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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

‘Feminism’ should not be a dirty word

Man-hater. Lesbian. Socialist. Feminazi. These are all accusations leveled against feminists.

Anti-feminists and men’s rights activists have been complaining that the feminist movement has gone too far with its activism and has become about hating and limiting the rights of men.

The stereotype that all feminists hate men is simply not true. There may be some women who hate men and serve to bring them down, but this attitude does not belong to the majority and certainly does not represent the movement as a whole.

“There are different feminisms,” said Julie Winterich, associate professor of sociology and anthropology. “There isn’t one theory of feminism or one type of activism.”

The MRA website Women Against Men serves as a place where people express their concern for “feminists, government and society trampling men’s rights and their dignity into the ground — pitting women against men.”

Essentially, the site seeks to combat misandry or the hatred of men. However, the views expressed on the site only perpetuate more hatred.

One of the articles on the site said, “One of the main problems with ‘feminism’ is that it exploits the legitimate claims of equal rights as a cloak to usher in its divisive, hateful and neurotic interests; interests that are plainly anti-male and not at all about equal rights.”

The idea supported by the website — that feminism is based on the hatred of men — is destructive and false.

“Certainly throughout its history, there have been groups that have advocated for separatism where women should have women-only communities,” Winterich said. “But that has not been the dominant discourse in feminism.”

Feminism is about supporting women. Supporting women and trashing men are not mutually inclusive.

“For me and a lot of other scholars, feminism is the end of sexism,” said Winterich. “And sexism is a form of oppression against any gender based on the idea that one has more power than the other.”

Sexism comes in many forms, and no form is supported by feminists.

Despite its best efforts, the backlash and negative connotation surrounding feminism is not going to stop the movement. We still need feminism. Misogyny is still present, oppressive and supported by the system.

Recently, I heard the following riddle: a father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exclaims, “I can’t operate on this boy! He’s my son!”

But that’s impossible. Because the surgeon couldn’t possibly be his mother — she’s a woman! Get it?

Let me be clear: this should not be a riddle.

According to a study by the research organization Catalyst in 2012, 34.3 percent of all physicians and 69.7 percent of all medical professionals were women.

Titles like “doctor” and “surgeon” should no longer be immediately equated with “man.”

Fixing the assumptions made about feminists starts with standing up for them. The reason people think it’s okay to be anti-feminist is because no one will correct them. There should be open discussions between MRAs and feminists where no one ends up laughed at.

If conversation fixes the problem, shouldn’t we start talking?

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  • M

    MikeSep 26, 2013 at 1:42 am

    Re your “riddle” re surgeon assumed to be male..
    1) Are you aware that the majority of surgeons are men? (women tend to favor less specialized fields)
    2) If I made a riddle about a nanny who turned out to be a man …would it be shocking to you that it was assumed the nanny was female?

    Here’s a reality check for you, Olivia, re discrimination:
    – Would you prefer a male nanny or a female nanny?

  • P

    Peter-Andrew: Nolan(c)Sep 23, 2013 at 8:35 am

    “If conversation fixes the problem, shouldn’t we start talking?”

    Sweetie. We tried to talk to you. You hated on us. So now we have declared a war of return. And we will prosecute this war of return until such time as you women come to my table and beg for your offer of unconditional surrender to be accepted.

  • A

    Adrian WeathersbySep 19, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Many feminists may have noble goals, and many may be just like how you describe. However, you’re missing the entire point of WHY most Men’s Right Activist groups seem to directly target feminism, and why other women seem to be getting every bit as active in attacking feminism as men are.

    Let’s put aside the ideology and theory for a moment and look directly at what feminists are actually doing.

    First and foremost, the leaders of feminism are a main issue. The American Feminist Association’s attempts to boycott the male birth control pill, The multitude of prominent feminist leaders (many of whom are politicians) writing books about how men are unnecessary in society and if women ruled the world how there’d be no violence or war, The all women panel of “The Talk” who claimed that there’s no reason why a man should hit a woman, then turned and laughed at a case where a woman tied up a guy, cut off his nuts, and threw them in the garbage disposal.

    How do you expect people to associate feminism with anything other than misandry, when the very people championing the title of feminists are fitting every negative feminist stereotype you can think of? Communism in theory was about combating classist corruption and bringing total equality in all of society. Of course you’ll have a hard time believing any of that when genocide, government oppression, and crimes against humanity are the first things that pop into your head when you think of communism.

    Then there’s the other main reason. The root belief of feminism is belief in a “Patriarchy”. In feminism’s view, the word describes a governing system that supports men at the expense of women. Anyone who knows anything about history knows that this type of society has never existed in human history. Any time men had more benefits than women, they also had a proportionate amount of additional responsibilities to match. During the middle ages, a woman didn’t have the right to own property or gain certain jobs and positions. However, if a woman committed a crime, the punishment was taken out on her husband, or failing that, the father. Despite this being what feminists were calling a patriarchy, the men were if anything, more burdened than helped at the fact that their wives and daughters couldn’t do much other than housework to help make a living, and at the same time get him in trouble for whatever crimes they did. Yet feminists used this as proof that women were being oppressed by men, when that couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

    And feminism isn’t about equality. Egalitarianism is about equal rights. Feminism is about women’s rights. If feminists truly wanted equality, they’d mimic the NAACP’s actions after successfully achieving equal rights for colored people and stay quiet until something occurred that really was endangering the African American community. Instead, they’re pushing for additional women’s rights even though it’s gotten to a point where men have met every requirement for being 2nd class citizens (lacking legal and civil rights compared to another group, as well as lacking economic rights, a.k.a. Divorce Court, Child Custody and Abortion laws, Child Support laws, and Alimony).

  • W

    WilsonSep 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Who are you writing for? You admit that feminists hate men, though “it’s not dominant”; accuse men of opposing this hatred as “perpetuating more hatred”, while stating we need to vigorously oppose hatred of women; include unsupported banalities like “feminism is the end of sexism”; assert that feminism must ignore criticism, while calling for an open discussion. Do you think your readers are fools, or just feminists?

    You can make all the grand claims about the “true nature” of feminism that you want, but it’s really not open for dispute that it supports legal discrimination against males; and those who believe in liberty must oppose it like every supremacist movement–to the death.

  • H

    hhkhSep 19, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Feminism is hate.

  • J

    JohnnySep 14, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Hillary Clinton stating that women are the primary victims in war.

    Obama celebrating the ~65% of college graduates being women a “victory for equality” and saying we need to push for an even higher percentage of female graduates.

    A man in Germany dying broken and reviled by society barely a year after spending a full prison term because a woman who wanted his job accused him of rape, even though her rape kit showed nothing and she’d previously moved to outrun her history as a flagrant liar known for making similar false accusations. He was not exonerated because of insufficient proof of his guilt, but because of overwhelming proof of his innocence. The woman is finally being charged for the false accusation, one of the exceedingly rare instances where such charges are pursued.

    A woman in Montana pushes her husband off a cliff and admits it, and is released without bail.

    90% of divorce court cases rule against the husband, denying him sole custody of children even if he’s the primary caregiver (the most often used argument in favor of wives being granted sole custody), demanding alimony even if he makes far less than his wife.

    Violent feminist protests outside lectures where the speaker is talking about men’s rights.

    As you say: “The idea supported by the website — that feminism is based on the hatred of men — is destructive and false.”

    From where I’m standing it doesn’t seem so false.