When people, women especially, begin a sentence with ‘I am not a feminist but…..’ I am amused. Dear people, there can never be a ‘but’ following the words ‘I am not a feminist’. You are either one or not. Just simply make up your mind which one it is. And if the answer is that you are not one, whoa! please go and live in a cave or under a rock.
Perhaps when you do the ‘I am not a feminist but’ you were going to continue the sentence with something like: ‘I believe girls should get educated along with boys.’ Or it could be: ‘…men should start sharing housework.’ It could also have been: ‘…equal pay for equal work’. I don’t know if you noticed something here. While saying all of the above, YOU ARE BEING A FEMINIST! The only thing lacking is your acceptance of the fact.
Just when you are left thinking this butting of ‘but’ is the main hurdle among women, along comes someone who uses the term ‘stereotypical man-hating feminist’ and you are zapped. Really and truly zapped. What the heck is happening here, you wonder. You check the calendar. We are no longer in the ignorant era when feminism was WRONGLY equated to man-hating. It is now Twenty Twenty-three. Still there you have it.
Excuse me, there is NO ‘stereotypical man-hating feminist.’ Man-hating has an entire word to itself in the English language (just as women-hating does). It has no reason to ride piggyback on feminism. To understand that man-hating does not equate to feminism, one only has to know how to use a dictionary. It is that easy.
The spectre of the man-hating feminist, and the bra-burning one which incidentally has no iota of truth to it, were created to discredit the women fighting for their rights, to create a a dichotomy of good women and bad women (bad ones being the feminists, duh!) by vested interests. It is still bleated by the ‘I am not a feminist but…’ kind of women to feel good about themselves. We are not like THEM. We are the GOOD women. In fact they often begin a sentence with ‘I don’t hate men but..’ too.
On the other hand, if any woman has been or is passing off her hatred of men as feminism, then yeah, that can definitely happen of course. You have self-servers everywhere. But that does not mean the individual(s) is representative of feminists. That certainly is not what feminism about.
Women want equal rights, equal opportunities. That’s it. And they will (and ought) to fight the men who oppose the idea (and also the women who side with such men). That’s a fair fight and one being fought for the ones trying to discredit their sisters as well.
Shail Mohan 2023
Note 1: I think I have written about this topic already, more than once indeed. But one more time cannot hurt, especially when I am forced to hear ‘I am not a feminist but…’ and ‘I don’t hate men but…’ and their kind.
Note 2: The children are home and I want to spend every second with them. So I am taking a break and will be back on 17th. Thank you for understanding 🙂
Bovine Ordure said:
It’s sad that we have to label a basic right with a name.
That aside, many years back, I made the same mistake – I said in a post that I wasn’t a bra-burning feminist but….and then I got a comment that changed my life altoghter. The comment said something to the effect of “don’t disparage the bra burning feminists. If not for them, you would never be sitting in front of your computer typing out this post”. It was a wake up slap on my face.
Feminism is necessary to keep any semblance of balance. You can callit what you want – it is necessary.
And you are right. Man hating is another ball game. It’s sad that it is associated with a woman’s fight for her basic right.
Enjoy your children!
Thank you, Anne 🙂
Ken Powell said:
Ah…I difficult one this one I think – especially for me as a privileged white, middle class, English man. I just about have all the aces plus several others available which means, in my experience (and to continue the metaphor), it is assumed that I will always cheat.
By that I mean that though I have, in the past, called myself a feminist, I have been repeatedly told I can’t be one as a man because I can’t possibly know what a woman has gone through. That’s true, of course, but then I see feminism being redefined again as black feminists want nothing to do with white feminists for exactly the same reasons – that white female oppression is nothing compared to black. Similarly, English can’t understand anyone who lived under empire, middle class can’t understand working etc., etc.
Which makes it all very difficult. I gave up years ago and call myself my own umbrella term – an egalitarian. I simply believe if you cut any of us we all bleed red. There’s no difference between man, woman, other genders, sexual orientations, religions or hierarchy. My boss (if I had one) isn’t better than me, I won’t bow to the king (he’s not my king – firm republican) and no woman is better than me any more than I am better than any woman (and yes, I’ve experienced a lot of misandry over the decades too, so it has to cut both ways). And in my teaching, I always considered my students my equals too – even the five-year-olds); different roles to play, but equal.
So…make of all that what you will!
Love your comment, Ken. Everything you have said is so true. It is indeed all so difficult. I especially love the ‘if you cut any of us we all bleed red’. I am with you when you say ‘an egalitarian’!