If feminists don't want to be criticized as a single entity... Watch

KingBradly
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If feminists don't want to be criticised as a single entity, they should stop defending themselves as one.

I've often heard feminists say things like "feminists don't hate men". And sure, not all of them do, it may only be a small minority. But some feminists genuinely do have very misandrist views, such as Shulamith Firestone or Andrea Dworkin. Most people understand that feminists aren't all one monolithic group, but if they don't want to be treated as one, they should stop defending themselves as one. I was reading an opinion piece in the paper today, and again the writer was talking about how "feminists" aren't against the concept of the nuclear family. But, the fact is that some are. Again, a small minority of radicals, but feminists nonetheless.

The problem also crops up with the "feminism just means believing in equality for men and women". Again, these people who so love to remind us that you can't criticise feminists as a single group, are in this instance treating feminists as just that. In fact, there are most certainly radical feminists who don't just believe in equality for men and women. There is a strain of radical feminism which has supported a matriarchy and think men are evil at core.

It often feels like so much of what feminists say to defend themselves should come with a "*" at the end of it, and a little explanation in small print. The "feminism just means believing in equality" buzzphrase should definitely come with it. And the small print should read "*various kinds of very specific and often contradicting concepts of what equality means, typically beyond simply believing in equal rights (as those have already been achieved), and instead about influencing how people behave and think".

So many feminist defences always feel like weasel arguments, constantly deflecting criticisms with buzzphrases that are not necessarily untrue but conveniently hide important truths behind them. What feminists mean by equality is often a very different thing to what most people think it means.

Lena Dunham said ‘Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist.’

But it's not quite that simple is it Dunham, because that's not the definitive idea of what makes you a feminist, because there is no definitive idea. There are literally feminists who believe that you can't be a feminist if you're not a vegetarian (???), and I'm sure many feminists would not think a man who believes all that stuff Dunham has described but goes to strip clubs can be considered a feminist, as self-proclaimed feminist Maajid Nawaz had the misfortune of discovering recently. And you can come back with the usual deflective argument of "well actually, feminists just believe in equality", but as I have already articulated, this "truth" isn't quite as honest and simple as it appears at face value.

And if feminism was simply about believing in what Dunham has described, what would even be the point of feminism? Almost everyone believes this, and the law supports every single one of her points, and has done for some time. If this is the be-all and end-all of feminism, what purpose does it serve in any first-world, Western country? Again, Dunham's argument has more than a touch of weaselling to it. What she is really doing here is trying to make people conclude that feminism's critics must oppose these most basic of rights, and she is also trying to draw people into feminism on the premise that it is something far simpler and more agreeable than it really is. What other reason would she say it? What reason would there be for so strongly advocating feminism if all the movement does is support the widely accepted and politically and legally supported status quo?

And let's face it, Dunham's comments are fairly typical of the kind you hear so commonly from feminists at the moment. If feminists want to be taken more seriously, they need to stop being so blatantly intellectually dishonest.

I wonder what kinds of deflective responses I shall receive for this post. As I have already criticised the usual clichés, maybe I'll get some mockingly insouciant dismissals, or perhaps even an irreverent reaction gif or two?
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Izzebie
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In reply to the first part where you said about feminists claiming that all feminists don't hate men, I think people say this because a proper feminist (one who genuinely believes in equality) woudn't see a misandrist as an actual feminist, in the same way that muslims say that terroists like the Taliban or IS aren't real muslims. Of course it's debatable about what actually makes someone a feminst, but that's why people (in my view) say this.

Btw sorry if that sounds funny I couldn't quite get the phrasing right.
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KingBradly
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(Original post by Izzebie)
In reply to the first part where you said about feminists claiming that all feminists don't hate men, I think people say this because a proper feminist (one who genuinely believes in equality) woudn't see a misandrist as an actual feminist, in the same way that muslims say that terroists like the Taliban or IS aren't real muslims. Of course it's debatable about what actually makes someone a feminst, but that's why people (in my view) say this.

Btw sorry if that sounds funny I couldn't quite get the phrasing right.
First of all, that's a No True Scotsman fallacy. There is no such thing as a "proper feminist", and you certainly aren't the arbiter of who can be considered a feminist and who cannot. Secondly, you're talking about feminists as a single group again, where every one of them agrees with you on this matter. It's funny how when you criticise feminists, they will so often placate you with the usual "yeh but it's not ALL feminists, there are so many different kinds", and yet other times they will defend feminists as if they are one unified group who all happen to agree with them, as you are doing. Thirdly, if no "proper" feminists consider misandrists as "actual" feminists, then that means a hell of a lot of the most prominent feminists cannot be considered "proper" feminists, given that misandrist feminist writers such as Shulamith Firestone and Andrea Dworkin are highly regarded even by those who don't completely agree with them, and have written some of the most influential feminist works.

Again, I'm afraid your response was weaselling.
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caravaggio2
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Karen Straughan says that trying to argue with many feminists is like trying to sword fight a fart. Every time you pull them (feminist a) up on something that has been said by another one (feminist b) they come out with "but that's not a true feminist" (see post above)
No true Scotsman.
And to them in fairness they (fem a) may believe that. The problem I have is that very often the people that you are quoting ( fem b) and they are denying, are the ones with degrees gender studies and are highly active in the movement. The point being they (fem b) self declare strongly as feminist, they attend feminist meetings, they launch campaigns, they attend protests, they even have the blue hair, wear the T shirt and shout a lot, they trawl forums like this one for patriarchal dragons to slay. So who is fem (a) to say they, fem (b)aren't real feminists.
The truth be known they are often the most qualified to call themselves such.
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KingBradly
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(Original post by caravaggio2)
Karen Straughan says that trying to argue with many feminists is like trying to sword fight a fart. Every time you pull them (feminist a) up on something that has been said by another one (feminist b) they come out with "but that's not a true feminist" (see post above)
No true Scotsman.
And to them in fairness they (fem a) may believe that. The problem I have is that very often the people that you are quoting ( fem b) and they are denying, are the ones with degrees gender studies and are highly active in the movement. The point being they (fem b) self declare strongly as feminist, they attend feminist meetings, they launch campaigns, they attend protests, they even have the blue hair, wear the T shirt and shout a lot, they trawl forums like this one for patriarchal dragons to slay. So who is fem (a) to say they, fem (b)aren't real feminists.
The truth be known they are often the most qualified to call themselves such.
If all you believe in is simply defending a very, very widely accepted status quo, then why would you be so bothered about defining yourself as a feminist and defending the movement? What's the purpose? It's like saying "I don't think people should pour petrol on dogs and set fire to them, so that makes me an animal rights activist, and I am going to defend the movement against any criticism". We don't need people to say that setting fire to dogs is bad, just as we don't need people to say that women should be allowed out of the house or should receive the same pay for the same jobs, because the vast, vast, vast majority of people already believe this. I feel like some people just like to call themselves "feminist" just because it makes them feel good, because it's trendy, but in the end they don't actually believe anything different to 99% of people, they just have a very broad definition of "feminism" to the point of it being effectively superfluous. But not only is it superfluous, but they are associating themselves with people like Jessica Valenti. Why would you want to do that for a label that says nothing about you that people wouldn't naturally expect anyway?
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lucy497
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(Original post by KingBradly)
If all you believe in is simply defending a very, very widely accepted status quo, then why would you be so bothered about defining yourself as a feminist and defending the movement? What's the purpose?
I think the word 'movement' encapsulates the reason why people define themselves as feminists. Believing in equality is not acting on it. While many believe in the general principles of equality, a much smaller number act on it. By associating yourself with the feminist movement, you're saying that a change needs to be made... because there are very clear injustices in the world.

That is not to say that people who do not call themselves feminists never actively attempt to campaign for equality, and after all actions are more important than words, but if you look at the majority of popular feminist websites, twitter accounts or facebook pages you can see articles about these issues. People follow these accounts for feminism and from that they learn about the problems we face as a society. Through feminism, people can find others who care about the world and work with them to address issues.

If being a feminist helps you to make a change, then doesn't that make it a positive thing regardless of the semantics?
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KingBradly
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(Original post by lucy497)
I think the word 'movement' encapsulates the reason why people define themselves as feminists. Believing in equality is not acting on it. While many believe in the general principles of equality, a much smaller number act on it. By associating yourself with the feminist movement, you're saying that a change needs to be made... because there are very clear injustices in the world.
But men and women already have equal rights in this country and the rest of the first world West. For many people, that is what "equality" means, and as far as it should go, as opposed to dictating what people should think and say.

(Original post by lucy497)
That is not to say that people who do not call themselves feminists never actively attempt to campaign for equality, and after all actions are more important than words, but if you look at the majority of popular feminist websites, twitter accounts or facebook pages you can see articles about these issues. People follow these accounts for feminism and from that they learn about the problems we face as a society. Through feminism, people can find others who care about the world and work with them to address issues.

If being a feminist helps you to make a change, then doesn't that make it a positive thing regardless of the semantics?
This is getting pretty off-topic now, but it would make it a positive thing, if it weren't for the fact that feminism is so strongly associated with (and so prominently promoted by) people who have very bad ideas. Wouldn't it be better to distinguish yourselves from these peoples?
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M14B
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(Original post by KingBradly)
If feminists don't want to be criticised as a single entity, they should stop defending themselves as one.

I've often heard feminists say things like "feminists don't hate men". And sure, not all of them do, it may only be a small minority. But some feminists genuinely do have very misandrist views, such as Shulamith Firestone or Andrea Dworkin. Most people understand that feminists aren't all one monolithic group, but if they don't want to be treated as one, they should stop defending themselves as one. I was reading an opinion piece in the paper today, and again the writer was talking about how "feminists" aren't against the concept of the nuclear family. But, the fact is that some are. Again, a small minority of radicals, but feminists nonetheless.

The problem also crops up with the "feminism just means believing in equality for men and women". Again, these people who so love to remind us that you can't criticise feminists as a single group, are in this instance treating feminists as just that. In fact, there are most certainly radical feminists who don't just believe in equality for men and women. There is a strain of radical feminism which has supported a matriarchy and think men are evil at core.

It often feels like so much of what feminists say to defend themselves should come with a "*" at the end of it, and a little explanation in small print. The "feminism just means believing in equality" buzzphrase should definitely come with it. And the small print should read "*various kinds of very specific and often contradicting concepts of what equality means, typically beyond simply believing in equal rights (as those have already been achieved), and instead about influencing how people behave and think".

So many feminist defences always feel like weasel arguments, constantly deflecting criticisms with buzzphrases that are not necessarily untrue but conveniently hide important truths behind them. What feminists mean by equality is often a very different thing to what most people think it means.

Lena Dunham said ‘Do you believe that women should be paid the same for doing the same jobs? Do you believe that women should be allowed to leave the house? Do you think that women and men both deserve equal rights? Great, then you’re a feminist.’

But it's not quite that simple is it Dunham, because that's not the definitive idea of what makes you a feminist, because there is no definitive idea. There are literally feminists who believe that you can't be a feminist if you're not a vegetarian (???), and I'm sure many feminists would not think a man who believes all that stuff Dunham has described but goes to strip clubs can be considered a feminist, as self-proclaimed feminist Maajid Nawaz had the misfortune of discovering recently. And you can come back with the usual deflective argument of "well actually, feminists just believe in equality", but as I have already articulated, this "truth" isn't quite as honest and simple as it appears at face value.

And if feminism was simply about believing in what Dunham has described, what would even be the point of feminism? Almost everyone believes this, and the law supports every single one of her points, and has done for some time. If this is the be-all and end-all of feminism, what purpose does it serve in any first-world, Western country? Again, Dunham's argument has more than a touch of weaselling to it. What she is really doing here is trying to make people conclude that feminism's critics must oppose these most basic of rights, and she is also trying to draw people into feminism on the premise that it is something far simpler and more agreeable than it really is. What other reason would she say it? What reason would there be for so strongly advocating feminism if all the movement does is support the widely accepted and politically and legally supported status quo?

And let's face it, Dunham's comments are fairly typical of the kind you hear so commonly from feminists at the moment. If feminists want to be taken more seriously, they need to stop being so blatantly intellectually dishonest.

I wonder what kinds of deflective responses I shall receive for this post. As I have already criticised the usual clichés, maybe I'll get some mockingly insouciant dismissals, or perhaps even an irreverent reaction gif or two?
Please king
Write smaller posts as some of us cannot maintain concentration
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Dano20
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Feminism was hijacked by racist Jewish women who wanted to divide gentile male and female to destroy our society

Which is why West is in such decline

Think about it, have you seen all those old fashioned orthodox Jews and their obedient Jewish wives and ten kids? Or the gender segregated buses in Israel?
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KingBradly
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(Original post by M14B)
Please king
Write smaller posts as some of us cannot maintain concentration
I would, but if you don't include every possible point you can think of with an argument against feminists, they will take the point you missed and use that to discredit your entire argument.
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KingBradly
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(Original post by Dano20)
Feminism was hijacked by racist Jewish women who wanted to divide gentile male and female to destroy our society

Which is why West is in such decline

Think about it, have you seen all those old fashioned orthodox Jews and their obedient Jewish wives and ten kids? Or the gender segregated buses in Israel?
Headcase.
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kmcmanus
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(Original post by KingBradly)
But men and women already have equal rights in this country and the rest of the first world West. For many people, that is what "equality" means, and as far as it should go, as opposed to dictating what people should think and say.



This is getting pretty off-topic now, but it would make it a positive thing, if it weren't for the fact that feminism is so strongly associated with (and so prominently promoted by) people who have very bad ideas. Wouldn't it be better to distinguish yourselves from these peoples?
Uhhh someone literally just tried to do that by saying those people aren't real feminists and thus distinguishing themselves from the extremists and you shot them down with the no true scotsman argument...
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KingBradly
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(Original post by kmcmanus)
Uhhh someone literally just tried to do that by saying those people aren't real feminists and thus distinguishing themselves from the extremists and you shot them down with the no true scotsman argument...
That isn't the same thing though is it? You don't get to be the arbiter of who is and who isn't a feminist, but you can distinguish yourself from feminists by giving yourself a different label.
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kmcmanus
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(Original post by KingBradly)
That isn't the same thing though is it? You don't get to be the arbiter of who is and who isn't a feminist, but you can distinguish yourself from feminists by giving yourself a different label.

Obviously feminism has a movement associated, but the word 'feminist' just describes a belief in the same way an 'atheist' is someone who does not believe in a god. Some atheists might be complete idiots trying to push their own agenda, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be called atheists. A feminist is a feminist by definition, why would they label themselves as something else just for the sake of idiots looking for an argument to pick against feminism by pointing out the actions of a few extreme, unrepresentative examples? that's like asking muslims to change the name of their faith just because of ISIS..
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KingBradly
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(Original post by kmcmanus)
Obviously feminism has a movement associated, but the word 'feminist' just describes a belief in the same way an 'atheist' is someone who does not believe in a god. Some atheists might be complete idiots trying to push their own agenda, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be called atheists. A feminist is a feminist by definition, why would they label themselves as something else just for the sake of idiots looking for an argument to pick against feminism by pointing out the actions of a few extreme, unrepresentative examples? that's like asking muslims to change the name of their faith just because of ISIS..
Atheism and feminism are completely incomparable. "Atheist" has a definitive meaning: someone who does not believe in a god. That's it, full stop. The meaning of "feminist" is not definitive, as feminists will give you different interpretations of it.
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kmcmanus
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(Original post by KingBradly)
Atheism and feminism are completely incomparable. "Atheist" has a definitive meaning: someone who does not believe in a god. That's it, full stop. The meaning of "feminist" is not definitive, as feminists will give you different interpretations of it.
If they give you a different meaning, then they are just describing what it means to them and what it means in a wider context. The definition is just someone who believes that women are equal to men. That's it. anyone who isn't a sexist is a feminist.
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Izzebie
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(Original post by KingBradly)
First of all, that's a No True Scotsman fallacy. There is no such thing as a "proper feminist", and you certainly aren't the arbiter of who can be considered a feminist and who cannot. Secondly, you're talking about feminists as a single group again, where every one of them agrees with you on this matter. It's funny how when you criticise feminists, they will so often placate you with the usual "yeh but it's not ALL feminists, there are so many different kinds", and yet other times they will defend feminists as if they are one unified group who all happen to agree with them, as you are doing. Thirdly, if no "proper" feminists consider misandrists as "actual" feminists, then that means a hell of a lot of the most prominent feminists cannot be considered "proper" feminists, given that misandrist feminist writers such as Shulamith Firestone and Andrea Dworkin are highly regarded even by those who don't completely agree with them, and have written some of the most influential feminist works.

Again, I'm afraid your response was weaselling.
What I would call a 'proper feminist' is one who acts according to the dictionary definition of feminism (the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state). I didn't say that every feminist agreed with me - I quite clearly said that that was my view on why some feminists do this. The two writers you mentioned - I personally haven't heard anything about either of them being sexist (although I don't know too much about them so you may be right). However I personally look more up to modern feminists such as Emma Watson, Caitlin Moran and Laura Bates, who I definitely would view as 'proper feminists'. However if these writers are sexist then no, I wouldn't consider them 'proper feminists'.
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KingBradly
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(Original post by kmcmanus)
If they give you a different meaning, then they are just describing what it means to them and what it means in a wider context. The definition is just someone who believes that women are equal to men. That's it. anyone who isn't a sexist is a feminist.
But as I already articulated, "equality" here isn't as simple as you're making it out to be, because feminists have varied, specific, and often contradictory ideas of what "equality" means. Again, you're weaselling. You're hiding important truths behind something which appears simple on the surface but actually isn't. Also, by saying "anyone who isn't sexist is a feminist", you're labelling anyone who criticises feminism as a sexist, regardless of whether they believe in equality or not. People may simply not like them label. That doesn't make them sexist. It just means they don't want to be associated with the feminist movement.
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KingBradly
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(Original post by Izzebie)
What I would call a 'proper feminist' is one who acts according to the dictionary definition of feminism (the belief that women should be allowed the same rights, power, and opportunities as men and be treated in the same way, or the set of activities intended to achieve this state).
So feminism is completely superfluous then, as our society has already achieved these things.

(Original post by Izzebie)
I didn't say that every feminist agreed with me - I quite clearly said that that was my view on why some feminists do this. The two writers you mentioned - I personally haven't heard anything about either of them being sexist (although I don't know too much about them so you may be right). However I personally look more up to modern feminists such as Emma Watson, Caitlin Moran and Laura Bates, who I definitely would view as 'proper feminists'. However if these writers are sexist then no, I wouldn't consider them 'proper feminists'.
It's irrelevant who you consider 'proper feminists', so I don't know why you keep harping on about it. Additionally, how many pieces of feminist literature have you read?
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SHallowvale
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(Original post by KingBradly)
If feminists don't want to be criticised as a single entity, they should stop defending themselves as one.
Not all feminists defend themselves as a single entity, so why should all feminists be criticized as though they were a single entity?

If someone or a group of people make sweeping generalisations about themselves and others then they should be called out for doing so. There is no need to stoop to their level and do exactly the same thing.
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