When I was in high school, I drove a car that was absolutely covered in bumper stickers – gems like “I still miss my ex, but my aim is improving.” Many of them, I would not be caught with now – but one, I still remember. It said “feminism is the radical notion that women are people too.” Since the bumper sticker is still for sale twenty years later, it is fair to say that the interpretation that was on the back of my car has had some staying power.
That’s why I am curious about the rise of being “against” feminism. While I’ve known for a long time that some people were uncomfortable using the word, and that many people (even among feminists) disagree on the appropriate political content and mission of feminism, the “Women Against Feminism” movement has me confused – are there women who disagree with the notion that women are people too? I’m not the first to have commented on the issue – Jessica Valenti wrote a great piece for The Guardian with perspective, and the conclusion that feminists should let antifeminists stop them. Reading all of the discussion of “women against feminism,” though, I remained confused about the very premise – especially in a world where headlines everyday suggest women aren’t being treated as human. Just today, women shouldn’t laugh in public, some guy was arrested for using his cell phone to look up women’s skirts (really), a seven-year-old girl was raped in a Bangalore school, and accounts of astonishing violence against women are way too frequent (see this story about ISIS in Iraq, e.g.). I’m not comparing any of these incidents – just suggesting that there are myriad ways everyday that women aren’t treated as full humans. And I can’t figure out why there would be women opposed to the recognition that women are people too.
So I investigated further, and figured out that the “Women Against Feminism” tumblr and Facebook page list a lot of great reasons to be “against feminism.” Here are some highlights (my commentary in italics):