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If You’re Not a Feminist – What the Hell is Wrong with You!?


If You’re Not a Feminist – What the Hell is Wrong with You!!?

Steven Singer

I am a male human being.

And you’d better believe I’m a feminist.

I wear that label proudly.

The other day a friend of mine heard one of my articles was published in Everyday Feminism. And he said, “Kind of a backhanded compliment. Isn’t it?”

Hell no!

What does that mean? Would someone suppose that a man being considered a feminist somehow made him less of a man?

On the contrary. I think it makes him more of one. It makes him a decent freakin’ person.


Right on, Steven Singer.


Can conservatives be feminists? How about Republicans? Could fascists pass the feminist test?
Isn't being a feminist just a single part of being a Leftist?
Do real feminists believe in American Exceptionalism? Or war?
Do they believe in the death penalty, or life sentences for anyone under the age of 21?
Do feminists believe in Capitalism?


"A detached uninhibited expression of free will" by that you mean in an otherworldly way not tethered to reality?


"The other day a co-worker said she’s all for the idea that men and women deserve equal pay for the same job, but she doesn’t consider herself a feminist.

Why the Hell not? That is a distinctly feminist point of view."

Agreement with one aspect of an ideology does not commit one to acceptance of the entire ideology.

"A feminist is just someone who thinks men and women should have the same rights and opportunities.

That’s it."

That's what Christina Hoff Sommers identifies as Equity Feminism. And that is a far cry from the content of the self-styled feminist movement. Just ask leading Feminists what they think of Sommers. If you think there is no other baggage that goes with Feminist ideology, you're clueless. And asking people who do understand 'what the hell is wrong with them' presumes the defect or failure of understanding is theirs.


"And asking people who do understand "what the hell is wrong with them" presumes......."
If they do "understand" how can they not understand?
Can you clear up my confusion?


Excellent!! I raised two boys and a girl. The boys are feminists and my daughter is struggling after an abusive relationship.
Patriarchy is everywhere and it is supported by most major religions. It is so ingrained into our society that it's hard for women to break out of that and see themselves as equals. Especially, like my daughter's situation, when men are domineering, controlling and seek to bolster their ego's by breaking a woman down.
The fight is real and articles like this one help.


Maybe you over think the subject. Feminism is what Singer said, a belief in equality of the sexes. Patriarchy is alive and well.


There are people who do not self-identify as Feminists because they understand it is not merely the simple equal-rights principle Singer represents it as here. We already have a word for that--egalitarianism. Feminism is a separate label because it has a distinct meaning. Indeed, Feminist leaders have sometimes adopted distinctly un-egalitarian views, for example when it comes to the rights of transgenders and sex-workers.

Singer fails to appreciate the baggage that goes with Feminism. Others are quite aware of it, and prefer not to represent themselves with a label which implies views they don't agree with. Singer's question "what the hell is wrong with you?" is based on the presumption that he fully understands what Feminism is (when in reality he only has his own simplistic definition) and that there must be something wrong with people who don't accept the label as he defines it. So in short, he's being arrogant, presumptive, and clueless--which is kind of amusing because that falls right into a Feminist stereotype of men.


Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed critique of the key substantial points made in Mr. Singer's article.


Could you please elaborate on what "un-egalitarian" views feminism has on trans-genders and sex workers?


If you google 'Feminist transphobia' you can find a wealth of articles concerning feminist leaders disparaging transgenders and supporting restrictions to keep trans-women from "invading" their "womyn-only spaces" And many feminist leaders have actually joined ranks with Christian conservatives in opposition to prostitution and pornography--both of which many feminists have characterized as misogyny and violence against all women (not just the sex-workers involved).

Of course, there are some who call themselves feminists who disagree with these feminist leaders, but at best, that means Feminism is conflicted or ambivalent regarding trans and sex-worker rights--which for many is still ample reason not to self-identify with the label.


My guess is that it's a reference to the SWERFs and TERFs (sex worker exclusionary radical feminists and trans-exclusionary radical feminists). I should note that those names are considered insulting by those within the movements.

Many feminists say that gender is entirely a social construct and trans women are reifying the gender binary, adopting only the patriarchy approved aspects of what it means to be a woman, "performing" femininity. They say that a woman is not what exists as the notion of a woman in a man's head. It's controversial, to say the least.

Sex work makes for a pretty massive division within feminism. While some argue it's a woman's choice, others say that the very nature of the work itself is exploitative (full disclosure, I'm rather sympathetic to that notion, myself). The idea is that prostitution and porn are symptoms of patriarchal control of female sexuality, that there should always be female bodies available for men's sexual amusement and that men, not women, decide how those bodies look and what they do, and so define female sexuality and create standards for what is permissible female sexual expression.

These are both pretty interesting ares of study and there's a lot of information available online about them, though you're going to have to cut through a LOT of really angry rhetoric to get to the heart of the matter.


Makes sense, thanks.


I always rather thought that bell hooks had a pretty good definition of feminism:

"Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression."

Many, many years ago, I belonged to a listserve where a woman said that it's really impossible to talk about feminism anymore, we can only talk about various feminisms. I think that's right.

Back when Ms. still had messageboards, I asked if feminism was inherently anti-capitalist, for what is gained if a female CEO exploits women and girls in sweatshops? Is it "feminist" siimply because a woman is in charge? Sadly, there was no good answer. Personally, I don't think that feminism and capitalism are compatible, but of course that's a minority position.

Honestly, I"m just kind of impressed that CD would even dare to use the F word.


Bless you for this righteous rant.


Exploitation is exactly why I posed the question about capitalism, war, American exceptionalism, etc.
Hillary is not a feminist just because she believes that sexism should be ended. And neither is anyone else.
If one is willing to exploit every and anybody to pursue war and Capitalism that automatically voids their feminist membership card.


As I said, there are many different feminisms. I think that any area of academic inquiry is going to yield a number of different theories. I also think that ending sexism would be a good first step, but that entails changing the world completely, doesn't it? It's a big step. Books like Enlightened Sexism make that clear.


Thank you. Very insightful answer.


Thank you.