Monday, October 5, 2009

Why am I not a feminist?

Some who read this blog may draw the impression (or conclusion in the case of those that nitpick for only the things that suit their prejudices) that I am an anti feminist. I am no such thing. If you want to place me on the feminist spectrum of 10 (staunch feminist) to -10 (staunch anti feminist) I am at 0, the non-feminist. Now I know there are some who would chomp at the bit to say that, "If you're not a feminist then fuck you!" It sounds like they have a presumption that to believe in equal treatment makes one a feminist as if that is the one true title and to not take up that title automatically means you are against equality and hate women. I don't take up the title and I don't hate women or the idea of equality. And here is why.

That is a post by Pelle Billing he put up today in which he questions what people will think of feminism 50 years from now. Reading that post and things like this:
Feminism’s belief that women do not have agency and are constant victims of “structures”, while men have nothing but agency and cannot be the victim of structures,...
has me thinking about bit differently. Its not the base ideals of feminism itself that support this its the people who put feminist theory into practice who take this stance and others like it that cause problems. Now there are certainly feminists out there who assign agency based solely on the gender of the people involved rather than who did what but this, as far as I can tell, is not a part of the base ideas of feminism.

So do I think that women and men should have the same access and opportunities? I most certainly do. However unlike those who believe what I was just talking about above I also think that men and women should to the same level of responsibility and accountability. Now this is not some excuse to just right off the entire movement as a bunch of man-hating power trippers because they aren't (well all of them aren't anyway). There are feminists out there who have done a lot of good things in the last several decades and I'd like to see those good things continue. But at the same time there are feminists out there who actually would like to see women prosper and men fail and I can't get down with that.

So I'm sure you're probably reading this and thinking, "But Danny just because there are bad feminists out there that doesn't mean you can't be a feminist on YOUR OWN TERMS." That is true if I really wanted I could just as I am a man on my own terms but the thing is to me titles like feminist, MRA, etc.... don't matter to who I am that much. If they are a part of your identity and you want to scream it from the mountain then by all means do so. The title just doesn't hold that much value to me (unlike being a man).

I'm sure I need to do some more thinking on this and I'm sure I'll come back to this subject one day.


elementary_watson said...

Good post, Danny. I myself would put it this way: I think feminism is great, but it's the feminists I have problems with. (I think someone said this about "Christian faith" and "Christians".)

There are also people who claim that not being a feminist in a patriarchal society makes you anti-feminist; the good old *tired* "if you're not for us you're against us" routine, which never in history has helped to convince anybody and only served to divide further a party from non-members of that party.

aych said...

So in other words, D, you're an EQUITY FEMINIST (aka: "fake feminist, phony feminist, anti-feminist feminist") instead of a GENDER FEMINIST (aka: "real feminist".)

This is because you fail to presume male guilt. You fail to assume that men have oppressed women for 60 billion years and need to be punished for it. You fail to start with the conclusion that women are blameless, sheeplike victims and follow-up by twisting all interpretation around that unchanging point.

Furthermore, you fail to assume "discrimination" is the sole reason for any outcome which fails to favor women. You refuse to make lame excuses for women who murder men. You even seem willing to accept the possibility you're not infallible.

I'm sorry buster, but you're never going to get accepted as a "real" feminist with those kinds of handicaps.

Danny said...

You refuse to make lame excuses for women who murder men.

I totally dig what you're saying here aych but there is no need to invoke the term lame as I have learned that there disabled people out there that find this to be offensive.

And if those terms keep me from being accepted as a "real" feminist (or "real man" as some may say) then so be it.

Sonja Newcombe said...

You're an Egalitarian - one who believes in equality for both genders.

I'm in the same boat, but am perhaps a bit stronger about my feelings about feminism in its current incarnation(s). Quite simply, I hate it and will never use the term to describe myself because of the stuff I've read from those who call themselves feminists. I know it's not fair to tar them all with the same brush, but even the moderate feminists parrot the bull the radicals preach.

Toysoldier said...

I think what you are describing is the inherent problem with labels. When a person claims to be this or that, whatever other people think about those labels is what takes precedence. People then must spend time explaining their particular meaning of the label, which in effect renders the label useless because it can mean virtually anything.

I also think that there is a false equivalency at play when it comes to politics. Essentially the position is that if a person does not support a particular concept or ideological standpoint then the person is inherently anti-whatever the underlying concern is. This just serves to perpetuate the us vs them mentality. It is entirely possible for someone to support equality, but not support an ideology like feminism.

Feminist said...

I realize I'm late to the party here, but:

Danny said...

While I can appreciate your attempt at being conclusive I have had enough experiences with feminists to realize that my ideas of equality between the sexes differ from what they are saying.

Just to give a taste first and foremost most of the feminists I deal with refuse the idea of sexism against men. If a feminists are willing to alter the definition of words to protect women from being called sexist when they do gendered harms against men then they aren't as concerned about equality as they think they are.

But by all means I have no problem talking to, working, and trying to get along with feminists. But they can keep the damn title.

(And in fact your guerrilla tactic of trying to tell me that I really am comes off as more of a feminist PR stunt than actual conversation.)