Are we non-feminists oppressed, misguided or just deluded?
In a recent poll from Refinery29 and CBS News, 54 percent of young women in the US said they do not consider themselves proponents of the movement for gender equality, while 46 percent said they identified as feminists. If feminism is supposed to be a cause for women… why would more than half of us not identity as feminists? Have half of us just not caught up with the times yet?
Or maybe half of us are not being properly represented…
Feminists tend to be the loudest in their opinions among women (take the Women’s March for example), but the rest of us can often feel vastly misunderstood. So, before they try to convince us non-feminists that we’re still in the dark ages… maybe there needs to be more understanding about why we don’t find modern-day feminism appealing.
Misconception 1. We haven’t been “enlightened” yet.
Some feminists assume that the only reason why other women are not feminists, is because we’re “stuck” in traditional thinking, and our eyes have not been opened to the “empowering” views of female equality.
Actually… It’s not because we haven’t been enlightened by feminist views… it’s because we’ve heard them, and we reject them.
The reasons for us disagreeing can vary by person. For some, we see that many (but not all) feminists are extremely bitter towards men, who constantly punish them for being “animals”, “predators” and “toxic” to society (and we kinda like men, and have some good men in our lives, so we think these gals are exaggerating a bit). Many Christian women reject modern-day feminism because it’s pushing ideals that are completely out of line with the Bible and Christianity. Some women don’t like to be associated with feminism because they feel like it has become an extremely far-left movement… And me? I’m not a feminist for all of those reasons and more.
Misconception 2. We don’t believe we’re equal to men.
I feel like I shouldn’t need to explain this one… But unfortunately, I do.
I have never met a single anti-feminist who believes men are superior to women. I’m sure there are a small majority of women somewhere in our society who believe men are superior. But let’s face it, there are WAAAY more women who believe we are the superior gender. It is also more socially acceptable to call women “superior”.
Truth is, most non-feminists believe in some form of equality!
I believe in equality. I believe men and women are equally important. I believe Christian men and women are equal as inheritors of the Kingdom of God. And I believe both men and women should have rights.
The reason why I (and others) clash with feminism, is because men and women are not equally the same. Some of us are not caught up in the push to blur the line between genders. Not only do we recognize the clear biological distinctions between men and women, we believe that men and women were created for different purposes. Some of us even choose to embrace *gasp* traditional gender roles.
Of course, it would be silly to believe that men are not capable of doing domestic things at home, and women are not capable of running businesses and having careers.
But we believe that women were put on earth for different reasons than men. We don’t feel the need to compete with men and prove how we are equal, because we embrace how we are unique. This also allows us to appreciate men for their own uniqueness without being jealous (or thinking they’re “superior”). We respect men for who they are, and we respect ourselves for who we are.
Misconception 3. We don’t believe women should have rights.
Most anti-feminists are thankful that we have the liberty to attain higher educations, financial opportunities and the right to vote. And most would agree that women should have equal pay (if they are in the same positions, and putting in the same level and quality of work) as men.
We don’t believe women are supposed to be doormats, and dominated by all men (even if we believe in the biblical commandment of submitting to our husbands).
Then why are we not advocating for women’s rights? Because we already have legal rights. We are living in the 21st century where women have all equal opportunities and the same important legal rights that men do! This is why many of us kind of see modern-day feminism as a dead cause… What legal “womens’ rights” are they talking about? The right to go topless like men? Reproductive rights (AKA, abortion)? The right to free birth control?
These so-called legal “rights” are nothing like the rights of first-wave feminism in the 19th and early 20th century that focused on overturning legal obstacles to gender equality and advocating voting and property rights. And many of us believe these new causes to be immoral.
However, there are a few feminists who are not advocates of these extreme so-called “rights.” And if they have no more legal battles to face, what are they fighting for? For social and cultural rights for women… we get it. There will always be women who will be raped, assaulted, or unfairly treated somewhere, even in our modern society.
Sure, there are plenty of women who need to be defended… but non-feminists recognize that women are not always the victims. Sometimes men are the victims. Sometimes men actually have it worse than women… Who’s fighting for them?
There are some feminists who claim that they fight for men’s rights equally, and maybe some of them do… But for us non-Feminists, it just wouldn’t make sense for us to post hashtags like #Believewomen, or to march for a cause exclusively for women, or to be associated with the word “Feminism”, which is a word for women.
Those things don’t sound like equality to us.
Misconception 4. It’s entirely because of how we were raised.
It is true that the way someone is raised may greatly influence their views on life and personal beliefs. A woman may be more likely to accept traditional gender roles if this is what her Mother modeled for her, and likewise, many feminists may have had Mothers who were more career-oriented. We do owe a lot of credit to our parents for installing these principles into us.
However, we can still choose to reject or accept what we were taught. Sometimes women who were raised by more conservative stay-at-home Moms, grow up to become far-left feminists. Some women who were told by their parents that they should put off having children and chase their career, may still desire a more domestic lifestyle.
The reason why many women who were raised to embrace traditional gender roles may still accept them, is because they have evaluated these beliefs themselves, and they have seen the positive effects that this lifestyle has had on their own Mothers and families.
As a non-Feminist, this is true from my own personal experience. My Mother stayed home to raise us 5 children, because she felt that we needed her during our growing years. My Mother had other side careers going on, but she believed in putting us children first… This gave us comfort and security and highly benefited us in other ways, which is why I see her years of staying home and serving us as a gift and self-sacrifice. Because of her example, I wanted to be that kind of Mother to my own children.. I also wanted to give them the best that I could offer and impact the world through my children. When I was little, growing up to be a stay-at-home wife and mother was my ultimate dream. Now I walk in that role, not because I feel pressured by my family, but because this is a desire for me and a calling on my life.
Misconception 5. We are “oppressed” by traditional gender roles:
Women who reject the idea that traditional female roles are oppressive, do so because they see those roles (such as placing family before a career) as an honor and more highly fulfilling than any career. It is society that teaches us these roles are “oppressive”. But this doctrine actually goes against our womanly instincts. Women inherently want to nurture something. If a woman says she never wants to have children, she will still usually “Mother” something (maybe a cat or a dog). And many Mothers who do have careers, are wishing instead that they could stay at home with their children.
Maybe to feminists we are “oppressed” if we serve our families, but many Mothers who get to stay at home and serve our families see it as an immense blessing. This is not to say we don’t have our own ambitions and passions, but we recognize what is truly precious in life.
It is true that there will be some women who will feel like they’re missing out when family gets in the way of their careers, but this is largely because society has taught that children are burdens instead of blessings. Non-feminists reject the idea that we are free when we serve our employers, but slaves if we serve our husbands and children.
After all… love, family and selflessness is really what life is about.
- Meadow Hall