Feminist/Gender Theory, Pop Culture, Society and Politics

A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you pick up a newspaper or go online. You read about angry women ranting about sexism and inequality. You see phrases like ‘rape-culture’ and ‘slut-shaming.’ You furrow your brow and think to yourself: ‘What are they so angry about? There is no such thing as sexism anymore.’

Now imagine this:

The year is 2013. You are a 25 year-old Pakistani woman. A few months ago, you married the man you love. A man you choose for yourself. You are also pregnant with his child. You see your life stretching out before you, filled with hope and happiness. Suddenly, you and your husband are dragged away from each other. You are both beaten with bricks and batons. You can’t fight back. You can’t escape. No one comes to help you. Through your fading vision, you look up, and look into the eyes of one of your assailants: into the eyes of your father.

The year is 2013. You are a 23 year-old Indian woman. You are a physiotherapy student with a promising career ahead of you. You are sitting on a private bus travelling home alone on a warm December evening. You gaze out of the window as the buildings of New Dheli rush past you and feel content. Suddenly, a blunt force hits the back of your head and you fall to the floor of the bus. A group of strange men are standing over you. They bring the metal bar down on you again and again and again until all you can taste is the blood filling up your mouth. You pray that you will die soon. And you do, but not then. You are raped, beaten, and tortured over and over again. Death is slow and agonising.

The year is 2014. You are a 13 year-old girl from Niger. You no longer live there though. You are now living in the neighbouring country Nigeria, sitting alone in small room on a small bed in a small apartment high above the city of Kano. You are not allowed to leave. Your stomach is swollen from the unwanted life growing inside of it. You had no choice. The father is a man in his 40s. He is a businessman. He has bought you as his wife. You were a penniless, uneducated girl when he came for you. You don’t know of any life you could have had. Neither did your family: just one less mouth for them to feed. You still have the body of a child, and it’s straining under the pressure from the one inside of you. You feel like you’re about to be split in two. You don’t wonder if you will survive the birth. A part of you doesn’t want to.

These are fictionalised accounts of real events that have happened to real women living in our world today. They follow the past 250 years of women and men campaigning for women to be given equal rights to men to prevent these kinds of injustices and abuses on the grounds of gender taking place. Over the course of this time, campaigners – Feminists, both female and male – have been locked up, beaten, tortured, and even killed, in the pursuit of equality. They did this with pen and ink and print; they did this with their voices; they did this with their bodies; they did this with art and music; they did in courts of law and halls and houses of government that they fought be to allowed into.

They did this so that women would no longer been seen as property, livestock, breeding machines, sex objects, punching bags, or infantile morons. They did this not just for themselves, but also for their daughters, and their daughters, and their daughters for generations to come. They did this for women they would never meet – women who lived across countries, across vast oceans, across the entire globe, and even across time.

They did this so that women like me – a white Western woman – could attend school and university; to learn to read, write, and think critically; to gain a degree; to get a job and be paid an equal salary to a man in the same position; and to sit here with my own computer and type all of this.

Feminism is a movement for freedom, equality, choice, love, compassion, respect, solidarity, and education. We may argue, we may disagree, we may struggle to understand the choices and perspectives of others sometimes, but these core beliefs of the movement have never changed, and they never will.

That is why I am a Feminist.

If you feel that you have so far lived your life unaffected by even the mildest form of sexism – anything from feeling uncomfortable when a man catcalls you in the street, to feeling scared walking home alone at night in a secluded area – and are treated with love and respect by every man in your life, then to you I say: I’m glad for you. If you don’t think you need feminism, then that is a victory for the movement. You have fulfilled all those dreams that every suffragette being force-fed in prison and every ‘witch’ burnt at the stake dreamed you would one day.

But perhaps take a second to consider the life of the Pakistani woman who was beaten to death by her own family for marrying a man of her choosing. Or the life of the Indian woman who was raped, beaten, and murdered on a bus by a gang of men. Or the life of the little girl in Niger who was sold to a man more than twice her own age and forced to carry a baby that may kill her to deliver. Do they still need feminism?

And perhaps take a second to consider this too: Even in our liberal, Western world, why do women still only fill 24% of senior management jobs? Why are more women than men domestically abused or even killed every week at the hands of their male partner or ex-partner? Why is there still a pay gap (in the UK specifically) of 15% for women doing the same jobs and working the same hours as men?

And what about on a cultural level? Have you ever noticed how comedy panel shows usually only have one female panellist compared to 4-5 male ones? That almost every dieting product on the market is solely aimed at women? How a lot of newspapers and advertising campaigns will use a sexualised or pornographic image of a woman to sell news or products that have nothing to do with sex?

Or perhaps on a personal level: Do you choose to wear certain clothes because you want to or because you feel ‘unfeminine’ if you don’t? Do you choose to cover yourself up because you want to or because you feel ashamed or intimidated by a man looking at your body? Do you shave your legs and underarm hair because you want to or because you will look ‘ugly’ if you don’t? Did you parents dress you in pink as a baby because they liked the colour or because you were born a girl? Do you want to have children because you want to or because you are a woman?

When you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning, do you see yourself through your own eyes, or through the eyes of the men that will look at you when you walk out the door?

The fact is, like it or not, you still live a world where gender matters. Where gender controls not just the entire course of your life – but the lives of women all over the world. Every second, a child will be born female in a country where she will persecuted for this random biological occurrence for the rest of her life. So before you hold up your anti-Feminist placard proudly and smile at your own sense of empowerment, think not what Feminism can do for you, but what it can do for that one girl. She needs someone to stand up for her. That someone could be you.

UPDATE: Click here to read my follow up to this article: ‘Equalism: The Feminist Alternative?’

This is a response to ‘Women Against Feminism’ groups on Tumblr and Facebook.

The stories of the women mentioned in this post were sourced from these sites:




Other facts and statistics were sourced from here:


1,408 thoughts on “A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

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  3. TheGentGuy says:

    I was with you riiiiiight up until you launched into statistics on pay gaps and positions in senior management. Things should definitely be a whole lot more equal at the top than they currently are, but surely the onus shouldn’t rest on employers to cherrypick women purely for the sake of fulfilling statistics? Where there are boy’s club mentalities, of course, we should pressure change. But surely people should be encouraging the younger generations to be more ambitious and career-driven, rather than implementing dimorphism and calling it equality?

    Your points about cultural sexism are also tenuous. When women are objectified in advertising and media, it’s sexist. When men are objectified, it’s a power fantasy. And implying that women compare themselves to an idealised caricature of their gender while men don’t do the same (gym culture, much?) is downright laughable.

    Not to downplay the genuine problems women face on a daily basis. Everyday sexism, rape culture, slut shaming, etc. But there very much seems to be a focus on women’s problems, rather than gender inequality as a whole. And anyone who would so much as point out areas where women *are* better off (family law, suicide rates) is labelled a misogynist.

    And on the topic of gender rights, shouldn’t we also be including transgender rights in here? Things are still heavily anti-trans throughout our society, yet because gay rights are making headway, everyone assumes transpeople are totally looked after.

    We need feminism to ensure that women in developing nations receive equality. In order to achieve equality in the west, I’d argue we need unified social egalitarianism, rather than pigeonholed women’s / gay / civil rights movements. The argument shouldn’t be “you want equality, therefore you’re a feminist,” it should be “you want female equality, therefore you’re egalitarian.”


  4. Rammkatze says:

    I must admit, I quit reading after the example of the indian woman. You are talking of basic human rights. I do not mix feminism with human rights, because men are human too, because men are treated poorly in the same countries those women are treated poorly, because the feminists you hear of nowadays are doing nothing to help the women in those countries: they are stopping debate in reputed british colleges (because men are discussing stuff they are supposedly not allowed to as men), they are shaming men for wearing this or wearing that, they are advocating for women to go for STEM jobs on principle rather than choice. No thank you.


    • This article is about feminism, obviously there is a bigger picture here to do with human rights but she is highlighting some truly heartbreaking, and honestly disgusting problems that societies around the world have yet to truly face and change.

      I am not prejudiced against men, but 2 million girls a year across the world are forced into marriages and get pregnant before the age of 15 by their considerably older husbands. 2 million. How many of those girls do you think are going to die in childbirth? Do you think most 15 year-olds are prepared for that kind of emotional and physical strain?

      Before you start comparing these human rights abuses to those against men, reflect. I am not saying men do not suffer, they do, our world can be a truly awful place. It’s not only the women who are feminists, and feminism is about equality.


    • Talk to an Indian first before assuming. I live in Delhi and the incident happened in Delhi. I have taken a bus at all hours of the night and never felt threatened. In fact, I prefer to travel at night.

      But all my friends who are girls travel during the daytime, travel in more deluxe buses, travel using taxis even and bring a male with them if out drinking or partying. Is this not related to feminism?

      The incident is the famous gang-rape that sparked off huge protests throughout the country for its brutality and has triggered serious questions about how India treats its women. This dialogue is happening at all due to feminism.


  5. I loved the article. I write books on female issues. My next book is about “Women in three continents”. The feelings are not only for the Pakistani and Arab women. They are much similar to the others too. The book is all abut the true stories of Australian women and Srilankan and South Africa. Can I put the above article in the book?


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  10. YouareStrong says:

    This blog is just disgusting. How dare you compare your measly, read about it in a feminist article, western, no evidence ‘problems’ to the suffering of girls who have an actual need for rights. I am against feminism because it is a useless movement giving feminists the right to use real world suffering to back up their point of hating men. No not every feminist hates men, but that is where the origins come from. I don’t believe in feminism because I believe in western society feminism has achieved all it can. It was needed in a time where sexism was the blanket attitude, covering all relationships between women and men. Nowadays the only people who are actually sexist, are the 1% who will never change their opinion regardless of what you say. Woman are now in a position to tell those people to fuck off because they have the right to. Tolerance is the act of accepting the opinions of those who you can’t change. Feminism still acts as though nothing has changed, when everything has. Each case has to be supported and viewed individually because meeting someone who has experienced real sexism is a rarity. But let me be clear on a few things. 1. Rape is not a sexist act. Rape is wrong regardless of the reasoning behind it and is not committed by all or only men. 2. Sexual harassment crosses both men and women. 3. If you are afraid to walk home in the dark that is your problem, not the innocent friendly guy walking past you. But these are all individual nit pickings at various feminist beliefs. My main issue with feminism is that it offers no solution. It merely argues over and over again till it is blue in the face. How do you actually propose to make men and women equal? What is western feminism actually doing for women in countries where women have no rights? Other than write this article and look down your nose at women who refuse to pledge feminist what have you done for women in these countries. Feminism is useless. The only way to make a change is to act. Feminism doesn’t act. Feminism gives women the right to play the victim. I am not a victim. I make my own success and failures and my gender is not a disadvantage. I don’t need a group to tell me I am wronged when I know I am not.


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  15. kowsdontski says:

    Reblogged this on Latter Day Liberal and commented:
    In the past couple of weeks, I had another grandchild who stayed in NICU for the first week of his life. I have been helping with his big sister and trying to throw off a sinus infection. This is not the blog post I had planned, but it is definitely something that needs to be heard. And please . . . tell me that I am not the only blissfully ignorant feminist who did not know about the anti-feminist groups!


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  17. kaylapunt says:

    This is very well written and a fantastic wrap-up of what it means to be a feminist and to stand up for what is so obviously right. Any woman, or even man for that matter, would have to be so wholly apathetic to not take something like this to heart. But then again, if anything is going to be the death of the Western world, it’s apathy.
    Thank you for posting!


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  19. your objective is in par with my own belief’s. but your truth fails to hold up. it appears that the phrase that power corrupts is true. we can use native America as an example, women are the power there, and violate the civil rights of members with out conscious. those that know god are aware that this is not unnoticed and with out accountability. but are feminist people of faith who fear god and righteousness ( right-which is just truth and justice) or maybe they just seek superiority. where I live there are signs and radio statements that say that women are sacred. what does that mean to you that they are to be worshiped by men and that god considers them his equal.


  20. Interesting take on individual paths through a forest of inequities. Women who contribute are the equals. Women who group for recognition are just yelling into the wind. Social consciences vary. As social changes occur, some individuals are recognized as contributors, both male and female. Every generation has its share of female achievers. Look to the sole survivors for inspiration, not to the leaders of the pack. They are headed for a cliff preceding a vacuum. Teach girls to follow their passions with their heads, not their tits, to make a difference.


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  25. Many people say they are against Feminism, but they are not. They are against certain aspects of Feminism.

    The Feminist movement, like other groups, need to continuously adapt to the progress of change whether the change is positive or negative. Sometimes that adaptation is not seen by others and sometimes people feel that some of the movements that were created years back try to portray attitudes of the past. It’s sad to say, but many times, certain representatives’, or wannabe representatives, voices are louder than the mature representatives’ voices.

    Of course, there are those (male and female) who believe gender have a certain place in the world. I’m not talking about those people. I’m talking about the people who believe in opportunity for both genders. I’m not going to use the phrase “equal opportunity”, because I don’t agree the phrase. Many people who believe in opportunity for all, don’t want to use certain organizations help, because they don’t agree entirely in what the organization represents or what they believe the organization represents. It seems like in every organization there are extremist, and some of their angry voices ring very loud. It’s a turn off sometimes. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. People are growing weary of conflict, even though conflict is an integral part of life.

    Again, just because someone says they are against a movement does mean they are against everything that the movement represents.



  26. potato says:

    Imagine this, You accurately used feminism to prove a valid point, however, in most cases you redirect this strong positive image to belittle and humiliate men in the western world.

    you have an amazing idea movement, however you let the ones who wish to dominate speak for you, rather then direct their anger to healthier means.

    I am a man, I refuse to be walked over by women, i fight for what i have, no more,no less then you do, the privileged are those who were born into it, the 99% in the modern world are equal, yet you choose to focus on the best of the worst examples.

    you’ve made a mockery of your ideals.


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  28. sujinivedita says:

    feminism is a big topic that is been talked about…And unfortunately it just ends there..TALK!..Waiting for that moment that has lot more actions!


  29. Reblogged this on pachalonomsa and commented:
    Out of ignorance of feminism and hatred towards human rights activist, especially women, a lot of Malawians do not seem to like feminism and are very resistant to embrace women’s rights. Sadly, I see a lot of young women joining this campaign out of ignorance. As one of the poorest countries in the world, with a population of females more than males, we should be the ones embracing feminism and supporting it. But it isnt happening. Girls still want to get married and have children and boys dont like females who are feminist. Are we as women dumb as they say maybe? I would never understand why any Malawian girl would be against feminism.


  30. K-Lined says:

    “Feminism is a movement for freedom, equality, choice, love, compassion, respect, solidarity, and education”

    When positive qualities are ascribed to feminism it has a single definition but when criticized it suddenly becomes “not a monolith”. I agree with many (but not all) things that feminists say but I would never call myself a feminist because there are also parts and people within this movement whose goals don’t match those mentioned above – at least for one half of the human population.


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  32. Bevinne Morse says:

    The examples you gave were in countries where women have few freedoms. Men will always be men. And there are laws at least in America to bring them to justice. Unfortunately, people will prey on each other. And getting the laws in place in the instances you mentioned is paramount to insuring the freedoms of women treated this way.
    It don’t think it so much is feminism as human rights – even though it involves a woman.
    Some men are just abhorrent!


  33. Heartafire says:

    A most intriguing and interesting topic. I feel we still need to take a strong stand for women’s rights, to label it feminism formally, I don’t know if that is helpful to the cause. Women are still facing discrimination in the workplace, lagging behind in pay versus the male co-part. “You are strong” is way off base, I adore men, I still want equal pay and rights. Wake up youarestrong…if you are strong, you can handle the likes of a “mere” woman.


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  35. I am in favor of movements to defend women in Niger, India, the Middle East and other areas from human rights abuses. What I’ve seen of American feminism lately has been #banbossy, #manspreading, and other snarky non-problems in society. Feminism started to deal with real problems. The campaigns above have created serious credibility issues and have played a major role into the #notafeminst campaign.


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