Women against feminism? The epitome of patriarchy

WTF? Women against feminism?

WTF? Women against feminism?

“Blacks against civil rights”

Imagine African-Americans holding up placards declaring that statement.

And then listing reasons why civil rights are such a bad thing.

Wouldn’t make much sense would it?

And yet women declaring themselves “against feminism” has become a thing on Tumblr.

Which sparks a couple of thoughts: 1) these women don’t understand feminism, and 2) why are women more likely than others to fight against their interests? 

I’ll look at that first question in this post, and save the second for another day.

Feminism: women and men hold equal worth and dignity

For those who don’t know, feminism promotes the “radical” notion that women and men hold equal worth and dignity and should have equal opportunities.

Sure, plenty of people say they aren’t feminists, but once they understand what it is, most agree with the goals.

Feminists like men more than non-feminists do

And the notion that feminists don’t respect their respectful male friends — as the young woman holding the placard believes — is just weird.

In fact, feminists typically like men more than non-feminists do, a University of Houston study found.

Dislike feminism because you don’t understand it? 

Don’t like feminism because you don’t get it? Happens a lot.

One of my female students wrote a piece that I posted on BroadBlogs called, I Made Fun of Feminists… Before My Abuse.

Or, a woman named “Emily” told XO Jane that her younger self hadn’t liked feminism, either. When she read back on her high school “preferences,” she saw that she had disliked Rush Limbaugh, patriarchal “Promise Keepers,” and feminism. She now says,

OK. Politically, I was all over the place, probably because I had NO idea what I was talking about.

There is no patriarchy?

And think there’s no patriarchy, as some placards claim?

In patriarchies the most powerful positions are held by men. And men and masculinity are more valued.

We have not yet had a female US president, and the vast majority of the following are male, too: Congress, Fortune 500 CEOs, religious leaders, media owners and writers, and most “heads of home.” I could go on.

And we typically applaud so-called masculine over feminine traits. We tend to value people who are assertive, leaders, rational, breadwinners… over people who are passive, followers, emotional, and stay-at-home parents… A female CEO is more esteemed than a stay-at-home dad. But aren’t stay-at-home parents just as important?

In patriarchy, we are more likely to see things through the eyes of men. I say:

The fact that young women hold up signs protesting a movement that works for their rights is the epitome of living in patriarchy.

WTF? Diluting energy away from the march toward equality

WTF? Diluting energy away from the march toward equality

Feminists say men don’t deserve rights?

At least one placard says feminists discourage male rape victims from speaking up. And that we don’t think men deserve rights.

Well, the feminist “me” has written on men’s rights and male rape victims.

At the same time, insisting that women should be pro-equality or humanist instead of feminist is meant to drain energy from the the work toward equality.

Imagine if blacks were told they must fight for white rights, too. Surely, a mere ploy to distract from achieving racial justice.

Women’s equality means men’s equality

And really, the more equality women have, the more equality men have, too. You can’t have it any other way.

Oh, and you’re not a feminist because you don’t insult people who disagree with you? You don’t see that your words are insulting?

Related Posts on BroadBlogs

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on July 30, 2014, in feminism, psychology, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 48 Comments.

  1. “I don’t need feminism I just need human rights”…
    Well we need to tell the ladybug that women rights are included in human rights… It is a matter of logic… Gender/species … By the way I came across this article earlier today as I had read another post here that led us to this topic.
    Why I’m Not a Feminist: http://www.truewoman.com/?id=2858#.VO4yd9MyvNI.twitter
    The article above does not endorse your statements but pretty much is against them… But it is interesting to read though… I wonder if most anti feminist are republicans… Because they look pretty much alike some of them. At least when it comes to oddly fascist ways of thinking…. Best regards, Aquileana 😀

    • People who are conservative want to sustain the status quo or go back to the old ways and Republicans are the more conservative party. The woman you link to is from the far right – the religious bar right. And that is actually the subculture I grew up in. These religious subcultures are ruled by men Who try to scare women away from feminism by using stupid arguments like the ones she uses. Growing up in that subculture turn me into a strong feminist. It also got me interested in the area of sociology I’m most interested in which answers this question: why do people fight against their own interests. Which is what I try to explain in this blog post, and the other related post.

      I wrote a little about that experience in this post: https://broadblogs.com/2011/10/21/why-do-women-fight-against-their-own-interests/

  2. My parents and I have always taught my younger brothers to treat women with respect, and I am proud to say that they both do. As an older sister, I feel like it’s part of my job. Recently, I’ve been talking to my high school-aged brother about feminism and it’s application. It has been an enriching experience for both of us, I’d say.

    He has no problem with women’s equality, but he kept going back to an idea that you mentioned in your article. He felt like part of the feminist movement was promoting women over men and that we should be humanists instead. What I told him that statistics show that less women are in positions of power then men and women are routinely taught to criticize themselves and other women. I said there’s the problem, and if we can’t define that problem (women are not considered equal), then there’s no way we can fix it. “Call a spade a spade.”

    While I reminded him of the true meaning of feminism, which he agrees with, he’s still hesitant with the term. More importantly, he acts on his belief that women are equal and should be treated as such.

  3. Here’s the first clip

  4. Look at this clip. And it shows the attitude of some people, calling him a sell out or calling a man, Stephen A smith who is black, because he didn’t go along with everything for black people and was being blunt and telling the truth. I watch ESPN and Stephen A Smith while annoying, and a loud mouth is one to usually side with his race and not an uncle Tom. But he speaks his mind. But look at this, I agree with him and apparently many people do.

    And like you said about black homes and lack of this and that. Look at where he came from and how he made himself successful and the American Dream. He didn’t have much either,a and simply took it upon himself against odds and didn’t play victim.

  5. “with gang violence, or to have parents who can’t help them with their schoolwork because they weren’t well-educated themselves, or the parents are working two jobs and are too tired when they get home. Or, blacks are less likely to have tutors, and they are more likely to have grown-up hungry, which makes it difficult to focus in”

    Most gangs consist of blacks and hispanic men. And many of the parents are having babies, collecting welfare checks, smoking weed, drugs or maybe some dealing them. Children get neglected and so goes the cycle. Or many of the women get knocked up and their black boyfriends leave them. It happens with all men, but so many kids, particularly black kids seem to or much more seem to have single mothers due to this. The mother lives in the ghetto and it’s just her trying to afford things while working 3 jobs, doesn’t have much time to teach ot help. But this due to so many of the black guys and their attitude more often not wrapping it up and leaving the girl on her own after getting her pregnant,

    They weren’t well educated, because they didn’t try making something of themselves and focused all on sports or hanging out with wrong people and wrong activities. The successful black people didn’t have that as an excuse and them educated their kids, taught their kids manners and taught them it’s not just sports but education. They were tough on their kids to make sure they didn’t veer off and stay driven.

  6. “I suspect it’s because there is much more pain surrounding the black experience.

    For instance, sometimes I hear racist things against whites, But white is such a strong identity that I find it impossible to get offended.”

    I know asians don’t have slavery like blacks, but asian and hispanics deal with racism and strong racist words like chink and spic too. So This is exactly my point. If this was a black boxer saying this to a white boxer then I’d understand and agree with you. But this is a black boxer not being racist to one of power (power) but to one ranked as him and not of power either (hispanic) and phillipino which I believe is asian. So this should be taken more serious. Minorities being racist to each other should be seen as not good either, or should be offensive because liek I said it’s powerless being racist to powerless. Different races but equal footing on the ranking scale in america should be scrutinized.

  7. But here’s an example. Ok everyone knows or most know that while Donald Sterling was recorded unaware in privacy which was not right. However, what he said was wrong and he is racist and should know better especially being a public figure and owner as well as being an owner in a league and his team which the vast majority of players in the league are black men. So he is definitely at fault. But I find this interesting, the news and backlash and tons of media showed how bad sterling in and all this media attention and scrutiny. But there is a very famous boxer, who is black and said something quite racist, but only an article but know news and backlash and media all over the place from him? I get it, the history with white men and power and how its hurtful and I get why its shunned and obviously racism is never good. But I don’t think racism is every good no matter who it’s from and there should be scrutiny no matter the race of the person or sex.

    Floyd Mayweather a great boxer said this about Manny Pacaiou. Who I believe, or think is Phillipino.

    ” As soon as we come off vacation, we’re going to cook that little {yellow chump}. We ain’t worried about that. So they ain’t gotta worry about me fighting the midget. Once I kick the midget ass, I don’t want you all to jump on my d—. So you all better get on the bandwagon now. … Once I stomp the midget, I’ll make that mother f—– {make me a sushi roll and cook me some rice.”}


    Yes it was on ESPN article, but it wasn;t all over tv and analysts commenting or all over social media. It was pretty much under the radar. After all, only white guys can be scrutinized for being racist not others. Think if this was a white boxer saying this about Manny. He might as well retire because he would be so scrutinized and it would be all over the place. I get it, as white guys have and the history with racism with white men toward other races. But this isnt a black man being racist towards white men and the race that is higher ranked and that treated blacks bad in the past.

    This was towards an asian man, which Asians don;t have that history and they are minorities like blacks in this country as well as hispanics. Equal footing, therefore, this should have been scrutinized more. Racism should not be selectively scrutinized as its not good. The weird thing is a black man will be more scrutinized for saying something homophobic against gays than something racist which is weird to me. It should be equally condemned.

    • I suspect it’s because there is much more pain surrounding the black experience.

      For instance, sometimes I hear racist things against whites, But white is such a strong identity that I find it impossible to get offended.

      Or, I’ve had guys in my class who don’t understand why women get upset about sexist jokes and comments because they don’t get upset about sexist jokes and comments that are directed to guys. But males and masculinity are extremely strong in our society, so it’s harder to take offense.

      In fact, the guys who asked me the question about sexism were both black. And they couldn’t get what I was saying until I asked how they felt about racism and explained that racism against whites doesn’t hurt me in the same way that sexism against man doesn’t hurt them.

      I think that white males often have a hard time getting what I’m talking about because they don’t have any experience of extreme pain to come from that helps them to identify with what I’m saying.

  8. They need to hire people based on grades, and not by race. And if white men are getting better grades then they get in and not the black men who have a lower grade but taken in just for the sake of diversity or to make sure its not all one race and to have some other mixture of races in the force even if they didn’t grade out as well. Everyone given a chance as long as their background checks are good, but selection based on performance and exams grades and not extra bonus points for being non white.

    My test was clerical and a state exam, I picked the one in my county so that I could take it there and not have to travel out. But it was very important for being hired, only one spot I think and most likely people who got a 100 or 90s on the test had the best chance though there could be like a 5 way tie at 100. And like I said a white man could have a 100 just from getting every answer correct whereas a hispanic man or woman get a 100 to on their grade but not from getting all right.

    But getting a 95 or 90 and getting the 5 or ten pt addition. So what should be the white guys is not a tie because of the bonus pts. This is not really lawsui worhty, nothing extreme which is why you won’t see many lawsuits in reverse discrimination related stuff, because either it seems like it won’t be won or not worthy of trying because its not severe like discrimination can be with white men upon minorities. But it’s still not right nonetheless and I”m just point it out. It doesn’t do justice for white people and for minorites as it says minorities are lesser and need the extra help and it can knock what would be or should be qualified white men who did very well but not getting in a coveted, tough position like firefigher or cops where the tests only come aroiund like every 3 years or so.

    • Then African-Americans need to be offered an equal education to whites.

      On average, whites are less likely to be going to a school with gang violence, or to have parents who can’t help them with their schoolwork because they weren’t well-educated themselves, or the parents are working two jobs and are too tired when they get home. Or, blacks are less likely to have tutors, and they are more likely to have grown-up hungry, which makes it difficult to focus in school, they are more likely to have grown up without medical care, Which also makes it more difficult to focus in school. I could go on…

  9. http://www.examiner.com/article/police-ag-holder-pressures-city-to-lower-standards-for-minority-recruits

    that’s what I meant diversity. I don’t think it’s right to lower standards just to fill the gap and make a workforce more diverse

    • I don’t think standards should be lowered. I think people should be trained.

      In this case, I don’t know what the written test was about and how applicable it is for the job. I notice that the police department isn’t able to find enough recruits. So what are they supposed to do? Be understaffed?

  10. Quite interesting. Simply put women and men must hold equal worth and dignity.

  11. There is such a thing as reverse discrimination too though. Law enforcement or firefighting, minorities are taken over white guys even if the score is the same or not as high. Many of these tests require a score of 100 or close to get in. While minorities don’t, so that means a guy that is hoping to get in and has a good or better score gets knocked out by a lesser deserving minority, just so the agency has some mixed races in the police force or firefighters. If the minorities had as good or better grades thats fine, but the standard doesn’t seem to be as high.

    And this seems to help to ensure a black man will get in, but these seems racist to me. Not only does it knockout possible better candidates but it says to black men or hispanic asian men, etc that they aren;t as good as white men thus the standard lowered for them compared to white men. I’m not black, but if I was, I’d want the standard to be the same as for white men therefore, it I get in, its because I’m the better or best candidate and not because I’m “black” and the quote is filled.

  12. more male cops to be cops which I meant and which is why I said that. I know you aren’t disagreeing with that, but some feminists might feel not as many female cops is sexist. I’m just talking about possible perceptions. Me, I’m pretty neutral, though I think many feminists are fine. I just wouldn’t care for women who are feminists if they have a chip on their should or use the sexist card for every little thing, like how some black people use the race card when there isn’t anything racist or taking something out of context just for their use.

    • It’s funny. Some people think that all feminists want everything to be 50-50. And others (like a commentor here) think feminists don’t want everything to be 50-50.

      Feminists are for affirmative action. But that term is confusing, too. Rather than assuming that one gender or race will be better than another, feminists feel that companies should reach out to find the best quality candidates. And that everyone should have equal opportunity to try out for any job they want.

      Quotas are illegal. So the goal is to reach out and reflect the community. But for a variety of reasons it’s highly unlikely that you are going to completely mirror a community. There are differences in education, incarceration, who feels more compelled to be a stay-at-home parent… for instance.

  13. when are women going to demand been the first line of offensive in war? coal mining? manufacture in general? fire fighters? police?
    when are you going to demand mandatory registration for the draft? whats that? the draft is no longer mandatory? then why do men can vote, get a drivers licence or occupy public position if they don’t register? am sure it was the patriarchy, right?
    when are women going to demand 50% presence in EVERY line of the work force and not just the CEO positions?

  14. I think it’s fine for women to be female firefighters as long as they are physically strong enough to do the strength things and standards set upon men. If they can’t then that just how the cookie crumbles. I think women have the opportunity, I just think women are less inclined to want to have a career in that field and that work. Afterall, it takes a very bold person to be a firefighter. I’m a guy and I can admit I’d be nervous running into a burning building.

    Women might have strengths with police work like you described, but there are times when a cop deals with a crazed person high on drugs and resists arrest and fights back and it takes two cops or more to fight and restrain him. I know female officers learn how to fight and learn take downs, but there are times where a female cop can be a hindrance when male cops and force needed for to restrain the person. There are incidents where a person is high on a drugs and 5 or more cops needed to take him down, they finally do, but if they didn’t their life could have been in danger or the person get a way. It’s not easy to shoot someone with a gun and that would be a woman cops resort in a situation like that. So just think if the squad of cops were all female and they are dealing with a crazed man high on pcp or bath salts or lsd, cocaine, etc. If it takes 5 or more male cops to stop such a person what would an all female crew do? They could be dead or not stop the guy from getting away, The reason is tasers don’t always work when a person is high on a very strong drug like pcp, they can’t feel pain so no threshold and the person is much stronger than their limit.

    Actually even with a kill shot as in the chest or abdomen, a person high on bath salts or pcp can still keep moving and come after the female cops, because they can’t feel the shock and pain that a person feels when they are dying whuch causes them to fall to the ground and die. In that sense there’s a reason more men are cops and should be. Though women should be cops and can be cops, but it’s not sexist for more cops to be cops or it to be that way. And this wasn’t my point of view about the other stuff but possibly perception of feminists having a chip in their shoulder.

  15. “Well I’m not familiar with these feminists. I’m only familiar with the caricature. If you actually hear of any feminists who behave the way you describe, please let me know. I suspect the caricature came from people who felt threatened by feminism and made something up — based on a small kernel of truth with a few early feminists.”

    I gave other examples in the other post though

    • So I just took a look at your other post and it doesn’t give any concrete examples of real, actual women doing any of these things.

      So you would think that it’s a bad idea to have women firefighters. I don’t think that standards should be lowered so that more women can get in. But a woman should be able to have the opportunity to apply to see if she meets standards. And sometimes it turns out that women are better at doing certain work, like police work, because (mostly for reasons of learning gender) women are better at relationships, and so are better at community policing — which is one of the most effective types of policing.

      I’ve never actually met a feminist who got angry because a man opened a door for her. Wouldn’t surprise me if some do. (I’m okay with door-opening because I think the person is trying to be polite so I can’t imagine being rude back. I just say thank you. Plus, sometimes it’s just the first person to get to the door — male or female — who opens it for those following. And, until people stop calling women bitches and putting them down in ways like that, I think you actually need to balance things out via the whole pedestal-thing.)

      But I’ve had old people get mad at me for opening doors for them. I guess they think I see them as weak? But all old people don’t get a bad name for themselves because of it.

  16. “In fact, feminists typically like men more than non-feminists do, a University of Houston study found.” I love this! It makes sense to me that women who are empowered can actually be more open and embracing of the men around them.

  17. If a woman taking charge at home doesn’t mean the man is not equal, then why is it seen that men being the leaders are home makes things not equal in the home?

    BTW, though men are seen head of the household, I don’t know if its exactly true. The wife usually makes just as much decision and it’s usually a compromise and decided amongst both. There seems to be a democracy in most homes with husband and wife. Especially with children, it’s usually the wife that usually gets the final say with what she allows her child to do or not do and wife or mom is the one that may discipline or make decions just as much if children got in trouble.

    I think the perception against femiinism is that it’s radical and the stereotype with it. I think many people want equality, but there’s an image with feminism that people are not going to want to label themselves with. I see it the same way religious people can give people who theists and believe in a God a bad name with some religious people or very religious people, think gays will go to hell or walking on street corners condeming people who don’t believe. Or if a car breaks down like someone I know, they just sit there and say prayers instead of actuallly trying to help fix the car because they are delusional enough to think the car witll magincally start because of prayer.

    But this is the same thing with black rights. Martin Luther king believed in equality and though back then it ruffled feathers by the many racist people, People nowawadays don’t have problem with that and his movement was strong because it was peaceful and not an angry movement. The black panthers and malcom x though were not seen as good, because it was filled with rage and spite, though I can’t blame them, it caused more bad feelings from white people toward black people.

    Though I don’t think people think of feminists as bra burner, short hair angry women like in the past. I think its because many feminists aren’t going around telling everybody they are, but the ones who are known and are. They sometimes might be the very outspoken, seen as combative, serious, very sassy, and all about themselves.

    • Well I’m not familiar with these feminists. I’m only familiar with the caricature. If you actually hear of any feminists who behave the way you describe, please let me know. I suspect the caricature came from people who felt threatened by feminism and made something up — based on a small kernel of truth with a few early feminists.

      Feminists know that you aren’t going to get too far spouting a dislike of men because that alienates both women and men, alike. And patriarchy isn’t about men, personally, actually. It’s about a system that women and men both grow up in, learn, and repeat — women and men retreat the system together because it’s what they know and for most people, feels natural and normal to them. I’ll write more later about how patriarchy seems to have emerged out of more egalitarian cultures. And it wasn’t because men wanted to be mean to women.

    • Although I consider us both equal, in our home “we discuss, she decides, and I abide.” This may not seem equal, but it’s based upon a deliberate decision. A nice side benefit is that we seldom argue. It’s kinda like she’s the CEO of our home and family, and I’m the senior vice president…

      Over time, it’s amazing how my wife has blossomed and the self confidence she exudes…

  18. “In patriarchies the most powerful positions are held by men. And men and masculinity are more valued.

    We have not yet had a female US president, and the vast majority of the following are male, too: Congress, Fortune 500 CEOs, religious leaders, media owners and writers, and most “heads of home.””

    While the above is obviously true, it is not so easy to elect a female president or congresswoman. CEOs need to be elected by what is normally an overwhelmingly majority board of male directors, and religious leaders are often restricted to males (ie. priests).

    So maybe it’s easier for women to start insisting on the position of being ‘head of household’. This is a valued position and normally identified with men and masculinity. This would give women more prestige in society, especially as they assert themselves as strong yet nurturing leaders.

    Women can try to overcome patriarchal traditions within the home. As more and more women dominate the home and men find themselves in a more submissive role, other areas of society may also start to change…

    • Yes you are right.

      To do that, women need to overcome their socialization that leaves so many women unconsciously believing that they are “Lesser than” or that they can’t do those sorts of things.

      I’ll talk more about that in a later post.

      • I’ll be looking forward to your future post.

        Meantime, my wife is the head of our family, and I accept her authority. While many people think she is pushy, I know she is quite intelligent and capable. I’m pleased to follow her lead, and I’m happy when people realize that she calls the shots. Not that we aren’t equal, because we are… It’s just that I’m happy being her ‘help mate’ and I take pride in her empowerment.

        Sometimes, more effective changes in attitudes and society can come from the micro (in this case family) and work their way up to the macro (the patriarchy). At least that’s my view…

      • Yes, that’s true. And sometimes it works because of natural personalities, like in your case. But sometimes inequality is so taken for granted that it’s invisible, So you have to reveal it first, before people can choose to behave differently. When it’s unconscious, you don’t have a choice.

  19. I believe in Feminism. There should be equal rights for men and women.

  20. Great post! You explained feminism in a beautifully simple way and also described how patriarchy is very much alive and well. I agree that these women (at least that’s what I think y ou are are say) and their words are evidence of the latter. I used to think the same too, which is a result of growing up in a patriarchal paradigm of culture and society.

    • Yes, you’re right, that is what I am saying.

      I’ve found myself moving inside and outside of the patriarchal paradigm on my road toward getting gender equality more firmly rooted in my own head.

  21. I think a lot of these women weren’t actually ‘not needing feminism’ but more ‘not knowing what feminism is actually about’

  22. Sheesh, this whole trend thing makes me want to curl up in a dark corner – but you’re right, we need to keep speaking up and explaining just what feminism is.

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