Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Do you ever wonder sometimes "maybe the modern feminist movements have a point"?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) July 27th, 2016

For a long time I’ve steered away from lumping the feminist label on myself. Basically I was disillusioned from the feminist movement based on some extreme individuals in the mainstream media and social media. I realise now that this is unreasonable of me. It’s not fair of me to throw out the baby with the bathwater (so to speak).

I know that not all feminists are extremists. Many truly do care about gender equality and that is a good thing. As a humanist I can certainly respect.

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of MRAs defend Milo Yiannopoulos. Yiannopoulos basically compared Leslie Jones to a man. I assume because she is not what some perceive to be “traditionally ladylike”. To which I can totally understand why a person would find that offensive and rather sexist. It is the same abuse many lesbians have been attacked for. For basically not conforming to a gender stereotype.

Maybe in many ways I am a feminist myself. I certainly agree with the feminist core principles; that is that person’s of all genders and gender identities ought to be given equal opportunity and freedoms.

However giving myself yet another label is something that gives me pause.

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36 Answers

SecondHandStoke's avatar


Feminism is sexism.

Also, I am leery of -isms as they almost by definition refuse a holistic approach to social problems.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@SecondHandStoke Is that all feminists you are talking about or particular individuals?

Seek's avatar

Labels are terribly helpful, but only if everyone involved in a given conversation agrees on what the label means. We label roadways to make it easier to navigate the streets safely. If half the drivers suddenly decided that green lights mean “stop”, all hell would break loose.

You may find it helpful to refer to yourself as a feminist if those you’re speaking with understand it as the mainstream definition of “person supportive of gender equality”. If you’re speaking with a bunch of MRAs who think feminists are “man-hating feminazis”, humanist is probably a better term to use.

Much like in most cases I’m satisfied with the label atheist, but in some instances, depending on who I’m talking to, I’ll use agnostic atheist or apostate. Whatever works best.

Mariah's avatar

I walk a fine, fine line when it comes to “modern” social justice.

I am very aware of the extremists you mentioned, the tumblrinas who think that everything is oppression and that you’re literally trash if you accidentally make a microaggression and who need trigger warnings on everything. I am not okay with these people. They are taking it to an absurd level and are turning people away from what ought to be a decent equality movement.

However, I do not think women’s problems are all in the past. Feminism still needs to exist in the modern day, and the fact that some people are doing it wrong shouldn’t change that.

And then I see shit on the opposite extreme, like the red pill and incels, and I understand more than ever that feminism’s job isn’t over.

Zaku's avatar

Sure, but “feminist/-ism” is a very broad term, and is far too often used as a target or a banner to hate or enlist with, which is counter-productive because it’s too inaccurate to be meaningful.

Feminism in general has many excellent and interesting points, and also many which can be taken in wrong ways, upset people, or be used in problematic ways, and ways that can backfire, etc etc etc.

SmartAZ's avatar

“Do you ever wonder sometimes “maybe the modern feminist movements have a point”?”

You don’t really say what your point is. There is no answer if we don’t know what the question is.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@SmartAZ To be fair I actually did say what my point is. Everyone else understood the question.

I’ll rephrase it and summarise the point for you.

I’m not sure if I should continue to only call myself a humanist or sometimes also call myself a feminist from time to time. Feminism can be misinterpreted based on the people you are talking to (as Seek as already pointed out).

But based on the goings on of some events in social media, I find myself agreeing with feminists a lot as of late. Especially since I support gender equality.

Should I just call myself a humanist to simplify matters or use both labels from time to time?

johnpowell's avatar

We needed MLK to push the movement forward and that wasn’t enough. We needed gay pride parades to do the same. Still not enough. Same with feminism, get fucking crazy so MSNBC will give you time on air.

Sorry if it makes you white, male, couch-cushion-crevices-fuckers uncomfortable. The fight isn’t done yet.

Zaku's avatar

How about “I’m sympathetic to many feminist points – which one are we talking about?”

SmartAZ's avatar

@NerdyKeith I can appreciate that it is a difficult question, sometimes as difficult to ask as it is to answer. My position is that “gender equality” is not a meaningful concept. If a woman wants equality, she is free to start her own company and run it the way she knows is right. It is significant that almost all female owned businesses are in retail sales and the average income is $500 a year. The thing about “gender equality” is to pretend it’s important when in reality it’s dum. D-U-M. Dum.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@SmartAZ Ok why exactly do you feel the issue of gender equality is dumb? I can appreciate when we have feminist extremists complaining about trivial issues. But real gender discrimination such as men and women not getting paid the same amount of money in certain areas of the workforce, enforced gender roles for men and women, sexually objectifying women etc.

Then of course there are the more extreme issues in Eastern European countries. Where women have been become victim to assault for committing adultery and for men other issues that women are not supposed to do.

Even in the west there are women being denied access to public bathroom because they don’t look enough like women. Basically the don’t fit the gender stereotype. But it doesn’t stop there. Certain less “classically ladylike” females have been subjected to violence for looking too masculine. This is an issue of gender inequality and a very serious one at that.

Pandora's avatar

The problem with people saying that they are humanist is that often they try to wave that banner while supporting or ignoring actual problems that may be specific to one group and are really to big to ignore.
I generally don’t concern myself to much with titles. There will always be biases because there will always be people who have a desire to be on top of the food chain. That means there has to be those who are lower on the food chain.
It’s called survival of the fittest. For many that means in order to survive, we must suppress those not within our group.
Though I never quite understood why suppressing women would help. They are mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers , inventors, artists, singers, lovers and wives. Women are the other half of the human race. It makes absolutely no sense to suppress women.

SmartAZ's avatar

@NerdyKeith What they do in other countries is none of my concern as long as they are not trying to sell me tainted food.

I have no sympathy for any work related conditions. I have been mistreated a lot and I simply found a new job where they treated me better. “Gender inequality” is based on the notion that someone should GIVE women a better deal. I think American women ought to learn the difference between gifts and wages.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Seek says “Labels are terribly helpful.”

In fact labels are terribly divisive.

I have no desire to be labeled.

Does anyone else? really?

Seek's avatar

Don’t cherry-pick my sentence. I said labels are helpful if everyone involved in a given conversation agrees on what the label means.

Adjectives are important. We can spend all day trying to avoid labels, but then I don’t want every conversation to last 6043543065434 hours while we all tapdance around using anything that might be construed a categorical word-phrase.

Words mean things, and when we find a word that can mean a lot of stuff all at once, it’s very helpful to use those words when convenient.

MrGrimm888's avatar

Feminists, who as mentioned are on the extreme side, are irritating at the least. But so are most who are on the radical side of a subject.

I prefer to simply treat women as equals, and support the advancement of their civil rights around the world. But @NerdyKieth if you feel you need a label, then take it. My mother always tried to help women. She was a social worker for 30 years at the VA hospital, and created several programs to help women. She never called herself anything, she just helped people in need.

I guess what I’m saying is that your actions are more important than your labels. Weather self appointed or attached by others.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@SmartAZ I’m sorry for whatever mistreatment you have endured. But let us stay on topic and discuss what this issue is about. Just because you have been mistreated is not a reason to why anyone should not care about the mistreatment of others.

I don’t agree with your analysis of what you think Gender Equality is about. There are certain feminists who misrepresent their movement and do have a bit of a superiority complex. But generalising issues like the pay wage gap and assuming its looking for special rights is not a sound position. But it is understandable if you have a misconception on this issue. I recommend that you watch this video on the issue. It’s literally the best and most neutral viewpoint I have heard on it to date.

It depends on the application of the labels. An overuse of labels is problematic. I’ve literally seen people use about 10 to 15 different labels on their Twitter / YouTube about me sections. No exaggeration. And when it gets to that point I can understand where you are coming from. And not even just that, some people live and breathe such and such labels. Some people define their entire existence on these labels.

However when used on a case by case bases in particular circumstances and within particular dialogues. Labels can be useful. They simply a person’s position. But only if these labels have a clear and concise understanding and consistent definition. If they don’t, these labels need to be defined accordingly. I have already defined what feminism means to me and quite intentionally so.

@MrGrimm888 Well said and I agree with you. I think an extremist anything is always bad. Whether its an extremist feminist, environmentalist, political activist, religious individual etc.

For all intended purposes I think I shall remain to use the humanist label. But if outright asked if I am a feminist. I will say yes and define what that means to me. But I think for most audiences the term “humanist” simplifies what it is that I support.

Yes my actions are more important that any label. I agree. But sometimes its important to convey my positions in clear and concise ways.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@SmartAZ…the average income for women owned businesses is $500 a year? Dude when are you going to start citing your sources to back up your claims? Also, since I owned my own business for 4 years (a small engine repair shop) are you referring to net or gross? The first ‘year’ the shop grossed $90,000. We took over an existing business in September so we only had 3 months to build on what the previous owner had grossed up to that point…and winter was THE most horrible time for a mower shop. At the end of our 4th year I filed on $575,000 gross.
I used to work on the smaller units when I had the time. We had this one old customer who became very upset if he happened to come into the shop when I was working on a two cycle carburetor or something. He would come back and literally grasp my arm and pull me out muttering ‘This is no place for a woman!’
When he left I told my husband and my mechanic, who was in his early 20’s…just a super cool guy… ‘Alls his shitz are mines!’ because he only had small stuff. Unknown to him I did all the tune ups on his stuff, all the blade sharpening on his saws and mowers. He’d rave about what a good job the ‘guys’ did and we’d all smirk.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ihave a girlfriend who nets $30,000 a year, working from home. She refinishes furniture.

Haleth's avatar

Feminists actually want equality for men and women. Mainstream thought says that women have already achieved equality, because women can do things like vote, wear pants, and go to work.

The disagreement comes in because according to feminists, women aren’t treated equally yet. We’ve made a lot of gains, but just as an example, we’ve had 43 male presidents and that isn’t really considered noteworthy or unusual until we have a female presidential candidate. On the flip side, images of sexy scantily-clad women are all over every form of media and advertising that we have. When you think of a president or a CEO you probably think of a man, but when you think of a stripper it’s probably a woman.

I think the core of the argument over feminism today is whether the status quo should stay the same or needs to change. If you grow up with an idea, it seems like a normal part of everyday life. Like say women being able to vote or wear pants. An idea that comes along after you is a bridge too far. Like, a couple generations ago women voting was not accepted, not mainstream, and there was a bitter struggle over it. Those generations died out and now women voting is taken for granted.

That same principle is why we’re struggling over feminist issues now. The ideas are new. The forefront of feminism nowadays is mostly over social issues, like expanding the definition of rape, ending street harassment, or the wage gap. So the main opposing arguments now are “this issue doesn’t exist” or “this is women’s fault.” With the advent of the internet, we’re also getting better at noticing and articulating social issues, so a lot of ideas are churning around very quickly. I think maybe they’re coming a little too fast for general audiences, and that’s why people are so skeptical. Maybe we need a PR campaign or something?

Dutchess_III's avatar

“We let you people wear pants. Does nothing make you happy?” LOL!

There is so much stuff that revolves around women. Many men to this day are still convinced that women just aren’t as smart as men, for example. I can’t tell you how many times I had an idea that was dismissed out of hand. But then a man would propose the same idea and it was taken seriously.
And then there is all the shit surrounding sex and the double standards. If she enjoys sex she’s a harlot. If she doesn’t, she’s a cold fish.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

I guess I’m a feminist.

As I am pro person.

And women are people.

Mariah's avatar

Hallelujah! That’s what it’s all about.

SmartAZ's avatar

@Dutchess_III Why do you keep harping about sources? An opinion does not become valid just because somebody else said it first, and it does not become void just because I said it first. What you are talking about is called “scholasticism”.

the system of theology and philosophy taught in medieval European universities, based on Aristotelian logic and the writings of the early Church Fathers and having a strong emphasis on tradition and dogma.
narrow-minded insistence on traditional doctrine. <<—THERE’S YOUR D*M SOURCE!

Now stop dragging your stupid religion into every conversation.

Seek's avatar


“I make up whatever shit I want to and if you question me on it I’ll whine.”

SmartAZ's avatar

“If you can’t refute the logic you can still win the conversation by demanding a source.”

Seek's avatar

Your argument was not a logical argument, it was a factual one. You stated woman-headed businesses make $500 a year. Unless you literally pulled that number out of your ass, that statement demands a source.

SmartAZ's avatar

As I have mentioned before, I have been reading at an adult level since age 5. It is somewhat rare that I remember what doctor’s office or barber shop I was in when I collected some interesting bit of information. I do happen to remember that I got that figure from a Howard Ruff newsletter sometime between 1980 and 1987. Considering inflation, the number itself is meaningless; the point is the scale: most women simply don’t earn much by their own efforts. Now suppose you provide a source for your alleged refutation? Unless you are invoking the law of the universe that I mentioned above.

Seek's avatar

I’m not by any means bound to refute a statement that you made and cannot support. Get on the Google machine and find the information again. Or admit you can’t support your own argument. I don’t care.

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I ask for sources, @SmartAZ, because if what you say is true, there are others out there who have researched it and posted their research and findings, not just giving their opinions. Hell, I can find people who would agree with me if I said The earth is flat..
I can find people who are convinced, with no evidence, that aliens have visited Earth in the past.

I also find it singularly annoying when people toot their own horn about how smart they are or how funny they are, or how intuitive they are, or how beautiful and irresistible they are, etc. etc.. Such claims are much more reliable when they come from other people. You keep telling us how smart you are, but I’m just not seeing it. I see someone who quit accepting anything new about 30 years ago.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m stealing this @Seek “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

SmartAZ's avatar

Ok, you win. I’ll get lost.

Seek's avatar

@Dutchess_III – feel free. I stole it from Carl Sagan.

Hail Sagan

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not hard to find sources to back up what you say. Not hard at all @SmartAZ. In another thread you said, “Women-owned business make about $500 a year.” Maybe hat was a typo on your part, but here is other data. At about the half way point there is a chart that shows average revenue is $143,000. Non minority average is $202,000. It’s not a ton, but for a firm with 1 employee or less it ain’t bad.
My business grossed $575,000 its final year, with 2 to 3 employees (not counting myself).
Here is another chart showing average revenue between female and male-owned businesses. Average for male owned businesses is $726,000. Average for female is $239,000.

greatfullara's avatar

The balance between feminine and masculine on our planet is tilted toward the masculine.Discrimination happens every day. It’s not fair and it hurts.Yes the feminine movement has a point. I don’t see how the labels matter .Suppression comes out of fear and or pride. Women seem more likely to be raised and conditioned to have a victim mentality. Men are conditioned to be _____(insert word here). I think it will take generations to change this.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think the “modern” feminist movement is in place to keep us from losing the gains we’ve made. If we just sit down and be quiet now and please quit bitching, we will surely start slipping backwards.

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