Social Question

desiree333's avatar

Why are people embarrassed to say they support feminism?

Asked by desiree333 (3195 points ) December 9th, 2012

I’ve just never understood. Feminism isn’t about raising women up to be higher than men. It isn’t even about men at all. In my opinion, feminism’s goal can be summed up into one word, and that’s CHOICE. When you ask someone if they support the feminist movement they will usually wrinkle their nose and laugh. However, if you ask anyone if they believe in human rights they would be out of their mind to say no. So why is it when half of the population requests rights over their own lives it becomes laughable and opposed?
I realize in the beginning feminism did have racist / ableist / classist motives, but why does that warrant the people of today to settle with the inequalities? The ironic part is, most of the people who look down upon feminism use the fact that they live in a “equal” country as their excuse. Do not judge an entire movement based on classist beginnings when you aren’t thinking about current oppressed countries elsewhere yourself. Just because there are misguided radical activists (ex. PETA) doesn’t mean I would ever turn my back on the fair treatment of any creature (bad example, I know). So why can this excuse be used for fellow human beings?

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45 Answers

Unbroken's avatar

Love the question.

ucme's avatar

The only people who would feel that way are far too away of their own social status & believe the stigma attached to feminism.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think there are those who frame the notion of feminism around stereotypes such as all feminists hate men and have extreme expectations and make extreme demands. Rather than seeing that the majority of feminists simply want ‘equal’ rights to men. Some people (including some women) are oblivious to the continuing disparity between male/female wages, the continuing ‘glass ceiling’, that women still face sexual harassment in various parts of their life and are at greater risk of violent crime (amongst other disadvantages). And this is only considering women’s’ rights from a very Western perspective. When we look at the way women are treated globally, the need for equality is even more dire.

However, as an example of the blinkered view some have of women’s’ rights, the French President’s wife Carla Bruni recently said she felt there was no longer… any need for feminism. Apparently feminism is now irrelevant.

rooeytoo's avatar

I have never claimed to be a feminist because it seems to me feminists do not seek equality as much as they seek special treatment. I support equalism. I do not want to be special and different, I want an equal shot at all jobs and equal pay for doing them. If the draft is ever reinstated, women and men should both be drafted. I don’t want paid maternity leave, having children should be seen as a career choice. Feminism has too many strings attached.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I think that the feminists that are the loudest are giving the rest of you a bad name. There’s certainly a stereotypical view of what feminists are like, and it’s nothing really good. I think that, even when people support equal rights, they are hesitant to label themselves a feminist because the word has a radical stigma attached to it. Many think all feminists are those crazy women that hate men, think women are superior, and think anytime they’re treated a certain way, it’s because they’re women, or get worked up at every perceived example of misogyny. Another thing is that many Westerners feel that women DO have the same rights here, so there’s no need for feminism anymore. I’ve also heard it said that labeling yourself a feminist is like labeling yourself a victim.

@rooeytoo I can honestly say I’ve never met someone who is opposed to maternity leave. My husband’s work gives fathers 3 weeks off with pay when their children are born. I’d never heard of anything like that before he started working there. I’m inclined to think that women deserve a chance to recover and shouldn’t have to go broke or lose their job because they want to have a child. I’m curious about your reasoning behind that viewpoint.

bookish1's avatar

Who needs feminism?

I’m not embarrassed to call myself a feminist. Feminism is necessary as long as humans are judged on their intrinsic worth and capabilities, and have their lives planned out for them, based on their genitals.

syz's avatar

I’m a feminist.

Why? Because I think that there is nothing about being female that makes someone inherently less capable, less valued, and/or less deserving.

That’s it.

marinelife's avatar

I’m not. (embarrassed to say that I am a feminist)

janbb's avatar

Just as we do not yet live in a post-racist society, we do not yet live in a post-sexist society and certainly, as the OP ably puts it, we certainly don’t live in a post-sexist world.

The fight for women’s rights, just like the fight for minority rights, is a fight for human rights.

Kropotkin's avatar

Feminism isn’t just about women’s rights, if it were then I and countless others would have no issue adopting the label.

There are specific narratives and perspectives within feminist theory that make it a much broader ideological position, and apparently they don’t all agree with each other. There are feminists who deny any sort of biological determinism. There are feminists whose worldview is entirely filtered by the idea of patriarchy.

I can’t possibly call myself a feminist because I don’t care to know enough about its theory, and the bits I’ve been made aware of, I think are incorrect. I also think it’s incorrect to conflate mere “women’s rights” with feminism.

sinscriven's avatar

Why should I be feminist when I believe that all people regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, financial status, and shoe size need and deserve equal freedom, respect, and justice?

As much as it likes to say otherwise, the face of the feminist movement is still primarily white middle class and above women, and non-caucasian representation seems to be a fair minority in terms of representation.

zenvelo's avatar

I’m not embarrassed, in fact I am quite vocal on Facebook about being a feminist.

jerv's avatar

There are feminists who want equality, but there is also a rather outspoken minority that support female superiority; that latter group, while small and in no way representative of the feminist movement as a whole, has given “feminism” bad connotations in the minds of many.
Take a look at how Muslims are viewed post-9/11, or how Republicans are viewed. It only takes a small outburst by a radical element to discredit an entire movement/faction for many years.

flutherother's avatar

I support human rights firstly and would support any group in society that is being treated unfairly. I would support most those who are treated worst and wouldn’t show favouritism to any particular group.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not embarrassed. I’ve been a feminist almost all my life—at least since I started thinking about the issue sometime in my teens. My first job out of college was for a feminist organization. I believe in feminism.

I would like to meet some of these people who are embarrassed. I don’t know if they exist. I think people don’t support feminism, and that’s why they say they don’t, not because they are embarrassed to say it.

desiree333's avatar

Unfortunately the western view of feminism is a radical stigma. However, backing yourself away from the subject and denying your beliefs just further reinforces that stigma. You’re also demonstrating that you’ve been duped/conditioned to think the like rest of the ignorant individuals out there.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I read this today and found it funny. Anyway, I’m not embarrassed to say I’m a feminist. Everyone knows it, my kids know it, they’re feminists, my partner’s a feminist, my friends are feminists. I teach feminism, my students are mostly feminists. I am writing a paper on feminism and nanotechnology as we speak, literally (okay, not literally as fluther is making me procrastinate) and I’m running a Feminist Parenting workshop at the next Scholar and a Feminist conference. So, I made it a point to surround myself with people who are not at all, ever, embarrassed to say they’re feminists.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir The article has it’s faults but I am in total aggrement with the frustration of the author. It totally maddens me to hear all the misguided attitudes and stances as explained by these clueless souls who, while disavowing feminism are all too happy to reap the rewards of the feminist struggle for equality!!! It makes me crazy.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Earthgirl Oh definitely not the greatest critique but hey, it’s still something.

wundayatta's avatar

And in this corner we have…. “I am a feminist…... but…..”

Always with the buts.

<<<< I’ll show you a butt!

Unbroken's avatar

I really don’t see or encounter women who identify themselves as feminists who are militant or men haters.
Maybe it is just me. Probably a few of those women do exist. But I’m wondering if pundits and comedians and our culture as a whole have created this concept of feminism that doesn’t jib with reality. That way they can safely morally tune out people who identify themselves thusly and in this way live without change which most people fear.

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve not met any man-hating feminists, either. Who is that asshole on Fox who coined the term “feminazis?” Perhaps it is his fault. Oh don’t bother to remind me of his name. I’m sure it’ll come to me all too soon. I would dearly like to send that guy on a long vacation some place sunny. Very, very sunny.

Earthgirl's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir There’s nothing like a good ‘ol vicarious rant! Saves a lo of energy to let someone else do all the heavy lifting!

bkcunningham's avatar

“Oh, don’t bother to remind me of his name.” Sorry, @wundayatta. I believe facts and education are important. It is Rush Limbaugh who made the term feminize famous. He has nothing to do with Fox. Tom Hazlett is said to have coined the phrase.

“I prefer to call the most obnoxious feminists what they really are: feminazis. Tom Hazlett, a good friend who is an esteemed and highly regarded professor of economics at the University of California at Davis, coined the term to describe any female who is intolerant of any point of view that challenges militant feminism. I often use it to describe women who are obsessed with perpetuating a modern-day holocaust: abortion. There are 1.5 million abortions a year…”

From Limbaugh’s book, The Way Things Ought to Be.

wundayatta's avatar

The most odious man I know. Has appeared on numerous Fox TV shows, including their football show and The Simpsons (voice only, of course), The Pat Sajak show, and more. Appeared enough to become famous for his ties, which his wife designed and sold.

The man was born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and I’m afraid that the only thing I found notable about that town, which I discovered one summer there, was chiggers. I had never met chiggers before, and I’ve never run into them since, but they seem like a perfect metaphor for this despicable person.

bkcunningham's avatar

Oh, please, @wundayatta, videotape the first instance when you call someone you consider deplorable a chigger. Please. Post the video and any accompanying photos here, please. LOL

syz's avatar

Actually, I find the idea of the direction of this thread more and more plausible. It seems pretty likely to me that the “feminists are radicals” perception has less to do with actual ‘radicals’ (I’m sure they’re out there, there’s always a few in any bunch – you know; the loud, the extreme, the damaging to the message and the movement.) and more to do with a successful smear campaign over the years by those who are threatened by the idea that a women is just as good as a man (Limbaugh being the perfect example).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@syz You know, by their own logic, if they only turned it towards men, they should be appalled…appalled that nobody blinks an eye when most workplaces are run by men, that nobody blinks an eye when most politicians are men, when nobody blinks an eye when most scientists/mathematicians/astronomers (things we think are ‘good’ and ‘neutral’ and have to do with ‘progress) are men…when doctors and lawyers and investment bankers are considered more ‘serious’ than nurses, domestic workers and strippers (for the record, I believe investment banking is just as frivolous as stripping and FAR more harmful)...nobody cares that decisions about women’s bodies are made by men…that throwing acid in the name of honor on women’s faces is fine…when there are like 50 million child brides who are girls…if any of this were reversed, by their own logic, the likes of Limbaugh would be outraged. Why aren’t they so outraged for women?

Unbroken's avatar

@wundayatta what are chiggers? I have never heard the term before.

wundayatta's avatar

Chiggers are the nastiest little insect you might ever come across. They are more prevalent in the South, although they do exist around where I live, according to the maps. I’ve never run into one anywhere but in the South, though.

They crawl onto you, often your legs, and they let out these proteins that essentially melt your skin. Then they eat. Not sure if they eat skin or blood or both. Then they leave.

The next thing you know, you itch like crazy and it’s enough to drive you mad. So you scratch and scratch, but there’s nothing there. Just the “bite.”

So you can see, it’s the perfect metaphor for Rush Limbaugh.

Unbroken's avatar

hmm the article suggests nailpolish to deal with the resulting irritation. I don’t know where I was going with that. But nail polish and Rush Limbaugh were words I never thought I’d see connected. So it seemed funny for a second. And appropriate in regards to his views on feminism.

On second thought the term feminazi might not be a bad idea it could be used to describe whatever extremist feminists there are and we can safely reclaim the term feminism for all the rest of us equality lovers.

wundayatta's avatar

Nice try, but it seems to me that for Rush, if you’re a feminist, then you are an extremist—a feminazi. Perhaps he hurls out words that he really would prefer be applied to his own, rather significant ass.

Unbroken's avatar

Awh. You aren’t going to let me make rainbows out of rain.

Well maybe I can bury you under snow…

Anything Rush is against is wholeheartedly against is something you might want to consider yourself for. So if he was accepting of us well it might reflect badly on us.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Your contributions and vocalness are always a delight. It really is too bad we don’t have much of opportunity or events for us where I live.

wundayatta's avatar

If it’s light, dry snow, then go ahead and bury me. But leave the wet stuff in Alaska, please.

Unbroken's avatar

We’ve got about 6 going on 7 inches of fresh dry powder supposed to get 10 inches tomorrow but I will believe it when I see it.
Doesn’t matter I am happy!

wundayatta's avatar

Is it the snow that makes you happy at this moment, @rosehips, or feminism?

desiree333's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Based on your response, I thought this article on empowerment in sex work might interest you (you mentioned stripping a few times). It’s very enlightening! :)

Neodarwinian's avatar

” Why are people embarrassed to say they support feminism? ”

Try the myth of the matriarchy, or the feminist problems with biology and evolution. Or, just an aversion to ideology.

Equality is one thing feminism has become another thing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Neodarwinian How could you know what it ‘has become’ when you have no clue what it is, apparently…

Neodarwinian's avatar

” Equality is one thing feminism has become another thing ”

I think I understand feminism and you quite well.

” I teach courses in Sociology and Women’s Studies.”

This lack of rigor speaks for itself.

Do you know the difference between education and schooling?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Neodarwinian Hahahahahah. Lack of rigor? Are you one of those that needs to hear how I am into the ‘hard sciences’ too and hold degrees in those subjects? Because, I do. Not that it matters, since there is a difference between education and schooling. And we should question both. Before we do that though, let me reiterate once again that the only person lacking rigor here is you, someone who can ‘know a person’ without knowing them and ‘know a subject’ without knowing it. Impressive. Here’s your slow clap. Now, scram. I am busy with my matriarchal projects and further man-hating ideology, apparently.

Neodarwinian's avatar

Simone_De_Beauvoir

” .Lack of rigor? Are you one of those that needs to hear how I am into the ‘hard sciences’ too and hold degrees in those subjects? ” ( methinks you laugh too much——a bit shrill, eh? )

Then why put that drivel, sociology and women’s studies, on you profile?

” I am busy with my matriarchal projects and further man-hating ideology, apparently. ”

Thou sayeth it.

Obviously you do not know the difference between education and schooling or you would have told me this difference. ( question both?!? telling )

Being taught how to think is education and being taught what to think is schooling.

I see you are well versed in the later.

Bye.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Neodarwinian I put the drivel to distract intelligent beings such as yourselves from my real missions, obviously. It’s hard building an empire free of semen-producing individuals. So so hard. As hard as the phallus I lack and have been missing my entire poor life. Anyway, in other news, I have to go to bed. I don’t frequent fluther often so may not respond for some days. These are the days I put myself away for menstruating. Or being pregnant. Whichever.

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