Friday, November 14, 2014

Why I am not a feminist

I would like to explain why I do not call myself a feminist in two points, the first one being my primary reason, and the second being more supplementary.

My primary reason for not being a feminist is that I don't agree with the ideas, models, and theories that many/most feminists espouse (that is, feminist theory). I don't think that models like "patriarchy" and "rape culture" accurately describe the world we live in, nor do they make good predictions or offer good solutions.

Now, feminists will argue that the definition of feminism is nothing more than the desire for gender equality, so if I desire gender equality, that makes me a feminist. Right? Well, maybe in a technical sense, but in practice, does anyone seriously believe that I would be welcome in any feminist community given what I said in the previous paragraph? This, I think, is clear evidence that there is more to "feminism" than the simple desire for equality.

It is for this reason that I don't call myself a feminist: I don't agree with the methods and ideologies by which many feminists try to achieve this goal, such as patriarchy theory, rape culture, ideas about male entitlement (although there are self-proclaimed "individualist feminists" who disagree with these methods, such as Wendy McElroy). While I support gender equality, I don't find myself supporting the route that feminists would have use take to get there, and so I do not call myself a feminist.

Allow me to elaborate on this distinction between a group's goals and its methods. What I mean is that there are multiple ways to solve a problem, and while two people may want to solve the same problem (such as inequalities of gender), they may have two different ways of modeling the problem, which, in turn, present different methods for solving it. That being said, while I support the goal of gender equality, I disagree with the theories and methods that many modern feminists espouse (some of my specific disagreements are listed later in this essay).

There are multiple ways to get to a destination, with some trade-offs.


As an analogy, imagine two people living in an ancient, primitive, agrarian society, and their society has a problem: the rains have become less frequent, and as a result, there aren't enough crops to feed everyone. Now, both of these people want to solve this problem, but they have two different strategies. One person wants to pray to the rain god to fix the problem, while the other wants to implement a water regulation and irrigation system to fix the problem. While they both have the same admirable goal, their methods are a different story, and I would side with the second person over the first, just like how I side with non-feminists over feminists: not because of the goals, but because of the methods.

Furthermore, I am amazed by how strongly people assert that feminism is the only method for solving gender inequalities (which I analyzed here), and by their accompanying claim that, if you are not a feminist, then you must not care about gender equality, so you're a sexist. Or, if it is clear from the start that you do care about gender equality, then you're already a feminist, and it's contradictory to say you're not.

In the same way that Christians will assert their exclusive claim to the word "moral", many feminists similarly assert their exclusive claim to the phrase "gender equality", and I find those two claims equally ridiculous.



My specific disagreements with feminist ideas are listed below. This is just a list, not a full justification of each point: that's what the rest of this blog is for, and I will link to my justifications as they come out.

-- I don't think that gender is socially constructed.
-- I disagree with the model of "rape culture" as being accurate for the western world.
-- I disagree with the model of "patriarchy" as feminists associate it with traditional gender roles.
-- I disagree with laws proposed by Feminists, such as affirmative consent.
-- I disagree with the solutions proposed by these models, such as "teach men not to rape".
-- Legal paternal surrender

Furthermore, feminists often ignore serious men's issues. Or, if they are confronted with these issues and asked why they aren't working for gender equality on those fronts, they say, "Yeah, those are problems too, and we're working on them too... somehow". Examples include:

-- Unequal prison sentences
-- Male circumcision
-- The fact that most suicides are men, yet somehow we live a society that's set up for the benefit of men. I guess men are just really bad at being oppressors.
-- Men being falsely accused of rape, child abuse, and domestic violence.

Now, I should be clear: I don't support all the goals that many modern feminists do either, and that's also a big contributor to my non-feminism. Some of my future blogs posts will talk about those instances as well. However, I think my disagreement with feminist theories and methods required more explanation.



My second reason for not being a feminist is that I'm sick of being demonized for being male by feminists.

-- "Men can stop rape" / "Teach men not to rape".
-- Men/masculinity is predisposed toward rape.
-- General assertions that men are why women have problems.
-- Outright rationalizing of "man-hating".

In general, I find it incredibly prejudiced and insulting when feminists demonize men as a group. But hey, two can play that game. Here are some ways in which women are bad and need to fix themselves as a collectively guilty group:

>> Women are (100%?) of false rape accusers; all women need to address this problem, even if they've done nothing wrong; it's part of their toxic self-identities as women.

You know what the problem is? All women. Right?

>> White women are more likely to commit violent offenses and simple assaults than women of other races. White women, y'all need to get your collective shit together! It's on you!

Source: http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/wo.pdf

>> Women are the primary perpetrators of slut shaming and socially attacking other women. Women, get your collective shit together! It's on you! Even if you don't do that shit, you probably encourage it somehow, so it's your problem even if you think you have no part in it. Your self-identity as female is toxic and it's your job to fix yourself.

Source: http://www.bustle.com/articles/7721-study-says-women-evolved-to-be-gossipy-backstabbing-rivals

Maybe we should put signs on college campuses that say things like:

ChickTip: Remember not to be a backstabbing bitch to that girl who’s prettier than you.
ChickTip: Remember not to falsely accuse someone of rape.
WhiteChickTip: Remember to stop being so violent.

Oh, are these ChickTips offensive? Yes they are! So why is it okay to demonize men this way?

Sucks to have your entire gender demonized, doesn't it?



CONCLUSION

As I stated in the beginning, my main disagreement with feminism is the first topic (feminist theories and tactics), and the remaining disagreement is supplementary, but I hope it's now more understandable why I don't call myself a feminist.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I used to think that feminism was about equal rights between men and women, then I realized that was the problem. *It is all a false dichotomy.*

    Men and Women are not equal. Actually not even the individuals among their own sex are equal; but we are all human and as such we have the same individual rights. And mustn't exist a privilege that allows to an individual or a group them to deny someone else rights.

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  3. Curious if you could elaborate on your position in regards to gender not being a social construct. In regards to biological gender, or gender roles / norms?

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    1. Both, in different ways.

      With respect to one's gender identity, I think the best evidence that gender identity is (mostly) innate is the existence of transgender people. These are people who have been treated like one gender their entire lives (because of their sex organs and other features), and yet they still identify as the opposite gender, and they'll talk about how they knew something was wrong all their lives and how much better they feel now. As one commenter put it: "Gender identity is a social construct... that you're born with."

      With respect to gender roles/stereotypes (let's called them GR/S), it's obviously more nuanced, but I do think there are many ways in which men and women tend to behave differently that are the result of how humans evolved. Interestingly enough, denying our evolved behavioral dimorphism has been called "creationism of the mind" in the sense that you'd have to believe that despite all the changes evolution made to male and female bodies, it somehow kept our brains (and thus, our behaviors) exactly the same, despite the fact that men, for example, will never be tied to their children as women are with pregnancy and breastfeeding.

      However, the nuance in this behavioral dimorphism is the fact that as soon as we humans see men and women choosing to do different things in their lives or to act in different ways, we start to associate those things with men and women respectively, and then we ridicule other men and women who don't fit that pattern. That's just how humans are, but it serves to artificially inflate many behavioral differences between men and women, so it's hard to tell exactly how much of it is innate versus socially reinforced.

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