POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING
On Monday I read a thought provoking post on gender equality by the awesome Chuck Wendig, discussing sexism in the writing world. Chuck also linked to a much darker, but equally thought provoking post by Lauren Nelson about rape culture.
I usually avoid provoking my thoughts, because who knows how those fickle bastards will react to being bothered?! This time I can’t let go, though.
My first encounter with anti-feminist sentiments was when a blog commenter once used the word “feminism” as an insult. I turned the whole thing into a funny post and didn’t think more of it. Since then I’ve been frequently exposed to a vocal minority that sees gender equality as something to be feared and avoided, like a shark with a piranha-gun. Yes, exactly like that.
I’ve seen countless rants about the dangers of feminism and gender equality. Most of them were unfiltered thought streams fueled by resentment. None of them had much to offer in way of reasoned argumentation. I’d like to share the most baffling lines of this reasoning with you.
Because I strongly disagree.
Because I want to add my voice to the growing number of others who disagree as well.
Because I’m tired of seeing shitty people attempt to justify or hide their sexism behind the pretense of protecting some higher moral and social norms. I call bullshit.
Then there’s the fact that making fun of stupid things is a hobby of mine and nothing lends itself to ridicule more than narrow-minded hatred.
Disclaimer: No, I am not a life-long scholar of feminist theory. I don’t have a wide range of handy statistics to pull out of my pocket. I haven’t reviewed all available literature on the subject of gender equality. I didn’t build a fortress of documentation supporting my views to hide inside of. I’m just a dude with a blog. However, access to equal opportunities for everybody ranks pretty high on my list of what’s right.
Furthermore, I’m rubber and you’re glue, so something something I know you are, but what am I? That’s settled, then.
Where were we? Ah yes, here are the five stupidest arguments against pursuing gender equality.
5. “Feminism is destroying our society.”
I’ve seen this one a lot. It goes something like this:
“Modern women are unfulfilled, because they’re now a part of the workforce and it affects their private lives. Modern men are emasculated and have become disposable as they’re no longer providers of financial security. Feminists fighting for gender equality have ruined our traditional values and made all of us miserable.”
What the whatting what now?
I must have missed the part of the “Feminist Manifesto” that advocates forced employment of women and emotional castration of men. How exactly did you come up with this interpretation of feminism?
Although I guess the true meaning of “feminism” will forever remain elusive. It’s not like there’s a book of some kind that we can consult for word definitions. Wait, what do you know, here’s Longman Dictionary’s take on “feminism”:
The belief that women should have the same rights and opportunities as men.
Strange. “Mandatory emasculation” is suspiciously missing from the above.
So what’s your worry, exactly? Are you threatened by the fact that qualified women are now competing for the job you may have previously had by default? Good. You should be. That’s healthy competition for ya.
Let’s settle it once and for all: Feminism is about choice. More specifically, about women having the choice to pursue whatever aspirations they have. The same choice that men have already been given.
Want to be a professional career woman? Go for it! Want to be a stay-at-home mother and take care of the house? Fantastic! Want to join a traveling circus as a ferret-juggling clown-acrobat? Curiously specific and a little weird, but hey – it’s your call to make!
Cut it out with the “destruction of society” rhetoric.
Now, can you find some extreme examples of radical feminism that have a more aggressive stance on gender equality? Probably. But if you’re going to base your argument against a movement on a few extreme cases, then why stop at feminism?
Let’s boycott the Catholic Church for encouraging paedophilia. Let’s ban boxing because it’s creating a generation of ear-chewers. Let’s tear down the worldwide satellite TV network because of that thing Homer Simpson said that one time.
Stop cherry picking anecdotal evidence that lets you get away with being a sexist.
Feminism did not irreversibly ruin gender dynamics. It helped gender dynamics evolve. That’s a pretty crucial difference. Learn to adapt to it and stop your whining.
4. “Men are victimized by gender equality discussions.”
Shut right the hell up.
To be a man in the modern world and dare to complain about gender equality somehow “victimizing” you is not just misguided – it makes you sound like a self-entitled idiot. You’re flying a freaking jet fighter, and you can’t handle that someone is building a glider to try and catch up with you (I naturally assume that most sexists are aviation aficionados, hence the analogy).
This argument often quickly dissolves into raving nonsense along the lines of “thanks to feminism women are now proud to be ugly” and “feel entitled to bitch about everything.” These are not my words. They are lifted from an especially nasty blogger’s many hate posts. I refuse to link to them.
Man, you hear the word “feminism” and your main concern is that there won’t be enough pretty women around to please you? Go buy yourself a sex doll. “She” won’t bitch about anything and hopefully will keep you safely inside the house where you can’t infect others with your lunacy.
Sadly, this is far from an isolated case. There are online forums centered around this rhetoric, filled with insecure, bitter men who objectify women and see them as incapable of achieving anything of importance. I discovered one such forum when my old “Don’t’s For Wives” post was shared there and received a lot of negative attention from the sexist crowd. One of them was outraged enough to visit the blog:
Yet nowhere is this “male victim” mentality more hurtful than when it pops up as a response to people speaking out against rape or pointing out the pervasiveness of rape culture. Every time that happens, a bunch of screaming voices will jump in with “but what about those men who are falsely accused of rape? Who will protect them?”
Goddammit, you extraordinary prick.
Someone brave enough to tackle the subject opens up for a constructive discussion and you immediately try to sidetrack it with what is, in the larger scheme of things, a non-issue?! If someone is building a new hospital, are you the dickhead who complains about it ruining the view outside your window? If yes, then I hope one day you’re attacked and tackled to the ground by a herd of young mountain goats. As they’re jumping giddily all across your bruised body you scream out for passersby to come to your rescue, but all they say is “no way man, that’d be animal cruelty.” Sincerely I hope for that.
Look, I’m not trying to deny that false accusations happen. No justice system is perfect. But for fuck’s sake, have some perspective. Undermining a discussion about a vastly more significant problem by jumping in with this tangential reference is a dick move. Don’t be a dick.
For an eloquent and well-researched presentation of the comparative insignificance of false rape accusations, please see yet another great post by Lauren Nelson.
3. “Women’s rights have come a long way. Why are we still talking about gender equality?”
True. Women’s rights have come a long way. Women can vote. They can get jobs. Lady Gaga can freely wear a dress made of Muppets.
So…we’re done, then? Are we all good? Shall we leave the income disparity “as is”? I guess we’re OK with the continued prevalence of sexism in many spheres of life? It’s close enough, right?
Good point. I suggest we adopt the same mentality to other areas and stop wasting money on stupid shit like “finding a cure for cancer.” I mean, we’ve already pretty much killed that Polio sucker, so why bother? Also, tell NASA to pack it up, we’ve already seen the Moon. How much more space is there to explore, really? Progress is for losers!
OK, kind of laying it thick with the sarcasm there. Delicious sarcasm sandwich, just for you! Uuuuuhm, sandwich.
What was I saying?
We don’t stop talking about gender equality until gender inequality ceases to be an issue.
Simple, right? Right.
2. “There are other important issues aside from gender equality to focus on.”
Sure there are. There’s still extreme poverty in many parts of the world. There are war-torn countries. The X-Files have been cancelled in 2001. There’s plenty to worry about and plenty to fix.
Don’t tell me we’re only capable of righting one wrong at a time. How inefficient as a species would we be if that were the case? We’d still be stuck on trying to make Arnold Schwarzenegger not sound like a malfunctioning robot. Then we’d have to do something about the raccoon living on Donald Trump’s head. By the time we’d move on to explaining the concept of maps to Sarah Palin, we’d all be wiped out by a race of giant space-traveling moths. They are coming. The Aztec calendar predicted it. Look it up.
This is just another way of sidetracking the gender equality discussion. Let’s acknowledge the issues and work on solving them all, in parallel, shall we?
1. “The gender equality discussion doesn’t really concern me.”
Oh, but it does. The gender equality discussion concerns all of us, women and men alike.
Unless you were brought to this Earth by a mechanical stork from another dimension, you have a mother.
You may have a daughter, a sister, a wife.
You have female friends, unless you’re one of those misogynists from earlier.
There’s a female scientist inventing a pill that will help you not die of blood loss the next time you run with scissors and stab yourself in two important arteries at once.
Your neighbor is a woman.
Your President is…OK, so US is still working on that one.
It’s almost as if every other person you see is a woman. Can this be?
My point is: We are all in this boat together. We can’t do the equivalent of covering our ears and going “la-la-la, can’t hear you!” whenever gender equality issues are brought up. Ignoring the world at large ceased to be an option when the Internet came about and allowed us to share news and opinions (and hilarious LOLcat pictures, and videos of people getting hit in the groin, and so on).
Everyone is affected. Anyone can make a difference. All it takes is for you to stop ignoring sexism when you encounter it.
Break the pattern.
Write a blog post.
Make yourself heard.
Or you could, you know, just close the browser and go back to watching Game Of Thrones because holy shit did you see what happened in Episode 9?!
It’s your move.
73 thoughts on “5 stupidest arguments against pursuing gender equality”
thank you for this post.
I have had very false assumptions made about me today because I ‘dared’ to try to explain male and female equality in Christianity (2 men and one woman disagreeing/making false assumptions). The frustrating thing is – I know it’s because they cannot grasp the words, discussion progression, narrative of the discussion, not because they’re hard hearted or hateful.
But they are misognist, essentially, of course, inside, without understanding how or why.
I was downhearted – your straightforward post has lifted me. I cannot be so straightforward in this Facebook group, in which the assumptions (about my Faith), happened.
I’m glad you found the post useful! Thanks for dropping by.
I know im reading this rather late. However im definetly going to be using, some of these in a debate, argumentative essay im writing in english class. These points are great and i love your way of thinking!
Hey Jake, I’m glad you found this helpful! Good luck on the essay.
THANKS DUDE 100 MILLION TIMES! How ever I am very much against these horrible male bashing commercials, YIKES! DISGUSTING! And ever since they put down the guy who started the good men`s project, I will never call myself a feminist again!, Just human rights, and that includes being loving and supportive of good men!!!!!!!!!!! of every color.
Sure, everyone’s rights should be equal.
Hi there, I know this is old but I was kind of digging a bit into this topic. Forgive my English if its not the best. As it is not my first language. I saw some posts out there that asks some intriguing questions too prior to seeing yours. I just want to ask what are your thoughts on the points they threw. Please see below.
– What are your thoughts? Should men hold back when defending themselves against unwanted abusive treatment from wild females?
– What about people who hurt others in general? Should there be ‘an eye for an eye’, a ‘taste of one’s own medicine?’
Those questions came from this blog http://duncantrussell.com/forum/discussion/15869/women-get-a-taste-of-the-gender-equality-theyve-always-wanted/p1
I also got a good laugh on this one since I personally saw a similar scenario first hand:
“Oh yes, I’m talking about the degree to which women are so often given a pass on their bullshit. A common reaction to seeing a women hit by a guy when there’s a lot of testosterone in the air, is to jump that guy. And while a guy who strikes or violently pushes a woman may well deserve to have the shit kicked out of him, I resent the fact that people are so quick to assume that there’s no possible way she may deserved it! It’s like, the possibility doesn’t even enter anyone’s head even in hindsight for the most part. ”
Anyway, looking forward to your thoughts on this one. Everyone else is invited to join in on the conversation and throw their thoughts/opinions on this. Thanks a lot!
Hi Anidem. Thanks. I’m not sure how any of this has to do with having equal opportunities in life, so it sounds like you’re addressing points I wasn’t making.
Im a high school student, and im looking for arguments for a debate i will have to participate in about gender equality. Look, i understood from reading this that people that believe or say this kind of arguments upset you, but it almost seemed as if you didnt even had enough CONTROL to actually write concrete answers that could contradict or prove wrong this arguments. I dont like nor believe in the arguments you tried to prove wrong… did you really tried to do so though? You are not obligated to, you can just say your opinion about how stupid they are, but honestly it only seems wise to me for you to call something stupid IF you can at leastsay why is it stupid. I only bothered to write this comment because i already copied the title of this article or whatever it is and couldnt even write three lines to justify anything because it took me way to long to skip all the cuss words and trying to find something that i can present as a VALID argument. And thats why i think this post is stupid…
Sorry my post didn’t help, Izabella. Good luck with the debate.
it does talks about some gender studies and stated it is inconclusive at the moment. At least on brains and neurological development.
Physiological difference does exist for obvious reason. In theory, it probably affects our brain. However, we also know that it can be altered and modified later, so….
Thoughts shouldn’t be an excuse of why females and males differ.
The common example used is that if a draft for war is to happen, would you say that both gender should be equally listed?
Sorry, but I have no idea what you’re trying to say.
As for military draft: If a person is able and willing to perform military duty, regardless of that person’s gender, then yes – they should absolutely have equal opportunity to prove themselves in the military.
Sorry, that was supposedly a reply to one of the comments discussing on biology differences.
Some argument explains the reason that female wage gap exists is because of the positions females hold (i.g. management assistant vs. engineer). They often used neurology development as why females choose such a role. It then asks the feminists to view the wage gap as merely the result of fundamental differences between men and women.
well, the point of a draft, is that it is not about will, it is about random drawing. It is more of a duty than opportunity if you will be requested to join the military. In this case, I supposed true equality = equal chances to get listed.
This may be slightly old, but I’m reading it now and can I just say, I adore you.
And I applaud you.
This – aside from being brilliantly funny – was so great to come across, and it’s fair to say that it has made my day. I’m a year 12 student about to present an oral presentation based around gender equality, and you really hit the nail on the head in regards to what I wanted to get across.
Never have I read a blog so humorous and accurate! Thanks!
Appreciate your comment.
Happy this meant something and that you found it both entertaining and useful!
Late to the party here, but I’d like to point out to Mr. Paul Murray that the correct term is a nattering of nannies, not a fleet. Idiot.
What does biology say on the topic? No opinion just facts of biology.
That women have pee-pees while men have wee-wees? What’s your point? I’m talking about basic human right to pursue the same ambitions in life and equal opportunities. If you believe that having a dick entitles one to more opportunities and basic rights, then you’ve missed the point entirely and we probably won’t be able to agree on much.
1. I agree with the point “I’m talking about basic human right to pursue the same ambitions in life and equal opportunities.”
2. “If you believe that having a dick entitles one to more opportunities and basic rights” I DID NOT SAY THAT DILDO. Don’t tell me what my position is, let me address my issues, don’t address them for me then strawman what you think my position is.
3. Biology does not JUST say that, what about DNA, what about chemistry etc. We use male and females as classifiers and If you want to remove classifiers you will have a tough time with science.
Your lack of knowledge and ability to even address a question in a reasonable manner indicates your level of education. Next time quit looking for a fight and just address the question.
1) True, I have made an assumption about your position, which was hasty.
2) My article was never intended to be a scientifically rigorous exploration of gender differences. It was, from the outset, an opinion piece reflecting my thoughts on the subject of gender equality (Note: not biological differences between the genders, but gender equality in the social sense of the word). It was presented as such in the opening paragraphs.
3) Despite my hasty assumptions, I didn’t resort to insults.
4) You still haven’t made your point. There are biological (chemical, DNA, etc.) and other differences. And…?
My point is that the evolution of DNA does not make us equal, there are advantages to males and females but we all do not start off with an equal base (people being born with defects) while we can treat them as equals (humanism) at the most fundamental level they are not equal. Before I continue, what is the difference between humanism and gender equality (ie: humanism is a better word because it encompasses your ideology without pointing out that there are two or more genders) . Why do you choose to use one term over another? What do you hope to accomplish with a “gender neutral” society? What is an example of something that you protest. I want to be clear on your position before I continue with genetics.
Let’s first acknowledge that my article wasn’t a measured and well-balanced piece, but—in all fairness—neither was it presented as such. Mine is a humour and opinion blog, not a scientific publication that aims to remain neutral. It was a piece speaking out against sexism and (mostly) justifications used by people who exhibit it. Also, “gender neutral” society is not a term I have used. I used the term “gender equality,” but I can see that it may be interpreted in a number of ways. So…
Very simply: I support a society that doesn’t discriminate in a social setting—job opportunities, political standing, legal standing, an so on—between genders (but also between races, sexual orientations, etc.). Since I’m not a student of social studies, it’s hard for me to say which of the semantic terms (humanism, feminism, etc.) best encapsulates my stance. But at its core, that’s all it is. It sounds like you and I agree on that.
There are plenty of examples of what I protest. Some—but far from all—of them are covered by the two first articles I’ve linked to (sexism in publishing, rape culture). Even more of them can be found in unmoderated comment sections of such articles, coming from people exhibiting blatant and ugly sexism in response to others who try to shed light on such issues.
Thus, if I had to choose a term that best reflects my opinion, it probably wouldn’t be a “gender neutral society,” but a “sexism-free society.” If, in your book, the word “humanism” best encompasses that notion, then so be it.
I agree and humanism is a much better word. Saying gender and sex, carriers specific “baggage” that needs to be addressed like biology. At least consider it. Have a good day.
This was such an amazing read! Thank you so much! (:
I’m happy you think so. Thank you for your comment!
Daniel- This make a huge difference. Your passion is evident, your points are well made. And dammit! It’s funny too.
As a woman, I thank you.
As a human being, I thank you.
You are awesome!!!
Sexism, racism, agism, most any ‘isms’ are about power and control. I’m going to think on this more ’cause right now, my thoughts are not cogent.
Humbled by your reply, thanks. There is no “thank you” necessary, I’m just speaking my mind. And you’re totally right – “isms” suck and we have to work on slowly getting rid of them all.
Appreciate your always thoughtful comments on this and other posts.
I LOVE this! Well done.
Thank you. Hope it makes at least a tiny amount of difference.
Like the others have said: great writing. Thank you for calling bullshit. That doesn’t happen often enough.
Thanks. And yes, doesn’t happen often enough. We should all call bullshit every once in a while!
Thank you for this…wish all men felt the same as you do. “Feminist” is practically a dirty word in the south, but I do my best to make it pretty 🙂
I can only imagine how difficult it can sometimes be. Keep at it!
I think there’s room for both being heard and watching Game of Thrones. Great post, thank you!
There’s ALWAYS room for “Game Of Thrones”. And don’t thank me – it just needed to be said (again, and again, if needed).
Glad you enjoyed it!
Thank you, I like your opinion and the way you put things out there. Women are equal it is only stupidity of the few that do not allow for mainstream acceptance!
Fully agree. Let’s just hope that it’s a matter of time before this vocal minority is turned around.
Great post. I think one of the big arguments that I have for feminism would sound something like, “Dude we got so many problems, lets get everybody to help…damn right even the women! That might be our only hope!”
Well put, sir. We have enough problems without having to wage gender wars.
good read – and yes the subject is more than a little “OLD” now isn’t it??? It has passed the point of any return so its about time people accept that women are equal.
You would think we’d be over this by now, but nope, not even close. Sadly.
Glad you enjoyed it!
This is great. The one that irks me the most is when men cry “misandry!” at the hands of the matriarchy. “I didn’t get hired by a female boss!” “My parents didn’t let me do XYZ because I have a penis!” “My ex-wife got to keep the house.” IT’S BECAUSE FEMINISTS HATE MEN!1!!!
It’s just like, “Dude, I’m sorry that unfair stuff has happened to you but you get that systematic structural oppression based on gender is different than unfair stuff just happening sometimes, right? Everyone has to take their lumps even on an equal playing field. It sucks but that’s life. Come talk to me when you earn 22 cents on the dollar less because stereotypically masculine professions are minimized and devalued.”
Completely agree. I guess people in general (myself included) tend to gravitate towards individual experiences and one-offs to exemplify our points, ignoring the larger picture. It’s so hard to be objective sometimes.
Felt it needed to be said. I’m certainly not the first to speak up and I won’t be the last. But hey, the more the merrier, or so I’ve heard.
You’re right, we should all make ourselves heard when it comes to issues of inequity and oppression, and it’s not always easy to do. Thanks for speaking up.
Yup, sexism is only one of the many areas where we should be making ourselves heard, so why not start there!
I am really proud of you love. This is a great article. I wish more men had the same point of view 🙂 hugs K.
How did you get to comment? Do they have Internet in the kitchen? I guess it’s a good thing you’re at least not bitching about anything!
Thanks, let’s see how many other dudes join in.
Hahaha I have a secret device. I am sneaky like that 😉
Fingers crossed for more dudes joining!
Your fiance is a lucky lady! I never call myself a feminist because it seems to have such a negative connotation to it. Do I root for gender equality? SURE! But I see the comments and thoughts that people feel it’s okay to say since they’re hiding behind a computer screen and, to me, it’s just not worth it for me to bring it up. Thanks for thinking it’s worth it 🙂
You’re completely right, though. I too have hesitated when pushing that “publish” button, so I can only imagine how hard it is for women to break that pattern. I’ll never be exposed to the type of nastiness and the backlash that female writers get. Here’s to hoping it will change. Slowly.
What Carrie said. Thank you, Daniel.
No need for thanks here, I’m just sharing what I believe. And, ironically, it’s easier for me to do this being a man, because I don’t face the same vile responses.
Wow, that’s how to refute such bigoted nonsense. Have you thought of a career in politics? I’d vote for you.
Ha, think I’m too straight-shooting and unfiltered for politics. Plus I don’t have a good feel for playing games and intrigues, so I’m happy staying away from any political stuff.
Thanks though! I appreciate it.
Amazing post D! Written really well..:)
Thank you. Hope it has at least some impact.
Absolutely a fantastic piece of writing!
Thanks D. It’s good to hear it resonates with people.
I think the men who parade this type of ignorance are not too sure of their own masculinity, why else would they make such a big deal about it? They need to grow the hell up. We woman have always been “equal” it has just taken the world an awfully long time to admit it and unfortunately some never will.
Sadly I think there’s still a way to go on the “admitting it” front. But at least we’re making progress.
You see I know what the problem is here… I face it every day. It’s really a 2 parter, actually.
1. Some men are jealous because, unlike women, they have not evolved closer to the kangaroo. I mean, I can put my keys in my vagina and walk around all day like it ain’t no thang. A few more steps in evolution, and I’ll be able to put a midget in there!! If I were man, I’d start fights for no reason too. It’s called bitter jealousy.
2. I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but I am way superior to 90% of the men I’ve met. In every way. Right down to arm wrestling. If I had a penis, it would be ginormous… And they know it. Hence the anger.
This post has been brought to you by Vodka. Keep the good times Rollin!!
lol Valerie! I never thought about keeping my keys in my vagina. I do store old tax returns in my uterus though since it’s not being used for anything else.
And think if you can get that midget to become a ferret juggling clown acrobat?! Mind blowing show awaits!
I see you’ve been following my “Absinthe and vodka strawberry cake” recipe. I’m so honoured!
That recipe changed my life… And my vagina.
Woot! Now that’s a post! Geez, when I can’t find the right words to slice and dice someone with, I’m calling on you! 😉 I would never presume to speak for all women everywhere, but I think I heard a collective, “You Rock!”
Thanks Sheila. It’s good to hear I’m not hitting way off the mark with this. I didn’t want to sound presumptuous, seeing how I’m a guy writing this.
You didn’t mention that men are naturally physically stronger than women. This makes it clear that men should be in control of the world.
Aaaah, yes, but see – that argument actually makes perfect sense. If you can’t lift weights, then how are you going to make sound decisions about anything? Everyone knows that brain is in your biceps.
Of course – duh! I think it’s also a science fact that wrinkly appendages carried on the outside of one’s body are indicative of higher cognitive complexity than housing a simple dark hole. Of course, as a bearer of the simple dark hole, I could be wrong.
Oh silly lass! What gibberish you speak. “Indicative”? “Cognitive”? “Appendages”?
I’m pretty sure that those are just random collections of letters. They sure don’t look like any type of words I’m familiar with.
There were 1,000,000 reasons why I love your blog. You just made it 1,000,001. Your fiancee, Django, and Pebbles owe you a night out for this one!
Awesome, I love “nights out”. You’re outside, it’s night time – good stuff!
Glad you enjoyed it. I must admit I was hesitant to publish this, because it feels like such a complex, “over my head” issue. But not publishing it would be far worse, so I did. And here we are.