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Why I No Longer Identify as a Feminist

| by Helen Pluckrose |

I don’t remember ever not being a feminist. I toddled in marches of the 1970s with my mother. She became a second wave feminist in the 1960s after being denied a mortgage without a male guarantor and being told by her employer that she could not study for accountancy exams because “There’s no accounting for women.” Briefly flirting with radical feminism, she found their views extreme and unreasonable and was berated for her heterosexual relationships and love of feminine clothing (see her poem “Woman the Barricades“). She found her home in liberal feminism and from there was active in writing, marching and protesting for legal changes which would give her the same opportunities as men. By the late 1980s, she felt the main legal battles had been won, and largely retired from active campaigning though she continues to identify as a feminist and study women’s history.

Given this influence, of course I was a feminist, a liberal feminist. Growing up, I spoke angrily about the legality of rape within marriage (criminalized in 1990), and won a personal battle to take woodwork at school rather than cookery (I was terrible at it but not noticeably worse than I am at cooking). I criticized sexist attitudes at work, which were still quite unapologetic in the 90s, informing my boss that he was a “good boy” when he called me a “good girl” and refusing to say anything apart from “cheep” to any man who referred to me as a “bird.” Liberal feminism was aggressive then, but a quite different quality of aggression to the spiteful malevolence we see now. It was optimistic, almost playful. We were confident that we were winning. It was fun seeing how we could disconcert the perpetrators of sexist stereotypes and challenge casual sexism, often humorously. We did not think older men (or women) with sexist assumptions were terrible people or want them punished. We simply wanted them to realize the times had changed and catch up. Women are everywhere now. Get used to it.

At times, we needed to work with the radical feminists. Rape victims were still being dismissed or disbelieved. People still blamed victims for their clothing quite respectably. This needed to become routinely frowned upon. RadFems, who insisted that patriarchy was evident in everything, that the idea of gender needed to be destroyed and that men as a whole were dangerous and violent, were regarded as the biggest internal problem the movement had to contend with by liberal feminists. Mostly, their extreme input into feminist discussion was met with eye-rolling and “Perhaps we don’t need to go quite that far.” We were unprepared for the problem rising in our own liberal branch.

From the 1980s, some internal criticisms of liberal feminism began to be made. Liberal feminism as a whole was charged with not recognizing the additional problems faced by black and Asian women and lesbians, and being largely centered on middle-class problems. These were valid criticisms which needed addressing and prioritizing. All women must have equality. Many liberal feminists began to dedicate more time to LGBT rights and highlight the particular vulnerability of women living in communities which adhered to oppressive patriarchal religion, particularly Islam, and subjected women and girls to “honor” violence and genital mutilation. They did this within universal liberal feminism and some still do but in this decade, the academic shift in the humanities and social sciences towards postmodernism began, and gradually filtered through to feminism in praxis. Intersectionality was forming.

People are often confused about what postmodernism is and what it has to do with feminism. Very simplistically, it was an academic shift pioneered by Jean-Francois Lyotard and Jean Baudrillard which denied that reliable knowledge could ever be attained and claimed that meaning and reality themselves had broken down. It rejected large, overarching explanations (meta-narratives) which included religion but also science, and replaced them with subjective, relative accounts (mini-narratives) of the experiences of an individual or sub-cultural group. These ideas gained great currency in the humanities and social sciences and so became both an artistic movement and a social “theory.” They rejected the values of universal liberalism, the methods of science and the use of reason and critical thinking as the way to determine truth and form ethics. Individuals could now have not only their own moral truths but their own epistemological ones. The expression “It’s true for me” encapsulates the ethos of postmodernism. To claim to know anything to be objectively true (no matter how well-evidenced) is to assert a meta-narrative and to “disrespect” the contrary views of others which is oppressive (even if those views are clearly nonsense.) The word “scientism” was created for the view that evidence and testing are the best way to establish truths.

At its height, postmodernism as an artistic movement produced non-chronological, plotless literature and presented urinals as art. In social theory, postmodernists “deconstructed” everything considered true and presented all as meaningless. However, having done this, there was nowhere else to go and nothing more to say. In the realm of social justice, nothing can be accomplished unless we accept that certain people in a certain place experience certain disadvantages. For this, a system of reality needs to exist, and so new theories of gender and race and sexuality began to emerge comprised of mini-narratives. These categories were held to be culturally constructed and constructed hierarchically to the detriment of women, people of color and LGBTs. Identity was paramount.

Liberal feminist aims gradually shifted from the position:

“Everyone deserves human rights and equality, and feminism focuses on achieving them for women.”

to

“Individuals and groups of all sexes, races, religions and sexualities have their own truths, norms and values. All truths, cultural norms and moral values are equal. Those of white, Western, heterosexual men have unfairly dominated in the past so now they and all their ideas must be set aside for marginalized groups.”

Liberal feminism had shifted from the universality of equal human rights to identity politics. No longer were ideas valued on their merit but on the identity of the speaker and this was multifaceted, incorporating sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality and physical ability. The value of an identity in social justice terms is dependent on its degree of marginalization, and these stack up and vie for primacy. This is where liberal feminism went so badly wrong. When postcolonial guilt fought with feminism, feminism lost. When it fought with LGBT rights, they lost too.

So aware of Western imperialism having trampled on other cultures historically, Western liberal feminism now embraced their most patriarchal aspects. A Western liberal feminist can, on the same day, take part in a slut walk to protest Western women being judged by their clothing and accuse anyone criticizing the niqab of Islamophobia. She can demand the prosecution of a Christian baker for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same sex-couple, and condemn the planning of a Gay Pride march through a heavily Muslim area as racist. Many intersectional feminists do not limit themselves to the criticism of other white, Western feminists but pour vitriolic, racist abuse on liberal Muslim and ex-Muslim feminists and LGBT activists. The misogyny and homophobia of Christianity may be criticized by all (quite rightly) but the misogyny and homophobia of Islam by none, not even Muslims. The right to criticize one’s own culture and religion is seemingly restricted to white westerners (The best analysis of “The Racism of Some Anti-racists” is by Tom Owolade).

Universal liberal feminists were horrified by this development. Our old adversaries, the radical feminists, looked positively rational in comparison. They might tell us we are culturally conditioned into internalized misogyny, and they certainly had a pessimistic and paranoid worldview but at least it was coherent. The intersectional feminists were not even internally consistent. In addition to the cultural relativity, the rules change day by day as new sins against social justice are invented. We opposed the radical feminists for their extreme antipathy towards men but at least they shared a bond of sisterhood with each other. The intersectional feminists not only exhibit great prejudice against men but also turn on each other at the slightest imagined infraction of the rules. Having not the slightest regard for reason or evidence, they vilify and harass those imagined to have transgressed.

In addition to their failure to support the most vulnerable women in society, intersectional feminism cultivated a culture of victimhood, negatively impacting all women in society but particularly young women. Women are oppressed, we are told, by men explaining anything, spreading their legs on a train and committing vague sins like “expecting unequal amounts of emotional labour.” If they call out to us or proposition us, we should be terrified. If obnoxious men attempt to grope us or succeed, we have experienced an appalling sexual assault from which we may never recover. Not only are we oppressed by seemingly all men but by anyone expressing anti-feminist ideas or feminist ones we don’t like. More than this, we are rendered “unsafe” by them, particularly those women who are trans and may have to hear that a trans exclusionary radical feminist has said something in a place they don’t have to go to. It is hard to imagine how women manage to survive leaving the house at all.

Even in the house, we cannot be entirely sure of “safety.” Men might say mean things to us on the internet, and we couldn’t possibly cope with that. In reality, I find the opposite problem more concerning. Recently, in a disagreement with an intersectional feminist man, he began to change his mind! Much encouraged, I continued the discussion. After some time, I checked his bio and spotted that he was carrying on a parallel conversation with another man in which he was expressing exactly the same views he had since changed in our conversation. Challenging him on this, I was informed that he did not feel he should disrespect my lived experience as a woman by contradicting it with his own views as a man. However, he still disagreed with me and felt able to say so to another man. I could not get him to see that all this had achieved was excluding me from the conversation and wasting my time. I might as well have been made to withdraw to the drawing room to let the men talk.

Perhaps men might criticize our academic writing or blogs? Richard Dawkins was accused of misogyny for mocking a postmodernist sociology essay that happened to have been written by a woman (He’d mocked one written by a man a few days earlier). He was asked, by numerous people, why he hated intelligent women or why he had to criticize women’s writing? Surely, it should be clear to everyone that not doing so excludes women from academic discussion? If we want to be taken seriously as academics (or as bloggers), we need people to be able to criticize our work.

Like many universal liberal feminists of my generation and above, I decided to hang on and try to tackle, from the inside, the problems of cultural relativity, science denial, raging incivility and the disempowerment of women by feminists. This resulted in my being blocked by feminists, told I am not a feminist, called an “anti-feminist,” a “MRA,” a “misogynist” and even a “rape apologist” (I had suggested that the men who invented date-rape drug detecting nail polish were well-intentioned). I have been told to fuck myself with a rusty chainsaw, and that I am a confused middle-aged woman who does not understand society. Following one encounter with a feminist in which I said I did not get death and rape threats from men, a new account with a male name was suddenly set up which began sending me some.

At the same time, non-feminists were telling me that I was not what they understood by “feminist” or even asserting that I was not a feminist. I assured them I was because I was concerned about female genital mutilation, “honor” violence and forced marriage affecting British women today and rarely prosecuted. I am opposed to the disempowerment of young women who are being told that they cannot cope with different ideas and that criticism is abusive by feminists in universities and schools. Are these not pressing issues affecting women? My friend, Kath, a recovering RadFem, helped clarify my thoughts on this.

This is true. I agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali that western feminism needs to stop focusing on “trivial bullshit.” I don’t have a huge amount of sympathy for women who feel traumatized and excluded by scientists’ shirts or video games. When it comes to the little things, the playing field becomes much more even. We all have gendered expectations we’d rather not comply with. I suggest not doing it. There is very little point in complaining about gender expectations whilst perpetuating them. The idea that women cannot defy such expectations because of fear of disapproval seems contrary to the entire ethos of feminist activism and those who have gone before us.

I think it’s time I accepted that “feminism” no longer means “the aim for equal rights for women” but is understood to refer to the current feminist movement which encompasses so much more and very little that I want to be associated with. I posted this on Twitter recently:

The serious issues faced by British women that I want to be involved in are encompassed by human rights activism, and the disempowerment of young women can only be opposed, sadly, by opposing feminism itself.

I used to be pleased when people told me that I had made them think more positively about feminism, but now I fear that this may simply have prevented that person from criticizing a movement that really needs to be criticized. Feminism has lost its way and should not have public respectability until it remedies this. It seems that more and more people are realizing this. A recent study showed that only 7% of Brits identify as feminist although over two thirds support gender equality. My sadness at abandoning the identity bequeathed to me by my mother is mixed with anger when I consider that she too, a woman who was instrumental in getting banking qualifications opened to women, would now be regarded as deeply problematic.

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Helen Pluckrose is a researcher in the humanities who focuses on late medieval/early modern religious writing for and about women. She is critical of postmodernism and cultural constructivism which she sees as currently dominating the humanities. You can connect with her on Twitter@HPluckrose

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Header Photo: Bob Simpson

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[Editors note: this essay first gained popularity in February, 2016]

94 Comments

  1. Mo Woods

    As a member of the Feminist Movement in the 60s, I remember well my rather naive aspirations to get people to see the inequity between the opportunities afforded to the genders and for the scales to fall from their eyes by my cogent, rational arguments. It seemed inconceivable to me that nobody seemed to realise what was going on, even my fellow women.

    Grindingly slowly, little by little, we got some of our demands and looking back now, I think I settled for less than I should but it is very tiring to be fighting and bashing my head on a brick wall. Marriage, motherhood and a full-time career started biting into my time and, apart from the odd article…I hung up my dungarees!

    As Helen suggested, I too was concerned with m/class issues….breaking into and climbing the greasy pole in banking, insurance, stock exchange and other such professions. it didn’t occur to me at the time, which I regret.

    Then…the movement moved on….and not in a helpful way….the radicals arrived and we started to lose support. An example…attending a course on the changing experience of women, two tutors actually admonished us for leaving our young children at home with their fathers….on the grounds that all men are potential racists…a statement which cannot be gainsayed…nasty weasily statement.

    Now, the vitriol which is spewed on the movement, especially in the US, makes me very sad.

    Like Helen, I am no longer happy to call myself a member of the movement which has changed out of all recognition.

    Mo Woods

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Ben

      As a person who points out problems with men such as suicide, court bias, family court bias, and other problems, the feminism today does no credit to the past struggles. There are a few people in the mens rights movement held in esteem who are former feminists, and it is my sincere belief that feminism and addressing mens problems are not opposed, as seems the mind of some modern feminists.

      I very much wear the mark of MRA, and lend my ear to CAFE. Recently they had a native leader speak on the behalf of missing and murdered aboriginals, whom are better known by the lopsided coverage in the form of missing and murdered aboriginal women; Lopsided because the missing and murdered men and boys outnumber the women by more than 2 to 1. As was spoken at a recent meeting it would be an injustice if women were excluded from the suicide discussion due to male prevalence; 20% of suicides do matter. What doesn’t make sense is that the largest demographic of victims of a problem should be ignored in favour of a specific group.

      It very much feels like bashing my head against a wall oftentimes; And sometimes the apparent headway I’ve made with some has proven to be… false. Looking back to see comment chains deleted, old arguments rearm and get redone with the same people, and selective memory seems like its become weaponized now.

      I am a member of gamergate, the mens rights movement, and call to issue the problems of Islam. I’ve been called countless modern evils from the identitarian evils of sexist, racist, islamophobe, to political thoughtcrimes of being rightwing(Or just more centrist than the extreme left). The smear today of each of these groups is ironically characterized in the same vein as those pushing the smears: Fake news, or more simply lies.

      Just a nobody ranting on the interesting times we live in.

      Liked by 5 people

  2. spratt19

    I would expand on the “Gender Equality” question to include I believe that both men and women should have an equal opportunity to pursue their individual goals which means I will not be trying to force an equal out come based on individual decisions.

    Like

  3. eixan

    Feminism has always been looking out for women to the detriment of men from the very beginning by giving women the right to vote without being required to sign up for selective service. Also check out the tender years doctrine:

    Mrs. Caroline Norton, a prominent British society beauty, feminist, social reforment author, and journalist, began to campaign for the right of women to have custody of their children. Norton, who had undergone a divorce and been deprived of her children. So, she worked with the politicians of those times and eventually was able to convince the British Parliament to enact legislation to protect mothers’ rights. The result was the [Custody of Infants Act from 1839](http://books.google.com/books?id=-r2hnlSSBBsC&q=custody+of+infants+act#v=snippet&q=custody%20of%20infants%20act&f=false), which gave some discretion to the judge in a child custody case and established a presumption of maternal custody for children under the age of seven years.

    In fact I think the only valid form of modern art actually comes from nerd culture. Post modernism is as you said is [cancer](https://youtu.be/KOxIJAJSCN8)
    That’s why the glorious trend of Hollywood making comic book movies is resulting in movies [like this](https://youtu.be/HSzx-zryEgM)

    In actually its stereotypical male hobbies like video games and anime which has by far the most [sophisticated and elaborate stories](https://youtu.be/uGU2B-_Foy8). I mean what does Dowton Abbey a stereotypical female show have anything on video games like [Final Fantasy?](https://youtu.be/YlFujEBi40E?t=5m57s). The music alone from any final fantasy game has way more artistic merit then then the entire show itself!

    In particular though I want to take the time to criticise. “Sophisticated” female stories like downey abbey and all the stupid shit you see on the hallmark channel. Female stories always centered around changing the hearts and minds of only a select view individuals and are always limited in scope unlike male characters who often has change the arts and minds of everyone in order for his character development to stop. Luke becomes a jedi knight a very spirtual and emotional jounrey shortly before the emperor dies which has an impact on the entire star wars universe. Or in les miserables when the men decide to not to play “a game for boys” and to become men by changing the colors of the world. To be a man you must have an impact on society at large.

    >
    It is time for us all
    To decide who we are… 
    Do we fight for the right
    To a night at the opera now?
    Have you asked of yourselves
    What’s the price you might pay?
    Is it simply a game
    For rich young boys to play?
    The colors of the world

    In fact this tendency for women to be drawn to individualistic stories may come from the same mentality in women that’s responsible for feminism still existing in first world societies. By lacking concern for anything that’s outside of your sphere except only when it harms you personally you see shit like women dressing up like hookers walking alone at night drunk and not expecting to get sexually assaulted. Men are aware of things outside of their sphere. Men are aware that poverty can cause an individual to have a warped sense of morality at a biochemical level where saying “teach rapists not to rape” will have no impact on them. Men know this.

    And overall women’s lack of desire to integrate with society thru feminism by excluding themselves thru safe spaces. Which is a sharp contrast with Batman’s character development where he becomes the dark knight by in his famous line “I’ll be whatever gothham needs me to be”. Hell feminists just refuse to cater to society to such a high extent that they consider not wanting to be unhealthly obese to be “buying into society’s beauty standards”

    Like

  4. Chris

    I’ve been trying to word my antipathy towards modern feminism in a way which would not be offensive yet covers every single one of my grievances.

    From now on I’m just going to send people to this. You summed it up perfectly for me.

    Though I am sorry you have been forced to feel the way you do over something you’ve believed in for years and put a Loy of time into.

    I am glad however, you wrote this, its perfect.

    Best wishes, I hope we all get to feel differently again some day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. commiepinkofag

    “RadFems, who insisted that patriarchy was evident in everything, that the idea of gender needed to be destroyed, and that men as a whole were dangerous and violent.”

    Patriarchy _is_ evident in every social structure, rigid ideas about gender dichotomies _should_ be destroyed, and men as a whole _are_ dangerous and violent. All of these things do terrible harm to individuals, institutions, and societies.

    “RadFems”? Facts aren’t radical, feminist or otherwise. They just are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lordran

      You stated these “facts” as if they are unquestionable, but there’s no data out there to suggest they’re true. I can easily state the converse of everything you’ve stated, but the burden of proof is on you. Patriarchy is not evident in every social structure. Ideas about gender should not be destroyed. Men as a whole are not dangerous and violent. See how easy that was? I say the facts are on my side. You think they’re on yours. Well, prove my statements wrong, since all of yours are positive declarations requiring that proof. Or you can go the postmodernist route and pretend that data and statistics and reality doesn’t need to be taken seriously, because it’s all about how we feel, and your narrative is just as good as any narrative, and all this. Hopefully you won’t go that route.

      Like

  6. Sure.

    I like how manspreading is somehow trivial, but a co-worker referring to you as a bird is somehow critically important.

    It’s perfectly alright for the author to care about trivial things such as a class you did typically for a couple of semesters at school (I too am old enough to have lived through shop for boys and cooking for girls), which is all SRS BZNZ, but safe spaces where you can be assured you’re free of vilification for your rape is somehow a terrible thing.

    Doubly so for the person who arcs up at the idea that women can’t take someone being mean on the internet, and then says incivility is no way for noble ladies to act.

    Here was me thinking equality meant that women were free to behave and think and say what they like. Just like men are allowed to be wrong, internet fuckheads, so should women. But no, women must be perfect and better-than, having no faults, not real people according to Pluckrose. So much for her “equality” – it’s a straitjacket by a different name.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anonymous

      Your three comparisons fail to support your attack on the author. Patronizing and unwelcome terms of endearment used as diminutives when addressing women with whom the offender is not in a loving relationship, those have rightfully been relegated to the ash heap of history here in the west. “Manspeading” otherwise known as being rude about sharing space on crowded public transportation isn’t the gendered crime you feminists make it out to be. The few men who do it with their knees (as opposed to their bags, as women are more likely to do) are far outnumbered by the number of men who will freely stand to give up their seat to any female who boards after all the seats are taken. Feminist hypocrisy writ large.

      Comparing woodshop for boys vs. home ec for girls resembles the cry for safe spaces only in their equal infantilization of women. The old way (yes, I’m that old too) marginalized women by steering them toward housewifery. The new feminist-approved way marginalized women by the bigotry of low expectations.

      Internet meanness is along with your other two comparisons pure hypocrisy. You’re projecting (what’s left of) your movement’s double standards on to the author., claiming that she’s policing women’s behavior while excusing men’s. No, in fact that is what you and feminism are doing. Hypocritically policing behavior—that you allow yourselves—only if it’s being done by a man.

      Like the author I’m an ex-feminist. For 30 years I claimed it as a logical part of my overall progressive political beliefs. Then modern western feminism won its genuinely necessary battles and morphed into the modern crybully church-lady brigade it is. And you can’t smear me for a Trump fan either; I voted for Jill Stein as I did in the last presidential election. And I voted for Cynthia McKinney in 2008. I know both women are too enamored of the identity politics that are destroying the left (and gave us Trump), but the Greens are a voice in the wilderness on the much more important issues of fiscal and foreign policies.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MAC67

        “The new feminist-approved way marginalized women by the bigotry of low expectations.” Do you mean that as women/girls were told we “could be and do just like a man” we actually fell short of our fullest potential?

        Like

    2. humann

      Your three comparisons fail to support your attack on the author. Patronizing and unwelcome terms of endearment used as diminutives when addressing women with whom the offender is not in a loving relationship, those have rightfully been relegated to the ash heap of history here in the west. “Manspeading” otherwise known as being rude about sharing space on crowded public transportation isn’t the gendered crime you feminists make it out to be. The few men who do it with their knees (as opposed to their bags, as women are more likely to do) are far outnumbered by the number of men who will freely stand to give up their seat to any female who boards after all the seats are taken. Feminist hypocrisy writ large.

      Comparing woodshop for boys vs. home ec for girls resembles the cry for safe spaces only in their equal infantilization of women. The old way (yes, I’m that old too) marginalized women by steering them toward housewifery. The new feminist-approved way marginalized women by the bigotry of low expectations.

      Internet meanness is along with your other two comparisons pure hypocrisy. You’re projecting (what’s left of) your movement’s double standards on to the author., claiming that she’s policing women’s behavior while excusing men’s. No, in fact that is what you and feminism are doing. Hypocritically policing behavior—that you allow yourselves—only if it’s being done by a man.

      Like the author I’m an ex-feminist. For 30 years I claimed it as a logical part of my overall progressive political beliefs. Then modern western feminism won its genuinely necessary battles and morphed into the modern crybully church-lady brigade it is. And you can’t smear me for a Trump fan either; I voted for Jill Stein as I did in the last presidential election. And I voted for Cynthia McKinney in 2008. I know both women are too enamored of the identity politics that are destroying the left (and gave us Trump), but the Greens are a voice in the wilderness on the much more important issues of fiscal and foreign policies.

      Like

    3. samuelthefifth

      How generous of you to allow men “to be fuckheads”, your kindness is boundless. Unfortunately you’re missing the mark. Contemporary feminism already allows women to be fuckheads, what’s lacking is the will to let women suffer consequences just like men.

      Take Columbia’s Emma Sulcowicz. She wasn’t granted “a safe space to be free from vilification for her rape”, she was granted blanket immunity from consequences for making up lies wholesale, and was allowed to parade them around in a performative display of false victimhood, lauded by feminists, even turning it into a piece of “endurance performance art” as her _senior thesis_. Muh rape culture! What a joke.

      It isn’t women who are expected to be perfect, it’s society which must be better-than and have no faults. Any indication to the contrary is seen as an injustice inflicted upon women by men, and it’s feminists who ensure that viewpoint is standard fare. Raging incivility isn’t just inappropriate for “noble ladies”, it’s inappropriate for _everyone_, and it’s supposed to come with consequences. Strange then that the social justice brigade whose favorite catchphrase is that “freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of consequences” doesn’t seem to want to live with the consequences of their own, for it’s always someone else who must change their behavior to fix it.

      Like

    4. Kathy

      “Manspreading” oh please. You might want to look at some biology books, men have external genitalia, that can get squished, or uncomfortable, by sitting with their legs pushed together. This hurts. A lot.

      Women do not have this problem.

      You’re getting mad at basic biology. Read that again. You’re getting mad at basic biology. That’s really silly.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Andy

    Very interesting article. I enjoyed reading this very much.

    I’m an anti feminist and have been for about 3-4 years now. The very reasons you distanced yourself from feminism is why I oppose feminism.

    Truth is, I am sure we agree far more on most topics than we disagree. I find myself agreeing with everything you feel strongly about, hence why modern feminists oppose you as most anti feminists would be inclined to agree and support the issues you feel strongly about.

    Welcome to the Dark Side

    Like

  8. chris

    Why don’t Intersectional Feminists and the Progressive Stack include Wealth, Class and access to University Education. Shouldn’t those be considered as privileges.

    Like

    1. Tahni J. Nikitins

      Class privilege is generally recognized, usually wealth is lumped into that and the idea of access to college/university as privilege is starting to be talked about more, typically with connection to class privilege but still as its own kind of thing.

      Like

      1. Pötkö Latvala

        Recognized but mostly ignored. Hence you get rich kids in world class colleges trying to act like they have less privilege than homeless white men who cant even find food every day. Fact is that a poor white hetero guy will always be less privileged than you if you can afford to go to college and your rich parents pay you everything, regardless of whatever new sexual identity you just fabricated for yourself to make yourself seem more special.

        Like

  9. Tahni J. Nikitins

    Interesting. As an intersectional feminist, I can honestly say that so much of what is written in this article either totally misunderstands what is happening in intersectionalism (the niqab point for example? The point is that women should feel empowered to dress however they damn well please without being harassed or harmed for it. And honestly, when people get all foaming at the mouth over Islamic head covering but don’t say anything about any of the other head coverings women wear in religions around the world, it seems suspiciously targeted at Islam). Either it totally misunderstands/misrepresents what intersectional feminism is or is entirely dismissive of the fact that feminism today is tackling different issues than feminism in the 60’s. The lay of the land is different than it used to me and so are the microaggressions (someone already mentioned the being called a bird somehow being more important than manspreading to the author, but also apparently more important than cat calling or actual assault).

    Speaking of a different lay of the land, a lot of these debates are happening in different forums (the intent) resulting in different aggressions, both micro and outright. The author didn’t experience death/rape threats (and seems to deny that there is a difference between “being mean on the internet” and actual harassment) and so decides it must not be a real problem for a lot of vocal women on the internet. In other words, the author thinks her personal anecdotal evidence somehow trumps the overwhelming experiences of hundreds of other women, experiences that have on occasion lead to very real threats to personal safety and have forced some women into hiding as their home address and phone numbers are leaked online. And yet we’re science deniers? (Statistics… I’m referring to statistics and how anecdotal evidence is considered irrelevant. Though also where exactly did the idea that intersectional feminists are science deniers come from exactly?)

    Honestly, I was interested to see where she was going with it at first, but it took such a jarring and condescending “kids these days, am I right?” turn that I didn’t really want to finish reading (but did, for the sake of knowing the conclusion to the argument). Considering how much time she spends saying that we shouldn’t be attacking each other, she sure does spend the vast majority of this article actively undermining and misrepresenting young feminists, seemingly for no reason other than they’re doing things differently or she doesn’t really understand what we’re doing at all.

    Like

    1. Jan Pospíšil

      “And honestly, when people get all foaming at the mouth over Islamic head covering but don’t say anything about any of the other head coverings women wear in religions around the world,”
      Quite possibly because they’ve not encountered them in their lives, unlike the odd hijab. (which is more visible and discussed as an issue in the West)
      More importantly, the idea behind the islamic head covering is that women need to protect themselves from being seen by men and protect men from seeing them, because somehow that makes them less good and pure.
      Why exactly? Aaaahh… “to be known as respectable women”. Right, because women you can look at fully must be prostitutes or harlots. (wait, isn’t that slut shaming?)
      Muslim women might make it sound like a choice, but it IS a religious mandate, dictated by an imaginary being, or worse, his mortal (male) followers. So not really their choice to make.
      Women in rural areas around here still wear scarves sometimes (like on Christian holidays, or to dances), but mostly because it’s traditional and because it looks pretty. They do not face any kind of punishment or social shaming if they don’t wear them.
      That’s the difference. Also pointing out the failing of one thing while not mentioning other similar things is not an endorsement of the other things.

      “The author didn’t experience death/rape threats (and seems to deny that there is a difference between “being mean on the internet” and actual harassment) and so decides it must not be a real problem for a lot of vocal women on the internet. In other words, the author thinks her personal anecdotal evidence somehow trumps the overwhelming experiences of hundreds of other women”
      By the postmodernist “my own reality and lived experience” approach, her anecdote should have an equal absolute weight as every other account, right?
      That’s not even what she said though, she mentioned the bizarre negative RESPONSE to her account. (which was not, I assume, offered as a denial of harassment ever happening, rather a counter example of the tired “all women are harrassed” narrative)

      “And yet we’re science deniers? ”
      Yes, very much so.

      “Considering how much time she spends saying that we shouldn’t be attacking each other, she sure does spend the vast majority of this article actively undermining and misrepresenting young feminists, seemingly for no reason other than they’re doing things differently or she doesn’t really understand what we’re doing at all.”

      Yeah, no. “You just don’t understand me, moooooom!!!” Really? I do believe you just called a woman old (ageism) and stupid (ableism) or uneducated (classism). Good job on that intersectionality!
      And her calm explanation of why she doesn’t identify with a movement anymore due to the changes in its goals and methods is hardly similar to the targetted witch hunts and ridiculous hate campaigns you people lead.
      Notice she explains why she thinks your methods are wrong and that’s about it. She doesn’t question your humanity or goodness, she doesn’t call for others to silence you. She doesn’t ask for apologies and bootlicking.
      Sorry, no cake.

      Like

    2. Anonymous

      Tahni, you seem to be an expert in this area. I have always wondered what the response to this question would be from a SJW like yourself.

      Let’s say I was born a black, albino, female, lesbian, Muslim, daughter to a billionaire.

      Would I be privileged or not?

      Like

      1. Anonymous

        You would be privileged on the axis of wealth/class and marginalised on all other axes. That’s how privilege works, it’s not a binary have/have not system across all areas of life. Virtually everyone has privilege in some areas and lacks it in others.

        Like

    3. Autistic-Albino-Intergay-Transqueer-Homeless-LeftHanded-Muslim

      Look, Tahni. You are more privileged than I, so your opinion doesn’t matter. My marginalization make my opinion more important. My opinion / personal-narrative is that you are the worst person on the planet, and you should kill yourself.

      t. Autistic-Albino-Intergay-Transqueer-Homeless-LeftHanded-Muslim

      Like

  10. borabosna

    Dear Helen Pluckrose,

    This is such a dishonest and selfish article. You supported feminism as it created more and more anti-male laws and policies that destroyed so many men and boys, and NOW you “no longer identify as a feminist”? Really? That’s like stabbing someone to death and then apologizing.

    I do not see an ounce of criticism in your article about post 1980s feminism. You just blame the radicals, after working with them! Female denial of responsibility truly has no limit.

    Feminism has always been a racist sexist hate movement from the very beginning in 1848. Read “Declaration of Sentiments” that defined all men (He) as the source of all evil and women as victims. The statements are factually false. Just try reading it replacing “He” with “Jews”, “Blacks” etc.:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Sentiments#Sentiments

    Men wanted to attend the Seneca Falls convention IN SUPPORT of these hateful sentiments, but were not allowed by the women. When the men insisted, they were finally allowed to attend, but ordered to sit at the back and never say a word. Many of the men were husbands, uncles, sons, brothers of the women attendees (the above Wiki page has a list of the people).

    Read “White Women’s rights: the racial origins of feminism in the United States” by Louise Michele Newman (a female feminist). She describes how early feminism was against black women’s rights:
    https://www.amazon.com/White-Womens-Rights-Origins-Feminism/dp/0195124669/
    http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5317/

    Read E. Belford Bax in his “Fraud of Feminism” and “Legal Subjection of Men” where he shows that in the late 19th, early 20th century, feminists were JUST LIKE today’s third wavers:
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Legal_Subjection_of_Men
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Fraud_of_Feminism

    Read about the White Feather Campaign, where women pinned feathers on men and boys as young as 15-16 to shame them as cowards to sign them up to the military, so that women didn’t have to serve (because men got the vote in exchange for their military duty and women got it for free). Read about the terrorist suffragettes like Emmeline Pankhurst who bombed buildings, and other suffragettes who jailed their own husbands to aid suffrage cause:
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nicoletta-f-gullace/white-feather-girls-womens-militarism-in-uk
    http://www.avoiceformen.com/feminism/christabel-pankhurst-the-white-feather-betrayal-of-history/
    https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=5JQWAAAAIBAJ&sjid=7CAEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6049,712919&dq=&hl=en
    http://www.historytoday.com/fern-riddell/weaker-sex-violence-and-suffragette-movement http://no-maam.blogspot.com/2003/12/sends-husband-to-jail-to-aid-suffrage.html https://www.scribd.com/doc/205734334/First-Wave-Feminists-Physically-Attack-Prime-Minister-Asquith-1913 https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R7RfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xWwNAAAAIBAJ&dq=queen%20victoria%20suffragette&pg=6275%2C3514237 https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=lxcqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BYUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6299%2C275887 https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=uBwbAAAAIBAJ&sjid=LEkEAAAAIBAJ&dq=suffrage%20whip&pg=5090%2C4131098 http://the-toast.net/2014/04/21/suffragettes-sucked-white-supremacy-womens-rights/ https://archive.is/Fav5w https://archive.is/nJZX5 https://www.scribd.com/document/175344555/Feminist-President-of-the-National-Women-s-Party-Wanted-Women-as-Dictators-1922 https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=ZqIkAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2CcDAAAAIBAJ&dq=suffragette%20bomb&pg=5013%2C1172933 http://www.albany.edu/history/digital/stanton/law.html https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0B-ELQhEQCrUFfngzbXROZmV2eF9ESDNWc1BoNXpvODBIQm4zNUpRQVY1OE56dmZZUkRmRGM https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=y788AAAAIBAJ&sjid=Gy4MAAAAIBAJ&dq=suffragette%20bomb&pg=3709%2C1299690 https://html1-f.scribdassets.com/19y76jtzk02rrb3o/images/1-bb9ececbd3.jpg https://books.google.com.tr/books?id=j_2sfT5pwQ0C&printsec=frontcover&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Mrs.%20Millicent%20Fawcett%27s%20non-violent&f=false

    Then feminism was quiet for a while, like 40 years, with the world wars. Interesting isn’t it? They didn’t say “let us go to war equally as men and die equally as men, or give up our vote!” It’s interesting that feminism needed the “patriarchy” it so hates to actually promote itself! It’s interesting that when women need men for their survival, they stop complaining! (well, only temporarily.)

    Second-wavers viewed family, motherhood, sexual mores and men as obstacles to their “liberation.” They pushed for extremely destructive and man-hating things like affirmative action, Title IX, no fault divorce, sexual liberation etc. The changes “achieved” by the second-wavers were organic changes in society mostly due to technology (washers, dryers, dishwashers, vacuums, disposable diapers, baby formula, daycare, transportation, microwave, birth control pill etc.) freeing women from their duties to pursue careers and sex. They are partly responsible for the epidemic of single motherhood, fatherlessness, the destruction of the nuclear family, and for being the mothers of the entitled, selfish, man hating women of today.

    Even the “good ones” like Christina Hoff Sommers promote chivalry and male gallantry; she even said “masculinity without these virtues is dangerous”.

    Second-to-third and third-wavers are the scum of the earth. They pushed the patriarchy theory and full on institutionalized misandry, got themselves positioned in academia and government, destroyed families further by corrupting family courts, with the Duluth Model of domestic violence, excluding male rape and DV victims from legal definitions, creating the rape shield laws, mandatory arrest laws, primary aggressor laws, VAWA, the toxic pipeline into our culture that is gender studies, more gender quotas, shutting down men’s athletic programs, men’s colleges, male clubs… and so on.

    Women don’t need anything. They already have a ridiculous amount of privileges. They file for divorce 80% of the time, get sole custody 90+% of the time, alimony, child support. Women are 60-70% of college students depending on where you are. Women receive 62% less sentencing for the same crimes. There are 1300 women’s shelters and 1 men’s shelters despite male female victims being about 50/50. Women get all the quotas and affirmative action. Women are preferred 2:1 in STEM hiring. They can vote without registering for the draft. Almost all special programs and scholarships are for women. Never married women are paid 6-7% more than never married men for the same work (this has been true since the 1970s). Women have all the reproductive rights. They can get free abortion on demand, or give up the child for adoption no questions asked, who is then raised on the men’s tax dollars. Vast majority of welfare goes to women. Breast cancer funding is 10-15 times that of prostate cancer despite the number of victims being about equal. Female genital mutilation is illegal while baby boy foreskins are sold to cosmetic companies for face cream for women. Women can falsely accuse a man, admit that they falsely accused, and get no punishment whatsoever. Paternity fraud is rampant; even after DNA proves that the child is not his, the man can be court ordered to pay child support for 18 years. There are 33 women’s colleges and only 3 men’s colleges in the country. Men’s clubs and male groups on college campuses are shut down. Title IX was used to destroy hundreds of male athletic programs just because there wasn’t an equal amount of women interested in the same sports.

    Here are a dozen examples:

    First wave feminists in the late 19th and early 20th century advocated for women’s custody of children after divorce with a bogus misandric psychological doctrine called “Tender Years Doctrine” which stated that children had these “tender years” that they MUST spend with the mother. However, feminists kept Coverture laws completely intact, that held men financially responsible during marriage and after divorce for all of the woman’s and the child’s expenses.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tender_years_doctrine

    First wave feminists were against black men’s and women’s rights:
    https://www.amazon.com/White-Womens-Rights-Origins-Feminism/dp/0195124669/

    The Declaration of Sentiments from Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 is misandry:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_Sentiments#Sentiments

    First wave feminists were agaisnt men’s rights:
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Legal_Subjection_of_Men
    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Fraud_of_Feminism

    Feminists pinned white feathers of cowardice to shame men and boys as young as 16 to join them to the military. They also attacked male politicians, sent them corrosive and hazardous materials through the mail, jailed their own husbands and bombed buildings:
    https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nicoletta-f-gullace/white-feather-girls-womens-militarism-in-uk
    http://www.historytoday.com/fern-riddell/weaker-sex-violence-and-suffragette-movement
    https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=R7RfAAAAIBAJ&sjid=xWwNAAAAIBAJ&dq=queen%20victoria%20suffragette&pg=6275%2C3514237

    The Duluth Model of domestic violence, based on feminist Patriarchy Theory, which states that only men are perpetrators and only women are victims, harmed thousands of men. Feminist laws such as Violence Against Women Act, The Istanbul Convention, Mandatory Arrest and Primary Aggressor cause male victims to get arrested if they call the police.
    http://www.theduluthmodel.org/about/index.html
    https://nationalparentsorganization.org/blog/3977-researcher-what-hap-3977

    Campus feminist campaigns such as “teach men not to rape” and “mandatory consent classes” are misandric.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3828732/Here-s-Cambridge-students-think-sexual-consent-classes-Women-s-officer-posts-picture-hall-freshers-boycott-patronising-talks.html
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3812787/Don-t-patronise-Freshers-university-s-sex-consent-class-stage-protest-walking-disgust.html#ixzz4LdtqmqZN
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/10/16/im-a-student-and-i-too-decline-to-attend-consent-classes/

    Feminists have fought against the recognition of International Men’s Day:
    http://www.breitbart.com/big-journalism/2015/11/18/male-university-of-york-student-commits-suicide-on-day-his-university-ditches-international-mens-day-after-pressure-from-feminists/

    National Organization of Women has consistently opposed Shared Parenting and fathers’ rights. They were able to convince Florida’s Governor to veto a Shared Parenting Bill.
    http://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/opposing-shared-parenting-the-feminist-track-record/
    http://floridapolitics.com/archives/207143-rick-scott-vetoes-contentious-alimony-bill
    http://www.wuft.org/news/2016/03/16/florida-legislature-passes-bill-on-shared-parenting/

    Title IX has been used to shut down hundreds of male athletic programs just because there isn’t an equal amount of female interest:
    http://usa-sports.org/TitleIX.pdf
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-title-ix-became-a-political-weapon-1433715320

    Feminist-invented rape culture hysteria and false rape accusations based on new ridiculous feminist “affirmative consent” got hundreds of male students expelled, fired or drove them to suicide:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11905639/Teenager-falsely-accused-of-rape-commits-suicide.html
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/29/mother-of-son-who-hanged-himself–after-being-falsely-accused-of/
    https://titleixforall.knack.com/databases#due-process-lawsuits3/intro5/
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/08/09/accused-rape-men-allege-discrimination-under-title-ix

    Rolling Stone rape hoax by feminist Sabrina Erdely:
    http://www.deseretnews.com/article/765690175/Rolling-Stone-heading-to-trial-over-debunked-story-of-rape.html?pg=all

    “The Hunting Ground” feminist documentary propaganda of rape culture hysteria with fake statistics:
    http://www.dailybell.com/editorials/36188/Wendy-McElroy-The-Hunting-Ground-Reaping-Profit-from-Rape-Hysteria/
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2565464
    http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-hunting-ground-crew-caught-editing-wikipedia-to-make-facts-conform-to-film/article/2576792
    http://www.nationalreview.com/article/427166/hunting-ground-smoking-gun-e-mail-exposes-filmmaker-bias-against-accused
    https://reason.com/blog/2015/11/20/how-the-hunting-ground-spreads-lies-abou

    Fake rape statistics by feminists:
    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/economic-intelligence/2013/10/24/statistics-dont-back-up-claims-about-rape-culture
    http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/barbara-kay-more-rape-statistics-by-the-biased-for-the-biased

    Feminists have sent death threats to International Conference on Men’s Issues in 2014:
    http://www.titleixforall.com/protesters-threaten-violence-and-death-against-international-mens-issues-conference-in-detroit-at-doubletree-hilton/

    More misandry by feminism:
    http://www.amazon.com/Spreading-Misandry-Teaching-Contempt-Popular/dp/0773522727
    http://www.amazon.com/Legalizing-Misandry-Systemic-Discrimination-against/dp/0773528628

    Liked by 1 person

      1. borabosna

        Thank you!

        Patriarchy Theory has been demonstrated to be factually false many many times. If men invented a system to exploit women for men’s benefit, men would not be getting genitally mutilated, would not be dying in wars or at the workplace but women would die instead, men would not pay for dates but women would instead, male rape would be recognized by law, all employers would hire women only since they are supposedly paid much less, etc.

        First it is based on faulty anthropology of Marija Gimbutas, who claimed that at some point in the past, most of humanity was living in peaceful matriarchies (this is basically the telling of a cultural myth as if it were real). Then some evil men came and invented patriarchy and gender roles to enslave women. Same goes for religion: they claim all religion in the past was matriarchal/mother/goddess oriented, and then men came, destroyed it all, and replaced it with patriarchal/father/god oriented religion.

        Second, feminists and Marxists have always co-mingled. Many feminists, especially academic feminists, are Marxists. If you read the Communist Manifesto, you will see it has feminist elements that claim the capitalists exploit women, the bourgeois exploit their wives etc. Feminists ran with it and simply replaced “capitalist” with “man” and “worker” with “women” and called it “Patriarchy Theory” and called it a day. For many, “capitalism” and “patriarchy” are one and the same thing.

        Third, Patriarchy Theory is defended by repeated uses of The Apex Fallacy. “Look at top CEOs, politicians, top scientists – all men!” they say. They play around with imaginary constructs like the gender wage gap (which has been debunked a million times, it’s due to different choices) and the glass ceiling (which is an argument from ignorance, they say “we can’t think of any other reason, it must be discrimination”). They do not want to look at the bottom of society, which is mostly “dominated” by men. But of course, then they say “patriarchy hurts men too.”

        The reality is that sex roles have always been biologically rooted, and dependent on geography. Today, Mosuo matriarchy in China still exists because it is isolated from the outside world hence safe from attacks, and it has plenty of food. Adaptation required that men take the positions of power and responsibility, hunt and gather and search and explore, but they also died a lot younger and more frequently; while women spent most of their lives pregnant, breastfeeding, child rearing, or all three at the same time, due to high infant mortality. Nobody was “oppressed”, they had to do what was necessary to survive. Prior to the industrial revolution, both men and women, and even children, worked hard physical labor just to survive. These sex roles have been tremendously successful for the species (if you look at the Mosuo, they have no art, literature, science, technology, civilization; they still live in grass huts more or less).

        Patriarchy Theory simply exploits people’s protective instincts of women due to women’s higher neoteny (childlike characteristics in adults).

        Liked by 2 people

    1. bendfv

      Long story short modern feminism and its misandry has pumped gasoline and explosives on to the men’s rights movement, the MRM is now growing like fire and it is not going to stop just because some former feminist openly acknowledge what feminism has become (or always was)

      Like

  11. gerard

    Excellent article.
    There was a couple points where you used misogynist, when you meant misandrist. Maybe I read it wrong.
    I wanted to make a point about the part you were online discussing with a male about an issue,and on another post he was disagreeing with you, but agreeing on your thread.
    This is where it becomes a no win situation in the in today’s male-female discussions.
    I would’ve said exactly what I felt.
    But I’d say 95% of the time when I do, with a female, they call me a misogynist, or the new ,dumb term ‘mansplaining’.
    And I’m talking about when the discussion doesn’t even have anything to do with gender issues.
    This last year, I was on a thread discussing the elections.
    I forget now the exact details, but it had nothing to do with gender.
    I was disagreeing with 3 people, two men,and one woman.
    I said the same thing to all of them, exactly the same way.
    But the woman said I was ‘mansplaining’ her, in my reply to her.
    I said nothing different than I did with the two men.
    I wasn’t at all thinking in terms of who,or what gender I was speaking to, just the political issue at hand.
    That was one of many examples of women throwing out misogynist or mansplaining in a discussion.
    What that does is shut down any discussion. By saying mansplaining, it says ‘I’m right ,you’re wrong, and that’s it’.
    Without giving strong reasons of substance to why they think they’re right.
    As a progressive male, I was a strong supporter of the feminist movement since the early 80’s.
    Honestly, I’m over it. It’s become extreme, and now I do use the term ‘feminazi’, as I would use a similar term for any movement that has become militant, and one sided.
    It is great to hear not all women have the same mindset.
    The feminist movement does not speak for all women, just like not all men are alike.
    Thank you for your article. I would love to hear more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helen PIuckrose (@HPluckrose)

      Thank you. I don’t think I misused the words. Sorry that was your experience. Of course, some truly liberal feminists still exist & we should acknowledge them & try not to generalise but the movement has become dominated by third wave intersectionals and this must be addressed before true gender egalitarians can support it again.

      Like

  12. gush

    Well, here’s the problem you might just have realized today.
    You were against the legality of marital rape (or how it wasn’t prosecuted as rape) but you never even realized that rape against men perpetrated by women was legal (not prosecuted as rape, mostly not prosecuted at all regardless of evidence), no matter how brutal, if it was a stranger, at gun point, forcible intoxication, gang rape or what ever.
    And you completely failed to realize marital rape of men is still legal.

    All she has to do is mention divorce because she has the power to take his kids away and half his assets, and that’s without evidence of violence from his part and ample evidence of violence from her part as long as it isn’t directed at the kids.
    Or mention false accusation, and even if she’s discovered with ample evidence of ill intent she won’t be prosecuted for it.
    And I know a few cases of the attempted last form, though gladly none worked because they didn’t threatened to make accusations to the police but to the drug traffic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. bendfv

      Physical equality is not the same as equality under the law. There should be equality under the law, of which there is not because women are given rights and privileges men are not under USA law.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Anonymous

    Pluckrose offers a critique of Post Modern social theory that I tend to share; But her critique of feminism, and her step back from the term, is mere cowering in the face of the Anti-PC Police. She is spineless.

    Feminists can have differences of opinion and views of strategy, tactics and even objectives and still all be feminists. She seems to be hung up on identity politics- It HAS to be about HER rigid view of feminist identity or she is gonna take her ball and go home.

    Like

    1. bendfv

      The thing about identity politics is that is has destroyed the left. Instead of focusing on taxing the rich, single payer medical care, reducing the price of education, the left has been divided into everyones own personal social justice pet project, now the republican control everything with the insane ego-maniacal Trump at the helm while the left argues about what feminism is.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Peter P Nieckarz Jr

    Pluckrose offers a critique of Post Modern social theory that I tend to share; But her critique of feminism, and her step back from the term, is mere cowering in the face of the Anti-PC Police. She is spineless.

    Feminists can have differences of opinion and views of strategy, tactics and even objectives and still all be feminists. She seems to be hung up on identity politics- It HAS to be about HER rigid view of feminist identity or she is gonna take her ball and go home.

    Like

    1. bendfv

      The thing about identity politics is that is has destroyed the left. Instead of focusing on taxing the rich, single payer medical care, reducing the price of education, the left has been divided into everyones own personal social justice pet project, now the republican control everything with the insane ego-maniacal Trump at the helm while the left argues about what feminism is.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. 3fgburner

    This is excellent. Your “Am I a feminist?” post (image, above) is a prime example of the radfems’ practice of motte-and-bailey argument.

    Someone spouts some or all of the crazy stuff in your “no, I’m not” — bailey
    Gets told that feminism is simply the belief that women are equal to men — motte
    Can’t argue with that, and goes away
    First person starts spewing stuff in the bailey again.

    Like

  16. Azreal

    Better late than never. I stopped myself to identify with feminism at an early age. I have no merits. I was raised by feminists. For being a boy, i have been shamed and mistreted from a very early age.
    I could tell: my mums were extremists. But no, the sentiment that men are evil was comon among my teachers, too. All men are (potentuial) rapists, aren’t they ?

    So, i’m sorry your sisterhood have failed you.
    But, as i’m living in a world of any world of my female colleagues can make me fire, i have difficuties to empathized to your situation.

    Like

  17. John Rew

    If it weren’t for the labours of men women would still be in grass huts dying from child birth. Nature offers true equality if you are weak you die unless you can find something to protect you, no exceptions. To act as if life has always been the way it is now is ignorant and the basis of feminism from day one. To the placards in the picture that say “don’t tell me how to dress tell them not to rape” I say “I don’t care how you dress don’t tell me who to talk to”. This is your problem not mine, bodyguards cost money. Also to the “not asking for it” I say “not offering it”. Get over yourselves. Believe it or not there are those of us who have more to do in life than wait around for some self obsessed female to insist on our service.

    Like

  18. Drako L Bluewing

    As someone coming from the side generally referred to as anti feminist, I can tell you I find your views worthy of admiration and actually believe you are proof that mainstream feminism was not always the disastrous ride it is nowadays. If there is any hope for feminism to go back to fixing real issues, it will be because of people like you. Unfortunately postmodernism caused a lot of damage, and feminism became one of the movements most affected by it. I am afraid it is true, nowadays you are no longer a feminist, you are an anti feminist now, even an MRA. Welcome to the other side.

    Like

    1. Helen PIuckrose (@HPluckrose)

      Thank you for being open to the possibility that feminism had merit. Some feminists still do. But the movement is a disaster right now. I am not an anti-feminist but I am opposed to the harm being done in its name right now. I am not an MRA because, as you suggest, that would be to take ‘the other side’ and I am sick of sides. A movement for gender equality must come from both. I will support both feminists and MRAs working for genuine gender equality though.

      Like

  19. Kins

    Brilliant idea. My socialist political party has some radical maxists and x communist people running about talking about revolution. If they get the upper hand, I’ll just stop being a socialist. That’ll work wonders.

    Like

  20. mamielle

    I love this article but I will continue to use the term “mansplaining”. I generally use it when confronted by men who want to block access to abortion and who quote to me misleading or factually incorrect “information” about birth control, screening for cancers of the female reproductive system, pregnancy, gestation, and birth.

    These men Have very little working knowledge of obstetrics or gynecology but feel confident confronting pro choice women with their “facts “.

    It is then that I tell them that I, a woman who has had gynecological care and who has aborted, gestated, birthed babies, absolutely refuse to be “mansplained” to about these process from some one who clearly doesn’t know about them.

    However, I fully support men’s right to refuse to become parents against their consent. Men should be allowed to opt out of pregnancy and parenting, at least financially, as women are biologically able to opt out via abortion rights.

    Like

    1. swedishbitch

      There is not exactly a paucity of men and women out there who have strong opinions without sufficient knowledge. And there are plenty of anti-abortionists grasping at straws to justify their beliefs. Their actions are probably much more driven by ideological anti-abortion conviction than ignorance; and besides, even if they would know their stuff, it would probably not convince you anyway.

      I oppose the term because it is used in situations that mostly affect both sexes. I cannot count the number of times men have spoken condescendingly to me. And although as an MRA sympathiser I have spent years researching feminism, hobby feminists out there still tell me triumphantly that I should get informed, that women did not have the right to vote, and that the dictionary definition of feminism is x, y, and z. Even from people who in no other circumstances would consider accusing me of that level of egregious ignorance.

      So here is an idea: man and woman-splaining are men and women explaining something in an overly condescending tone to the other sex, thereby significantly underestimating the persons knowledge in a way clearly tied to his or her sex. THAT is indeed a phenomenon that deserves a name, but both genders engage in it. For the rest, we already have terms like condescension.

      Like

  21. Maria

    The world is changing and there is nothing we can do about that. You are being part of the problem and not part of the solution. By criticizing certain types of feminists and rejecting feminism all together you are contributing for the whole movement to disperse and for the neglecting of its fundamental purposes. If you do believe inequality persists and there are still reasons to fight, then aren’t you a feminist anyway? If us women (and all people in general) want to see some changes we have to stay together despite the divergences that would obviously arise with the new international dimension.

    Like

    1. edwarides

      “The world is changing and there is nothing we can do about that.”

      Are we not agents in this world?

      “You are being part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

      Black and white thinking. “Agree with me or you’re the enemy!”

      “By criticizing certain types of feminists and rejecting feminism all together you are contributing for the whole movement to disperse and for the neglecting of its fundamental purposes.”

      She’s not rejecting feminism, she’s rejecting the label since it has turned into a movement that she can no longer support since it is contrary to her morals.

      “If you do believe inequality persists and there are still reasons to fight, then aren’t you a feminist anyway?”

      Did you read the article?

      “If us women (and all people in general) want to see some changes we have to stay together despite the divergences that would obviously arise with the new international dimension.”

      She has the right to act according to her morals.

      Like

      1. Maria

        Certainly we are agents in this world, but are you the only agent?

        In feminism there is one aim, which is equality, I never said there was any one kind of enemy though. I acknowlage the complexity of the situation and I’m not trying to attack her or yourself.

        Now tell me wich is for you the difference between feminism and its label? Do we not have to give it a name in order to talk about it?

        I did read it and apparently you do not own any kind of dictionary. Of course there are various types of feminisms, but they are all called feminisms because to some extend one same fundamental definition unites them.

        She has the right to act according to her morals, and she has the right to her own opinion, but so do you and so do I. It is my personal view that movements only work with a collective force moved by a colective aim, dispite the smaller diergencies that are always present.

        Like

  22. Lisa

    I agree with 75 percent of her article. Some things…like some intersectionality is needed. But if you identify as a Feminist, you may be for LGBTQ rights, but not to the extreme of insisting on a total genderless world. Or be for BLM but not to some extremes of some people in the movement. Actually some civil rights activists are anti feminists but you bring that up and you are racist b/c you are not in totally agreement with some black men. Ive been accused of racism because I stood up for a black woman and not the black man. ? ? ? Ive been accused of transphobia because I stood up for a man who didnt know the new term for hermaphrodite (sp?) was intersex and he truly was “on their side” he just did not know. He was asking questions about it to learn and was still vilified and was told he was “mansplaining”. And god forbid you say obesity is unhealthy. You never advocated for making fun of someone, but you think it is unhealthy and you are a fat shamer. God forbid you WANT to LOOK FEMININE and attractive some people vilify you for thinking attractiveness is something nice. I have stopped discussions with many people and pages because I am usually shunned, shut up, made fun of, called “not a feminist”. After awhile you do not want to deal with it. Not every Feminist is a hard left radical on EVERY SINGLE issue. But I will ALWAYS indentify as a Feminist and work for issues that I deem important that are Feminist or not or intersecting.. Including the ones I mentioned above (LGBT, BLM)even if there are some radical elements that have their own personal demons.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helen PIuckrose (@HPluckrose)

      I respect your position and the way you avoid tribalism and ‘purity’ and read others charitably. You have stayed true to your principles, and opposed clear abuses of them. I’m sorry but not surprised this has caused you problems. Your decision to keep identifying as an intersectional feminist would not be a barrier for me to working with you on important LGBT, anti-racist issues etc because principled, reasonable, charitable feminists are not the problem.

      Like

  23. swedishbitch

    Thanks for this post.

    I sympathise with the MRA, a movement that could be the male complement to feminism, but, as we know is not.

    The reason behind this, as well as behind all of your misgivings, boil down to one thing. Patriarchy theory. The assumption that society privileges all men at the expense of all women justifies everything from blatantly ignoring men’s issues, vilifying men and even calling for mass murder (on Jezebel, a mainstream feminist outlet), interpreting every issue as inequality regardless of how men suffer (we ignored 10,000 killed boys for years, but 200 kidnapped girls had the world up in arms against Boko Harom), and even turning health and suicide into women’s issues, although both affect men much worse. It allows them to ignore, downplay, or reverse victimhood of female-perpetrated domestic violence, despite ample empirical evidence showing parity in perpetration. And it justifies turning trivialities like air conditioning temperature and manspreading into issues because, you see, it is part of something much more nefarious.

    It even allows calling for the dismantling of gender roles, while telling MRAs to stop whining and checking their privilege even if the issues are suicide and life expectancy: after all, what can they do – it is men who are in power.

    Because these assumptions fit so well with traditional gender roles, constructed around the need of primitive societies to protect women at all costs just to be able to bear enough children for the tribe to survive, criticism of feminism is restricted to some of its excesses, such as 1 in 4 rape stats and microaggressions, but the fundamental tenet, that men are in power, have privileged, and responsibility for their actions, all in contrast to women, goes unquestioned.

    Which of course explains why feminists can claim to be a vocal but heavily critised minority, while at the same time legislation strongly goes their way.

    Take away patriarchy theory and replace it with gender roles that are ingrained because of their necessity, but that now are largely superfluous and constraining for both genders, and none of the issues I criticise feminism for would appear justifiable. In other words, take back the dictionary definition, and feminism and MRA will be two sides of the same coin.

    Like

  24. Brad R. Torgersen

    Feminism was a net good, when it focused on equality of opportunity. I think of it as Suffragette Feminism: the notion that males and females ought to each have the chance to rise (or fall) as far as their brains, talent, work ethic, integrity, and creativity can take them. While still acknowledging that men and women are (and will always be) different. And that this difference is just part of what it means to be human.

    Feminism became a net ill, when it became an identitarian Oppression Olympics: forever pitting victims against each other in a largely useless word war, to determine who is More Oppressed Than Thou.

    In this way, being victimized is now valorized and glamorized, such that people who have no business claiming the mantle of victim, pursue it jealously. Because the Oppression Olympics dictate that each successive “level” of victimhood, must defer to the next, and the next after it, and the next after it again, and so on.

    Your opinions and ideas are only as good as your “level” in the downward spiral of victimization.

    Objective truth? Provable theses? Reason? Logic? P’shaw, these things are merely constructs of the hetero white patriarchy! Ignore them at your whim. And if anyone disagrees, blow them off and tell them they are mansplaining.

    Because the best way to ensure women are never discounted or dismissed because of their gender, is to discount and dismiss men because of their gender.

    Like

    1. swedishbitch

      HI Brad, yes basically you said what I wanted to say about with some additional nuance here and there. The switch that you point to coincides, I presume (this is an internet comment, so I am too lazy to fact check), with the rise of patriarchy theory, which sees traditional societies as characterised by male leadership for the benefit of other men and at the expense of women. If that is what you believe, every single thing that feminists say that I disagree with could appear justifiable, and MRA grievances either ridiculous or self-imposed, as men have power and use it with the same level of homosociality (predilection towards your own group) as women would. The reality, of course, is that both men and women exhibit a preference towards women as a group, and both men and women exercise their power accordingly. Even those Draconian Victorian couverture laws, which gave husbands the power to control their wives, were intended only as giving the husbands the tools to fulfill their obligations, which included providing for his family and assuming full responsibility for his wife’s actions, including brutal murders.

      If you read some accounts of feminism in the 70s, you will find something very close to todays MRA. The recognition that women’s lib entailed sacrifices as well as gains for both genders was legion, and NOW was a leading voice calling for shared custody after divorce and even – a notion radical at the time – for female sexual predators to be held to account.

      But I disagree with your view of the suffragettes. They were an upper class movement and basically asked for blatant preferential treatment. Universal male suffrage, gained a decade earlier in most cases, came with the obligation to register for military service – quite an onerous one given that the nation had been shaken by the most brutal war in human history; without fulfilling this commitment, men were not enfranchised. The male congressmen that then allowed women to vote acted on the same kind of chivalry that lay behind the couverture laws. Add to that the violence and self-righteousness of the movement, and I would hardly hold it up as a paragon of feminism-for-good.

      If you want feminism for good, look at Sweden, where feminists have pushed through legislation that have given fathers something akin to equal rights to mothers. You see dads with their children anywhere, and shared custody is the norm, even if allegations of abuse are launched (unless of course they are proven true). Alimony is rare and temporary at most, child support is tied to income and is not allowed to impoverish anyone, and a huge false pedophilia accusation scandal in the 80s provoked such a backlash that many men now feel comfortable working with children. Mandatory paternal leave have made it socially acceptable for men to take time off to be with their kids; career destroying, I think, in the US.

      True, they did all this to help women and give them the freedom to conquer the world of work, and not to help men. But our men are among the happiest in the world, very close to that of women (women are happier than men everywhere according to self-reporting-based surveys).

      Like

  25. JayC

    This was a really great read, and I have a lot of admiration and respect for your words. I often find myself trying to come pin down my own views on feminism but n the word we live in now there’s just so many angles and corners and pot-holes in regards to social issues that the exercise often leaves me exhausted. However, above all, what irks me to my core is accepted hypocrisy and the idea that you cannot challenge an idea without being labeled against “anti” what that idea stands for. For me, this isn’t just about feminism, but generally, when did we stop being individuals? When did we start filtering our brains with ideologies instead of just looking at things critically. I’m only in my mid 20s and admit I don’t that that much life experience, especially on this issue, but what i’ve noticed, and what sides are guilty of this, but feminism and the debate surrounding it has divided the sexes rather than bring it together. Both sides, and you can see in the comment section here, just trying to go tit-for-tat when really they both suffer from in-group and confirmation bias.

    Again, I just commend you for writing a level article about the views you have come to, above all else, as a person.

    Like

  26. Chris

    “Liberal feminism as a whole was charged with not recognizing the additional problems faced by black and Asian women and lesbians, and being largely centered on middle-class problems.”

    As I often say, the perpetrators and victims of sexual assault have one thing in common: the more radical of Western Feminists only care about the White ones. Glad you’ve reached an awakening, Helen.

    Like

    1. swedishbitch

      You are certainly right about the legacy – especially the case for the suffragettes. In fact, even as a child, I did not question feminism, but could not imagine how a society where 99% of the population had no university education, life spans hovered around 40, violence was everywhere, and work was backbreaking, could possibly treat women as second class citizens. Only an upper class woman, plagued by Austenian boredom, could possibly interpret the fact that she could not, or at least faced barriers to, becoming a barrister like her husband as systemic oppression. And only an upperclass woman, able to buy her wait or otherwise circumvent military duty in the wake of the most violent war humankind had ever experienced, could support suffrage for women in a world where suffrage was so intimately tied to military service.

      But I would not call feminism racist; there are many attempts to address these issues; the self-awareness is definitely there.

      Perhaps it is that self-awareness that lead them to dismiss MRAs as not only men afraid of losing their privilege, but WHITE men.

      Given that half of prominent MRAs are women, and that almost all of the top 20 MRA talking points affect black and Latino men much more than white or Asian (name one… I could not find any!), this accusation still sticks and crops up everywhere. In fact, the movement has a dearth of upper class men among its ranks; they, like Obama, know they would lose status by siding openly with the wrong gender.

      I would love to hear how you and others here think about this observation. In particular, how can such an accusation stick although it is so patently false? Or have I subconsciously been too selective in what I read?

      Like

  27. Bryce Warden

    I found it interesting and I related to much of the article. Any group, organization or ideology that starts with hate or unyielding in it’s “us against them” mentality is not something that interests me. We all have our individual experiences that we bring to the table along with varying personalities, philosophical and religious beliefs. I can disagree with someone without thinking the other person is the scum of the earth…..seems like many have lost that ability. Thank you for taking the time to express yourself.

    Like

  28. Odin Thorson

    As an older engineer who has lived his whole life by the undeniable rules of physics, math and chemistry I must say something that even this author will find traumatic: “The lot of you are fucking insane!” Think long and hard before denying it.

    Like

  29. Ray

    Honesty. What a concept! In all Honesty, after a lifetime listening to the vile insane ranting’s of the neo-communist and radfem left. I feel compelled to state the following. I abhor rape and injustice. Having said that. I am so disgusted with the mad babble of the SJW’s that I have come to understand that I do not CARE what any of you feel.Or think. Or want. I find ALL of the SJW and “fem” movement vile and evil. I fear you. You damage or destroy all that you touch. You scar the lives of children for the evil self gratification of a tiny minority. Worse you lie. Not just to all of us , but to yourselves. I see you as the greatest danger my child faces moving into the 21st century. THAT is the end result of 40 years of “radfem” , and IMO ALL OF YOU are mindless radicals.

    Like

  30. Patrick DiSandro

    Beautifully written, and I’ll be bookmarking this to quote in the future.
    I too have, despite standing against modern feminism for quite a while now, struggled with the simple though that in some ways I still consider myself “feminist” because of what that word SHOULD mean, but at the same time am “anti-feminist” because of what the ideology and movement has BECOME.

    This article has put into words thoughts and feelings I’ve had for a long while now far better than I could ever have hoped to do.

    Like

  31. Throbert McGee

    I’m a gay man from the States, and so I can’t claim to have insight into everything that Helen Pluckrose talks about from her POV as a British woman.

    Nonetheless, there were certain parallels that struck me. I’ve known gay people who formerly identified as “Queer,” and very proudly so, but then they reached a point where they said, “You know what? The word ‘Queer’ now puts me in mind of overly earnest college students getting into histrionics over minor grievances, and thrusting their fists in the air and chanting recycled ’60s slogans and wearing rainbow Che Guevara T-shirts, so I’m done with ‘Queer’ and going back to ‘Gay’.”

    And there gay people who say “Radical left-wing assumptions have outlived much of their original necessity. Despite conservative resistance, the Republican party has significantly improved on LGBT issues — and in areas like small-business-growth and property taxes, I consider them much better than the ‘LGBT-friendly’ Democrats who expect my unquestioning loyalty. So I’m going to start voting Republican, and I don’t give a damn if other gay people call me a ‘Quislng,’ because knee-jerk references to Nazi Germany are often a symptom of intellectual bankruptcy.”

    Like

    1. throbertmcgee

      And, come to think, it’s not always about political disgruntlement. Sometimes there’s just a sense that a formerly useful label has acquired too much cultural baggage. Theere are “post-gay” MSMs who argue, “The word ‘Gay’ was originally a coded euphemism from the days when asking a good-looking dude ‘Are you a homosexual?’ could get you charged with slander. But those days are thankfully gone and the word ‘Gay’ makes me think of guys who overpay for fashionable shoes and mistakenly believe that they’re as witty as Oscar Wilde. So goodbye to ‘Gay’ — from now on I’d rather be ‘Openly Homo’.”

      In short, I think I understand Pluckrose’s general sense of frustration with the term “feminist,” but it’s not something limited to feminism.

      Like

  32. plasmacutter

    Welcome to why, as a male, I have left the democratic party entirely here in the states.

    I’m a moderate and socilized to the left, but I recognize when my party has been seized upon by the same toxic, science-denying bigots I hated dealing with from the bush camp.

    For the sake of civilization and my ability to find a psychologically healthy life partner, I find myself exiting the left’s camp and working with those who will put them into check.

    Thus, I voted Trump, and will continue to vote for him and those like him until the left regains its sanity.

    Like

    1. Anders Jonsson

      i know that the left, for reasons not clear to me, associate Trump with being pro-male. I find the notion thoroughly misguided. I find him to be an unelectable idiot (and Hillary to be devious and sexist), so I am jaundiced: but the only thing remotely pro-male he has done has been to push back against feminist extremism.

      But MOST people are against feminist extremism. It will die out on its own; look at what is happening with campus rape tribunals – slowly but securely, through a mixture of litigation and reason, things are settling down.

      On the other hand, look at what he is saying that is anti-male. He opposes abortion for gay men. He opposes default shared custody in divorce. He opposed alimony reform (an initiative driven, ironically enough, by the 3% of alimony payers that are female) in Florida. He accused (black) men of rape although they were since proven innocent (too lazy to google, Central Park Five?). And as for the big men’s rights issues – longevity, violence, including domestic and sexual, happiness rates, health, education – I have not heard any sympathetic words from his side.

      In fact, I think the reason pundits associate him with men’s rights is because of his behavior towards woman – which may not be by far as predatory as claimed, but at any rate dripping with disrespect and opportunism. That has nothing to do with men’s rights; on the contrary – the notion that you first have to be rich like Trump to have access to women lies at the heart of what is holding men (and women) back.

      So while I find Hillary’s sexism disgusting, it is, unfortunately, within the Democratic party that we have the best chance to find funding for men’s health, better father’s rights, and DV protection for male victims.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Melanie

    And this is why I identify as an egalitarian and human rights advocate. All people deserve equal opportunities and there is no overarching system keeping any particular group down on a massive scale in “the Western World”. Both men and women have different advantages and disadvantages which deserve to be addressed independently.

    As soon as I learned that women had legal advantages over men and that feminism was a fight for women’s rights which assumed they were inherently worse off, I instantly stopped identifying as one. When I hear “feminism” I don’t hear “a belief in equality for women,” but instead “a belief that patriarchy is holding women down.” Equality feminism is a lost cause in my opinion, as it has been achieved (when applied to the Western world at least).

    Don’t let identity politics determine your viewpoints or beliefs. If you want to keep identifying as an equality feminist, I won’t look down at you for it, but it seems like a waste of breath when egalitarianism is a more inclusive belief system and doesn’t come with ideas of any groups being “oppressed” by others. If you stay a feminist, don’t follow what others do because you call yourself one. Be critical of any given ideas, no matter how you identify, and remember that feminism has an agenda to continue to exist.

    Like

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