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“Feminism is shouting, but the movement is a whisper.”

“Feminism is shouting, but the movement is a whisper.”

New-FeminismEvery time I hear the word feminism, my life expectancy decreases. The movement is hot in the headlines and has invaded the internet, sparking at times very unpleasant and divisive debates about gender inequality. However, if you take a step back and pause for long enough, it becomes apparent that the movement is in a terrible condition. In 2014 especially, feminism has had very little impact. If we look back further, to the start of the 21st century, it becomes apparent that behind all of the talk lies a disjointed, poorly represented section of society with an unenviable skill for alienating all of the wrong people.

“Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man hating”

Indeed, alienating people is feminism’s Number One problem. Since starting university, I have had several heated arguments with feminists, some of which have been extremely traumatic experiences. Rather than engage in a rational and reasoned discussion, such individuals advertise the issue in spectacular fashion; shouting at me until I gave up. Of course, such individuals do not represent all feminists in Britain. What they do represent, however, is the majority of the movement’s media attention. Herein lies the problem. These loud and angry feminists alienate men by making them feel responsible, as individuals, for all of women’s problems and they alienate women because real equality supporters do not want to be associated with this brand.

The fundamental flaws of the modern movement are not reserved to those I have branded “loud and angry”. Unfortunately, it is the more famous faces of feminism who have pulled the plug on this ship. The outstanding example is the Labour Party’s insistence on using ‘all-female shortlists’ to increase the number of female members of parliament. What this means, essentially, is that their solution to sexism is sexism. Policies like this are truly wonderful at alienating people from feminism. All we need now is all-homosexual shortlists, or all-left-handed constituencies and the world will be a truly wonderful fountain of equality.

“In recent years men have begun to stand up in facing inequalities and discrimination faced by women”

Can feminism really be in such bad shape because of a few loud mouths and a political policy most people have probably never

Emma Watson and the 'HeForShe' Campaign

Emma Watson and the ‘HeForShe’ Campaign

heard of? Well, I’m glad you asked actually. The gun which fired the fatal shot belongs to the annoyingly naive Emma Watson and the painstakingly embarrassing ‘HeForShe’ campaign. Miss Watson climbed aboard her moral high horse and declared “We want to end gender inequality.” What her campaign actually means, if you cannot guess from its cringe worthy title, is something closer to this; we are going to fight for women’s rights and want men to help us do this. What the campaign fails to acknowledge, and the central reason why feminism is all but dead and buried, is that men suffer from gender discrimination too. I smile at the irony that one of the most recent law changes regarding gender inequality was introduced to protect men; you may remember we were financially discriminated against by car insurance companies. Here is the central point. Feminism is struggling to make a difference because the people who represent it, be it the loud mouths or Hermione Granger, alienate too many people.

The fight has got to be for gender equality. We can only make a real difference if we work as one in an intelligent, inclusive manner. This means no more demonising men. It means no more ignoring the plight of women and the difficulties faced by men. It means no more feminism. Gender equality is about ending the discrimination, in its many forms, which is directed at all genders.

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27 Comments

  1. Don’t quit your day job.

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    • Do you practice having such thoughtful opinions, or are you just naturally interesting?

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  2. To summarise: It’s not okay to be upset about years and years of ongoing discrimination and oppression, but if you ARE going to talk about it, please do it in a quiet, feminine manner.

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    • Did you even read this. I mean, really?

      To summarise; please read it again.

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      • Yeah, sure. Respond to genuine criticism of the arguments in your article with a blatantly pointless question that is basically the written form of “you don’t seem to agree with me yet so I’m just going to say it again but louder”

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  3. I have to wonder how much feminist literature you read before writing this article, or whether you simply watched an 11 minute youtube clip. Many of your arguments appear to be ill informed at best and damnably ignorant at worst.

    Yes feminism has a historical notation for alienation, but is it not the stated intention of the HeForShe campaign to alleviate these discriminations? It is a call for unity, for equality for both women and men. As you stated, “if you cannot guess from its cringe worthy title, is something closer to this; we are going to fight for women’s rights and want men to help us do this”. I’m quite unsure of your point because indeed this is what we are requesting. We request the assistance of men in our plight against gender inequality because inherently the reality of feminism is infinitely more complex than a balance of gender perceptions.

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    • Feminism is hate

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  4. Ella hit the nail on the flat bit in saying that feminism is more complex than simply balancing gender perceptions, and I think that’s what you’re really missing in this article and why the last paragraph is especially harmful.

    Feminism is fundamentally about fighting for gender equality, but the whole reason we have inequality in the first place is because in patriarchal society, men have access to far more power than women. This is why men experiencing prejudice, whilst eminently possible, is not the same as the institutionalised discrimination women face, and why I find your analogy with left-handedness frankly rather crass.

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  5. I’m having difficulty seeing how this could be more vague or uninformed. The reason you don’t like contemporary manifestations of feminism is that you have no real understanding or grounding in feminism as a social movement.

    Considering you haven’t mentioned the dismantling of Patriarchy as the inherent goal of feminism in all it forms (no matter how social media orientated it may be) demonstrates to anyone capable of the slightest level of informed critical thinking just to what extent you missed the point. Patriarchy is that ideological poison that within contemporary society perverts discourse and social relations, creating gender sterotypes on all sides, naturalising sexist and discriminatory views, aimed not just at dividing genders, but different sexualities and non conformist social types as well. The movement has been historically driven by women because women have been the ones, historically, that have been the MOST overtly harmed by it (which is still true now.)

    This is the second piece of, supposedly ‘liberal male’, anti feminist twaddle I’ve had the misfortune of reading on the website over the last month and I think the same thing about this as I did about that: you feel alienated because you’re A) Ignorant B) Sexist.

    The reason it matters is that others will read this and adopt your same lazy ‘common sense’ attitude and it is harmful. You attack the people who have defended the rights of you and those around you for decades and I think it’s pretty disgusting that you’re willing to write a piece about it without doing even the slightest bit of proper research (not just Wikipedia.)

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    • Another fan. Yay!

      But really, this is just my opinion, which I am entitled to. Just because you disagree doesn’t make me wrong.

      My article says the movement is alienating people, which is not sexist. I am guessing you are not capable of reading and absorbing the message properly.

      Also Jon, there is a good article about keyboard warriors on here. you should have a read xoxo

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  6. You honestly make we wonder why I bothered because you just haven’t read it and aren’t capable of understanding it. I did not say alienating people is a deliberate action, in MY OPINION it is an unfortunate consequence. My point was really quite straight forward there..Emma Watson isn’t fighting for gender equality in the true sense and so could be seen to alienate people.

    I was fully expecting the feminists to queue up and tell me I can’t have an opinion. The irony is fantastic…I said feminism alienates people and that is exactly what you are doing now, proving me right!

    “Yes feminist literature has a historical notion for alienation”
    -SO YOU AGREE WITH ME?

    Also, you call me ignorant, do you even know what all female shortlists involve and do you agree?

    Again, sorry for having an opinion.

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    • Yes I do agree that feminism has a history for alienating people, as you say, not in a deliberate action. In fact I just finished writing a paper on it myself. I think you are under the impression we are attacking you, we are not.

      We aren’t here to form a queue and tell you that you aren’t entitled to your own opinion, I don’t believe anyone has said that. we are simply standing for what we believe in, inherently entitled to our own opinions also. You make some good criticisms, some that I whole heartedly agree with. But I think that a little more research would go a long way. An analytical writing style that shows strength of understanding as well as personal criticisms will hold a lot more weight in its dissemination.

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    • Also in terms of short lists, I think that the government are attempting to target sexism at an institutionalised level with a structured approach. I don’t believe it is as you say using sexism as a solution to sexism.

      Take for example the US House of Representatives. Of 435 seats, only 79 are held by women. It’s an example of institutionalised inequality and I think in order to combat that, governments are attempting to make direct adaptations to legislation.

      Whether it is the best approach, we are yet to see. But something has to change and I think we should see optimism in any attempt to eradicate inequality.

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  7. Fantastically worded article, i hope some people read this with an open mind and try to actually appreciate (Or at least understand) the points you are trying to make here even if they don’t 100% agree.

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  8. I think the problem with Feminism has less to do with man hating and more to do with Feminists making false or bigoted claims and then demonising anyone who raises any skepticism towards those claims. For instance, anti-female sexism certainly exists in society but there’s a debate to be had about whether the modern west is actually a Patriarchy, gender roles don’t disadvantage men as much as women, not all gender norms are examples of oppression, and not every demographic inequality is an example of anti-female sexism but instead reflects than women collectively are making different choices to men. If Feminism were a decent gender equality movement, it would be possible to discuss these issues within Feminist circles without being subjected to insults, intimidation tactics, and (occasionally) outright bullying. If Feminism were a decent gender equality movement, it wouldn’t insist on treating men and women unequally as a way of redistributing power. It would understand that you can’t end bigotry by simply redistributing it in the other direction. I would agree that Feminism (because of all of the above) certainly normalises and makes it difficult to criticise misandric rhetoric. But it’s much worse than that. The contemporary Feminist movement is actually undermining the work of it’s 20th century counterpart. I would support the Feminist movement of the 19th and 20th century. 21st century online Feminism is just sexism calling itself equality and promoting itself through misplaced (and often mean-spirited) outrage that creates a climate of fear. That climate of fear is the reason why Feminism appears to be so popular. If you criticise any Feminist claims, its guaranteed you won’t be debated with to the extent that you will be accused (in different ways) of being a terrible, hateful person who needs to be “educated.”

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    • You’d be hard-pressed to find any serious argument that all gender norms are examples of oppression. The only ‘problem’ seems to stem from the fact you’re perfectly happy to concede that say, ‘anti-female sexism certainly exists’, but unable to then ask the wider questions of ‘why this is the case’, or ‘what systems in society perpetuate this’. The fact is that this sexism doesn’t exist in a vacuum, it’s not simply a group of random ‘bad apples’ all collectively but independently deciding to go an oppress women, but rather a very deep-seeded and complicated series of societal structures and cultural norms that create and sustain these acts. I would be very interested in any sociological studies you have demonstrating that women in whatever demographics simply collectively decide to make choices that lead to their own unequal circumstance.

      As for your argument that if feminism was serious it ‘wouldn’t insist on treating men and women unequally as a way of redistributing power’ – I fail to see how one can redistribute the power between two unequal forces without providing the lesser at least some mild form of preference. Further still, the idea that feminism holds at its core some sort of ‘men vs women’ binary is completely false. Patriarchal structures harm men as well as women, and this is something heavily explored by contemporary feminist literature.

      While it’s commendable that you agree with the feminist movement as it stood one hundred years ago, I don’t think it takes a genius to point out that things have changed just a little in that time and that there are new issues that require addressing beyond the right to vote etc. This isn’t a case of me calling you a terrible or hateful person. All I take issue with is a series of unsubstantiated claims that demonstrate a profound ignorance of the movement, writing, and work that’s being discussed. By all means criticise, it’s a vital act, but if you have no interest with engaging with the *actual* issues as they stand in the 21st century then don’t be surprised if people don’t jump at the chance to hear your opinions.

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    • Thank you for this comment, it means a lot to me personally. I have received some very nasty messages from the people before you and on social media for an article which took me a long time to piece together. This is my work and I will defend it because I tried very hard to put it together.

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  9. Chris – all of the criticisms levelled at your piece have addressed concerns with specific points you raise, so shouting that people are too stupid to understand your (very simple, misguided) point seems counter-productive.

    I understand perfectly well that you feel Emma Watson’s brand of feminism doesn’t promote your idea of gender equality; what I, and most of the other commenters, are taking issue with is precisely your understanding of that concept and the best ways to organize politically to achieve it. The point is that women are overwhelmingly the losers from gender inequality and so attempts to redress the imbalance necessarily involve focusing on women. It’s not rocket science.

    Nobody’s telling you you can’t have an opinion; they’re asking you in really rather reasonable terms to consider that your opinion might be fundamentally flawed.

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    • I appreciate this, but some of the comments seem very unreasonable – I did put a lot of effort and research into this and had discussions with people which influenced what I wrote. It trivialises my work for people to say I watched YouTube and read Wikipedia – this is what I want to do in my future. I have already had an article published in a national magazine this year and have another on the way, so journalism matters to me so much. I do have passionate opinions on this particular subject, as do a lot of people, so I knew people would line up to have a go. there have been some lovely, constructive comments too. most of my article, especially the point about women shortlists, has been ignored because people have no response to it. All I am saying is feminism could do better to connect with its audience (probably as I could have done in my article)

      Thank you for commenting Harriet 🙂

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      • Just a tip if you really want to do this in your profession you are going to have to learn to handle criticism of your articles and the comments underneath them

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  10. Chris, the problem doesn’t lie either with people not understanding your article, nor people claiming that you’re not entitled to your opinion. Your opinions are your own business, but you can’t very well write a piece expressing them and then not expect to have to defend them against those who disagree, all the while waving the banner of free speech.

    The problem I have, which I think is shared by many others is that this article is poorly researched, lacks any substantial evidence for its claims, and makes a conclusion that’s vague and appears to just thrust forward a series of complaints about being ‘alienated’.

    It’s all well and good claiming that people haven’t engaged you in a ‘rational and reasoned discussion’, but generally speaking one of the precursors to this should be an actual understanding of the movement you’re attempting to criticise. As it stands all you’re doing is regurgitating a number of stereotypes banded about in the majority of the MRA drivel that crops up all over the internet and then stand back feeling very pleased with yourself for having blown over a group of straw men. Not to mention the fact that you’re attempting to shut down anyone publicly drawing attention to feminist issues because you don’t like them making a fuss.

    Feminism is 100% about ending gender inequality for all. Next time maybe give wikipedia a passing glance first if your seriously attempting to vocalise any criticisms of a philosophy.

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    • This is my work so I will defend it – haters hate, that is what you do isn’t it?

      I respect what you are saying, of course, but my article is just making the point that feminism could do a better job engaging with people. I do not see feminism as a working movement in the way gay rights/race rights is (just my opinion). And it is my opinion that feminism is about putting women on the same level as men, but not helping men’s issues. One BIT OF RESEARCH I DID was go on the HeForShe website, I would encourage everyone to do the same, you might find it enlightening about what that movement thinks feminism is.

      Thank you for commenting and for your feedback. I haven’t been at this very long and always seek to learn and improve what I am writing and how it comes accross

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      • Hardly – it’s no good crying on the one hand that no-one will have a reasoned debate with you and then immediately dismissing anyone who tries by calling them a hater.

        I think you’re falling into a number of traps, the first and major being that you treat feminism as this monolithic entity and start criticising all the things that ‘it’ as a whole is or isn’t doing. I agree, there are plenty of elements that do not make a huge effort to engage with the typical person in the street. However, there is an enormous wealth of information and number of people doing exactly that – just check out Youtube for thousands of videos made by people trying to make the ideas of feminism approachable and understandable.

        Also, the differentiation between feminism and the various struggles for equality for people of colour and lgbtq – since at least the 1980s these movements have worked in solidarity with each other. This is especially so now, I’d argue that pretty much all serious contemporary scholarship on feminism places an intersectional approach at the heart of its objectives. This is also demonstrated in the commonplace acknowledgement of privilege – the roots of the problems faced by all these different groups, whilst not completely identical and certainly manifesting in differing ways, are similar enough and intertwined in such a way that to argue for one without the other is a grossly misguided aim that will fail to address fully the causes of the problem.

        As I have said, your opinion is your own, but it is misinformed. Men’s issues are present within the work conducted by feminism, as again many of the root causes are the same patriarchal structures that effect women. It doesn’t take a huge stretch to see how, for example, the societal norms that place pressure on women to look and act in certain ways (in line with a constructed idea of acceptable womanhood) are closely related to those that place pressure upon men to look and act in certain ways also (in line with an idealised version of masculinity, stoic, strong, aggressive etc). In both cases, it is the same root that causes these problems and it is this that feminism attempts to deconstruct.

        As for the HeForShe campaign, I have my own problems with it for a number of reasons, particularly in the way it seems to be attempting to ‘rebrand’ feminism and presents a very simplistic idea of it that erases vast swathes of history and thought for the sake of branding. Not to mention its ties to sponsors such as JP Morgan for one (which opens up a whole can of worms re. the role of corporate capitalism in supporting patriarchal structures that we would need books and books to cover). I see what they’re trying to do, and I do think it is a positive step for the UN in some sense, I just wouldn’t draw too many conclusions on feminism as a whole based purely on that campaign.

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  11. I think you should research into the topic you write about before you write about it. You note that He for She “fails to acknowledge… that men suffer from gender discrimination too.”
    If you watch Emma Watson’s speech and actually listen you’ll hear these exact words: “we don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are”

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    • And yet she then goes on to talk about how oppressed women are and how men need to help us.

      Feminism is divisive and hateful.

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  12. He now owns The Celebrity Personal Assistant Network () and places personal assistants with celebrities
    in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Chicago, and Washington DC.

    Reply
  13. Not to appear to ignorant, but just how will this economic collapse directly affect home mortgages, food and gasoline prices? I’m also curious how this will affect our ultility inrsctruatufe. Will the electric just go off, the natural gas quit flowing, etc.? Sounds like the worst doomsday scenerio imaginable.

    Reply

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