24 October 2018

Why I No Longer Identify As a Feminist

Before those who know me and are reading this blog fall over in shock and spit out their coffee; let me explain why.

My principles and beliefs have not suddenly changed overnight.  I have not turned into an anti-feminist or a honey badger.  I am not rejecting what feminism has done for women over the past century.

What I am doing, is removing my label. 

Over the years since I began to identify as a feminist and speak about feminism online, I have been given many labels.  Too much or too little of a feminist, a man hater, a snowflake, an SJW, a misandrist.  Too opinionated or too little.  Too outspoken or too quiet.  While I have never been a “man hater” or a misandrist, at times I can be any of the rest of them. 

Sometimes being a feminist makes me feel like I am shut in a box with no room to manoeuvre.  A box that is being whittled away and becoming smaller and smaller.  Where you are pinned down to one opinion, one stance that must remain immovable. 

It isn’t just society in general and the whole MGTOW/MRA/incel/Redpill crowd that make me feel this way.  Sometimes it is also other feminists.  You say the wrong thing and suddenly you are a bad feminist. 

For example (and I am not going to share my thoughts on the GRA either way), the way that feminists on both sides of that debate have attacked, threatened, no-platformed and doxed each other is deplorable.  Progress comes from discussion, debate and reason.  Not attacks.  Not attempts to silence others; no matter what your view.

For me, being a feminist has always been about creating choice for women and letting voices be heard.  Not shutting them down.  My “brand” of feminism has always wanted women to be able to be, exactly who and what they want to be.

I was told by someone the other day that because I was a feminist, they thought all I cared about was manspreading, air conditioning in the workplace and demonising men.  That was the box that they placed me in when they heard the word feminist.

STOP TELLING ME WHAT I BLOODY WELL THINK! (I don’t by the way give a rat’s ass about manspreading.  I don’t care about air conditioning.  Men and women’s bodies work on a different temperature.  That isn’t going to change.  I also don’t demonise men, period).

I should not be afraid to step outside of my feminism box and say what I think on a subject for fear of reprisal and repercussions from MGTOWs, MRAs etc and yes, even other feminists because as a “feminist” I must think a certain way. 

I was having a conversation online yesterday and a user popped up, very clearly a man pretending to be a woman, trying to derail the conversation into criticising feminists.  The reason I know it was a man was because he referred to himself as a female and called tampons “beauty products”.  You ain’t a woman mate.

I sat there and thought to myself “What I am doing”.   Why am I putting myself into situations and conversations where it just becomes about point scoring and arguing?  I cannot count the amount of times I have been having an interesting discussion with someone/a group online about a particular issue only to have to derail and talk about what feminism is, what feminists want/why we don’t actually want to kill men. 

So I am removing the label of feminist from how I would describe myself.  I am a woman.  An individual.  I have many, varying opinions.  I cannot be put under an umbrella or into a box.

I do not need to identify as a feminist in order to care about others.  Support causes and campaigns.  Talk about equal rights and opportunities for all.  I can, and do, believe that men and women are different and have ying and yang strengths which compliments the other.   That is something I wouldn't have shared before.

That itself I think is a problem with the movement.  Being afraid to air what you think on a subject.  if you are in the public eye, an academic, someone who tours universities sharing their thoughts for fear of no-platforming 

We live in a very complex society where our voices and thoughts are being silenced on a greater scale all the time.  I think it is time that we all got out from our individual boxes and not only spoke out but also listened before shouting down another's ideas or opinions.  On whatever the subject.

So this is me, an ex-feminist, signing off.  Still with the same core ideals and beliefs, just without the label.

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