By: Athena Brown
It’s better if we define our terms right from the start. Yes, I know there are lots of different flavors of feminism… but we don’t need a definition more complex than what is useful for the discussion, so long as essential information is not lost for the sake of simplicity.
You may be familiar with the No True Scotsman logical fallacy (for a refresher, click here:http://www.logicalfallacies.info/presumption/no-true-scotsman/ ).
When we talk about “radical Islam”, some apologist will literally turn the No True Scotsman argument into their first and foremost tool against every single argument. We have two Muslims in a room. Anytime one of them does something we don’t like – ah, that’s radical Islam! What’s even more disingenuous is that either one can start or stop being a radical Muslim from minute to minute, depending on what he’s doing and whether or not we like it.
To fix this, there are two things we need to do.
First, we need to create a clear set of definitions and boundaries that define what we consider “radical” ahead of time, with an acknowledgement that “radical” does not necessarily have to include “a fringe minority”. Radical Christianity – the kind that launched 12 or so different Crusades across Europe – was the mainstream religion of that area for centuries. “Radical” can most certainly be “mainstream”. So back to our Muslims, we need to lay down an understanding of what we would consider “radical” before we know anything else about them, and then not continually change what we mean as time goes on.
Second, we can’t take a person at their word. If a person representing a group tells you that group is all about peace and love, then detonates a bomb in a crowded subway, we judge the group for their actions completely irrespective of their word. Why? Because people can lie. That’s why. Any and all terror groups can easily just say “Yea what we really want is peace”, but those are just words. This can get a bit tricky, and it can be easy to conflate Muslims living in Malaysia and Singapore – which are two of the most peaceful countries on earth – to Muslims living in Syria, simply because they both have the same undifferentiated name: “Muslim”. But if we’re being honest, we know the difference between radical and moderate. You have the understanding of which is which, and can easily identify either side.
The final thing we need is to understand that a few exceptions do not disprove the entire rule, and thus make it utterly impossible to distinguish either side. This is a common apologist tactic: “Not all of my group is like that, so it’s impossible for you to say which is which and you’ll just have to take my word that we’re all perfectly good!” I’m sure somewhere in the world you can find a KKK member who says “We’re not anti-black, we’re only standing up for the rights of whites!” (In fact this is precisely the message that group adopted in the early 70s in an attempt to rebrand themselves and appeal to a new generation.) Refer back to rule number 2, and keep in mind that a genuine exception doesn’t then make it impossible to discern what a group stands for based on their actions.
And with that, lets begin.
Feminism can be divided up into 4 different “waves”.
The Different Waves of Feminism
First Wave Feminism lasted from the late 1700s until the early 1900s. In an era where women were viewed as nothing more than property, the First Wave smashed this notion wide open, and did what was considered unthinkable for the time.
– Allowed women to own property
– Allowed women to work
– Allowed women to vote
The focus of the First Wave was that women deserved the same rights as men. It was defined by works such as Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”, in which she discussed that women should be entitled to an education, and that women were inherently valuable to the nation.
Is everyone on board with this so far? Great. No one disagrees with the assertions put forth by First Wave feminism – neither in their doctrine, their stated beliefs, or their actions. Even the most dedicated MRA advocate would not disagree that women should have these rights, because after all, women are people too.
Second Wave Feminism stretched from the early 60s to the 80s. If First Wave feminism was impressive, the Second Wave was nothing short of spectacular.
– Spread awareness about abortion issues, and gave women reproductive rights
– Spread awareness and advocated against rape crimes, set up rape crisis centers, lobbied for more sensitive treatment of victims
– Defined and campaigned against sexual harassment, making it illegal
– Lobbied against spousal abuse, and helped pass stern laws against domestic violence
– Outlawed gender discrimination in education and other places.
– Allowed women to divorce
– Established women’s shelters
– Established women’s clinics
– Established women’s resources to aid against domestic violence and women’s issues
– Drastically changed expectations of women in society; made it socially acceptable for a woman to be a doctor or lawyer
– Creation of childcare services
– Created maternity leave
– Ensured women were paid the same as what men are paid
– College funding for women and women’s studies
– Founded the National Organization of Women (NOW)
– Changed college curricula so it included female authors
– Promoted the use of the term “Ms”, to allow identity that was not contingent upon being married or not.
– And much, much more.
Second Wave feminism wasn’t just focused on merely adding a few extra rights for women. It helped established total equality for women and completely knocked down barriers women had in domestic and professional life. By the time it was over, women not only had access to all rights and privileges men had, they were left with multiple advantages that men didn’t!
So, are we still all on the same page? Once again, no one disagrees with anything that was done here. And again, even the most staunch MRA supporter does not disagree that women should have access to woman-centered health care, nor do they argue with women having equal protection under the law. So far I hope you’ve all enjoyed happy-agreement time, because things are about to get batshit insane, and this is where the problem comes in.
Third Wave Feminism began in the early 1990s, and is currently what we see today. By this point, feminism had already established equality between men and women, and would have done superbly well to act as a watchdog group and ensure things remained that way. But that’s not what happened.
Instead, the Third Wave changed direction completely, and began focusing on victimizing women and criminalizing men. They do this by completely misrepresenting facts, twisting truths, and perpetuating myths they know are wrong, but did it anyway to fit their agenda.
Here are some examples of what Third Wavers engage in:
– Re-interpreting history through the narrative that fits their agenda: that women have always been oppressed by men, simply because they are women, and because men are men. Both Merlin Stone and Riane Eisler do a fantastic job at explaining why this is false, as would virtually any school curriculum history book.
– Interpreting the actions and behaviors of men through the narrative of their agenda, and disallowing for any other possible motives or explanations. See:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/12/robot-hugs-sexual-harassment-comic_n_5671532.html . If you talk to a woman, she gets to decide if it’s harassment. And if it’s harassment, then you’re automatically behaving the way you are because you believe you’re entitled to her body. The Third Wave narrative decides what men, as a group, think and feel, and what their motivations are. If this were being done by whites towards blacks, by theist towards atheist, or by men towards women, it would be totally unacceptable.
– Perpetuate the myth of “rape culture”. See: http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/11125819/ex-oregon-ducks-basketball-players-accused-rape-suspended-students. These three young men had their entire lives and careers ruined forever based on an accusation of rape, not a conviction. Because putting them on trial would have required cross examination and questioning of the accuser, which Third Wavers will claim is part of “rape culture”. Also see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KQQ1bzQn0k
– Perpetuate the idea of a misogynist culture which simply does not exist. See:http://images.dailykos.com/images/86145/lightbox/1095.png?1401243737. Consider that this is depicting an “average joe”, and we’re given no other prompting to believe there’s anything at all dangerous about him, but the woman believes he’s possibly a rapist and killer *anyway*. Tell me again how feminist don’t think all men are rapist?
Of course not all feminist think think this way. “Not all feminist are like that!” – which is entirely true. First and Second Wave Feminist really aren’t like that. They focused on equality for women, not on attacking men.
– Added to the point above, also see http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/88/59/e4/8859e48bec39562ba6eff6a9e4e2c582.jpg – and please show me one example of any major publication anywhere in the first world, where the topic of rape was reported, and the question was asked “what was she wearing”, or the claim was made “She was asking for it”. Because the only time we ever hear either of those things being said – is from Third Wave Feminist.
– Conflate everything men do into rape, by changing and mixing the definitions generally accepted as rape (a man forcefully having unwanted intercourse with a woman) with abstract theoretical concepts of “power” and “control” (seehttp://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2013/08/29/rape-and-power/ ), allowing situations where a man can “rape” a woman without even touching her. This is very damaging for actual rape victims, since it causes people to doubt their claims.
– “Men think about sex every 7 seconds”. Where do you think this came from?
– Continue to claim that women are paid less than men, or that women have a “glass ceiling” in the corporate world as a go-to point, even when this has been thoroughly debunked, not unlike a creationist continuing to use “just a theory” as a go-to point.
– Openly accepts, and even celebrates, violence against men. Seehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRCS6GGhIRc. Also seehttp://law.jrank.org/pages/3594/John-Wayne-Lorena-Bobbitt-Trials-1993-1994-Lorena-Bobbitt-s-Trial-Begins.html .
From the link:
Autographed John Bobbitt T-shirts were selling for $25, all proceeds going to the defense fund. A restaurant offered a Bobbitt Special—a hot dog with French “cut” fries.
Imagine for a moment a woman being mutilated, and having her breasts cut off – then men enjoying jello domes, and handing over the profits to the “defense”. This would never be accepted – while the reverse is perfectly fine, and yet somehow we live in a patriarchy that oppresses women?
– Openly laughs at violence against men. See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRa3yQVtV2g. It’s funny until men get hurt. Then it’s hilarious!
– Promotes clothing that celebrates and embraces violence towards men. Seehttp://www.lookhuman.com/render/product/0002/0002007566406404/2329ind-w800h800z1-33890-i-bathe-in-male-tears.jpg. How far down the street would you get wearing a shirt that said that about women? Hell, you’re not even allowed to wear a shirt that has women ON it, much less anything at all even slightly offensive about them.
Keep asking yourself: Would First or Second Wave feminist do any of this???
– Enforces a double standard, which by now I hope is clear, and is in favor of women, NOT men. Yet Third Wavers push the idea that men somehow have “male privilege” (which they don’t), while ignoring and outright denying that women have “female privilege“.
– Claim that it’s only sexist when men do it. Seehttp://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2007/10/19/sexism-definition/ – an entire convoluted round-about out-of-the-way mental-gymnastics-routine is being done here to justify why sexism against women is wrong, while women just can’t be sexist against men. Instead, we could be saying “sexism is wrong regardless of who it’s aimed at” – but that wouldn’t work because equality is not part of the Third Wave agenda.
– Claim that only women are sexually objectified (and men aren’t), and have it to where *any* expression of male sexual interests in women is a form of objectification. According to the Fox News of social science, when women objectify men, that’s just “sexual desire” – and of course it’s only objectification when men do it. This goes back to the earlier point that the motivations of men are defined by women as they see fit; it can’t be that you’re simply a straight guy who likes beautiful women. Instead, you’re an oppressive part of “the patriarchy” that’s objectifying them (unless you’re tall, handsome, and rich – in which case, you’re fine).
– If you’re a man, you can’t even sit down somewhere without being at fault somehow. And this isn’t about taking up other seats either – if you signal you’re about to sit next to the guy, he closes his legs and gives you room. I can board any bus anywhere in the city of Portland and prove that over and over again 100% of the time. Yet this is called an “expression of dominance” by men who are of course an oppressive part of the “patriarchy”. Yesterday, a woman in Saudi Arabia was stoned to death for being a woman… but in America, a man sat with his legs spread (which is an actual Third Waver argument I’m not making this up).
– If you’re a man and you’re in charge of a small business, or you find yourself in middle management, then you might have been called a fat piece of sh*t more than once. You’ve probably been told to f*ck off, go to hell, had all sorts of nasty passive-aggressive things said behind you’re back, seen some interesting things written about you on social media, and of course heard rumors that your head is interchangeable with other parts of your anatomy. But call a woman “bossy” even one single time……………
The Average Feminist Today
Your average supporter of women’s rights probably does not support any of the crazy coming out of the Third Wave. They probably just believe that men and women should be equal. That’s it. But lets not pretend that modern feminism (the 3rd Wave) is just as benign, or that it follows that kind of thinking, or try to dismiss the parts of the movement we don’t like as “a few fringe radicals”. The above examples, and the ones still to come, are fully endorsed and often promoted by hollaback, upworthy, and everydayfeminism.com, which have millions of followers supporting them. CNN, the Huffington Post, and MSNBC routinely broadcast that women aren’t paid as much as men for the same work, when there is no truth to this claim. 3rd Wavers like Anita Sarkesian have appeared on The Colbert Report. Jon Stewart and John Oliver routinely parrot their claims. Rebecca Watson can claim oppression from the patriarchy because someone asked if she wanted coffee; this proceeded to cause a severe disruption in the atheist community. Laci Green has a videos with over a million views that are dedicated to the 3rd Wave narrative. Jessica Valenti is a major author and blogger for the movement, and routinely appears in online news publications such as thenational.com. These aren’t just a few radicals. Theyare the movement!
Most of the big names in feminism today support actions outlined above, or at the very least, refuse to speak out against them, while selectively picking out and attacking social issues that involve men as perpetrators. The “women are people too” is the philosophy was believed in, and practiced by, the previous waves. When you look at both their wordsand their actions, then it becomes clear.
Reich Wave gains its strength by deliberately confounding their motives with the accomplishments of their predecessors.
4th Wave is an attempt to shift the focus back towards legitimate women’s issues. And a big part of that is refuting 3rd Waver myths.
That’s my sincerest hope with this site. Women do actually have a number of legitimate issues that are not necessarily “equal rights” related; such as access to women’s health care, administrative failures during actual rape trials, maternity leave, and so on. Some women’s issues – such as the continual disempowerment and victim-enabling mindset of women – is being perpetuated by the Third Wave, and I think it’s best that another wave of feminism (the Fourth Wave) focuses on reversing that. Responsibility is not a burden – responsibility is empowering!
In the ideal world, MRAs would focus on men’s issues, Fourth Wave Feminist would focus on women’s issues, and together we would strive for the benefit of all.