Billy Chubbs attacks the #womenagainstfeminism photos popping up on Twitter and elsewhere. firmly declaring himself to be among those who find #WAF to be “typical female attention-whoring.”
I’ll readily concede that aspects of #WAF may in fact be “female attention-whoring”, but he loses me at “typical”, for the “typical” modern Western woman cares only about socially acceptable “causes” that boost her standing with the “socially aware” set or that benefit her financially. These women are actually going against what’s supposed to be popular, essentially agreeing with us instead.
Nevertheless, Chubbs gives us three reasons to discount #WomenAgainstFeminism. I’ll deal with each of them in turn.
1. Writing on a piece of paper doesn’t do or mean anything.
In many cases he’s right. Like he describes, #BringBackOurGirls was worse than useless. It demonstrated utter impotence against a ghastly and tangibly evil act, exemplifying the “pat myself on the back for ‘caring'” form of activism so prevalent on college campuses and elsewhere.
Boko Harem probably felt more emboldened in the wake of #BBOG than they would have had Michelle Obama, Emma Watson, and company just ignored them. The hashtag showed them that we all knew what they did and disapproved, but we had nothing beyond “a piece of paper” to back it up. When it’s guns versus hashtags, the guns win every time. If you’re not going to bring the requisite guns, keep your hashtags at home; better to pretend you don’t care than to show you care but are powerless.
Yet the battle against feminism isn’t like opposing Boko Harem, requiring trawling through the jungle with night-vision goggles and sniper rifles (at least not so far). Feminism is a set of pernicious ideas, and ideas are both spread and opposed with “writing on a piece of paper.”
To take but one of countless examples, Marxism began with one or two jackass putting words on paper. Sometimes Marxism’s fought with guns, but quite often it’s fought with other words, many of which are on paper.
But although it’s partly about words, it’s about more than that. Chubbs:
What are a bunch of random semi-cute-to-really-cute girls going to achieve with #womenagainstfeminism? Nothing. It’s a hollow gesture, intended to make the chick posting the picture feel good.
Women are social animals, they often do exactly what everybody else does just because everybody else is doing it. Fitting in matters, hence how ostracism is one of the most potent weapons women use against each other.
In #WAF we have lots of attractive women (who other women want to be like) boldly declaring that they are not feminists. This makes other women who have a few doubts about feminism feel just a bit more willing to feel the same way. One of the most effective ways leftists of all stripes keep others from exploring other views is through spreading the idea that only freaks and weirdos with no friends could ever disagree with them. #WomenAgainstFeminism neutralizes that tool, and feminists aren’t happy about it.
As to whether or not the posts are “intended to make the chick posting the picture feel good”, who gives a damn? If she’s helping to expose the lie that “only those ugly women with long skirts who never have sex aren’t feminist”, I don’t care if she’s doing it out of religious conviction, because her friend dared her to do it, or just to impress some writer on Return of Kings.
2. It continues to give women all the power in the discourse.
If some guy were to start #MenAgainstFeminism, it would be met with the same derision as #OilBaronsAgainstCarbonCaps or #AsiansAgainstAffirmativeAction. Of course you hate feminism. You’re a white guy who just wants to protect your privilege.
But when a woman does it, it has a different effect. Feminism is supposed to be in a woman’s self-interest. Therefore, if a woman visibly opposes it, people are more likely to take note. Our opponents recognize this, which is why they often attack anti-feminist women with the same vehemence as black conservatives. The more they can get us all to think woman=feminist, the better. Only women themselves can fight that perception.
Chubbs also compares #WAF with the prominence of women in the Men’s Rights Movement, although there’s a somewhat different dynamic at work. #WomenAgainstFeminism is quite literally closed off to men as a means of expression, whereas the MRM and manosphere are not.
There are two prospective problems here. First, there is the possibility of women “taking over” so to speak. Justice is an abstract that’s accessible to everybody, but we all tend to view Justice through the prism of our personal interest and experience. Women’s interests and experience are different from men’s. They’ll never quite “get it.”
To which I reply that what matters is the message. If you’re helping to spread it, you’re good. If you’re not, you’re not. If a woman is helping out, let her. The moment she holds us back, stop her.
Dr. Helen handled her multiple media appearance quite well and brought some of our ideas to a much broader audience than damn near any one of us. Would it be better for a man to do it? Yes. Would it be worse for it not to have been done at all? Also yes.
Some of us here in the manosphere would do a great job at spreading the word, but a few of us might be just a bit too inclined to address a TV reporter the same way we address other commenters at Heartiste (which although quite fun to hear would probably backfire). Thus far, our female allies have done a good job at presenting our views, actually getting some favorable press. As long as they continue, let ‘em.
Nevertheless, Chubbs does have a point in that we men are going to have to come to the fore eventually. It’s no accident that the MRM is the most touchy-feelie female-friendly realm of the manosphere, the one most dominated by women, and the part getting the most favorable press.
But the MRM promotes but one small part of what needs to be done, and if it gets too far ahead of itself it could steer what needs to be a cultural and social movement into a purely political one. Women will never understand many of the relatively apolitical aspects of what men need to do, i.e. attracting women, raising our sons, living fulfilled lives, etc. If the manosphere devolves into MRM with some side comments, it would indeed be too feminized and counter-productive. Men need to ensure this never happens.
Chubbs’ second objection is that female prominence sends the message that “men themselves are not allowed to talk about the problems society inflicts upon them. All problems concerning the sexes must be filtered through a woman’s mouth.”
Unfortunately, for reasons I’ve cited above, at present women are many of our most effective spokespeople.
But the solution for this isn’t to tear women down, it’s to build men up. We can’t participate in #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtags, but we’re every bit as capable at deftly handling hostile questions on a talk show. How about a few of us start acting like it?
Don’t like how many women are speaking for us? Be better at it yourself and take their place.
3. They are not actually against feminism.
Chubbs lists a bunch of the ways in which he suspect the women of #WAF might be more feminist than they suspect, such as favorable college admissions policies, easy liberal arts degrees, lowered work requirements and expectations, marriage 2.0, hookup culture, and family law bias, concluding with [emphasis his]:
How many of these women would actually be all for that? Because that’s what a world without enforced feminism would look like; not because of the evil patriarchy, but simply because men are better than women at most things. These chicks say they’re against feminism, but they and their proud feminist sisters are still enjoying the exact same benefits that feminism has bestowed upon them, all the while avoiding the responsibilities those benefits would entail if they happened to be men. If it came right down to it, would #womenagainstfeminism actually put her money where her mouth was? Of course she wouldn’t.
Remember the golden rule about women: Judge them only by what they do, not what they say. Stupid signs posted on the internet included.
As much as I agree with judging a woman based on what she does, neither Chubbs nor I have any idea how most of these women actually lead their lives.
Yet I’d be far from surprised if most of them lead the anti-feminist life I’d like them to lead. Chubbs is correct that many of them have no idea whatsoever how much of a role feminism has played in their lives, nor how much they agree with its assumptions (an argument made by feminists themselves).
Yes, feminism is a “tricky word”, one that feminists define as merely believing that men and women are both human.
But bit by bit, we’re exposing the lie of that ridiculous belief. It’s a label, but we’re making headway against that label. We’re beginning to turn it into something women don’t want to be.
Obviously, there’s the label for beliefs, and then there are the beliefs themselves. They’re related but not the same.
However, once a woman declares to the world that she’s not a feminist, she’s begun to set a trap for herself. If she insists on getting paid to lactate, I thought you said you’re not a feminist. If she complains about some guys starting up a men-only gym, I thought you said you’re not a feminist. If she encourages her female friends to be more aggressive, if she insists that the government pay for her tampons, if she tears down masculinity or tries to keep a father from raising his son to be a man, I thought you said you’re not a feminist.
“Then stop acting like it.”
Does this solve all of our problems? Reform family law? Cause women to universally respect and understand all that men go through to make their lives easier?
Hardly, but it’s a start. The fight against feminism is multi-faceted. It’s legal, social, sexual, cultural, religious, and economic. It’s nothing we’re going to win in a year.
We’ll strike down labels, they’ll come up with new ones. We’ll call ostensibly anti-feminist women on their crap, they’ll tell us it’s not really feminism. We’ll get a law passed here, they’ll get one passed there. Some churches will go back to traditional roles, others will discard them altogether.
But we take every victory we can get. We tell the world that feminism is bad. We’ve got some fairly decent women telling the world that feminism is bad. This is a good thing. Not perfect, not enough, but a step in the right direction.
To progress as a movement, we’ve got to be realistic, but we’ve also got to acknowledge victories when they come our way. #WomenAgainstFeminism thrives in part because feminism has betrayed the feminine imperative, but biological female self-interest isn’t quite the same as a political movement that crushes anything that stands in a woman’s way. Women are starting to recognize that wrecking men might not be all that good for women.
Self-serving? Perhaps. But it’s in our interest, too. Should we really expect any more?
After all, they’re still women.