism and the subtle parts are less bad), or something else. I really don't know. But that is just my experience. So naturally i developed a rather critical view on how patriarchy and oppression works."
There's Too Much Focus On Gender In GeneralSome people aren't into feminism because they aren't into the idea of gender. User abqkat explained: "I'm anti-feminist simply because I don't agree with much of their axiom: foremost, I don't think that gender is a social construct, which is kind of a tenet of feminism. I think differences between men and women are awesome and something to be embraced, not something offensive to be shot down. There are other things that are part of the movement, maybe not officially, but definitely in the broader culture of feminism surrounding education, marriage, children, choices, and other things that rub me the wrong way, but can be skirted around by claiming "that's not real feminism." For better and worse, it's about more than equality."
What are your thoughts on identifying as a feminist? Let us know in the comments!