Antifeminism

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For the Japanese band, see Anti Feminism.

Antifeminism is an ideology that is broadly defined by its opposition to feminism. The Oxford English Dictionary defines an antifeminist as "one opposed to women or to feminism; a person (usually a man) who is hostile to sexual equality or to the advocacy of women's rights."[1] In common parlance, antifeminism is opposition to some or all of organized political activism identified as feminism.

Definition

Sociologist Michael Flood argues that an antifeminist ideology denies at least one of what he identifies as the three general principles of feminism:[2] 1. That social arrangements among men and women are neither natural nor divinely determined (see sociology of gender). 2. That social arrangements among men and women favor men (see patriarchy), and, 3. That there are collective actions that can and should be taken to transform these arrangements into more just and equitable arrangements (See timeline of women's rights (other than voting) and timeline of women's suffrage).

Michael Kimmel, a men's studies scholar, defines antifeminism as, "the opposition to women's equality." He says that antifeminists oppose, "women's entry into the public sphere, the re-organization of the private sphere, women's control of their bodies, and women's rights generally." Kimmel further writes that antifeminist argumentation relies on, "religious and cultural norms", while, sometimes, proponents of antifeminism advance their cause as a means of, "'saving' masculinity from pollution and invasion." He argues that antifeminists consider the, "traditional gender division of labor as natural and inevitable, perhaps also divinely sanctioned."[3]

Canadian sociologists, Melissa Blais and Francis Dupuis-Déri, write that antifeminist thought has primarily taken the form of an extreme version masculinism, in which, "men are in crisis because of the feminization of society".[4] However, in the same article, they also note that, "little research has been done on antifeminism whether from the perspective of the sociology of social movements or even of women's studies," indicating that an understanding of what the full range of antifeminist ideology consists of is incomplete.

"Antifeminist" is also used to describe female authors, some of whom define themselves as feminists, based on their opposition to some or all elements of feminist movements. Other feminists label writers such as Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Katie Roiphe and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese with this term[5][6] because of their positions regarding oppression and lines of thought within feminism.[7] Daphne Patai and Noreta Koertge argue that by labeling these women antifeminists, the intention is to silence them and prevent any debate on the state of feminism.[8]

Antifeminist stances

Some antifeminists have argued that feminism has resulted in changes to society's previous norms relating to sexuality, which they see as detrimental to traditional values or conservative religious beliefs. For example, the ubiquity of casual sex and the decline of marriage are mentioned as negative consequences of feminism.[9][10] Many of these traditionalists oppose women's entry into the workforce, political office, and the voting process, as well as the lessening of male authority in families.[citation needed] Antifeminists argue that a change of women's roles is a destructive force that endangers the family, or is contrary to religious morals. For example, Paul Gottfried maintains that the change of women's roles "has been a social disaster that continues to take its toll on the family" and contributed to a "descent by increasingly disconnected individuals into social chaos".[11]

Some antifeminists view feminism as a denial of innate differences between the genders, and an attempt to reprogram people against their biological tendencies.[citation needed] Antifeminists also frequently argue that feminism, despite espousing equality, ignores rights issues unique to males. Some believe that the feminist movement has achieved its aims and now seeks higher status for women than for men via special rights and exemptions.[12][13][14]

History

19th century

In the 19th century, the centerpiece of antifeminism was opposition to women's suffrage.[citation needed] Opponents of women's entry into institutions of higher learning argued that education was too great a physical burden on women. In Sex in Education: or, a Fair Chance for the Girls (1873), Harvard professor Edward Clarke predicted that if women went to college, their brains would grow bigger and heavier, and their wombs would atrophy.[15] Other antifeminists[dubious ] opposed women's entry into the labor force, or their right to join unions, to sit on juries, or to obtain birth control and control of their sexuality.[3]

20th century

According to historian Landon Storrs, in the years following World War II antifeminism was bolstered by the prevailing anti-communism of the period. Storrs points to a "striking number" of women in government agencies who were accused of Communist sympathies and to rhetoric appealing to "popular antifeminism" that was often used against them. She concludes that conservative anti-communism harmed the careers of females in government while it "undercut policy goals that many of them shared, and reinforced antifeminism in the wider culture."[16]

In the latter 20th century, the term antifeminist was used to describe various opposing beliefs or attitudes surrounding a contentiously debated legislative movement created by feminists known as the Equal Rights Amendment or ERA.

In 1989, antifeminism was heavily discussed in Canada following the École Polytechnique massacre. The perpetrator Marc Lépine targeted female students, killing 14 female students. Many feminist groups and public officials have characterized it as an anti-feminist attack that was representative of wider societal violence against women.[17][18][19] The government of Canada and criminal justice officials feared that extensive public discussion about the killings could lead to further antifeminist violence.[20] As a result, a public inquiry was not held,[21] the perpetrator's suicide letter was not officially released and the resulting police investigation was not made public.[22][23]

21st century

Contemporary issues surrounding antifeminism include concerns of fairness in matters of "Family Law", regarding things like child custody, paternity liability, and child support payment. Concerns of sex or gender inequality in the criminal justice system, such as fairness in sentencing for like crimes.[24]

BBC and TIME among others have covered a 2014 social media trend "Women Against Feminism" which consists of young women protesting against feminist ideas. They cite issues like demonizing men (misandry) or argue against claims such as that women are being oppressed in 21st century Western countries.[25][26][27][28][29][30]

Organizations

Symbol used for signs and buttons by ERA opponents

Founded in the U.S. by Phyllis Schlafly in 1972, STOP ERA, now known as Eagle Forum lobbied successfully to block the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the USA.[31] It was also Schlafly who forged links between STOP ERA and other conservative organizations, as well as single-issue groups against abortion, pornography, gun control, and unions. By integrating STOP ERA with the thus-dubbed New Right she was able to leverage a wider range of technological, organizational and political resources, successfully targeting pro-feminist candidates for defeat.[31]

In India, the Save Indian Family Foundation is an antifeminist organization,[32] organization is opposed to a number of laws that they claimed to have been used against men.[33] REAL Women of Canada was unsuccessful when it came to preventing decriminalisation of abortion in Canada and same-sex marriage in Canada.

See also

Further reading

Literature about antifeminism

  • Redefining the New Woman, 1920-1963 (Antifeminism in America: A Collection of Readings from the Literature of the Opponents to U.S. Feminism, 1848 to the Present), Howard-Zophy
  • Un-American Womanhood: Antiradicalism, Antifeminism, and the First Red Scare, Kim E. Nielsen
  • Kampwirth, Karen. 2006. "Resisting the Feminist Threat: Antifeminist Politics in Post-Sandinista Nicaragua" NWSA Journal. Vol. 18, No 2. (Summer). pp. 73–100.
  • Kampwirth, Karen. 2003. "Arnoldo Alemán Takes on the NGOs: Antifeminism and the New Populism in Nicaragua" Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 45. No. 2. (Summer) 2003. pp. 133–158.
  • Kampwirth, Karen. 1998. "Feminism, Antifeminism, and Electoral Politics in Post-War Nicaragua and El Salvador" Political Science Quarterly Vol. 113, No. 2. (Summer) pp. 259–279.
  • Cynthia D. Kinnard, Antifeminism in American Thought: An Annotated Bibliography (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1986, ISBN 0-8161-8122-5)
  • Laura Kipnis, The Female Thing: Dirt, Sex, Envy, Vulnerability (Pantheon, 2006).
  • Jane Mansbridge: Why We Lost the ERA, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1986
  • Schreiber, Ronnee (2008). Righting Feminism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-533181-3. 
  • G. Swanson, Antifeminism in America: A Historical Reader (2000) ISBN 0-8153-3437-0

Antifeminist literature

References

  1. ^ "Anti-feminist". Oxford English Dictionary. 2010. (subscription required)
  2. ^ Flood, Michael (2007-07-18). International encyclopedia of men and masculinities. ISBN 978-0-415-33343-6. 
  3. ^ a b Kimmel, Michael (2004). "Antifeminism". In Kimmel, Michael. Men and Masculinities: A Social, Cultural, and Historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. pp. 35–7. 
  4. ^ Blais, Melissa; Francis Dupuis-Déri (19 Dec 2011). "Masculinism and the Antifeminist Countermovement". Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 11 (1): 21–39. doi:10.1080/14742837.2012.640532. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  5. ^ Judith Stacey, Is Academic Feminism an Oxymoron?, Signs, Vol. 25, No. 4, Feminisms at a Millennium. (Summer, 2000), pp. 1189–1194
  6. ^ Elizabeth Kamarck Minnich, Review: 'Feminist Attacks on Feminisms: Patriarchy's Prodigal Daughters', Feminist Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1. (Spring, 1998), pp. 159–175
  7. ^ BITCHfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine, by Margaret Cho (Foreword), Lisa Jervis (Editor), Andi Zeisler (Editor), 2006
  8. ^ Patai and Koertge, Professing Feminism: Education and Indoctrination in Women's Studies, (2003)
  9. ^ Mary A. Kassian, The Feminist Mistake (2005) ISBN 1-58134-570-4
  10. ^ Carrie L. Lukas, The politically incorrect guide to women, sex, and feminism, Regnery Publishing, 2006, ISBN 1-59698-003-6, ISBN 978-1-59698-003-7
  11. ^ Gottfried, Paul (2001). "The Trouble With Feminism". LewRockwell.com. Archived from the original on 20 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  12. ^ Wattenberg, B (1994). "Has Feminism Gone Too Far?". MenWeb. Archived from the original on 13 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  13. ^ Pizzey, Erin (1999). "How The Women's Movement Taught Women to Hate Men". Fathers for Life. Archived from the original on 26 September 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  14. ^ Janice Shaw Crouse (2006). "What Friedan Wrought". Concerned Women for America. Retrieved 2006-09-30. 
  15. ^ Clarke, Edward H. (1873). Sex and Education. Wildside. pp. 29, 55. ISBN 978-0-8095-0170-0. 
  16. ^ Landon Storrs, “Attacking the Washington ‘Femmocracy’:AntiFeminism in the Cold War Campaign Against ‘Communists in Government’” Feminist Studies 33, (Spring, 2007)
  17. ^ Young, Katherine K.; Nathanson, Paul (2006). Legalizing Misandry: From Public Shame to Systematic Discrimination Against Men. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. pp. 59–61. ISBN 0-7735-2862-8. 
  18. ^ Conway, John Frederick (2003). The Canadian Family in crisis. James Lorimer and Company. pp. 163–64. ISBN 978-1-55028-798-1. 
  19. ^ Fitzpatrick, Meagan (December 6, 2006). "National day of remembrance pays tribute to victims of Montreal massacre". CanWest News Service. Retrieved December 27, 2006. 
  20. ^ Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong (1999). "Unbearable Witness: towards a Politics of Listening". Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 11 (1): 112–149. 
  21. ^ Malarek, Victor (December 12, 1989). "More Massacre Details to be Released by Police, but an Inquiry Ruled Out". Globe and Mail (Canada). p. A14. 
  22. ^ Canadian Press (January 12, 1990). "Police scour the life of mass killer". Edmonton Journal. p. B9. 
  23. ^ Poirier, Patricia (March 1, 1990). "Police can't find cause for Lepine's rampage on Montreal campus". Globe and Mail (Canada). p. A17. 
  24. ^ Mustard, David. "RACIAL, ETHNIC, AND GENDER DISPARITIES IN SENTENCING: EVIDENCE FROM THE U.S. FEDERAL COURTS". 
  25. ^ Brosnan, Greg (July 24, 2014). "#BBCtrending: Meet the 'Women Against Feminism'". BBC. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  26. ^ Young, Cathy (July 24, 2014). "Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right". Time. Retrieved July 24, 2014. 
  27. ^ Eun Kyung Kim (2014-01-08). "Is feminism still relevant? Some women saying they don't need it - News". TODAY.com. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  28. ^ Cathy Young. "Daughters of Feminism strike back". Newsday. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  29. ^ Sarah Boesveld. "Not all feminists: How modern feminism has become complicated, messy and sometimes alienating | National Post". News.nationalpost.com. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  30. ^ Durgin, Celina (2014-07-28). "Anti-Feminists Baffle Feminists | National Review Online". Nationalreview.com. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 
  31. ^ a b Tierney, Helen (1999). Women's Studies Encyclopedia. Westport, CT, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated. p. 95. 
  32. ^ 52 J. Legal Pluralism & Unofficial L. 49 (2006) Playing off Courts: The Negotiation of Divorce and Violence in Plural Legal Settings in Kolkata; Basu, Srimati
  33. ^ Rohit K. Dasgupta; K. Moti Gokulsing (2013). Masculinity and Its Challenges in India: Essays on Changing Perceptions. McFarland. p. 65. 

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