“I don’t need feminism because I like being feminine,” “I don’t need feminism because I have a well functioning brain,” “I don’t need feminism because if I want to shave my legs, I can,” “I don’t need feminism because I love my boyfriend,” these are only a portion of the outrageous comments from several blogs where women share photos and statements expressing why they do not need feminism. Most of these statements imply that being a feminist means being bossy and selfish, hating men, and being derogatory toward certain women. These are all misconceptions about what feminism really is. Granted there are several types of feminism, but I have yet to stumble upon a feminism that supports man-hating, bashes on women for being girly, and the like. Many women who claim to be against feminism and who claim to not need feminism treat “feminist” as an offensive word and spread misconceptions about the movement.
Some of these statements against feminism are so far-fetched that one might think the posts are satirical. A woman has claimed that her “gender is not at war for healthcare and is not a political debate” and that feminists “invented the ‘war’ on women.” Another claims that feminists laugh at males who “get drunk and claim rape.” Many of these criticisms are aimed at a stereotypical view of modern feminism. What these women fail to note is, without feminism, we wouldn’t get to where we are today.
Since before the 18th century, women composers could not publish their works simply because they were women. That is why we can distinguish who Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Franz Schubert are even only by their last names, but we hardly hear the names of Hildegard von Bingen, Ethel Smyth, Clara Schumann, and Lili and Nadia Boulanger.
Before the 19th century, women were not allowed to vote, we were not allowed access to higher education, we were lesser than men, we were considered born to complement men. Once a woman was married, her rights were stripped from her. She was no longer recognized as an individual, but as property of her husband. For fifty years, the women’s suffrage movement fought for the enfranchisement of women.
Before the 20th century, women were confined to being housewives, we did not have an option. We did not have reproduction rights, men owned our bodies. Rape and domestic violence were not even considered in legislation as a women’s issue. Instead of it being a violation of a woman’s body, it was considered a violation of her male kindred.The women’s liberation movement addressed reforms on issues such as maternity leave, domestic violence, reproductive rights, and during the movement, the N.O.W. Bill of Rights was adopted at the 1967 national conference.
Some of these seem familiar to an extent? Sexism has not ended, feminism is a continuous movement that mustn’t come to a halt once all the dirty work has been done for us. Women still face sexism in music, we are still underrepresented in the U.S. government as well as in other systems of government, we are still afraid to report the abuse of our bodies. To say that we don’t need feminism is selfish and inconsiderate of all the other women who struggled much more than we can ever imagine who are not mentioned in these blogs and anti-feminist movements.
Celebrities have also expressed their point of views regarding why they don’t need feminism. Recently, in an interview with Redbook Magazine, actress Kaley Cuoco declared that she does not consider herself a feminist. Redbook quotes, “Is it bad if I say no? It’s not really something I think about. Things are different now, and I know a lot of the work that paved the way for women happened before I was around… I was never that feminist girl demanding equality, but maybe that’s because I’ve never really faced inequality. I cook for Ryan five nights a week: it makes me feel like a housewife…I like the idea of women taking care of their men. I’m so in control of my work that I like coming home and serving him…”
She received a lot of criticism for this from fans expressing disappointment at the fact that Cuoco falsely spread the ideals of feminism. In her statement, the Big Bang Theory star implies that feminism opposes women who have the desire to serve their significant others. There is nothing wrong with a woman who is available for her partner when she wants to be, the way she wants to be.
Kaley, if you want to make a sandwich for your man, go ahead! Don’t assume feminists will hate you for it.
I acknowledge that people have the right to disagree with feminism and I condone freedom of expression, but such misconceptions of feminism need to be halted. What’s problematic is what these women assume feminism is; they generalize modern feminism and simplify the powerful movement into a single man-hating movement when there are several feminisms that express many ideals.
It is a disappointment to think that feminism is being simplified to an equivalent of a cult. Not all modern feminisms should be generalized as a movement that hates all men, let alone hates women. Ironically, “anti-feminists” express that they despise feminism because the movement places labels and generalizes an entire gender, at the same time as these women against feminism play into the “label” of anti-feminism and generalize all feminisms into one gender-policing entity. Some women against feminism contradict their arguments and others actually even communicate what feminism is all about.
Don’t confuse superiority with justice. We don’t necessarily want superiority, we simply want to gain justice for the discrimination we have experienced and will continue to experience based on our gender.