Feminism Has A PR Issue

A sizable percentage of young female writers on the Odyssey want nothing to do with feminism. You don't have to go far to find the evidence.

The Odyssey likes to share the most controversial articles on its Facebook page because they generate the most engagement, which in turn drives ad revenue (and you can probably tell from the two pop-up ads you probably had to X out just to read this that the Odyssey loves ad revenue.) So the anti-feminist articles tend to get featured on the Facebook page quite a bit, especially the ones that are not as well written--because those are low-hanging fruit for commenters, and thus tend to get more comments--which is why I take it as a compliment that I have yet to be featured.

And like clockwork, keyboard warriors for feminism pop up in the comments sections:

Top comment: "The author doesn't understand feminism."

Second comment: "If you believe men and women are equal, YOU ARE A FEMINIST. THE END. THAT IS LITERALLY THE DEFINITION OF FEMINISM."

Third comment: "Why does the Odyssey feature this poorly written trash bashing feminism all the time?" (You, sweetie. You are the reason.)

Have you ever seen any other ideological movement which resorts to drafting adherents who want nothing to do with it? Me neither. But they do, even on this very platform: example, example, another example, this is almost too easy, I could go all day, but you probably get the point.

According to my reading, 85% of Americans believe that men and women are equal. Yet the same source finds that only 18% of Americans identify as feminists. Whatever feminists may say, believing in gender equality clearly does not equal feminist affiliation, and it isn't right to try to force people to identify as feminists. It would be difficult to force roughly 234.5 million people to do anything they don't want to do anyway.

If I were among the 18%, I would be deeply concerned about the future of my movement.

Something isn't working.

Something got lost in translation.

People obviously don't like feminism.

And yet, if you read the article from which I draw my statistics, written by a feminist source no less, the article's tone drips with accusation and disdain for the 67%. Nowhere does it seem to occur to the author that maybe feminists are the problem.

*Warning: The links in the following paragraph are pictures that are NSFW. It is relevant to my larger point that the ways in which some feminists choose to present themselves in public are unacceptable to view in the workplace.*

Feminists like to say that the world needs feminism because of female genital mutilation, lack of access to education, child marriage, and the institutionalized misogyny of many Islamic nations around the world. But third-wave feminists aren't doing anything about those problems. They're too busy free bleeding, talking about their vaginas, suggesting men should be killed, offering to slap men just for being male, calling men pigs, drawing gross and graphic pictures of female genitalia, wearing genital costumes, graphically fantasizing about beating men, wearing horrifically inappropriate outfits in public like this and this, and perhaps worst of all, weaponizing rape for political gain.

Moderate feminists will say that these are unhinged crazies who do not represent real feminism. If feminists would condemn this vile and classless behavior loudly and often, people would get it, but instead, they blame the 67% of Americans and imply that our hesitance to identify ourselves with these unappealing, psychologically unstable and seemingly homicidal characters stems from misogyny.

It's not like there's not an easy fix here. Neo-Nazis would like nothing more than to hide among the Republican party and pass their disgusting, racist, anti-Semitic views off as conservative, but we absolutely weren't having it and (other than the President, unfortunately) take every opportunity to call this evil and genocidal philosophy what it is. As a result, American society clearly understands the difference between Richard Spencer and a Republican. But when the misandry, obscenity, and lewdness of "some" feminists are met with deafening silence from "mainstream" and "moderate" feminists, we begin to wonder if there's really that much of a difference.

Respect and acknowledgment should be given to the tiny minority of moderate feminists who do condemn what modern feminism has become.

I have never understood why feminists say that women can think for themselves, but deride the women who critically think their way to anti-feminism as uninformed and ignorant. Are we allowed to think for ourselves only if we arrive at approved conclusions?

To close, I want to address the moderate feminist who is tempted to shrilly insist that I am a feminist. I'll say this one more time: I am not a feminist. I believe in gender equality, like 85% of other Americans, and like 82% of other Americans, I am not a feminist. Your movement is the problem, not me. You have a bad PR issue, and it's up to you to fix it, not up to me to overlook it. You are essentially like an Enron investor following the white-collar crime spree who refuses to abandon a sinking ship and yet says that others who do must object to the entire discipline of accounting. Your irrationality is only hurting you, so I suggest you reconsider. And whatever else you do, stop insulting my intelligence by saying I don't understand feminism. I understand it perfectly well and I, as well as 234.5 million other Americans, don't like what I see.


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