The one thing they all had in common appears to be a significant lack of understanding about what feminism is, and many of the comments supported these misconceptions. In many cases, they were a response to a perceived injustice by a so-called feminist (who probably did not have have a clue about feminism either) hiding behind the term to support said injustice.
"The difficult part in an argument is not to defend one's opinion but rather to know it." - Andre Maurois
I recently tried to explain this to another deviant, as a reply to one of these popular rants, that this is akin to saying that Christianity is all about eradicating Islam, or Islam is based on eradicating Christianity; anyone who makes such a statement is obviously misguided, and does not even understand their own argument. The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes,” yet I have heard the term applied to such absurd notions as a defence for murder of a man by a woman, a justification for banning all pornography, and an argument in favour of unisex communes. These are the ones who most of those rants are targeted at, the female chauvinists, and this is pretty much the same as condemning all Catholics as rampant pedophiles. It’s funny, I have yet to see any deviant make that argument, yet the Catholic Church has committed many atrocities in its long and troubled history (Before anyone blasts me for this, I’d like to point out the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, the Knights of St-John, and the practice of buying indulgences from Pope Leo X; and if you really want to upset someone, ask them about Pope Benedict IX) - but I digress. And yes, I am a Catholic.
On more than one occasion, I began to write a scathing response to one of those posts, and checked myself because I felt that I didn't want to attract the kinds of attention that such a discussion is sure to bring. On a recent eleven-hour flight, however, I had time to think about it. I was reminded of the famous quote by Martin Niemöller:
"First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-
because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me--
and there was no one left to speak out for me."
and realized that I had to say something. I began to formulate a response that would (hopefully) not throw gasoline on the fire, while getting the reader to think beyond the unenlightened rants of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh. I wanted to make it abundantly clear that feminists are no more (or less) evil than any member of a mainstream political party, or any average member of any of the popular organized religions. But mostly, I wanted to make the point that some readers might actually describe themselves as exactly that which they have previously heaped vitriolic abuse upon. Feminism is not about loud protests and abasing men. Cartoon characters in skimpy costumes have about as much to do with feminism as eating fish on Fridays has to do with Christianity. I am a white, heterosexual adult male who has seen his share of bar fights, and I am a feminist. I believe that a person should not be discriminated against due to their gender, their skin colour or their sexual orientation.
I also believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion. When they chose to impose their opinions upon me however, well, I see that as an open invitation to return the favour; discourse is the key to communication, and without discourse, no one will ever realize that there might be a flaw in their reasoning.
"He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak." - Michel de Montaigne
Twelve signs that you might be a feminist.Feel free to add your own in the comments below.
You might be a feminist if you believe that a woman should be allowed to drive an automobile.
You might be a feminist if you believe that a woman should be allowed to go to school, if she so chooses.
You might be a feminist if you believe that a woman should be allowed to own her own home, or to get a bank loan without requiring the endorsement of a husband, brother or father.
You might be a feminist if you believe that a woman should be allowed to marry the person she loves without being stoned to death by her brothers and father.
You might be a feminist if you believe that a female soldier with eight years of dedicated service to her country should be safe from being raped by her fellow male soldiers in her own barracks.
You might be a feminist if you believe that two police officers with the same seniority, productivity and the same qualifications should receive the same rate of pay for the same amount of work.
You might be a feminist if you are uncomfortable with the notion that a man can beat a woman simply because she is his wife, and justify it as freedom of religion.
You might be a feminist if you disagree that a widow who has no sons must marry one of her brother-in-laws simply because it is her marital obligation to continue the family name.
You might be a feminist if you support a woman’s right to ask for a divorce after her husband has cheated on her and given her a venereal disease.
You might be a feminist if you disagree with the practice of a man abandoning his wife and marrying another woman, yet not allowing the woman to date or marry again because her former husband will not grant her a divorce.
You might be a feminist if you believe that an adolescent girl should not be offered for sex to her father’s house guests (Justified because it is portrayed as a noble act in the bible, see Genesis 19:1-11)
You might be a feminist if you believe that a woman should be allowed to vote in public elections.
Basically, you are a feminist if you believe that men and women should have all of the same rights.
Of course that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong; but since most of the bullets above are culled straight from the recent news, I seriously doubt it.