Women Against Feminism
Women Against Feminism, also known as #WomenAgainstFeminism, is a Twitter hashtag, Tumblr blog, and social media campaign on Facebook, YouTube, and other Internet media in which women post pictures of themselves, some in "selfie" style, holding up handmade placards stating reasons why they disapprove of modern feminism. Most of the posts begin with the statement, "I don't need feminism because", followed by their reason(s). On a larger scale, it is also a grassroots movement of women who disagree with feminism for various reasons.
Origin and content
The Women Against Feminism campaign began on Tumblr in July 2013, presumably in response to the "Who Needs Feminism" campaign. According to The Daily Dot, the campaign gathered steam in July and August 2014, when several prominent columnists and bloggers brought media attention to it.
In an opinion piece for The New York Observer, Nina Burleigh wrote that she believes some posts on Tumblr were not submitted by women, but rather are sock puppets of men's rights activists, citing similar themes and content to that used on men's rights websites. Examples she cited include: "I don't need feminism because only the weak-minded buy into cults", and "because blaming men for your OWN insecurities and mistakes is WRONG & ABSURD." In an opinion piece for The Boston Globe, Cathy Young reported an analysis of posts on the hashtag by blogger "AstrokidNJ", which determined that 46 percent were egalitarian, 19 percent commented on men's issues, 12 percent criticized feminist intolerance toward dissent, and 23 percent promoted traditionalist views such as support for distinct and traditional sex roles, chivalry, or full-time motherhood. In a piece for Time, Cathy Young stated that some Women Against Feminism, while they are able to acknowledge feminism's struggle for women's rights, believe that "modern Western feminism has become a divisive and sometimes hateful force." Other examples of comments on the hashtag, reported by Time, include: "because I like to shave my legs and wear a supportive bra"; "because this movement is less about equality, and more about dehumanizing men"; and "because Susan B. Anthony was pro-life & pro-family today's feminists are not".
The response by the media, social commentators, and feminists has included support and criticism. As of 19 August 2014, the campaign's Facebook page had garnered 21,000 "likes".
Supporters say modern feminism has gone astray in some ways and cite examples such as radical feminists not supporting trans women and saying things such as, "anyone born a man retains male privilege in society, even if he chooses to live as a woman", and related complaints that some feminists exaggerate women's problems while ignoring men’s problems. Also cited was the abortion debate and the argument that women have suffered as a result of a feminist culture that promotes casual sex as empowering. In an op-ed for The Globe and Mail, Margaret Wente supports Women Against Feminism saying she believes modern feminism has become a belief system that presents a distorted view of reality based on misandry and victim-culture and she questions the existence of rape culture.
Critics say the young women involved in this campaign do not appear to know what feminism is and are arguing against an imaginary foe using straw man arguments. A commentator from Time writes: "Most of the posts include some reiteration of the central misunderstanding about feminism, that a core belief of feminism involves hating men." A commentator from The Irish Independent wrote, "being anti-feminism is like being pro-apartheid, or a big fan of social injustice, but no one would think it's cute to hold up a sign saying that."
Commenting on the campaign, Anette Borchorst, professor and researcher in sex and gender in the Department of Political Science, Aalborg University, stated that "there have always been disagreements and debates within feminism and those debates help to advance the movement." She added that, "Feminism has always generated debate among women and it is difficult to imagine a feminist world-view that everyone can agree on."
A September 2015 column on openDemocracy by Beulah Maud Devaney asserted that Women Against Feminism mainly represents the view of privileged women who want to maintain the status quo and are, thus, deliberately misrepresenting what feminism stands for. According to Devaney, "As intersectional feminism becomes more popular it is, sadly, to be expected that some white, straight, cis first world women will see the emphasis on their own privilege as an attack. In a similar way feminist calls for a more inclusive beauty standard and appreciation of multiple body types can be read as an attempt to undermine the received wisdom that ‘skinny white girl’ is the ideal aesthetic." Devaney adds that Women Against Feminism has failed to stem public support for the feminist agenda, that its influence is minor, and that its arguments are, "easy to dismiss." Devaney concludes, however, that the anti-feminism it represents deserves closer examination.
In October 2015, Angela Epstein mentioned the blog in an editorial criticizing feminists for being unpleasant to women who disagree with them, saying, "I don't expect all women to agree with me. But there are many who do. Look no further than the proliferation of websites such as Women Against Feminism."
- "Women Against Feminism". Tumblr. July 2013.
- Smith, Michelle, "Actually, women, you do need feminism", The Conversation, 18 August 2014
- Wente, Margaret, "Women against #WomenAgainstFeminism", The Globe and Mail, 9 August 2014
- Elderkin, Beth, "Who are the 'Women Against Feminism'?", The Daily Dot
- Burleigh, Nina (30 July 2014). "Women Against Womyn: First Wave, Second Wave, Third Wave, and Now Three Steps Back". New York Observer. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
- Young, Cathy, "Women Against Feminism: Some women want equality without anger", Boston Globe, 2 September 2014
- Young, Cathy. "Stop Fem-Splaining: What #womenagainstfeminism Get Right:". TIME.com. Retrieved 2015-11-19.
- Alter, Charlotte (23 July 2014). "#WomenAgainstFeminism Is Happening Now". Time. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Other citations:
- Martin, Heather, ""Women Against Feminism" Misses the Point: Why No Woman (or Man) Should be Against Feminism", HuffPost, 4 August 2014
- Other citations:
- Valenti, Jessica, "Feminism is about women's financial freedom, not just chivalry or labels", The Guardian, 7 August 2014
- Tremonti, Anna Maria, "Women Against Feminism: What does it mean to be a feminist today?", The Current, 4 August 2014
- "Women Against Feminism - THE 100- year struggle reversed on a whim". Irish Herald. 2 August 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- "You Don't Hate Feminism. You Just Don't Understand It". The Daily Beast. 24 July 2014. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Lindberg, Helle, "Nu går kvinder selv til kamp mod feminismen" (Women Themselves Now Battle Against Feminism), TV 2, 19 August 2014
- Riley, Naomi Schaefer, "Scenes from the feminist implosion", New York Post, 4 August 2014
- Abcarian, Robin (8 August 2014). "The willfully ignorant women who post on 'Women Against Feminism'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Teital, Emma (8 August 2014). "Feminism is not whatever you want it to be". Maclean's. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Harrington, Katy (3 August 2014). "Why would anyone be against feminism?". Irish Independent. Retrieved 9 August 2014.
- Devaney, Beulah Maud, "The overlooked history of women against feminism", openDemocracy, 21 September 2015
- Epstein, Angela, "Why are feminists so unpleasant to women?", The Telegraph, 13 October 2015