And I face-palmed SO HARD
Because take out the “don’t” and that is pretty much the DEFINITION of feminism
[EDITED for brevity - read here]
I don’t think that the original sign has anything to do with seeing feminists as “lesbians who don’t shave and hate men”, rather it has more to do with seeing feminism as a movement which perpetuates the theory of universal female victimhood. Which is often a good thing, especially where it concerns oppression of females in areas which may not be immediately obvious to the public, but such an approach can sometimes end up disregarding individual experiences and beliefs. Everyone sees the world in a different way, and should not necessarily be expected to conform to the views of others.
Painting anyone who does not agree with your definition of feminism as someone who hates equality and/or is completely subservient to the wishes of men is quite disrespectful, I think.
I read & reread the OP & this response & vacillated between diplomacy & well, face-palm.
To start with, just to get it out of the way, because the rest of this is going to be long: I think it’s important to clarify that the OP was not saying that the woman with the sign must be anti-equality, but rather asking why, assuming she is not anti-equlaity, does she have a problem with a movement that is pro-equality? Big difference, & not disrespectful.
Moving on to my main problem with your response:
The sign the OP refers to argues that feminism is the obverse of what those of use who do call ourselves feminists consider it to be. So quite apart from anything else, if someone-else doesn’t consider themselves to be a feminist, how can they comment on what it means to be a feminist?
Because when that happens, what we are told is that to be a feminist is to be too strident, too outspoken, not listening to men’s voices, taking up too much space, anti-science, anti-history, and (now) “perpetuat[ing] the theory of universal female victimhood”.
Well, fuck that.
I am not a victim. However, just as I am aware of the freedoms - privileges - that I have because I am white, middle-class from an educated, liberal background in a developed nation, I am aware of the constraints upon my actions & my will in my life (& anywhere in the world I might go) because of my gender. Around the world women are killed because they are women - because they refused to marry & women are chattels to be bought & sold, because they were raped & lost their value as chattels, because they spoke out, because no-one would prosecute the murder because a woman is worth nothing. In the West, after decades of feminism & change, there are studies that show that men still think that women are dominating the conversation if they talk for more than 10-15% of the time. In between these disparate points there’s a continuum that repeats, like a broken record, “women are worth less, women are worth less, women are worthless”. Feminism is NOT about being a victim, it is against being systematically victimised.
Unfortunately, there are an increasing number of young Western women who very quickly, with little provocation will tell you “oh I’m not a feminist” as if it were a bad thing to be, a troublesome thing (& no-one wants a troublesome woman). Why? because they are told over and over again that to be a feminist is to be too strident, too outspoken, misandrist, etc… Just like they’re told over & over again that they’re too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, not pretty enough, too pretty! Hear anything enough & you can start to believe it. They’re told that they’re being radical & having self-determination, rebelling against their mothers who alienated their fathers by being too much too… Strike a pose girls, & stick it to feminism!
But the question that all this begs is: who benefits?
Oh, yeah, that’s right. Men. Again. As women gain rights, men’s privileges reduce, & they think it is an attack on their rights. Nope. Saying that someone-else is entitled to the same rights as you is not taking your rights away. So, anyway, we get Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs), & all this rhetoric - that feminism is about victimhood, that it’s anti-men, that it is no longer relevant - comes largely from MRAs*. So yes, we can argue that a woman, of any age or background, who shows such non-comprehension of what feminism is whilst making a stand against it, is acting as an unwitting functionary of the patriarchy.
*Or alternatively from women in a position of privilege, who having never experienced noticeable systemic oppression themselves, are incapable of imagining that other women in their own society may have a different experience. It’s not that different to: “I made lots of money in a capitalist society, so anyone who is poor is just lazy.”