Feminism is far from a monolithic single-minded entity. There is vast diversity of thought within feminism, and not all denominations of the movement agree with one another. Some wings of feminism are not even acknowledged by others. Part of the problem is that, while all feminists at least seem to be fighting for equality for women, not all of them actually are fighting for that goal.
Among the nuance one might have noticed 3 primary schools of thought within feminism: the pro-equality school, the pro-women school, and the anti-male school. The latter has a fairly bad reputation in western culture with the most extreme flavors of feminism falling into this category. That reputation, sadly, is well earned. It should not have to be said that an anti-male attitude is not the same as a pro-woman attitude, and certainly not a pro-equality one. This radical brand presumes to be the primary voice for women in the world. This ultra-left flavor of feminism gives all feminism a bad name and it should be called out for what it is. So what is it exactly that needs to be called out?
First, not all brands of feminism are inherently Marxian, as is the ultra-left anti-male feminism. Marxism teaches, among other things, that life can be understood as a contest between oppressors and the oppressed. The problem with this mentality is that it is tragically reductive, over simplifying life to a simple equation utterly dependent on fomenting anger and bitterness. In the anti-male feminist school this amounts to treating men as inherent, inevitable enemies of women. To understand life in these terms is not to understand life at all. While plenty of evidence can be found to support this rabid view of life, to maintain such view the believer must ignore most of life’s experiences or distort them in a way as to confirm the predetermined bias. Any confirming evidence is treated as the norm (i.e., “rape culture”), and conflicting evidence treated as an aberration, if acknowledged at all. This is how confirmation bias works, but it is not how understanding (or intellectual honesty) works.
Second, the anti-male school of thought unintentionally ends up being anti-woman. Think about it. What are the most common ways extreme feminists advocate to empower women? By urging women to act more like men! Women are denigrated for living a lifestyle which militant feminists would ridicule as “gender stereotypes”. Motherhood is often treated as a form of slavery, marriage as a form of oppression. The maternal instinct is regarded as something like a disease that must be educated out of a women in order to free them. In this way womanhood itself is denigrated and shunned. Women are instead encouraged to abandon traditional hallmarks of womanhood and instead become aggressive, like men. On the one hand we have the feminization or Oprahfication of men and the masculinization of women, both of which are designed to reduce men and women to a politically correct delusion where the sexes are the same. Not equal, mind you – the same. Treating people equally is one thing, trying to make them the same is quite another. You are not the same as other people in the world, you are a unique person. You are more than your sex organs or life choices. But the militant wing of feminism has made it seem they reduce women to mere tools, politically viable weapons and force women into a victim mindset. Whether that was the intent of this brand of feminism, this is in fact how it makes itself appear.
Which leads us to a third issue with militant feminism: it is anti-freedom. We are not allowed to think for ourselves regarding militant feminism. If these feminists see a situation as the oppression of women, even falsely accusing men of rape is blindly accepted as truth, where there is no need to verify any evidence. If something is deemed sexist we are not permitted to view the situation is any other way. (Some feminists insist the tradition form of narrative (story telling) is sexist because it models the male sexual experience – as if that were the only legitimate way to think of narrative).
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Likewise, women find militant feminism attempts to control them by pushing for some choices and denigrating others. A woman who has a college degree is often pressured into following a career, as if she has an obligation to womanhood to do this. If such a woman instead, of her own will, chooses to be a home maker and mother, that same woman can expect to be treated as a traitor to her sex or as a blind zombie mindlessly falling into a patriarchal trap. Women are encouraged to treat sexuality with the same selfish, consequence-free fantasy (and childish) attitude men are often criticized for. With bully tactics like this (telling other people what to think) we find militant feminists constructing a way of womanhood while claiming to abhor social constructs.
At the end of the day it seems modern feminism (the anti-male type) is intent on destroying anything feminine in women, even the freedom to make their own life choices.
On the other hand there are women who fight for equal rights for women without devoting their lives to attacking men. Such women have the misfortune of being attacked by extremist feminists but they also offer a far better picture of empowering women. These women fight an uphill battle against a hyper-politicized and well funded extreme left wing brand of feminism.
One such woman is Christina Hoff Sommers of The Factual Feminist. Sommers is an academic who does not allow falsehoods and fraudulent augments to pass for truth in feminist circles. She challenges bogus data and politically motivated bunk because feminist fraud doesn’t help women, it harms real efforts to help them.
Another woman fighting against bogus feminism is the infamous Phyllis Schlafly. I say “infamous” because Schlafly is often accused of being anti-woman. I’ve seen Schlafly in person and read numerous criticisms of her. I can’t help but notice a deliberate effort to misconstrue and mischaracterize her work by those who accuse her of being against women. Besides, Schlafly’s experiences show she didn’t need a militant feminist movement to earn her education or establish her career – she did all that before most modern feminists were even born (let alone “helped her” achieve what she has achieved). I’ll let her tell her own story:
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