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A Feminist Response to: “I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists”

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TW: brief mentions of rape, sexual assault

For the past several months, I’ve been seeing an article floating around my Facebook feed – one disturbingly titled, “I am a Female and I am So Over Feminists.” While I’ve been forced to read this line many times from all the “shares” it’s been getting on social media, I could never bring myself to read the full article, knowing that if I did, I’d have to write a rebuttal.

Well, guess what. I did and I do. So here it goes.

Gina Davis, the author of this (I’m sure well-intentioned) article, begins with the argument that it’s the 21st century, and as such, women have all the rights they need, are socially, politically and economically equal to men and that claims of gender-based discrimination are “a load of bull.”

Well, Gina, to quote someone I’m sure you deeply admire,

“Wrong.”

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You see, Gina, you’re correct that women are now more respected than they ever have been. Back in the day, women couldn’t vote, they couldn’t own property, they couldn’t even publish an article like the very popular and successful one you’ve written (good job, btw). But how have women gained all these fundamental rights over the years? Did men just wake up one morning, realize they were kind of being dicks and decide to let us vote? No. Brave, devoted, strong women – feminists – demanded these rights. Women like Elizabeth Cady Staunton and Suzan B. Anthony put their lives on the line to fight for your right (yes, your right, Gina), to vote.

Furthermore, despite centuries of feminist efforts – which have admittedly brought us so far – women are still not treated as man’s equal, as you suggest they are. For starters, on average, women only earn about 80 percent of what men earn annually. Feminism simply strives to lessen that gap, so that women can earn what men earn for doing the same work. We don’t want more than men, we don’t want better treatment than men, we merely want to be paid what we deserve.

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Women have also consistently lacked access to affordable healthcare. This includes the underfunding (and threat to defund) clinics that women rely on for healthcare needs. Even things as simple and necessary as tampons have a luxury tax.

Even more deeply rooted in our society is rampant hyper-sexualization of women and gendered sexual violence. One in five women will be raped in her lifetime. One. In. Five. Is that really just a “load of bull” to you? If gendered sexual violence and hypersexualization aren’t real, then why do I get catcalled every time I go for a run, and my boyfriend doesn’t? Why are women blamed for being raped, while male rapists walk off with a mere slap on the wrist? Why are girls in school made to feel like evil seductresses for exposing their shoulders when the boys are the ones actively sexualizing them? Why are women’s nipples deemed “sexual” and “dirty” when they’re simply trying to feed their babies, while it’s socially acceptable for men to expose their nipples just because they feel like it?

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You also equate the entire feminist movement to man-hating, which I assure you, it is not. The lasting influences of patriarchy negatively impact men just as deeply as they do women. Feminists merely strive to put an end to these negative effects. Thus, when feminists say things like, “smash the patriarchy” it doesn’t at all mean “smash men.” Rather, it is a call to end centuries’ worth of institutionalized sexism, to create a better community for everyone, including men.

Granted, there are some self-proclaimed “feminists” who do quite a lot of man-hating, and you have every right to be annoyed with them – I get extremely infuriated when a bigot uses the feminist title as a guise to perpetuate hatred of any kind. These people are not feminists at all. Extreme conservatives simply like to point to these rare examples to perpetuate a false definition of feminism, such as the one you perpetuate in your article (similar to the way conservatives claim that a handful of ISIS terrorists represent all Muslims and the entire religion of Islam).

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feminism as “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities,” or, the full definition, “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

Thus, according to these definitions, I would argue that anyone who is “so over feminism” either doesn’t understand what feminism actually is, or simply does not want equality between the sexes. I certainly hope you’re the former, Gina.

Ultimately, I applaud you for writing (and gaining so much circulation), and I will always defend your right to speak your mind. I only hope that one day you realize that your freedom to do so was earned for you by the very movement and people you so vehemently deny. Should you have a change of heart, you’re always welcome to join our club – after all, it’s for everyone.

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2 Responses to “A Feminist Response to: “I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists””

  1. BoobsRadley

    Gina’s article is so problematic on many levels – and you do an amazing job at diplomatically tearing apart her argument! It’s so infuriating to see people today STILL don’t fundamentally understand feminism. However, I think one of the most problematic rationales she uses – and you do, as well – is the assumption of the gender binary. There isn’t just men and women. Even the definition of “feminism” falls pray to this assumption. Inclusion is definitely something we, as members of the feminist community, need to work on.

    Reply
    • littlefembot

      Hey Boobs Radley!
      Thank you so much for this thoughtfiul comment. I agree with you that society, and even myself, tend to fall short in this area. I did originally have a paragraph in their that talked about inclusion of gender non-binary people, trans people and the LGBT, but I found myself over 1,000, and I ended up cutting in favor of arguments that I felt were more essential in rebutting some of Gina’s points – especially since the problems she had were in regards to men vs. women. Ultimately though, you are absolutely right. Even if I couldn’t fit in a section talking about that specifically, the idea should’ve pervaded my argument through use of more inclusive language. This is definitely something I am not good about and am becoming increasingly more aware of. While my intention was definitely not to adhere to a strict gender binary, being gender-binary myself, I realize my natural tendency to do this and that it may exclude other people. Thank you for the constructive criticism! I will try to be better about this in the future.

      Reply

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