Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 07/13/2009

feminism and dating

I get why guys are afraid of feminists. I do. Many of us just get so worked up about the issues we may be perceived as…well, bitchy. Of course we’re not, we just care deeply about protecting and promoting our rights as women. Well, some of us are bitches, but we’re bitches that get shit done, that’s for sure. 

But you’d think, if you were dating a guy that knows you’re a feminist, supports your feminism, agrees with your feminism, that he’d be a feminist too, right? How could he not be? 

Jessica Wakeman at The Frisky posed the question: could you date a guy that doesn’t call himself a feminist?

To which I would respond: I’m friends with girls who support my feminism, believe in feminist issues and don’t call themselves feminists (yet…). And I have dated guys who didn’t consider themselves feminist. One guy would tell me over and over again how much he supported my belief in feminism, but would never identify as one himself, no matter how many times I explained that

a) you don’t have to be a girl to be a feminist
b) he’d already identified himself as one in everything but title. 

It all just comes down to how intimidating the title “feminist” is to some people. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard “I’m not a feminist, but of course I support a woman’s right to choose/of course I believe media sets ridiculous standards for women/of course women should be paid the same as men/etc.”

News flash: that’s what being a feminist is. There is not some club you join or ritual initiation. There is no ring or other charm you must wear. There are no secret handshakes or passwords. It is just about believing in women’s rights to equality. 

For me, I don’t choose friends based on their feminist status, and boyfriends go the same way. It takes people longer than others to see the light, or be secure enough with themselves to use a word that makes so many others uncomfortable. I can only help by teaching them about feminism and sharing my experiences. Maybe one day they’ll identify as feminists, then again, maybe they won’t. 

As a feminist, I’m all about choice.

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  • Bethany Elfrink @ at 3:20 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Exactly! So many people seem to think feminist is a stereotypical lesbian who is viciously pro-choice and hates men. Feminism is about equality, hands down. Just like we should not discriminate due to race, we should discriminate due to gender. If something happened that I found was sexist against men, I am going to speak up about it, just like if something is sexist against women. It just so happens, I think, that most sexist acts performed are negative for women.

  • ashley @ at 4:44 pm, July 13th, 2009

    I filled in for a professor, teaching her first-year students (not freshMEN of course) about Standpoint Theory, and in the course of the lecture, I had a student raise her hand and use that awful phrase “I’m not a feminist BUT.” My feminist self wanted to shake her out of it, but instead, I let the rest of the lesson speak for itself. Very much nodding throughout the rest of it. Point is, I guess it just takes some people some time (and lots of prodding, directly or indirectly) to figure out, “Damn. I AM a feminist! How about that!”

    PS, caught wind of this blog via Feministing.com. Way cool site. Will pass it along!

  • oldfeminist @ at 5:23 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Bethany, I’m wondering what “viciously” pro-choice means.

  • Bethany Elfrink @ at 7:15 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Pardon me. Perhaps not the best choice of words. No offense meant, of course, to those of us that are pro-choice.

  • Zaskoda @ at 7:48 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Up until recently, I would have been very much in support of dating a feminist. I’ve always been entirely supportive of women’s rights.

    More recently I started catching a lot of dialog that concerned me. I started going a lot of research and asking a lot of questions. My questions upset many of the feminists in my life. One doesn’t talk to me now.

    From what I can tell, modern feminism is nothing like the original movement. While feminists speak of equality, they fight solely for women’s rights. Much of the feminist dialog is littered with horribly inaccurate facts and language that paint men as evil.

    Feminists are working (and succeeding) in getting legislation past that is filled with gender specific language. Now, all an angry girlfriend has to do is claim I hit her and the police are required to arrest me. Meanwhile, women are guilty of domestic violence at least as often as men, and according to some studies – more often.

    Feminists often quote that somewhere around 2% of rape accusations are false. Turns out, most modern independent studies show that the number is somewhere between 40% and 60%. The FBI reports that of the cases that go to court and DO have dna evidence, 25% are disproven by dna. The consequence of being convicted of rape will absolutely destroy a man’s life. The consequence of being convicted of filing false rape charges range from probation to a few months in jail – maybe up to a year in extreme cases.

    Men have a lot of extremely valid cases to make in the struggle for equal rights. It is widely accepted in our culture to mutilate a man’s genitals at the time of birth. This practice was started as a religious effort to stop the evils of masturbation. Some 40% of skin is lost, including 100% of the fine touch neurons… and it’s considered not just acceptable, but preferable.

    The more I research, the more I understand that male privileged is a myth and the modern feminist movement is largely responsible for perpetuating this myth.

    And the media response to the recent news that we can now create sperm from stem cells… wow, the things many prominent feminist said are just sick.

    I started to become a Men’s Rights activist. I started to get really upset. I found that there’s a significant and young Men’s Rights movement brewing online right now. Men are mobilizing and taking action and many women are supporting the cause.

    Unfortunately, I can’t support this as it will ultimately become exactly what the feminist movement has become. Once change has started, the movement will press and press, forever at war with the concepts of feminism. I won’t be a part of this.

    I am an egalitarian and I will only date an egalitarian. I am in no way afraid of feminists… I just don’t want to associate with them. I’m tired of the sexism.

  • gloria @ at 7:51 pm, July 13th, 2009

    I am one of those who is pro womens rights (stated above & more), but wouldn’t call herself a feminist. I understand Julie’s point, but the word has a negative reputation and I feel if you associate yourself with it it makes you sound aggressive. But I am not aggressively fighting, I just agree to some extent with people who do. I don’t want to consider myself an activist-feminist just because i agree with some of the ideas.

  • Julie Z @ at 9:25 pm, July 13th, 2009

    @Zaskoda I am currently working with an organization that is devoted to research on women that directly contradicts what you just posted, and I know for a fact that their research is based on carefully done studies and years of work. I don’t know where you got your information from, but it just doesn’t sound accurate. and I’m not saying that just because you’re against feminism — honestly, it doesn’t match up to real research I’ve seen.

    @gloria — I get where you’re coming from. A lot of the times I feel like maybe we should make up a new word (guess that’s where ‘womanist’ came from…) just so people could see this greatness of this movement without the negative connotations. While I get angry about these issues, I don’t actually want to “fight” with anybody, I don’t want to be violent. I just want to solve the issues.

  • masily @ at 9:25 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Well, there are a number of issues involved here, and they all involve the ways in which language works.

    A person might believe in sex&gender equality, but not call herself a feminist. Whether she “is” a feminist depends on the way in which you’re using the word. If you use ‘feminist’ to describe ANYONE who believes in sex&gender equality, then you would call her a feminist. Not everybody uses the word ‘feminist’ in that way, though, so there’s potential for misunderstanding. (Let’s not get into an argument about what the “right” meaning of ‘feminist’ is. Words mean what people use/understand them to mean; you may prefer a particular usage, but there’s no God of Language out there who’s the ultimate authority.)

    But there are other meanings for ‘feminist’ beyond ‘sex&gender egalitarian.’ A person might call himself a feminist because he associates & agrees with other people who call themselves feminists. He uses the word as a way of identifying with a group of people, in the same way that one might use the words ‘nerd,’ ‘queer,’ or ‘Deaf.’ So a s&g egalitarian might choose not to declare such a group affiliation, for any number of reasons. (Some of which might be bad reasons.) A feminist in one sense, not a feminist in the other.

    (And, of course, ‘feminist’ might mean many other things. It’s a commonplace of feminist discourse that there are as many feminisms as there are feminists. That’s a general truth about language.)

    To tell a friend “No, regardless of what you think, you actually ARE a feminist” is a move that we should be cautious of. It tells that friend: a) you reject HER terms of discourse, and insist on using your own; b) you think you know her situation better than she does; c) you’re not interested in her viewpoint, you just want her to agree with yours. Controlling others’ language, presuming to speak for them, and adopting patronizing attitudes towards their beliefs… those are the kinds of behaviors that we want to fight AGAINST.

  • Radhika @ at 10:34 pm, July 13th, 2009

    Also, many women of color refuse to identify as feminist due to the historical (and current) racism associated with the movement. For many women, feminism is for white women (which is untrue, imo), but many black women identify as womanist instead.

  • Jimmy @ at 2:37 am, July 14th, 2009

    @Zaskoda Until I see actual studies linked here, I do not think your numbers and facts are correct.

    The male mutilation you’re talking about is not a mutilation. If you use the word mutilation as in any form of deformation or artificially induced change of a body part then I guess it can be right. However the male mutilation you mentioned is in fact performed to prevent and/or treat medical problems to a penis in many cases. As far as nerve cells are concerned, you don’t even lose enough to notice that you lost anything. You are correct about how it was highly religiously and politically motivated campaign to force boys to receive the surgery when it was popular but there was (and is) no side effect to it unless the surgery itself went wrong. In contrast, mutilation of female genital is unfathomably brutal and causes seriously negative aftermath. Just look up some information on mutilation of clitoris then you’ll understand.

    The male privileges are not myths. They are quite ubiquitous in every aspect of our society. Such as this, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106486162
    If you can just open your mind and look at your life objectively then you will see that you’ve been privileged for being a male or you’ve been oppressed for being a female.

  • Zaskoda @ at 12:35 pm, July 14th, 2009

    @Julie Z – Um, I stated a lot of stuff.. what, in particular, is your research conflicting with? If you search Wikipedia for the Men’s Rights article, you’ll find a lot of related stats linked to their sources. However, similar stats can be found in a number of places. I’d be happy to point you to what I’ve found if you tell me what, specifically, is in conflict.

    @Jimmy – There is not a single legit health organization in the world that will stand behind the proposed health benefits of circumcision. There are conflicting studies, but most conclude that circumcision negatively impacts male sexuality including significantly reducing a male’s ability to bring a woman to climax.

    Furthermore, I had a very good friend who’d experienced female genital mutilation as a child in Africa, so I am very familiar with it’s impact.

    Just because you can link to an example of gender bias in the Olympics does not prove male privilege. I could do the same in an attempt to prove female privilege and have seen many blog posts where people have gone through the exercise of making such a case.

    From Ken Wilbur’s blog, a post by Vanessa Fisher titled “Beauty and Feminism” :

    “As Ken points out, for one group of people to be truly oppressed, chances are that at least one of three possibilities is true: they are either dumber, weaker, or fewer in numbers than their oppressors. It is doubtful that we could find any sane person, male or female, who would suggest that women have ever fallen into any of these categories—and yet the myth of oppression lives on, a grim parody of the real oppression that men and women have both experienced throughout our shared history.”

  • Heather @ at 2:28 pm, July 14th, 2009


    Your quote is the stupidest, most reductionist view of oppression/privilege I’ve ever read in my entire life. A “minority” doesn’t mean there are less of us, or that we have less brain cells — it means that we have LESS POWER. There are many, MANY places in the world where an oppressed group is the majority. Look at South Africa — there are WAY more blacks than there are whites, and no one is arguing that blacks are weaker, dumber or fewer — but they are OPPRESSED by people in power.

    If women already have equal rights, how come we make less money? Have less leadership roles? And to make this about men vs. women is so simplistic it’s almost moronic. The sort of “feminism” you talked about in your first point is *maybe* accurate when referring to 40-year-old concepts of second-wave feminism. Modern feminists (third wave, womanists, what have you) aren’t man-haters who are only interested in woman’s rights — we are HUMANISTS, interested in EQUALITY for EVERYONE, which is not universally achieved because the struggles of women and men are individual and unique.

    We don’t just look at things in terms of “men vs. women” — we look at the intersections of race, culture, power, class and status and how these affect various people, in various groups, differently. Modern feminists are HUMANISTS — we are equally concerned with, say, the portrayal of black males as dangerous as we are with white women’s pay inequities.

    You bring up some relevant points regarding the lack of attention paid to domestic abuse at the hands of female partners — an issue that modern feminism IS concerned with — but you completely disregard the severity of abuse women suffer. In the US (and this is only the US, because that’s what you referred to, even though FEMINISTS are interested in issues abroad), one third of women who are MURDERED are murdered by their partner. Men? THREE percent. And of those three percent of men, 80% of them were abusers themselves, and were killed by the women they’d abused for YEARS.

    About the only thing I can agree with you on is the circumcision issue, which, if you spent maybe 15 minutes checking out modern feminist discourses at modern feminist blogs (say jezebel.com for instance), you’d see that a lot of feminists agree with you. And a lot don’t! Because THAT’S what modern feminism is — respecting and discussing and dissecting modern society, the way things are (for BOTH genders) and coming up with constructive solutions.

  • ArtOfMe @ at 5:33 pm, July 14th, 2009

    I think people are afraid of the stereotypes associated with feminism. I identify as a feminist, and I hope that eventually these misconceptions might be cleared up. I believe that feminism is about equality. I care about men’s issues too, but you can’t deny that women have historically gotten the worse side of it. Feminism is so complex and defined in so many ways that it can be difficult to clarify exactly what you mean by it.

    Someone I date wouldn’t necessarily have to call themself a feminist, but their actions would have to be in line with understanding the equality of the genders, and they’d have to respect how important feminism is to me.

  • Zaskoda @ at 6:59 pm, July 14th, 2009


    You are exactly why I wouldn’t date a feminist. Your response is angry and hateful… and filled with tones of misandry.

    “If women already have equal rights, how come we make less money?”

    U.S. Census data from 2001 reveals childless women who have never married earn 117 percent of their childless male counterparts, when the comparison controls for education, hours worked and age. Furthermore, 2004 Census Bureau data shows that “a part-time working woman makes $1.10 for every dollar made by her male counterpart.

    Four-fifths of the 2.74 million people who lost their jobs between November 2007 and November 2008 were men.

    “Modern feminists (third wave, womanists, what have you) aren’t man-haters who are only interested in woman’s rights — we are HUMANISTS, interested in EQUALITY for EVERYONE, which is not universally achieved because the struggles of women and men are individual and unique.”

    Really? I’m pretty sure these quotes come from feminists that are alive today:

    Sounds like man hating to me.

    “Modern feminists are HUMANISTS”

    Then why not put away your “feminist” title and call yourself a “humanist”.. or better yet, join me and call yourself an egalitarian?

    “You bring up some relevant points regarding the lack of attention paid to domestic abuse at the hands of female partners — an issue that modern feminism IS concerned with…”

    Really? What has the movement done to help bring light to abused men? Show me something of any significance at all.

    “… — but you completely disregard the severity of abuse women suffer.”

    No… no I don’t.

    As for the rest of your post, I’d appreciated if you’d provide a source for the stats. I would like to research them.

    You know… lets talk about violence… When I was in high school, a girl in the class walked by and punched me in the balls hard. It dropped me to the floor. You know what I did? Nothing. If I had hit her, I would have been suspended. If I had talked to any authorities about it, they would have laughed at me and sent me back to class where I would have been mocked for the whole affair. She was testing boundaries and learned what she could get away with because of the structure of our society and culture. Where was my “male power”?!?

    Furthermore, I’ve been the kid who was beaten for the color of his skin. Because I was a lone white kid in a mostly Hispanic school. Where was my “white power”?!?

    Why… why would I ever want to invest my time and love in a woman with an intensely negative attitude towards white men?

    We’re all in this together and when folks decide to stop taking sides and treat people as people… MAYBE we can start to move beyond the inequality we have today.

    So long as a significant group of women identify as “feminists” we will never reach equality. Ever.

  • Cri @ at 7:34 pm, July 14th, 2009

    Wow, way to come onto a young woman’s site and start flaming away, dude! I’m a feminist and the mother of a boy, so does that make me a man-hater? I really love all my guy friends, even the white ones. What am I thinking?! I’m sorry that you didn’t think you could tattle on a girl. I know I got detention for picking on a boy. He got detention, too, for getting two girls to hold me down to punch me in the face. I don’t deny I did something wrong by teasing him. Kids are jerks sometimes!

    I’m a humanist too, but women have it a lot worse than men in, oh, 90% of the world. That’s why we feel the need to aggitate, and to fight for women’s rights. We’re actually not coming to get you. Wooooooooh…

  • Heather @ at 10:52 pm, July 14th, 2009

    Once again, you are confusing personal circumstances with societal privilege. Just because one white dude got beat up by a Hispanic guy doesn’t mean you don’t have privilege in terms of earning power, obtaining employment, having your voice heard, having proportional political representation, not getting racially profiled, etc. etc. etc etc. That’s possibly the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard.

    And just because one small demographic of women makes more doesn’t mean women in general make more. Emphasis on CHILDLESS — the income disparity rises sharply when women have kids, for a whole variety of reasons, including discrimination from male superiors (because yeah, men are still overwhelmingly the ones in positions of power) and the fact that childcare responsibilities fall disproportionately on women, because we live in a sexist society. Also emphasis on EDUCATED — because only a small group of privileged women can afford to obtain an education. Your statistic is in no way representative of the population as a whole.

    Also, again, this reductionist argument of yours — what “men” are you talking about? Because black men, hispanic men, etc., make a lot less money than you do, and have entirely different issues/interests they are faced with. And black/hispnaic/etc women make even less. THAT is why we still need “feminism.”

    I’m not going to argue with an uneducated grown-up on a teenager’s well-intentioned, totally awesome (seriously, props, girl!) blog, and I am obviously not going to change the mind of someone so painfully out-of-touch. Thank you, white man, for telling this woman of colour what my issues are/should be. I’m glad to see your colonialist, partriarchal mentality hasn’t skipped a generation or anything. God forbid you step outside of your comfort zone.

    Have a good life and good luck getting a girlfriend.

  • Swana @ at 12:01 am, July 15th, 2009

    @Heather: ‘Nuf said, well put.

  • Alex @ at 10:32 am, July 15th, 2009

    @Zaskoda: I tried reading through all of your posts. Forgive me if I stopped here:

    “You are exactly why I wouldn’t date a feminist.”

    You, Zaskoda, are exactly why I wouldn’t date you.

  • Zaskoda @ at 2:27 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Alex – You didn’t want to read something you disagreed with, yet you still jumped at a chance to insult. No, I don’t forgive you.

  • Zaskoda @ at 2:41 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Heather –

    Re: “Also emphasis on EDUCATED — because only a small group of privileged women can afford to obtain an education.”

    In recent years, girls in the United States are performing much better than boys in the same age group, in most schools and colleges. In the United States, 57% of college students are women, and the number is growing.

    Re: “Because black men, hispanic men, etc., make a lot less money than you do”

    You just specifically made an assumption about me based on your assumptions about white men in general. This is racism and sexism and you are now guilty of the crimes of which you are so deeply offended.

    You’re full of anger… a lot of anger, and it’s clear in your post. I’m sorry you’re so angry and I honestly wish you could see past it and accept people.. accept me.. as an individual and not judge me by my skin color or chromosomes.

    I won’t apologize for my race or my gender. I didn’t choose to be a white male. I have nothing to do with the oppression that has happened in the past, I wasn’t born yet.

    However, I have and will continue to do my best to treat every person I meet equally and fairly, which is more than the world has done for me.

    It is a shame I’m not female or a person of color.. or even perhaps gay… as then I might be heard by those such as yourself.

    I do hope, very deeply, that some day you can stop being angry.

  • Alex @ at 3:25 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Zaskoda: Good job missing the point. I didn’t think it needed an explanation, but clearly it does. I never said I disagreed what what you wrote. In fact, I read through most of your posts, but stopped there.

    You seem to be under the delusion that you’re actually engaging in legitimate discourse, and simply having a conversation in which you share ideas and facts. When you make a statement like, “You’re the reason why I wouldn’t date a feminist,” you completely undermine any credibility you may have had.

    See, my post was clever because I didn’t marginalize you based on your gender or views. I said I wouldn’t date you specifically because of the views and opinions you’ve expressed. Get it?

    What’s hilarious is you treat “feminist” as a dirty word, saying you won’t date anyone who calls themselves one, while posting on a site that is so savvy, it calls itself “fbomb,” suggesting that feminism is treated as a dirty word in our culture when it shouldn’t be. Really, this has to be explained to you?

    Worst of all (are you still reading, Zaskoda?), you act as if your statement that you wouldn’t date a feminist is actually insulting or relevant. Sure, the article talks about dating and identifying as a feminist, but you did a good job of missing that point, too.

  • Zaskoda @ at 3:45 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Alex, I see your point. I mostly agree with you.

    I did set an offensive tone with Heather, only making it more difficult to actually have an open conversation. Heather, I apologize for this.

    Feminist, in my mind, is a dirty word – and this is, indeed, my point. Modern feminism expresses the notion of equality, but it also focuses an enormous amount of energy to paint women as victims and men as oppressors. I truly and deeply believe that this will only serve to widen the gap.

    If you’re interested in equality, be an egalitarian. If women do, indeed, need more support to reach equality, then supporting equality will naturally take us there. I believe that, considering all things, men and women in the United States are fairly equally oppressed and liberated. Still, under the intent of egalitarianism, it doesn’t matter what I *think*.

    I completely understand that women have had a very difficult past, but I’m trying to focus on today. I’m trying to focus on a mindset that won’t de-evolve into a pattern of hatred and victimization in the future.

    I’ve been struggling to get to where I am… but I’m feeling strong and confident about placing my heart on equality and tuning feminism out of my life.

    And this, ultimately, was my personal comment to the topic at hand. I know a a few feminist friends who have grown frustrated with dating, saing they feel men do not understand them. It took me a while, some time of really getting to know them, to realize that they weren’t trying to understand the men who were not interested in them.

    Feminism appeals to a core set of concerns that women have… concerns that are justified… and I by no means intend to diminish the value of those concerns. But the popular feminist dialog has gone far beyond this and is, in my mind & heart, is beginning to cause more damage and a deepening rift between men and women.

    Thank you for taking the time to clarify the point you were trying to make. Clever or not, your original comment did not communicate the message to me… You follow up, although extremely condescending, managed to communicate a lot of important things. Thank you for this.

  • Alex @ at 5:22 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Zaskoda – part of the difficulty communicating online is that tone is lost, and when we already feel defensive, things tend to spiral rather than resolving. Thanks for your apology, you clearly ARE trying, and my post had two purposes 1) to see if we all were actually missing each others’ points, or, alternately,
    2) you were trolling (not out of the question).

    I’m convinced this was a communication problem moreso than trying to pick on people. That said, I would like to respond to a few things you said:

    “Feminist, in my mind, is a dirty word – and this is, indeed, my point. Modern feminism expresses the notion of equality, but it also focuses an enormous amount of energy to paint women as victims and men as oppressors. I truly and deeply believe that this will only serve to widen the gap.”

    The point of this website is to reclaim that word and redefine it. As modern women, we are obligated to evolve in our roles in society and redefine how we fit into our culture. It is natural for us to reclaim the word that got us to this point and allow its meaning to grow and evolve with us.

    You are absolutely right that creating an “us vs. them” mentality is divisive and harmful. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about these issues recently, and I understand why you’re offended and bothered at a lot of the hypocrisy you’ve uncovered. Please believe me when I say plenty of women who call themselves feminists also feel the same way.

    It seems unproductive to try to adopt a new word, (egalitarian), over a word that SHOULD define what we’re about when we talk about women’s rights and women’s equality. If we’re concerned with those issues and those issues are still relevant today (they are), we should be able to use the word “feminist” to describe ourselves. It should not have the dirty, ugly connotations and stereotypes people associate with it, but more critically, no one should feel ashamed of being concerned about the welfare and rights of women.

    By making feminism a dirty word, that’s precisely what we’ve done. It’s very important that this generation of women pick that word up, dust it off, and set it upright again, instead of pretending we don’t know it and aren’t associated with it.

  • Zaskoda @ at 7:06 pm, July 15th, 2009

    @Alex I’m going to play devil’s advocate just to make a couple of points.

    What if a group of white men adopted the name Klu Klux Klan and attempted to turn it into a group that fights for equality among races? I’m not calling feminism the KKK and I see the obvious differences. However, can you imagine how hard it is to “clean” a name that is so strongly tainted?

    Take the swastika. It was widely used before Hitler. Now, if it accidentally pops up, people freak. It’s that tainted. Imagine trying to alter public perception.

    Extreme feminism has insulted, and in some cases, injured a lot of men.

    Feminism didn’t start out to bring equality to all people – it began to bring equal rights to women, who were being terribly under served. Even many Native American tribes allowed women to vote. It empowered women who really needed empowerment.

    Maybe Feminism is trying to redefine itself… I believe it to be much harder to redefine feminism than to establish a new mentality behind a new word… one that doesn’t carry so much stigma.

    And, finally.. there’s the obvious root of the term. “All men are created equal” was coined in a time when “men” meant all people, not just males… but even now, many are offended by the gender bias of the language (there was a recent piece on this on Change.org).

    There’s no modern perception that “female” refers to all people. To rally under a term who’s very root has gender bias… you’re beginning your struggle at a severe disadvantage.

    Just my $0.02.

    This has been a good discussion. Thanks to Julie Z for letting us have it here.

  • Alex @ at 8:14 pm, July 15th, 2009

    Julie Z needs to add a forum to this site. Seriously. In fact, I so want to respond to your post, Zaskoda, but I think it’s time to take this out of comments. I don’t want to do it via email (no offense to you) mostly because this is a conversation I think a lot of people would want in on. So, instead, I’m making an interim forum for the hell of it where people can post and discuss.

    Check it out: http://www.alexawesome.com/forum

    I’ve posted my full response there, and I would love it if others wanted to get involved and start talking about these issues.

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 11:16 pm, July 15th, 2009

    Oh noes!

    Male Rights Activists have invaded the fbomb :o(

    ….Somebody fetch my Axe :D :D :D

  • Amelia @ at 6:17 am, July 16th, 2009

    Dear Zaskoda,

    Firstly, I’d like to say that in many respects, I agree with what you’re saying about the word feminism. Yes, to many people it is seen as a throwback to a previous era – however, I would actually say that we should only work harder to reclaim it. Feminism isn’t as loaded as you claim it to be.

    Secondly, might I refer you to several articles from the Guardian?




    I choose articles from the Guardian because it’s the paper that I usually read and I find their website easiest to use – in case you decide to argue that this is simply the Guardian being biased, the articles in question are all based off reports from other agencies (such as the Fawcett society in the last one) or primary research (the first two) which is backed up by other studies and organisations, such as the WHO. In case you don’t want to spend your time reading, let me summarise them:

    Article one: Circumcision saves lives. It reduces the chances of HIV transmission by up to 60%.

    Article two: WHO admits that circumcision can save lives.

    Article three: Women with children are paid up to 21.6% less than men. I quote, too, “Partnered women without dependent children earn 9% less than men on average”. The pay gap continues after the women go back to work and when the children are grown up.

    I hope that you read these articles and find them interesting. If you do, then have a look around – you will find a ton of writing on feminist thoughts and issues across the internet, whether it’s from a womanist, feminist or simply egalitarian point of view.

    I would also like to say that I agree with you on the issue of men being “redundant” due to sperm being created from cells and the media taking this as a cue to “bash” men. I personally think that this could have been a good opportunity to have an intelligent, rational and fascinating discussion on reproductive rights, the role that new technology can play in allowing same-sex couples to have children and the way that we treat infertility and related diseases. Instead, it turned into a bit of farce. However, it should be pointed out that, in the article you linked to, there was only one commenter who seemed keen to get rid of men (or rather, keep them for “menial tasks”), and even her article seemed firmly tongue in cheek.

    I’m sorry to hear that you were the victim of an assault in high school. However, I just want to ask a couple of things: were you afraid to be alone with girls after that? Did your parents/friends/acquaintances blame you? Were you brought up to accept that this kind of violence is going to happen to you because of your gender? Are you told to be afraid of walking alone at night in case it happens again? This isn’t me downplaying what happened to you, but this is my way of saying that violence against women is treated very differently to violence against men, and that is inherently sexist, as you yourself discovered. Women are either weak passive victims, or to blame for their own misfortune, even at the hands of someone else (male or female). Advice on avoiding violence focuses on women avoiding dark alleyways and the like, when in reality it should be more about creating a culture of respect and pacifism. Men, who are more likely to be involved in fights and assaults on a typical night out (I have no statistics on this to hand but Germaine Greer writes about in her book, The Whole Woman) but are rarely lectured to, patronised or expected to submit to curfews and limitations in order to be “safe”. I hate writing about this, because I feel that it simply encourages the stereotypes of feminists being victims of abuse, but that is because until people take the issue of “violence” as a whole seriously, and stop patronising women when it comes to their own safety, it will remain important for feminists. In London, where there was what the media called a “spate” of shootings of teenage boys last year, the focus was not on their gender, but on the way that they died. If it had been fifteen women killed, you can imagine that there would have been a completely different response.

    Finally, I’ve had men tell me that if they were a woman, they’d rather be murdered than raped. I find this outrageous: I think it shows that, according to some people, a woman’s sexuality is the most important part of her, and that violating her sexually means that she can never recover and be truly a woman, so death would be preferable. This is not to diminish the impact that rape can have on a woman’s life, rather, this is to say that prefering death to rape is a horrific notion, showing how violence against women is treated differently to violence against men.

  • Meg @ at 4:36 am, July 20th, 2009

    Zaskoda, I’m pretty leery of statistics so generalized that they have a 20% margin of error — frankly they just sound made up. The FBI reports *I’ve* read show that the actual false report rates for rape are 8%, approximately the same as they are for other violent crimes (FBI’s Uniform Crime Report 1996). The number of rape reports that don’t end in conviction are a totally different matter, and are much higher. Not because the women were lying, but because the nature of rape makes it very difficult to prove and most PDs put notably little effort into investigating them (some PDs have thousands of rape kits sitting around untested while the statute of limitations timer ticks on — see LA for a recent example). Even if physical evidence is found (and it’s not as common as you’d think — real life isn’t an episode of CSI), it still often comes down to a ‘he said she said’ situation re: consent. The difference between this and a false report is enormous; a lack of an airtight case does not make a woman a liar.

    I’m anti-circumcision/MGM as much as I am anti-FGM, but I really don’t see how the existence of male circumcision proves that feminism is unnecessary or untrue. That’s simply a non sequitur.

    By the way, I didn’t read Heather’s post as hateful at all. It’s very hard to read tone on the internet, and I have a funny feeling you’re reading it that way just because she disagreed with you in a forthright way. It’s quite possible to be confident and upfront without being ‘hateful’ — even for a feminist. I also think you’re guilty of holding others to a higher standard than you do yourself. Your understanding of feminism is very lacking and misinformed, yet you come onto a feminist blog to “educate” the feminists on what we’re “really” about. Um, okay. And then you accuse Alex of being insulting when all s/he did was reiterate your own words back at you. If you thought they were so hurtful, maybe you shouldn’t have said them. Seriously, read some of the things you’ve written. Do you really believe that groups like the IAW can be compared to the KKK? We never hid behind masks or killed people and we weren’t members of a socially-stronger group (whites) picking on the oppressed (blacks). If anyone is the KKK in this situation, it is male supremacists who try to tarnish feminism to keep women from demanding the respect and rights that should be accorded to any human being.

  • AndreiShaiko @ at 2:34 am, November 16th, 2010

    One of my dreams is to be hired by Feminist Lady…because I am submissive boy and I need a wise woman to teach me life & to guide me, please…

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