Feminism: Theory vs. Perception

The more I reflect on the apparently duality of feminism, I am beginning to realize my comparison a week ago of feminism and Christianity is quite apt.  It’s not that there are two different kinds of feminism.  It’s simply that that feminism has earned, through the words and actions of feminists, a reputation for being quite different from its intent.

Consider these statements:

  • Christianity is a religion of love.  Christianity does not espouse the hatred of minorities, homosexuals, or the poor.
  • Islam is a religion of peace.  Islam does not espouse violence.
  • Feminism strives for gender equality.  Feminism does not espouse hatred or detriment of men.

All of these statements are true, in theory.  Yet we can all point to countless examples proving them untrue.  So many, in fact, that there is significant, legitimate debate about all of them.  All three groups would like you to believe that it is a few bad apples whose examples have grossly overshadowed the virtue of the vast majority.  However, the damage is done, and the reputations of these groups are what they are.

The author of the of the previously referenced article is willfully blind when she says she doesn’t know how feminism has earned the stereotype that it has.  I have more than a few actively feminist friends, and my Facebook news feed reads like a textbook of feminist PR, some good and some bad.  Rarely a day goes by without one example of misandry from one of my self-proclaimed feminist friends.  If the author doesn’t see these things, then she is excusing and forgiving behavior that others feel sharply and memorably.

For a long time, if you had asked me, I would tell you that I support gender equality but not feminism.  This is why.

About this, I will need to change.  From now on, when I encounter calls for the inferiority of men, or condemnation of men, or premeditated injury to men (oh yeah, the author should Google #wastehistime2016), I should just shake my head and sigh.  Girls will be girls, or something.  If it comes from a good friend, one who accepts constructive criticism from me, I should point out the error, but for everyone else, I should just let it pass.  I may support gender equality, but I don’t need to involve myself with PR for the movement.  It’s not my problem.  Until someone #wastesmytime2016.

(Anyone reading this should view my statements with this skepticism: I know very little about feminism.  I have generally not considered myself a feminist, have avoided learning about it, and have frequently felt myself to be on the receiving end of much feminism.  These ramblings constitute my own attempt at understanding feminism, rather than any sort of persuasion or propaganda.)