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The New Age Anti-Feminist

Closed Mouth

If there’s one thing that is guaranteed to make me stop and think, it’s going to be the rise and rise of the “new feminist.”

At first glance, I almost supported the recent “twittersilence” campaigned by Caitlin Moran and India Knight as it looked good on the surface to raise awareness of the rape and death threats that were sent to some women on Twitter.

On deeper reflection, I pulled my socks up, opened my big mouth and decided I was against it.  I’m always happy to see people taking a stand on something they believe in, but the campaign left a bitter taste in my mouth about how it was promoted, and some of its feminist supporters.  I say feminist as I saw absolutely zero tweets from men taking part being negative to other people although it is quite possible there were plenty.

Many of the feminist supporters in their zealousness and possible eagerness to please their hallowed favourite authors in the hope they’ll be noticed, were less than nice to those they believed were the abject antithesis of their action and said no.  I even saw tweets that included comments like leave twitter to the horrible people on that day (in much stronger terms).

I didn’t really have a problem with people who felt like making a choice to be silent in a sisterly stand together although for me, shutting up is the last thing I’d do after threats, but some of it needs to be taken into context.

Yes, the rape and murder threats were different, but that’s a police matter, not a Twitter one.  Just because Twitter was the vehicle used to carry the threats doesn’t make Twitter bad or in need of punishment.  Their reaction to the media publicity was to agree to add an abuse button and add more staff.  I think that’s a fair and reasonable step to take.  People make those threats, not Twitter.

If feminists were responsible for the campaign, then I’d have expected them to not have committed abuse on Twitter, yet Caitlin Moran has been accused of allegedly using words such as spaz, mong and more.

As the parent of a child who often gets called words like that, aren’t those lovely words disablist, or is it ok to mock those who can’t reply or drum up lots of opinionated feminists to raise a campaign for them.  I’m told Caitlin Moran apologised for those tweets, but a twitter user countered that if it’s ok for her to apologise for words she didn’t really mean, why isn’t it ok for others who didn’t mean what they said be allowed to apologise also.  She has a valid point.

If that’s the model of modern day feminism, then I’m happy to be an anti feminist, stuck in my rut of giving up working 9-5 for an employer to look after the boys we adopted, while making sure they’re fed and watered, fend off the people calling middler names like spaz and working through promoting inspiring women which we did on the day of twitter silence.

Almost all of us old twitter hands were still around on the day and it’s made me rethink my timeline as there were none of the celebrity feminist retweets that can clog up the streams.  Most of those taking part seemed to be the newer tweeters, for whom a campaign like this is likely to be the first one they’ve seen.

What better way could they have raised awareness with their large twitter audiences?  How much better could they have been supported with more of the popular niche bloggers on board with a campaign they too believed in. I did spot Caitlin Moran asking people to respect those who didn’t want to take part, so kudos to her for that thoughtful tweet on our behalf.

I do feel that for feminism these days, it should more easily read anti traditional lifestyles.  There’s nothing wrong at all in wanting to have an old fashioned traditional life where the woman cooks, cleans and follows the male household lead, but also has opinions, a voice and and is considered.  Far too many people confuse women living like that with verbally or physically abused women who’ve been dominated by a partner.

What about men, are they to be called malenists if the role is reversed?  How would we take it if men continually berated women online for not wanting to be out working long hours, take on the role of protector, or generally do most of the holiday driving while their partner supervises the kids.

I’m anti-feminist and pro-choice.  There seems to a very clear difference in my mind.  What about yours?

Abusve comments will be deleted, however you are free to disagree with me politely.

9 thoughts on “The New Age Anti-Feminist

  1. I’m in agreement with most of what you’ve written here. I don’t consider feminism to be a dirty word, but I’m certainly struggling to see where I fit in, especially on twitter. I’m raising three boys and I refuse to make them responsible for anything other than their own behaviour and attitudes. They are being raised to view all people as equal, exactly as I am raising my daughter.

    I find some views towards men to be completely against my feminist principles of equality, especially when it comes to the term ‘mansplaining’. My brother, like my sister and I, grew up in a violent household and his views on dv would be far more valuable to hear than the views of a woman who has no experience of such a situation. We were raised by our mother as equals yet, for some ‘feminists’, he has no right to a voice.

    1. I’ve not come across the word mansplaining. I suspect I am fortunate not to have heard it. Thanks for the comment, it’s appreciated.

  2. Wow.

    I certainly don’t support disablism or racism or any other -ism, and I can respect both points of view on the Twitter silence. But for any woman (or sentient adult, come to that) to say that they are anti-feminism (which is nothing more than the belief that both men and women deserve to be treated equally) is quite sad, really.

    Women fought and died and wrote books and made speeches so that women could enjoy the progress that has been made towards equality. Without their struggle you and I would not have the right to vote, we would not be legally entitled to be paid the same as men for doing the same job, we would not be welcome in the clergy, or the military, or so many other parts of life.

    And the struggle is not over. Women in the UK today are still not paid equally for equal work. Social norms mean that thousands of women every day are still discriminated against for their sexual, reproductive and fashion choices.

    I am a feminist. I believe in equality for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality or ability. I simply can’t fathom why you would feel differently, based on a personal distaste for the conduct of a small group of individuals on a website.

    1. Hi Sally, I believe in equality for everyone the same as you, but I don’t like how the popular media, celebrities and others use it for their own gain.

      My feeling on this isn’t based on a small group of individuals but how I’ve been feeling for quite a while. The word “feminism” seems to have moved away from the traditional meaning for the majority of people I read about and hear talking about it. The popular use tends to cover up the original intents in a lot of areas of language and I don’t like how feminism is being portrayed, nor supported on the whole.

      For the most part, I don’t identify with those who promote themselves as feminists so I choose to make a different choice in supporting diversity for equality and inspiration instead. It hasn’t got anything to do with race, gender, sexuality or ability these days and I don’t want to be identified with what feminism seems to be growing into.

      I don’t see inequalities as simply a female issue any more. It’s much broader than that and we’ve moved on from the suffragettes time.

      Equality in legal and pay stakes are not simply gender based any more.

      When feminism originated, there were little in the way of rights for the disabled or for anyone of a different race. I’m much happier with the earlier Women’s Rights term for the more niche issue as it doesn’t conjure up images of sweaty tree hugging activists slagging off all men everywhere – which is rightly or wrong, very sadly what the feminist word seems to have come to represent to me.

      Managing the diverse population we live within these days sits much more comfortably with me as I see feminism as far too narrow nowadays.

      1. I’m just going to politely agree to disagree on this one. And if you don’t mind, I’ll share what I just shared with my Facebook friends, which I guess sums up what I think on the issue.

        If you believe in equality for all people, regardless of gender, you are a feminist, end of story.

        When I hear smart women say not only are they not feminist, they are ANTI-feminist, it pretty much breaks my heart. Maybe some snarky journalists ARE being idiots on Twitter in the name of feminism, but that means you’re anti-idiot, not anti-feminist.

        If you don’t like that version of feminism, the answer isn’t to disavow feminism. The answer is to stand up and loudly proclaim that feminism isn’t about aggression or snark or bullying women for the “wrong” choice. It’s about basic human decency and fairness. No more, no less.

        1. I don’t mind at all. Happy to see other points of view and being grown ups is what I love about being able to talk about it like this.

          I think the word feminist by default limits it to female which is one of the positions where I struggle. The anti-idiot comment made me smile much, I have to say. I might have agreed with you were it not for the struggles of special needs in my daily childrens lives, but watching how their lack of equality exists, I have had to take stock of how others portray themselves and often limit their support to one sector of the population that gets the publicity they seek. Perhaps that is anti-idiot. I just know I strongly dislike how feminism is being used to meet the aims of some and influence so many others.

          Will the word feminism actually recover from the people using it in the wrong context? I don’t know, but until it does, I struggle to identify with the popular uses of it, as over time words can be completely destroyed and used for other purposes.

  3. Totally agree with you!

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