Feminism | Posted by Natalia K on 11/29/2010

Does Society Hate Feminism?

why do people hate feminism?

why do people hate feminism?

It’s interesting to analyze people’s reactions towards feminism. Some people find it unnecessary, exaggerated, outdated, weird, a waste of women’s time, and even “unfeminine” (that one is definitely my favorite). On the other hand, I had a completely different reaction. I’ve always felt that feminism fights for justice and for what is right. Whenever I read feminist magazines and blogs, I find comfort in these words written by individuals who think just like me. When I read these articles, I always get the impression that these writers point out the most basic and logical observation on injustice and basic human rights. So you would think that most people would agree with these concepts, but unfortunately, this is not the case when the message is coming from a feminist.

Whenever I’m totally fascinated by a feminist article and I share it with family and friends, they usually roll their eyes at me or they just stay silent and change the topic. Sometimes they’ve seen my point and they agree with me, but it rarely happens. Because of this reaction, I find myself sharing less and less of my feminist perspective with my friends (which is horrible, I know…). And what seems to be fair and logical to me seems “extremist radical feminism” to them (and not in a positive way). So why is there such a strong reaction against feminism? And most importantly, why are people disagreeing so much on basic rights for women? Especially when these people who are disagreeing are women to begin with…

I’m not a genius, but I am smart, and I do feel that a part of me is more developed and more socially conscious because of feminism. And maybe that is what people are lacking and that is why they can’t see my point of view. I don’t want to sound full of myself and say that I’m more advanced than other people, but I do feel that feminism makes me a better person. Feminism has helped my self-esteem and body issues, my relationship with women and men, and it has given me a critical point of view to look at society. It has made me aware of all the problems that women face, which are often sugar-coated and repackaged by society to trivialize these problems.

I don’t really know how to finish this post. A part of me wants to say “Yes let’s spread the word about feminism!” but no one seems to want to hear it. If people “hate” feminism, then how can they be opened to this message?

I guess only one thing comes to mind. Education. Let’s educate people as best as we can.

Natalia also writes for her own blog, This Is Natalia.

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  • A @ at 11:29 am, November 29th, 2010

    I genuinely could have written this! Whenever I share my feminist articles my friends just pretend (with very poor acting) to be interested or just plain change the subject. I think that education might be the only way to spread feminism too. And I also agree that it’s social conscientiousness above actual intelligence- I have BRILLIANT friends who just don’t see a point to feminism, but they also aren’t very educated about world affairs and culture.

  • Katherine C. @ at 12:44 pm, November 29th, 2010

    *sigh* I know! Feminism is actually really cool and interesting, guys! Guys! Guys?… :(

  • Zoe @ at 1:11 pm, November 29th, 2010

    Since becoming interested in feminism, my mom has been coming out of her shell. When I was little, she told me she was a feminist in the 70′s but never made much mention of it while I was growing up. Lately, now, if she finds a good feminist article, she e-mails me or texts me about it.

    I’ve also noticed that more of my friends than I would have guessed have feminist inclinations. I’ll post a link to a story on Facebook without mentioning the word feminist and then lots of people take notice. I feel like we’re all finally getting brave in talking about what we care about.

    I would love if everyone would claim the feminist title but until then, I’m happy seeing the issues getting talked about.

  • Liz @ at 3:25 pm, November 29th, 2010

    I agree completely with this one. In high school, it was hard to talk specifically about feminism with people, but as my friends and I got older, they tended to be more receptive to actually talking about feminism. In the mean time, I found that it was pretty easy to talk about feminist topics with people… but without actually mentioning “feminism” all the time. I could usually get my friends riled up about talking about stuff like double standards or sexual harassment, which probably made it easier for them later to think about feminism in a positive way. And even in college, while most of my friends aren’t members of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance like I am, I think they all identify as feminists and since they know I am interested in feminist topics, whenever they see something feminist related or when something pisses them off for being anti-feminist, they tell me about it. So while many people might not call themselves feminists, it doesn’t mean they can’t be receptive to feminist ideas and change their minds about feminism.

  • Embodying Freedom @ at 5:04 pm, November 29th, 2010

    I think that the common misconception of what feminism is is the biggest obstacle in young women and men calling themselves feminists. Even when I tell people the actual definition (not man-haters who want to live in a separatist commune :) ), they still stay “I’m not really a feminist, but I do believe women should be equal” etc.

    I wish high schools (even middle schools!) would throw some women’s studies/feminist history into their curriculum so that stereotype could be nipped in the bud. Good post!

  • Marisol @ at 5:14 pm, November 29th, 2010

    This may sound like I’m making it up, but…almost no one at my school even knows what feminism is. I’m not saying they have a hazy idea of it or a stereotypical image of a feminist in their heads; they literally do not know that the word feminism is in the English language or exists at all. I’ll be like, “I’m a feminist and I personally find that offensive” and they’re like, “What?!! I thought you were Unitarian!” *facepalm* So I DEFINITELY agree that education is the way!

  • Tessa @ at 5:42 pm, November 29th, 2010

    Yeah, I completely agree! I told a group of friends once that I’m a feminist, and one of the guys asked me if I shaved my underarms. Wow. Stereotypes about feminists being man-haters who don’t shave and burn their bras for fun are really annoying.

    Eductation is KEY!!

  • Nano Muse @ at 6:14 pm, November 29th, 2010

    Like Tessa mentioned about the stereotypes I think play a big part of why people aren’t into it much.

  • Robin @ at 5:48 am, November 30th, 2010

    I’ve come to see hating feminism as just a form of gender policing.

    You want what? Some kind of equity? Make me a sandwich, bitch.

    And there are those women who will say “Oh my GOD I’m not one of those lesbians who would refuse you a sandwich!” (lesbian being the clarion call of the gender police).

    A GOOD WOMAN is thus NOT A FEMINIST. A good woman knows her place and will dress and act the part.

    There is no winning on this. I still haven’t figured out the driving force behind the fear that fuels gender policing but feel free to give me your theories.

  • Itcha @ at 1:17 pm, November 30th, 2010

    I agree that people are mostly not open to feminism but when sharing your views on female rights, why label it “feminist”?
    I find it easier to communicate ideas and opinions when you remove all the labels. Instead of saying, “I was reading this feminist blog the other day…” I prefer, “I was reading this interesting/empowering/insightful/etc. blog the other day…”
    Words like “gay”, “feminist” and “lesbian” have so many different connotations that every person’s mind automatically creates a strict stereotypical definition of the word that they themselves believe to be true, whether it is or not.
    Some see a feminist as a women who doesn’t shave and tries to take over a man’s role and therefore writes off anything feminist as the ramblings of delusional, hairy women.

    Next time you try to share a feminist article or give your feminist opinion, try leaving out the word “feminist” and maybe you’ll get a different reaction and even change the definition of feminism in someone’s head.

  • Zoe @ at 1:43 pm, November 30th, 2010

    @Robin I thin you’re right on the money about hating feminism = gender policing. Very good point.

  • Sophia @ at 6:50 pm, November 30th, 2010

    I always find that those around either don’t know what feminism is at all, or use poor stereotypes they find from the media.
    What also bothers me is how wishy-washy some people are and state: “I’m not a feminist, but I think women should have an equal chance”.
    If only they knew they were actually *gasp* exhibiting feminist traits!

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 11:01 am, December 3rd, 2010

    I agree with Robin, it’s all about “place”, especially with the duds.

    I’m a traditional male! women should serve us, we are warriors!

    No, you are losers, cannon fodder, disposable dildos (many times nowhere near as satisfying).

    Want a sandwich? So do I! Here’s a 20, the deli is down the block, get me a portobello on flat bread with roasted peppers and alfalfa sprouts, now GO!

  • Danielle B. @ at 6:27 pm, December 3rd, 2010

    I read this and thought: “What the heck, did I write this?!” I feel exactly the same way!

    My friends are supportive of my beliefs (though they’re not “passionate,” per se), but my dad and brother are really hard-headed. They get really annoyed if I make a comment about a sexist commercial or another feminist issue, sometimes even rolling their eyes or scoffing.

    Just the other night we were discussing Disney movies. I simply said “I love Mulan and Alice in Wonderland, but I cannot STAND The Little Mermaid or Cinderella.”

    My brother rolled his eyes and said “here we go again.” I asked him what he meant, and he basically accused me of going “on another tirade.”

    The sad part is, I wasn’t even thinking about the topic from a feminist perspective. Mulan kicks ass and I used to watch Alice in Wonderland 5 times a day when I was a kid. But I’ve never liked the Little Mermaid or Cinderella just because…well, because I’m allowed to dislike them.

    Needless to say, I was really upset. I don’t feel like my dad and brother respect my opinions. They think I’m over-critical.

    *Sigh* I need more feminist friends.

  • Natalia @ at 7:01 pm, December 3rd, 2010

    Me too…I have no feminist friends either :(

  • Andrew @ at 12:52 am, December 4th, 2010

    Society at large has a lot of inertia, the status quo is really hard to change. You will see this with issues of gender, race, sexuality, and just about everything else. I don’t think society hates feminism, but people don’t like being reminded of the inequality that is still present. So there is sometimes the impression that feminists (or racial activists, or GLBT activists) are a drag because they remind people who are just cruising and maintaining the status quo that the joke they just made or the action they just took was sexist or racist or homophobic. But I think that most people would agree that women having the vote and being treated somewhat equally as men is a good thing. They just don’t like being reminded that we still have a long way to go.

  • NWOslave @ at 10:32 pm, December 4th, 2010

    Feminism is a self destructing marxist ideolgy.

    The western world is pro feminist and europe more so than the US. Germanys’ chancellor has already stated that the german people are all but extinct and it is too late to reverse the trend. Their final push to try to aleviate the problem is mass child care which of course will only hasten their destruction.

    In the western world there is no country which is at the zero population replacement rate of children which is 2.1. Spain which has laws like if a woman feels her husband isn’t doing enough housework he can be imprisoned for up to a year and of course is forbidden from his home and children but must pay support. Obviously a feminist law.

    Now follow this simple math. Spain has a birthrate of 1.1 per couple. So if you have 100 million indigenous people in 20 years, (a generation) you will have 50 million in 40 years 25 million in 60 years 12.5 million in 80 years 6.25 million in 100 years 3.125 million people left.

    No country in the western world is higher than 1.7 per couple and that includes immigrants, (the only ones having children and muslims)

    So you don’t have to worry about the evil white “patriarchy” anymore. In less than one century there won’t be any people of european decent left on the planet. Yay feminism!!!

  • Leila @ at 8:14 am, December 5th, 2010

    Speaking of reading feminist magazines, what are your thoughts on Filament magazine? I like what they’re doing in terms of making feminism implicit, rather than explicit, in their articles.

  • Dan @ at 8:02 pm, October 8th, 2011

    In Deborah Deck’s “The F-word: How the Media Frame Feminism”, Deck made several intriguing points pertaining to how society’s opinion of feminism is truly shaped by the media, which relates very well to the subject of this post. Specifically, when Deck discussed how nearly all females would believe in a society in which gender equality exists, however many women would not label or identify themselves as feminists, I identified with this notion. Although I am a male, I believe the pressure on a guy to not identify as a feminist is even stricter due to societal pressure and the stereotypes which exist due to media portrayal of the feminism. Men are much more limited when it comes to the leeway afforded to them in society, certainly concerning masculinity vs. femininity. If a male is to identify confidently and publically as a feminist, then he would viewed as less manly, even “queer”. This attitude exists even today in our ultra-modern and civilized societies. Imagine if a man in the society of the 1970’s, as described by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards, in their essay “A Day without Feminism”, was to openly support the feminist movement. I did not live in the 1970’s but based on Baumgardner and Richards’ description I would imagine that man would be viewed as a complete outcast to everything in society’s “guidelines”. As Anna Quindlen remarks at the end of her essay, “Still Needing the F Word”, that feminism “has a way to go”, the attitude males must take and the opinions males must follow in order to stay with the status quo of society, exemplifies that this movement indeed has many more hurdles to clear before the f-word (feminism) is laid to rest.

    Many people may believe in the feminist movement and its values, but people do not want to be labeled as a feminist, as other posters have discussed. Labeling people as a certain word, causes others to think of the sometimes negative stereotypes and images that are associated with the label and the person is automatically categorized and is judged unfairly. Labels help people understand certain groups in society but they have many negative effects on the certain group they’re assigned to. I have begun to realize how dualistic our society has become. Our society forces people into thinking of sexuality as basically a very strict black and white system. Gender identity, such as masculine vs. feminine, male vs. female, are often presented in dualistic manners in society. The truth is obviously that these concepts are not that simple. Society however, enjoys simplifying certain concepts in order to make life easier for people who fit into these categories. A spectrum of gender and a spectrum of sexuality should be accepted and people should be able to move throughout that spectrum during their life. Rather than being strictly “straight” or strictly “gay”, or strictly “feminine/masculine” for one’s entire life a person should be able to feel comfortable living a life of variety if they so choose.

  • Alejandra @ at 6:24 pm, February 25th, 2014

    I completely agree with this and that is why I am doing a research project about it. It’d be great if anyone could help me out by filling out my survey and getting as many people as you can to fill it out? I also need male responses so if you could share the link, it’d be great. Thank you!

    https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1JQxUbntKCx1rAXtjLkKOL0fUd3HnVnhPtcAH0bJQ7Zo/

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