Opinion

An open letter to participants in the “Why I don’t need feminism” movement

Dear anti-feminists,

The Women Against Feminism social media campaign is a leading crusader against feminism. The Facebook page alone has over 31,000 likes.

After browsing through hundreds of posts in preparation for this letter, these were the top 10 reasons:

I don’t need feminism because…

  1. “… I believe in equality of the sexes.”
  2. “… it has turned into a movement of hatred against men.”
  3. “… I am not a victim.”
  4. “… I will take responsibility for my actions.”
  5. “… women all over the world are being oppressed, not just in the West.”
  6. “… if a man compliments/ catcalls me it doesn’t equal rape.”
  7. “… I enjoy being feminine.”
  8. “… men and women already have equal rights where I live.”
  9. “… I don’t want a world without men.”
  10. “… I don’t want to discourage male rape victims from speaking up.”

Let’s talk about each of these sentiments.

“I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality of the sexes.”

“I believe in equality of the sexes.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook Page.

“I don’t need feminism because equality of opportunity already exists.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook Page.

Members of the anti-feminism movement: we are on the same page! You want equality? Feminism is a movement that is centred on equality for all. The very definition of feminism in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is: “A person who believes in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes.” While this definition is very rigid and impersonal, I choose to explain feminism through Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s personal definition, “a man or woman who says, ‘Yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today, and we must fix it, we must do better.’” Gender, and its extremely rigid structures, impacts everyone. No matter your sexual orientation or gender identity. The modern feminist movement wants equality for all.

“I don’t need feminism because it has turned into a movement of hatred against men.”

"I do not believe modern day feminism because I do not have room in my heart or my head for hate." PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“I do not believe modern day feminism because I do not have room in my heart or my head for hate.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

I am a feminist. I do not hate men. My friends are feminists. They do not hate men. I have a brother, a father, male friends and a boyfriend. They are all kind, loving human beings. I do not hate them. To say all feminists are a part of a movement that hates men is inaccurate. This misconception may have stemmed from the radical feminist movements in the 1960s and ‘70s, which does not represent all feminists today.

“I don’t need feminism because I am not a victim.”
"I don't need feminism because I do not see myself as a 'victim' who needs to be protected from men." SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“I don’t need feminism because I do not see myself as a ‘victim’ who needs to be protected from men.” SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

You may have never been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer support to the women who have been. Feminism is a network of people who want to change the world so that there need not be any more cases of women and men being raped or suffering at the hands of domestic violence or being harassed on the street.

Feminism doesn’t see the victim as broken, in need of fixing. The victim is not weak. The victim is the survivor.

“I don’t need feminism because I will take responsibility for my actions.”

"I don't need feminism as it advocates rights without responsibility." PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“I don’t need feminism as it advocates rights without responsibility.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

Every individual can choose whether or not they take responsibility for their own actions. This includes feminists and non-feminists alike.

“I don’t need feminism because women all over the world are being oppressed, not just in the West.”

SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

Feminism does not just exist in the West. I reference the Gulabi Gang in India, the Global Fund for Women and the defeat of the Nudity Bill in Nigeria. These movements and so many more are all a part of the advocacy for women’s rights, which is a part of the feminist movement.

“I don’t need feminism because if a man compliments/ catcalls me it doesn’t equal rape.”

"Catcalling isn't even close to the same as rape. You weren't assaulted because a guy whistled." SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“Catcalling isn’t even close to the same as rape. You weren’t assaulted because a guy whistled.” SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

You’re right. Catcalls and compliments aren’t rape. Rape is rape. But unwanted catcalls and compliments are harassment. It makes most women feel uncomfortable. I recommend this video of a woman being catcalled for 10 hours to see it can constitute harassment.

“I don’t need feminism because I enjoy being feminine.”

"I don't need feminism because I like wearing pink... And I actually care about dressing modestly!" NOTE: Photo was edited to take out homophobic remark. PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“I don’t need feminism because I like wearing pink… And I actually care about dressing modestly!” NOTE: Photo was edited to take out homophobic remark. PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

SCREEN SHOT from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

SCREEN SHOT from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

Great! As a feminist, there is nothing stopping you from being feminine. As long as you believe that equality between all the sexes should exist, we are on the same page.

“I don’t need feminism because men and women already have equal rights where I live.”

"I don't need feminism because ... I have the same rights as men." PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

“I don’t need feminism because … I have the same rights as men.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

Unfortunately, equal rights for men and women are not everywhere. Just because it looks like the fight is over in one area of society, doesn’t mean we can just hang up our hats and call it quits. A girl in another country, or just in another socio-economic situation who won’t ever get to go to school doesn’t deserve that burden of inequality. If I have the right to an education, so does she.

“I don’t need feminism because I don’t want a world without men.”

"I don't need feminism because I am heterosexual and a world without men would suck." PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook Page.

“I don’t need feminism because I am heterosexual and a world without men would suck.” PHOTO from Women Against Feminism Facebook Page.

Neither do I! I wouldn’t want to imagine the world without the important men in my life. And more importantly, the human race would cease to exist if men were eliminated. After all, it takes two to make a baby.

“I don’t need feminism becauseI don’t want to discourage male rape victims from speaking up.”

SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

SCREEN GRAB from Women Against Feminism Facebook page.

Feminism doesn’t do this. Feminists don’t do this. Please, please, please don’t carry this view with you. I, as a feminist, encourage all victims to speak out. NO ONE deserves to go through that alone.

I don’t expect this to change your mind. I don’t expect you to join the movement. All I can hope for is that you will not longer carry these misinterpretations of the feminist movement with you.

Thank you,

A feminist.

By Lisa Cumming

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3 thoughts on “An open letter to participants in the “Why I don’t need feminism” movement

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