I cannot adequately express the frustration and disappointment I feel when I hear a fellow female claiming that she is not a feminist or disavowing feminism in general. I am still trying to wrap my mind around it, but I think I have some ideas for why some women are afraid to stand up for their own gender.
I was sort of born a feminist, though it took some time before I had words to define it. I’ve always adored other girls, wanting nothing but to befriend them and root for them wholeheartedly. I am not entirely immune to jealousy, but I generally recognize it for what it is: a trap society has set for women. We are taught from early childhood on to compete with each other, gossip about each other, to proudly boast that we are “not that kind of girl,” etc. We are expected to be catty to each other and that is reaffirmed every time we turn on the television and watch Real Housewives and their petty drama. It’s patriarchal bullshit and severely damaging to a woman’s psyche. The documentary “Miss Representation” on Netflix paints a very accurate picture of how the media portrays women. Our beauty, our bodies, and our competition/catty behavior towards other women seem to be our only reference for how to behave or find our value as women in society.
The few women I have known that are “anti-feminist” have some common personality traits which point to why they may have taken this stance. (I don’t mean to speak ill of anyone, I truly see this as a psychological study that I have been conducting.) You may be thinking, are you a fucking psychologist now? Nah. I do, however, have a keen sense of intuition and character judgment. I am rarely wrong about people.
I have observed that these women all seem to put men first. They want to be the cool girl, the nerdy girl, the tomboy…. whatever they think guys are looking for. They mold themselves around their crushes like a pretzel. They seem to be subconsciously doing this, and when I have gently called this out in other women, they seem horrified and deeply offended. I understand why. It’s a deeply offensive thing to be accused of, even if it is true.
A similar, more troubling common denominator, is the need to have a boyfriend/love interest/relationship at all times. Often choosing a guy they aren’t really that into because they need to find meaning and purpose through “romantic love”. First I must say, I have been that girl. I am not here to judge or mock anyone. Many nights I have stayed up talking to a girlfriend until I’m blue in the face about why it’s totally fine and awesome to be single. Relationships don’t define us. Friendships are relationships too, and are likely to last forever unlike romantic relationships. I am always met with a brick wall of denial.
I admit, it took me many years to become comfortable and happy being single. Society feeds girls fairy tales like drugs, and we tend to chase that high for most of our lives. “True love” can exist, but it exists in many forms and is not always found in romance. I have settled for a guy not compatible or worthy of me a few times in my life and the deep regret I feel from those mistakes won’t let me do it again.
I may seem to be getting off topic here, but stay with me. White women in particular tend to see men as their saviors. As a white woman I have observed this among my family members and close girlfriends throughout my life. I believe this is why so many white women voted for Voldemort (Trump). Their husbands/boyfriends/saviors supported him, and they gotta stand by their man, right? In fact, I think many of them are so eager to support whatever the menfolks like, that they have never learned to think for themselves. They think it was their idea. They wore shirts that said “Trump Can Grab My Pussy.” What kind of woman with a brain and a heart would support sexual assault? I do not hate them. I pity them. I wish I could help them stand up to their oppressors. To fall in love with your own oppressor is a prison of the mind that must feel impossible to escape from. I don’t really know what can be done to wake them up, I only hope someday they will all have the opportunity to free their mind from the chains society has placed on them.
I could probably write about this topic forever, but let me make one more solid point in closing. You don’t have to hate or compete with other women to be loved by men. You don’t have to be quiet and docile or “the chill laid-back girl” to be loved by men. You don’t have to agree with everything, or anything, they say. You don’t have to be a “good girl” who “doesn’t sleep around”. You don’t have to be thin or curvy or whatever version of perfection you have crafted in your mind. You can be an outspoken, chubby, dramatic, sometimes obnoxious feminist and men will flock to you. I have learned this myself over the last few years as I have come into my own as a woman. I say what I think, don’t pretend to be some modest half-virgin. I get in debates with men all the time and often lose my temper. Some guys are intimidated and put-off by me. Most are in awe of my confidence and general badassery. This isn’t to brag in any way. I’ve got a shitload of insecurities still, but I know my value and worth and it has zero to do with a fucking dude. You want men to love you? Stand up for yourself, for all women, and for your rights. Confidence in yourself is key to attracting someone who truly loves and respects you. If they want a doormat, they aren’t worth your time.
(This is just one view on Anti-Feminism, from my own observations. It doesn’t encapsulate the entire subject and may seem scewed or short sighted as it mainly references straight, white women and their relationships with men. I hope to write more broadly on the topic as I research it more. https://juliejoplin.com/)
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