For more on the illusion of the middle ground and the folly of compromise, please see Fidelbogen’s article: Are you a feminist or aren’t you?
We must all make up our minds. Every last one of us. We are, all of us, either one thing or the other: feminist, or not feminist. There is no middle ground. There are no shades of gray, no blurred lines, no fences to park your ass upon. Politics is interested in you!
You are either a feminist, or you are not a feminist. Isn’t that simple?
So, how might it translate into practice, to declare yourself either feminist or not feminist?
In practice, it means that you would take one second, at the very most, to voice your decision. If I were to inquire, “are you a feminist?”, you would respond either yes or no . . . . in a flash!
You ought not to vacillate. If you must pause and think about it, then you might as well call yourself a feminist until you finally get your head straight. The force which pulls you instinctively either toward or away from feminism ought to be so powerful that it operates instantaneously. It ought to be second nature.
Naturally, we’d rather you were not a feminist at all, but the important thing is to make your mind up. It is not nearly so bad to be a feminist as to be a fence-sitter. To be a fence-sitter is to be ignorant of political reality. Your “middle ground” between feminist and non-feminist is a melting iceberg, a transitory condition that will last only a while. It is an illusion, a state of existential dithering, and to occupy such a state is to be a morally two-headed creature with no stable identity — or if you will, no GPS coordinates on the political map.
The middle ground illusion emerges from the notion that there is a “good” feminism and a “bad” feminism which can be teased apart from each other. That notion is mistaken. The truth is that if you did separate the (ideologically) good from the (ideologically) bad in feminism, you would effectively dismantle feminism altogether and it would no longer operate.
You cannot effectively discard the bad stuff in feminism, and save aside the good stuff in its own heap, and still call that heap feminism. Any so-called feminism extracted by this method would be redundant and superfluous because it would already be covered in a separately existing category — such as, for example, “egalitarianism” or “liberal humanism.” The word feminism would serve no purpose any longer.
The “good” part of feminism is not feminism’s defining core. It is the insulation but not the wire. It is a fig leaf or cover story, while “bad feminism” is the real nitty-gritty. Any effort to direct attention away from the dark side of feminism amounts to passing the buck.
I would wrap it up tersely, thuswise: Whatever is is good about feminism is not original, and whatever is original is not good.
If you resort to the standard cop-out that “not all feminists are like that” (NAFALT), then you are practicing a slight variant of the same evasionary maneuver. You are trying to separate the “good” feminists from the “bad” feminists, but this fails for the same reason that we have sketched above. The good feminists are the “good cop”, and the bad feminists are the “bad cop” — but they both play for the same team.
Furthermore you are dodging the question “what is feminism?” because you are actually addressing the question “who are feminists?” Hence, the argument is a deflection. In the end, you see, the real question is not “are all feminists like that?”, but rather “is all FEMINISM like that?” This is not a trivial distinction.
So the illusion of middle ground between feminist and non-feminist, springs from an obfuscational distinction between “good” feminism (or feminists), and “bad” feminism (or feminists). The trajectory of counter-feminist analysis will make this increasingly clear to the world at large, and the one correct understanding of feminism will emerge gradually into the light of public awarenness. As correct understanding emerges, the illusion of middle ground will become unsustainable and melt away, and many an existential crisis will be had.
In the meantime, I would like to pose a series of rhetorical questions that will situate the conversation and clarify the nature of feminism in general:
Do you think it is a good idea to drive a wedge down the middle of the human race and alienate men and women from each other?
Do you think it is a good idea, to insinuate that most of the world’s problems flow from a male source?
Do you think it is a good idea to treat “woman-hating” as a moral felony, but treat “man-hating” as a social misdemeanor?
Do you think it is a good idea to encourage the growth of fatherless families?
Do you think it is a good idea to prop up your political agenda with false statistics?
Do you think it is a good idea to corrupt the criminal justice system with anti-male ideological bias?
Do you think it is a good idea to “empower” women with no clear limits and no stipulations about using that power responsibly?
Do you think it is a good idea to insult and slander women of conscience who disown feminism or say stiff things about it?
Finally, do you think it is a good idea to pretend that feminism bears no relation to any of the things we have listed here?
All right. If your first impulse is to say “that’s not what feminism really is!”, then you had best declare yourself a feminist and withdraw to the private enjoyment of your private understanding. Take your friends with you.
As you can see, the decision to call yourself feminist, or not call yourself that, is fraught with serious political underpinnings. It’s a decision of great consequence in either direction – you cannot dither, you cannot dilly-dally, and you cannot shilly-shally.
Come now, be a good gal or a good gent, and hop down off that fence!
Are you feminist, or are you non-feminist? Please make your mind up, and please declare your standpoint frequently, in conversation, when disclosure is the appropriate thing to do.
As non-feminist men and women, our resolute opposition to feminism is the force-field binding us together. Regrettably, we don’t yet fully agree on what feminism is. We have not yet reached target consensus. I repeat, not yet. But despite our differences, we agree that a show of solidarity will instill the gravitas of the occasion upon the other side. It will make them sit up straighter and moderate their tone when they address us.
Yes. A popular front non-feminist coalition – that’s the ticket!
So, are you feminist or non-feminist? That is the bedrock question where it all begins.
There’s a conversation I’ve had with feminists more times than I care to remember. It goes a bit like this:
Me: “Hey, I have a problem with Feminism.”
Feminist: “Feminism? It’s only the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. You must have internalised misogyny!”
Me: “The actions of feminists show that feminism is the advocacy of women’s privileges (our rights having been secured decades ago) with indifference or even hostility towards the rights of men.”
Feminist: “Hand in your woman card, you’re doing it wrong!”
This debate is so irritating that I want to stuff headphones into my ears and blast Frank Zappa’s ‘Bamboozled by Love’ so loudly that I can’t hear any feminist insisting that only she or he understands human experience.
Maybe that gender studies degree or that Tumblr you consume didn’t cover this, but the dictionary definition of feminism isn’t something you can trot out when it suits you yet never live up to it. It confers no virtue; it’s something you must express during every interaction in your life. It’s an ongoing process of learning and investigation without prejudice. If you’re not prepared to listen when non-feminist men and women tell you what feminism is, you aren’t progressive. You’re a bigot.
If you do want to be a feminist, and you find yourself conversing with a human who feels that your ideology is a problem, here’s a few pointers on how to handle it.
First of all, if you are more upset at being told that your ideology is problematic than actually thinking about the problem that has been raised, it means you are more worried about protecting your ego than understanding the experience of the human in front of you.
It’s all right, I understand, you are being made to question your fundamental beliefs and that is scary. I recommend dipping your feet in the shallow end and seeking out the wisdom of heretic feminists like Camille Paglia and Christina Hoff Sommers and their criticisms of mainstream Feminism. It might hurt less coming from them.
Remember though, that Gloria Steinem called Paglia ‘The Anti-Feminist’ in the ‘70s and feminists at Oberlin College set up a safe space to shelter themselves from Sommers’s lecture — which seemed to pose an existential threat!
I know you think that you “understand gender equality”, but even feminists are not infallible. I used to be a feminist. I thought that women were uniquely disadvantaged, a perspective so cliché that I am actually ashamed of my ignorance at that time. People told me that my ideology was a problem, and you know what? I didn’t cry “oh my god, it’s only about gender equality.” Instead, I listened and then I said “Yeah. You’re right. My bad.”
You know why? Because I know I can be wrong. Anybody can. And I’m glad when someone hands me better information than I’ve already got. If a non-feminist calls feminism “the feminist problem”, you definitely need to listen because you haven’t walked in everybody’s shoes and you are not all-knowing.
It is so tedious how feminists claim authority over gender equality and act like they’re the only people who care about it. It is so tiresome how feminists pretend that feminism is objectively “right” for all time, beyond all further discussion – we even have a name for this: feminist triumphalism.
While feminism is theoretical to you, it’s oh-so-very-real to us, so at least listen to what we say. Be thankful that the non-feminist men and women around you don’t think you’re a lost cause because “behind every ex-feminist is an exhausted non-feminist you need to thank.”
You’re no longer in denial and you have successfully reached step two. Maybe you didn’t realise until now that your ideology was a problem: that’s OK. Feminism is so deeply woven into the very fabric of our society that sometimes you can’t see how toxic it is.
Feminism isn’t something we opt in or out of. In our society, it’s always there. It’s the white noise humming in the background of almost every interaction. If you still can’t see it or understand it, at least acknowledge that the other person did, and listen to what they say. If you’re still denying that there are problems with feminism then straight you go to dictionary-definition jail. Do not pass go.
If you accept that there are problems with feminism, if you listen to non-feminist reasons for saying so, and if you’ve taken these things on board, then you are on the road to becoming a non-feminist. Because, guess what? Gender equality is not a feminist project! Feminists merely pretend that it is, in order to mask the unpalatable flavour of their actual goals.
Finally, as a feminist you must come to terms with non-feminist alterity: the absolute independent existence of the world beyond feminism. You must accept the fundamental right-to-exist of the non-feminist sector, and the fact that this sector is morally self-sufficient and has no need of feminist regulation in any form.
As a feminist, you must check the feminist privilege which makes you feel that feminism “is the world”. You must learn to coexist, peacefully and in good faith, with the rest of the world.
The above was written in response to Kirsty Major’s article ‘Men, if you really think you’re a feminist here’s what to do when a woman says you’re being sexist’
For a classic rebuttal listen to Paul Elam’s video ‘The Kirsty Major Male Feminist Handbook’
After conversing with colleagues, however, I decided to turn the tables on Ms Major and deliver some home truth to feminists, using her format. I hope you enjoyed the ride, Kirsty!
Feminism is open to question. Never forget that.
Let’s get one thing straight: Feminism is not mandatory. You have zero obligation to think like a feminist, talk like a feminist, act like a feminist, live like a feminist, or support feminism in any way.
Feminism is but one of many ideological systems operating on planet Earth. It was concocted by human agency and its license to exist may be revoked by human agency at any time. Feminism is not a privileged snowflake. It carries no special mandate or divine right. There is nothing “woo-woo” about feminism, and no particular reverence is owed to it.
We should add that feminism is not a race — or more to the point, not a biological birth group. That’s right: nobody is born a feminist. Feminism is an elective state of being; you must choose it. That means you are free to reject it, or free to kick it out of your brain again if you made a prior choice to accept it.
Not only are feminists not a race, they are not an ethnic group. They seem to think they are, but that is because they are mimicking the behavior of groups who claim protected status against so-called “hate speech”. The feminists want to get some of that action too, if possible. If you say stiff things about feminism, they would like very much to swing the apparatus of law against you. (Name-calling and character assassination are not enough, it seems. They want to use the official power of state violence, under color of legality.)
Above all, feminism is not a sex. There is a male sex and a female sex, but there is no feminist sex. I repeat: there is no feminist sex. That may be perfectly self-evident to some of us, but a lot of people seem absolutely oblivious to this bedrock truth.
The trouble is, that feminism is politically and institutionally hegemonic. It is a ruling force in human affairs, and that is simply an objective fact of life. This happened because certain humans worked hard to make it happen, while certain others stood by and lifted no finger to stop them. In consequence, feminism got deeply entrenched.
The crux of the difficulty is that feminism holds the power of a fetish, or sacred idol, in the public square. Some have even called feminism an unofficial state religion. Many people hate this so-called sacred object, and wish to break its power, yet they fear to speak a word against it because they dread the social consequences that might follow. Furthermore, they aren’t sure where to get started because, frankly, the terms of the problem are not entirely clear to them.
If we wish to overthrow the power of the feminist idol and release the stranglehold which it exercises upon the public mind, we must visibly and dramatically challenge it, until people feel emboldened to join in the fun. Imagine, if you will, a dauntless iconclast who walks up to that idol with a sledgehammer, in full view of the world, and shatters the head into rubble with a defiant flourish and a harsh laugh.
Clearly this would send a message. It would spread some shock waves, wouldn’t it? It would trigger a gasp of collective dismay, am I right?
Many, standing in the public square, would be emboldened to join in the fun. They would look each other in the eye and catch the glint of revolution. It would be instantly clear to them that they were not alone, that they had nothing to fear but fear itself.
The core principle is this: that when you publicly defy or desecrate a sacred object, you break the spell. You dismantle the mojo. You turn that sacred thing into a common thing once more, prone to the same treatment as any other common thing — the callous handling, the common touch, and so on.
I shall await somebody bold enough to swing a very public metaphorical hammer against the feminist idol. I expect that person will be a celebrity of some kind, ideally a woman, who stands up and thunders: “I’ve had enough and I will take no more! To HELL with feminism, and damn the torpedoes! Come and get me, feminists!”
Naturally, it helps to be a celebrity rather than an obscure nobody. An obscure nobody who wants to make his message heard, must capture the limelight by a signal-boosting stratagem or “setup” — in common vernacular, a publicity stunt. But a celebrity can access the limelight any time. When a celebrity talks, the world listens, and the message travels.
So if you’re a celebrity, and if you want to become a bigger celebrity, give us a hand with this. Okay? Or if you know a celebrity, bring this talk to their attention and maybe it will inspire them to do something along the lines we are suggesting.
There are, of course, less flamboyant but equally valuable ways to attack the feminist idol and compromise its power. These methods are already being carried out by many people in many places — the war of attrition, the death by a thousand cuts, the innumerable chisel strokes. It’s all good, it’s all taking a toll, and it’s all preparing the ground for those more dramatic non-feminist breakouts which will occur in the fullness of time.
So what is the bottomline here? What is the takeaway point? It is, that the feminist problem must be challenged. Called out. Stood up to. Stared down. Made accessible to the forces that would correct it.
You can do this in many ways, but by far the most effective is to say, simply and unequivocally, “I am not a feminist, and there is nothing you can do about that.”
This brings the feminist dialectic to a standstill, because it introduces the element of alien will into feminism’s self-contained moral universe. Feminism has been given something indigestible and irreducible to its purposes, which it ultimately cannot ignore. That something is called “non-feminist alterity”. The implications are existential. Metaphysical, Primordial. Heavy.
Above all idol-breaking.
In a word: iconoclastic.
“I am not a feminist, and there is nothing you can do about that.”
This deceptively simple statement lies at the heart of the methodology we are preaching. The rest is details, and among these is the fact that feminism is on trial because all feminist claims and theories are open to question.
From the ground up, every imaginable thing about feminism is subject to a universal critique and an intellectual audit. You might say that we are calling feminism into the office for a little talk.
In closing, I repeat my call to anti-feminist celebrities: step out of the closet and swing a hammer at the feminist idol! Be bold. Be brave. Be defiant. Be a cheeky bastard and stand your ground. You have supporters everywhere.
If you are not a celebrity, do what you can to see that celebrities read this. Thank you.
What is Feminism?
Feminism is an ideology that seeks to elevate women with the avowed purpose of gaining what it calls “equal rights”. This happens under the pretext that men throughout history have benefited from keeping women in a limited role. Feminist activism takes the form of a class struggle, and this struggle provides a rationale for feminists who wish to ignore the male side of the equality issue — the “patriarchal” side, as they like to call it.
Feminists have great political power, having reformulated laws and policies through the lens of patriarchy theory. For example, the Duluth model of domestic violence, which names men as a perpetrator class and women as a victim class, is based upon such theory. This model fails to address the root causes of abuse and completely neglects male victims but is used in hundreds of cities nonetheless. See Hannah Wallen’s video to learn more about how this operates. Furthermore, feminist lobbying groups such as NOW have fought against equal custody laws for many years. Again, I am linking to Hannah Wallen’s research – see The Feminist Crusade Against Fatherhood.
Feminism can easily be compared to a religion — Alison Tieman’s “Church of Women-Worsting”, for example, maps this theme elegantly. Even though self-identified feminists are greatly outnumbered by the non-feminist majority, a number of people roughly share certain ideas attributed to feminism such as that of a wage gap, a rape culture, a glass ceiling, and the notion that domestic violence and rape are perpetrated mainly by men against women. Overall, most people judge cultures on how well they treat their women, even if these people do not label themselves as feminist. Feminists know this. They are able to tap into this and garner politically naive support for the feminist project from people who fail to understand that project in full.
This “woman-firsting” (or gynocentrism) fogs a society’s ability to properly judge equality (if that is the goal), but moreover, feminists have captured a monopoly as the arbiters of truth where such judgements are concerned. Most people harbor a sentimental (emotionally-based) belief that men and women should have equal opportunities and be held to equal account under the law. However, if you experiment independently to learn how men and women differ (legally or otherwise) you will be expected to work within a feminist-dominated academic framework with its chosen instruments already calibrated to verify the feminist narrative and worldview. This binds you to the intellectual gravity field of that narrative and worldview, so that the end product of your studies will always be. . . more feminism.
Where do non-feminist people stand, and what is to be done?
Politically awakened non-feminist people would like to open new laboratories, (i.e. schools of thought) to resolve the conundrums of “equality”, or perhaps go back to the drawing board altogether and devise new ways of judging societies based on some other metric than how they treat their female members.
With this analogy in mind, one of the first solutions I’d argue for is a rejection of feminism’s monopoly on how we measure “equality” in the first place. That is, we must reject the misinformation that feminism propagates, along with the idea that man-woman relations may only be examined through a feminist lens. That is not to say that the feminist perspective should be snuffed out, but that we’d be better served by conducting non-feminist research and exploring these matters in a non-feminist light. With that comes the need to protect free speech and open debate, along with more non-feminists willing to challenge the intellectual status-quo in a variety of outspoken ways.
Victory, as I see it, would involve a retraction of feminist perspective in law and policy (including domestic and sexual violence, family court, the gender disparity in criminal court and affirmative action and quotas) along with more, public and vocal, schools of thought on man-woman dynamics. It may be evolutionary psychology based studies or meritocracy based platforms or something no one has though of yet. I don’t wish to destroy feminism, but I do want feminist ideas to “take their lumps” like any other ideology in the marketplace of ideas. By virtue of such critique, I am confident that feminism will be exposed as an ideology of narrow-minded assumptions.
As the paradigm shift moves into full swing, I hope that fewer people will self-censor and that they will boldly exercise the freedom to be questioners.
In my opinion, this universal critique of feminism should become a permanent part of the culture; once started, there is no turning back. Both academics and the general public should be involved, and each group may bring its own special skill sets to bear upon the work. The three foundational questions that I have addressed here are only the beginning, since they are meant to spawn further questions, and further discussions based upon those questions, all in a non-feminist vein.