Photo by Nicole Adams, Unsplash.
Many feminists seem genuinely perplexed by the rising anti-feminist backlash, especially the strands led by women. Many years ago, if asked, I may have said I was a feminist, or at least was sympathetic to the goals of feminism, which are usually framed as “equal rights” for women.
Who’s against equality? Or women’s rights? Feminists can’t imagine, it seems, and so they conclude that such a position is simply irrational, and thus, their opponents deserve nothing but scorn and ridicule.
I don’t remember exactly how or when I soured on feminism. It was a gradual process, but the reception I’ve received from feminists has hardened my view. I mistakenly thought they really meant it when they said they cared about the rights of women, and therefore, would listen, politely and respectfully, to what other women had to say, even if we were criticizing aspects of feminist dogma.
In fairness, when I first began to criticize feminism, I hadn’t formulated solid talking points. I couldn’t say exactly what it was I didn’t like about feminism and judging from the #WomenAgainstFeminism hashtag on Twitter, I would say I’m not alone. Feminists have a decades-long head start.
But over the last few months, the picture has become clearer to me. I can distill my point in a single sentence:
I don’t like feminism because I don’t want to live in the society feminists envision.
Overturning the Social Order
Surveying the results of their half-century social experiment has only confirmed my worst fears. I preferred the social order feminists deliberately destroyed. If that doesn’t make it clear, perhaps a parallel.
How would you react if I said I would like to rollback feminist “progress” and return a real-life version of the Adventures of Ozzy and Harriet?
I’m under no illusions. I know that sort of rollback isn’t going to happen, but for the sake of my thought experiment, let’s say I could gather an army of like-minded women, and together we could overturn the prevailing social order. We would restore clear gender roles for males and females, where men are the primary leaders and providers, and a woman’s proper place is in the home.
Many women today would be horrified.
That’s an increasingly difficult scenario to imagine. But, if a woman came to me and said, “I resent what you’ve done. I don’t want to live this way,” I wouldn’t take the feminist approach and say,
“Can’t you see we’ve helped you? We know what’s best, not only for women, but for men, too. Our social project benefits everyone, and if you don’t agree, then clearly you’re brainwashed, dumb, or some combination of both. Now f*ck off!”
I can understand why not everyone wants to live in accordance with the traditional social order. I can understand why there were men and women who wanted to make more space for themselves and others. If traditionalists scored a major victory in the culture war, I’m quite sure I could understand why we would face opposition.
Of course, many women who are questioning and even openly opposing feminism are not traditionalists. Some of them are highly critical of traditionalist men and women and dread a rollback of second wave “progress” as much as their feminist sisters. For many non-traditionalist opponents, feminism is not so much a fundamentally flawed and destructive dogma as a valid social movement that has simply gone too far.
Third wave feminists could have, perhaps, surveyed the landscape and tackled some of the negative consequences resulting from second wave feminism. They could have been more thoughtful and inclusive.
How does ‘free bleeding‘ make life better for the average woman? Or growing out your armpit hair and dying it blue? Or confusing children so they don’t know if they are girls or boys, or even human? You don’t have to be a traditionalist to see that third wave feminists have gone off the rails.
So far, the opposing campaign is mostly led by the far right. A broader backlash may very well bubble to the surface in the coming months or years.
Outside the West
I certainly hope intact traditional cultures outside the Western orbit will think twice before they follow suit. Western feminism is a cultural wrecking ball. Let this dogma gain a foothold in your society, and you can look forward to an entire generation of feral children, an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease, and a complete unraveling of the social fabric that once sustained you as a people.
Block this sort of “progress” before it’s too late.
Traditionalists in the West have lost the culture war. That’s obvious. Still, just once I wish I could share my objections with a feminist and hear her say:
“I see your point. I don’t think I want what you want, but I hear you.”
To be heard and understood. Is that too much to ask of the victorious?