If you stand for equality, you’re a feminist. I’m sorry to tell you. —Emma Watson
I guess this means I’m a feminist. Which is weird, because I’ve been having a lot of trouble swallowing the notion of feminism. And perhaps more importantly the behavior of feminists.
There was a big dramatic blow-out recently within my local community, in which some feminist went off on a local bar owner. First calling him a “rape apologist”. That was laughable enough, if you knew him at all, but when the community responded with support, she lashed out with personal attacks, including some against the bar owner’s girlfriend and her appearance. The bottom line is that her behavior was completely the opposite of feminism. This incident, along with much of my recent thinking about feminism, led me to declare to myself that there are two kinds of feminists: the ones who are actually feminists, and the ones who are actually misandrists calling themselves feminists. And sadly, it seems that the former is probably in the minority.
I have to be careful with such a generalization, though. A person can probably be both. A person can be a thoughtful feminist on good days and let slip a careless man-hating comment on a bad day. In fact, the majority of my friends who espouse feminism are imperfect feminists most of the time.
Interestingly, the article in which I found the Emma Watson quote also stated, “I’ve never met a feminist who hates men.” Either she doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “hate” (particularly in the context of the word “misandry”), or she doesn’t know very many people. I can certainly introduce the author to a few feminists who hate men, and a great many of my friends have made man-hating comments from time to time.
Perhaps I will keep my ears open for a while and evaluate statements on the subject of feminism through this lens. Statements that seek to build up women by tearing down men are not statements in support of equality, and by this definition they are not feminism, but something else (misandry).
(The subject of racism is hampered by similar problems.)
Anyway, I am still struggling with feminism, but perhaps I am one step closer. It’s possible that feminists are largely unaware of how other people see them. The tone of the article I mentioned previously is a perfect example. The author is clearly of the opinion that many people misunderstand feminism, and they need to get a clue. However, I would counter that the reason so many people misunderstand feminism is because of the conflicting and confusing statements and behaviors that are projected by feminists. If the general opinion is that feminists hate men, then you have to wonder why men feel so hated by feminists. Clue: maybe it’s because men find themselves on the receiving end of frequent hatefulness from the mouths of feminists.