My first outward rejection of the modern ideals of feminism occurred accidentally, during a mandatory women’s studies course in college. My professor had just gone over a staggering statistic that some 89 percent of people suffering from eating disorders were women. “This,” she explained, was “due to the unrealistic expectations placed upon us by the patriarchy.”
I nearly choked on a piece of ice from my Dunkin coffee.
“What then do you make of all the men who do steroids?” I surmised aloud, “…be it the fault of the matriarchy?”.
My professor went red.
We traded back and forth until she went for the K.O. with an explication of her credentials:
“Well, I’m the one with the Ph.D. in women’s studies,” she stated curtly.
“Well, I’m the one with the eating disorder,” I shot back.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was this very exchange that would come to highlight my overall thesis on why feminism is broken – women are being taught it, rather than experiencing it. In fact, in many cases, we are being encouraged to override our experiences in favor of indoctrination.
At best, the movement denotes a selective musketeer mentality. It’s a pledge that a bad experience had by one ought to be broadcast and accepted as the reality for all, but what about a good experience had by one? Well, that woman ought to just shut up and keep it to herself, because she’s #privileged.
Yup. Let us hand a microphone to the woman who was beaten by her husband, but muffle the one beside her who might wish to thank her own for the role he plays in her happiness.
And for that, I find it necessary to formally state that not once in my entire life was I made to feel incapable or weak next to my male peers. Not once did a school teacher tell me that I ought to learn to cook and clean rather than to read and write, and for clarification, the eating disorder that I had in college had absolutely nothing to do with the urging of any man.
It gets ickier.
I happen to find it simply polite when a man opens a door for a woman and not once has the action sent me into analytical overdrive regarding what sort of monster would assume my incapability?!
No, in fact, I typically just say “thank you.”
And I’m not sorry for any of this – by the way. So if that somehow disqualifies me from sitting at the table of “real women,” I’ll learn to live with the losses.
Happy women are growing tired of being silenced. I have girlfriends who choose to stay at home to raise their children, and they are not prisoners. I know a few that voted against Hillary Clinton that are far from deplorable, and perhaps most shockingly of all, not one of these ladies feels victimized by the state of her own womanhood.
Asking them to disregard their content in favor of a movement, isn’t a movement, it’s an agenda – and a strikingly ironic one at that. It tells us women repeatedly that we must accept our status as the weaker sex – the very notion that it claims to reject.
For the record, the only time that I have ever been outright told that I was incapable, different, or less-than because of my sex, it was being “taught” to me…by another woman.
And it is a reality that I simply refuse to accept.
“If you are not a feminist, then you don’t think men and women should be equal.”
“If you didn’t vote for Hillary then you are complicit.”
These are the types of conditional statements that drift out the chimney of modern feminism, and quite frankly, they are an insult to human intelligence.
The first is the premise of groupthink. It seeks to bully women into a certain catalog of thought, with the threat that they might fan their very own flame of subservience should they not comply. The second is the almost-laughable insinuation that the formula for decision-making may at times, hinge upon a toilet seat being flipped up or down.
It is not my intention to laugh or offend. I am aware that in a culture where “being a victim” is the new black, such a bold proclamation of happiness might unintentionally create a glitch in the matrix. I am aware that if I seek to be on-trend, then I ought to grab onto my womanhood, or my African-American roots, or my absolutely-anything-at-all that might deem me an objectifiable minority. And then I’d cry boo-hoo and wait…
…for a hand-out, perhaps. Or a pat on the back, or a hashtag that would make it rain validation in the deep recesses of my heart. And then, of course, I would no longer have to be responsible for anything – not my own lack of achievements, not my today, and certainly not my tomorrow because I could blame it all on my unfortunate status as a victim.
It’s just they couldn’t program me to think like this, and for that, I am of no use to feminism.
Don’t get me wrong, I do dream very much of the return of real feminism – when the enraged voices of self-serving extremists like Lena Dunham will die down; when the conversation will shift away from the pitchfork storyline that “all men are monsters,” and when members of the movement will cease to dictate what experience, emotion, and/or desire is deemed relatable.
I’ve admittedly entered such reveries, pleasantly colored by notions of a real sisterhood, where every voice is heard and respected, absent priority. Where the understanding is that we can forge a path that lifts our daughters, without simultaneously tearing down our sons.
But then I thrawt myself out of this condition of delusion, take a deep breath of reality, and formally declare that today, I am not a feminist.