Another article on GMP caught my eye this week, this one about HeForShe, but I don’t want to talk about the article so much as I want to talk about the hand-wringing about why people reject the “feminist” label in favour of almost anything else. Most importantly, men and women are becoming more vocal about using alternative ways of identifying their belief in equality.
I myself choose, as most seem to, “egalitarian” and as an anti-feminist who is politically left-leaning, I do feel I am in a minority. I reject feminist because it’s about women’s issues, but I believe in equality. What else but “humanist egalitarian” would apply? So traditional gender roles would never be an argument for me. I don’t believe that women should stay in the kitchen or earn less than I do. At the same time, feel free to buy me coffee or dinner any time. I am not a chauvinist or a misogynist and truly desire an equal world where everyone is judged on their skills and merits, where people are not shamed for their choices and where men are not automatically expected to be the breadwinner.
Many would argue that this alone makes me a feminist – amusingly and ironically deciding for me what I should call myself.
Anyway, without derailing my own post too much. It seems to me that many feminists waste energy on complaining that people reject the feminist label and it’s energy that would be better spent elsewhere. A growing number are aware that their movement is now dominate (if not controlled) by misandrists who don’t even attempt to hide their misandry. Even feminist MPs are getting bolder about their misandry. Jess Phillips guffawed and mocked the notion that there should be a discussion on male suicide for International Men’s Day. After experiencing a backlash, she said she would get behind the issue.
Similarly, a feminist group at York University forcibly cancelled a similar discussion on male suicide just one day after a male student took his own life. Most poignantly, the city of York has one of the highest male suicide rates in the UK which has only seen the figure go up in the last decade. If we need to be having a conversation about male suicide, we need it now. Similarly, at other universities feminist groups have campaigned to have Guild Male Representative positions abolished.
It seems in the game of Oppression Olympics, nobody wins and this brings me back to my original point on why people are rejecting the “feminist” label – both men and women.
When we see issues like those above, a callous and uncaring movement dedicated to silencing discussions of men’s difficulties, is it any wonder people are turning against the feminist label? Is it any wonder there is such a negative connotation? These people no longer seem to be the vocal fringe like UKIP or ISIS, they are now the majority. Misandry is every day occurrence, mockery and belittlement of men’s life experiences is normalised.
Furthermore, and to pose the question in the headline – why do feminists spend so much time decrying that people are rejecting the feminist label? Wouldn’t the efforts of feminists who claim not to be misandrists be directed more efficiently at challenging – and dare I say overthrowing – the misandrists who now dominate the movement?
If they spent half as much time fighting the people who have made feminism toxic as they do on complaining that people shun feminism because of the people who have made it toxic, mightn’t we be in a much better place?