I recently read an article that said women today aren’t womanly enough. It was discussing the decline of marriage, something about how since women are so into careers and independence, men are feeling a little abandoned and suddenly not needed. And if they’re not needed by women then why even bother with women?
But this well-researched and totally nuanced article that was not at all biased really got me thinking…are men right? Is feminism really the downfall of womanhood? Can something meant to celebrate and support the female faculties actually rob us of our femaleness?
Basic science says no.
If so many people are so vocally opposed to feminism, maybe it really isn’t a good idea? I mean, men seem really bothered by it. Threatened, even. TURNED OFF SOME MIGHT SAY. So could it be that in a world already troubled by so many ~serious~ issues is feminism actually the worst?
As a feminist, I naturally assumed that I could be the one to figure out this little problem on my own. Which turned out to be ironic (is it actually ironic? Leave your “well, actually’s” in the comments below!) since I realized the men were right all along:
Being a feminist sucks.
So take it with a grain of salt since I am in fact just a woman (and maybe not even woman enough), but here is my list of why being a feminist ruined my life. Or even more clickbaity, “101 Reasons Feminism is the Absolute Worst”
- I’m always waiting for the second woman in a movie to come in and introduce herself.
- But now I just know most movies won’t pass the Bechdel test (a woman talking to another woman about something other than a man)
- So I have to work overtime to try and justify why some movies are still good even with their lack female representation. Like LOTR. Or Star Wars. Or Jaws.
- I had to realize all these old movies I used to love are sort of actually the worst. (I’m looking at you, Overboard.)
- Every romcom is immediately suspect.
- Also pop music is basically ruined. I mean, I couldn’t let myself just enjoy the catchy tune of “Blurred Lines” very well and Maroon 5’s “Animals” is literally the stuff of nightmares.
- And you can just forget about Chris Brown.
- I’m torn by Fifth Harmony being so sexual but then being proud of the way they own their bodies but then wondering if, since sexuality is still viewed through the male gaze, then are they really winning but if they hide their sexuality aren’t the men winning anyways and also who am I to tell them what to do with their bodies in the first place?
- I am 100% more likely to watch something written by or starring women.
- And it becomes personal if your guy friends don’t want to tag along. Because, I’m sorry, but Wonder Woman is way cooler than Batman vs. Superman and you sure as hell saw that.
- So even if I’m not all that interested, I still have to spend my money on those female-led films. *cough*Ghostbusters*cough*
- I actually watch credits just to see how many women are listed, and in what order.
- But real talk: why is Ocean’s 8 going to be about a jilted lover stealing jewelry? You cast a bunch of badass women ready to heist and you couldn’t think of something more high stakes than girls looking pretty at the Met Gala?
- And that’s the other thing: once a feminist, you definitely notice when something is written by men. Like…really notice.
- ROSS IS THE WORST
- I can’t even enjoy John Green anymore.
- And The Handmaid’s Tale is like legit terrifying, not actual entertainment.
- I also notice representation in general more.
- For instance, La La Land was not fun to watch.
- I am so sick of the “white boy saving things” trope.
- And celebrities aren’t just who they play or the work they make. I have a blacklist and it is long and unforgiving. Roman Polanski. Woody Allen. Casey Affleck. Johnny Depp. Mel Gibson. I don’t want to hear about their talent because it’s just not enough to excuse their violent misogyny.
- Yeah, I didn’t see Birth of a Nation because he was an accused rapist.
- But it’s also like…if we were so unforgiving of the black Nate Parker then why do we excuse white men so easily?
- I’m woke to a whole slew of depressing issues like the pay gap and slut shaming and victim blaming and body issues that I can’t just pretend don’t exist anymore.
- And advertisement is so obviously sexist and pandering. Though those sappy Dove commercials do make me cry … TEARS OF HATE!
- I hate-read the comments section of almost every article/website/video probably because I’m a masochist who feeds off my own disappointment in society as a whole.
- Whenever anyone says
feministsfeminazi’s are just a bunch of man-haters a f*ckboy gets its wings.
- If a dude starts to explain something to me in *that* tone I have to screenshot it and text it to a million friends to ask what the hell he is thinking.
- Then I have to craft an epic and scathing response before ultimately deciding not to reply back because I don’t want to be seen as crazy emotional.
- But then I worry that that niceness is in fact feeding into the stereotype of women being soft-spoken and avoiding confrontation. And why shouldn’t I give him a piece of my mind anyways since he felt free to share his?
- So I @ him anyways just to get told to calm down, that I took it the wrong way, which is like double the mansplaining so I lose anyways.
- But it’s important to always let people know you’re not that kind of feminist. Like, “don’t worry; I don’t hate men.”
- Even though..secretly…you do kind of hate men. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- JUST KIDDING
- I notice which words are used to describe men vs women in certain scenarios, like how women are always called “dramatic” …even when men write articles about how women aren’t womanly enough any more.
- Everything has gendered microaggressions. Everything.
- Dress codes.
- Birth control is definitely a sexist industry and I’ll fight anyone who tells me otherwise.
- And feminism isn’t just about abortion, okay? It’s about women’s rights to representation IN EVERYTHING. Politics, media, workspace, etc.
- Did you know catcalling isn’t flattering–to anyone? And that I’m not actually asking for it wearing these pants? Because I for one could write a treatise on why women feel unsafe in this world.
- I can’t just smile and blush when a boy tells me I’m not like most girls.
- And compliments that revolve around comparing girls against girls (i.e., “you’re prettier than her”) always make me feel dirty.
- When I’m talking to little girls or my baby nieces, I’m hyper aware of not *just* complimenting them on their good looks and cute dresses.
- The color pink is basically ruined.
- Gender reveals are no longer charming.
- And I can’t go to a toy store without commenting on how gender norms are perpetuated by a for-proift industry that only cares about the bottom line.
- I like cooking and scrapbooking and cheesy love songs and it sucks sometimes to feel so pigeonholed by these little details — as if I’m incapable of being a complicated, nuanced individual.
- I definitely can’t enjoy Tom Hiddleston in a suit or Zac Efron’s abs without being accused of reverse sexism / male objectification.
- And honestly I keep getting headaches from the constant eye rolling.
- So it’s somehow my job to explain to the masses that reverse sexism does not exist.
- Speaking of, did you read through #notallmen? Because I did.
- And even when smart people you care about consider themselves woke, you still have to be on high alert because misogyny and sexism is basically encoded from birth.
- (Did I mention gender reveals?)
- I second guess when I’m asked to plan a party or help with cooking if it’s just because I’m a woman or if it’s because I’m good at those things.
- And am I good at those things because society has trained me as a woman to value those skills more than my male counterparts?
- I know gender is just a concept anyways. So when boys think they can’t cook or cry or play with the “girly” toys, or when girls are asked to help in the kitchen and be careful to not dress too provocatively — it all hurts a little too much.
- And when men say they’re just “not good” at being emotional or vulnerable or communicative, I feel the urge to sit them down and explain that it’s really just a social pressure to conform to this idealization of toxic masculinity as perpetuated by mass media.
- Because, real talk, why don’t men believe in skincare? As a feminist, this question keeps me up at night.
- And that “It’s not about the nail” video still makes my skin crawl. JUST LET HER TALK ABOUT HER FEELINGS, JEFF! IT ISN’T ABOUT YOU!
- I do try to be respectful when men start discussing ~women~ but honestly if you tell me one more time “we shouldn’t be forced to hire women; the best man will get the job” then I will have to tell you that even that language is demonstrative of the innate bias women are competing against.
- I’m called angry because I’m passionate, crazy because I’m focused, and I’m told again and again to just relax and learn to take a joke.
- So I sure do notice all the subtle misogyny and underlying sexism in everything.
- Especially the workplace.
- Because I’m the one getting called out for a pretty haircut in a meeting and I’m the one being called “sweetie” over the phone. And if you don’t think that’s undermining and demeaning — when a male coworker notices your dress length or comments on your pretty smile — then clearly you’re a dude.
- And the phrase “he doesn’t mean anything by it”? It makes me want to punch my own ovaries.
- Do you know what benevolent sexism is? ^ That.
- The worst is noticing that even when you do cool, powerful things, there’s always a hint of surprise from the congratulator — as if you shouldn’t have been so successful.
- I actually notice how any photo I post with my significant other gets more likes and engagement than any other photo on my feed.
- It’s physically painful how pundits and hosts discuss a woman’s appearance 735000% more often than a man’s.
- So the red carpet is a minefield of wanting to look at pretty dresses but also wanting women to be recognized for more than what they wear.
- And if you don’t think the Hathahaters movement was sexist then you don’t understand sexism.
- It’s frustrating to realize history is written by men for men (for the most part) and the canon’s we’ve created (of great literature, music, art) is all from the opinion of that masculine majority.
- I ask my guy friends/love interests/mortal enemies annoying questions like “who’s your favorite female author?” This does not make me popular.
- People treat me like the special event at the freak show: “This is Shelby, the feminist.”
- People who change their names once married aren’t asked why, but as a woman who kept hers I definitely am.
- And, sure, I did get offended once at a restaurant that labeled its spiciest sandwich as “manly” even though it was me, a woman, and not my male date who wanted to eat it.
- Gendered jokes are never funny. And…even if they are slightly funny, I feel obligated to never laugh.
- But heaven forbid I make an ironic statement or a sarcastic joke highlighting sexism or gendered norms, because I will be called out by people like “wait, I thought you were a feminist.” Yeah, Gary, I am.
- Am I allowed to like makeup and dresses and shaving or does that make me a bad feminist? Some people think yes.
- Can I cook for my man or be called baby or let him open doors for me or does that perpetuate certain stereotypes? Some people think no.
- The current Blac Chyna drama is a chance for serious feminist discourse only to me.
- In fact, the entire Kardashian empire is a complicated exploration of sexism and modern feminism to me but most people just think I’m crazy.
- And, yeah, I do care about Taylor Swift’s right to date who she wants, trash who she wants, make her mistakes, disappear, reappear, have skinny friends, call herself a feminist, even have a squad, and make a billion dollars doing it all because the haters are always going to hate.
- Yet I don’t see anyone hating on Ed Sheeran, Kanye, or Justin Timberlake for monetizing their personal lives.
- I’m hyper sensitive to the objectification and commodification of women, where women are degraded to talking points for the men in charge to argue over.
- It literally hurts whenever a guy boasts of some eureka moment and says “as a husband, as a father.” It may just be the feminist talking, but you don’t have to own a woman to empathize with a woman.
- It’s actually annoying to feel like you have to convince people to be feminists.
- Especially guys.
- Like, “oh, no, listen — it’s fine, we don’t hate men. This is for you, too!”
- Because why shouldn’t feminism be about women?
- I mean, things that really make me go hmm? Whenever anyone screams about the dangers of feminism I really just want to ask what you think is so dangerous about women having a voice?
- I can hit a high watching the Women’s March, feeling so empowered by that energy and sisterhood…only to see men completely hijack the conversation and women totally misconstrue the point.
- But the absolute worst is hearing other women say “Oh, I’m not a feminist.” Because the fact that they have the right to an opinion, that there’s a forum they can access (like this one) to share their opinions — these are rights fought for by women for women. So…maybe you are?
- And, finally, I know no matter what I write, no matter how I frame it, someone will come along with their “well, actually,” and completely derail the conversation.
- That’s what sucks about being a feminist: women never get their own last word.
So okay. Being a feminist can be a real drag. I have to be all socially conscious or whatever and it’s not fun. It’s exhausting and hard and makes living in this world often demoralizing. But can I ever just turn it off, snap out of it, lighten up enough to just let things be?
I care about how gender is portrayed and discussed in the media, in public, in private. I care about how women are viewed and objectified. I care about how women are treated, how victims are heard, how culprits are punished. I care about this slow and exhausting march to equality that SOMEONE is trying to convince me is already done.
And now…on top of all that…I have to care if men think we’re women enough?
Well, gosh golly darn.
Maybe I should go back to when I was sixteen, seventeen and I too thought feminism was a bad word (even as I balked at Bella Swan’s characterization and gravitated towards Danielle in Ever After). It would be easy to go back to that. Because this list ain’t a joke.
I mean, okay…maybe it’s a little bit of a joke.
But here is the truth. No matter the garbage I’ve gone through, no matter the crap I’ve gotten for being a feminist, it has taught me one very important lesson: I do not need some dude’s stamp of approval to exist.
So there. I guess feminism isn’t the absolute worst.