9 Reasons I’m Not a Feminist (and Maybe You Aren’t Either)

This is an issue that has been on my mind lately for various reasons. It has repeatedly come to my attention in the past few weeks, like when I recently read this article about women now being allowed in combat. Or when I read the book “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know — and Men Can’t Say,” which has a stupid name and some real problems in its writing and plenty that I don’t agree with, but is nevertheless an interesting read. Or when I read this blog post in which a woman wrote about how offended she was as a mother and infuriated as a feminist that her son’s preschool teacher was encouraging the little boys to be gentlemen. For real.

I have never identified myself as a feminist. I was lambasted by my professor in an undergraduate women’s writing course when I wrote a paper disagreeing with a feminist book we had to read (I don’t remember which book it was). Though I spent many years in school pursuing an advanced degree to become a psychologist, I always knew that what I really wanted was to be a stay-at-home mom.

So yes, feminism annoys me. Of course I want equal rights for women and men. I have three daughters for pete’s sake. But I think feminism takes things too far. Feminism comes across as angry and hostile and lawsuit-happy. And here are some more reasons I’m not a feminist:

1. I believe in equal rights for all people, not greater rights and entitlements for women (or any other group).

2. It is my fervent hope that women and men will never have equal pay (on average). We already have equal pay for doing the same job (according to the law). We will probably never have equal average pay, because women often choose to work fewer hours and at less demanding and dangerous jobs than men in order to be more available for their children. I hope this doesn’t change.

3. I think feminism is partly to blame for much of the “Mommy Wars” and “Mommy Guilt” women struggle with nowadays. Women of my generation have been inundated with the idea that it is our “duty” to follow in the footprints of the women who “forged the path” for us to have the opportunities we have today to work outside the home. If we don’t want to work and would rather stay home with our children, feminists view this as not living up to our potential. And all this stuff about “having it all,” i.e. working full time and being available for our children as much as we want or need to be while remaining gorgeous and stress free, is crap. I wish feminists would stop putting this junk out there so women can stop feeling guilty if they don’t live up to this impossible ideal.

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4. I think Title 9 is BS. If you have to take away from or put down others in order to get what you want in life, you ought to reevaluate what you want in life. Of course women should have opportunities to play collegiate sports. They should not take away opportunities from men in order to do so. Also, see #1.

5. I think staying home to raise her children is the most important and fulfilling job a woman can do. I do not think that it is a waste of her intellectual abilities (though I too had to battle this feeling within myself when I stopped working).

*Note: Having said that, I want to clarify that I don’t think that working makes someone a bad mom, or less of a woman, or not important, or anything else like that. I’m all for a woman being able to choose what is right for her family, and I’m not trying to fan the “Working Mom vs. Stay-at-Home Mom” flames. I’m just trying to shoot down the feminist idea that a woman staying at home to take care of her children is “less” (important, fulfilled, smart, capable, etc.) than one who chooses to work.
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6. Women and men (girls and boys) are different. On many levels. Period. Our differences are not just caused by the ways we are raised. I wish feminists would stop trying to say that we’re the same. The differences between men and women are a good thing. 

7. Along those lines, I think chivalry is great. My girls will be encouraged to seek relationships with boys/men who are gentlemen. They won’t feel entitled to have a man open a door for them, nor will they feel offended when one does.

8. I don’t view women as victims, and I think it is harmful to my gender to continually harp on the idea that we’ve been oppressed and victimized. Women can be strong without needing to take away from or attack men.

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9. I have every intention of raising my daughters to be strong, independent, loving, non-feminists. I will tell and show them that choosing to stay home with them is the best decision I have ever made. I will encourage them to pursue whatever goals they set for themselves, but I will also let them know that it’s okay for them to pursue their goals in stages and to plan for the possibility that they may someday want to leave their careers for a while to be home with their kids.

If I’m honest, I wish feminism would just go away. I don’t think it’s necessary, and in fact I think it is harmful to women and families (and men too). I think it just stirs up resentment among women and between women and men. Calling it “Women’s issues” or “The Women’s Movement” or whatever other name tries to present it as being representative of the views and needs and wants of all women is incorrect and annoying. It’s feminism. I am not a feminist. Are you?

 

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12 thoughts on “9 Reasons I’m Not a Feminist (and Maybe You Aren’t Either)

  1. Amy, another thoughtful post. I am so glad I found your blog. I’ve never considered myself a feminist either. While I agree with much of what you said, particularly the crap about “having it all,” my experience says there are still real problems faced by women in the workplace, and that is an area that needs more work.

    I was an engineering director in the high tech space, and I will attest that I did the same job as many men, but I was always paid less, sometimes by more than $20K. It is still a man’s world, and our female developers never rose above the 75 percentile in salary in the companies where I worked. Certainly, there was an aspect of choice by women in that role that were moms. But not in every case. Yes, there are laws to prevent that kind of thing, but the reality is that the economy often forces us, men and women both, to just be happy we have a job and to be unwilling to rock the boat. I personally do not believe that equal pay for equal work is anywhere near the norm yet.

    Also, we would not have the choices we have today without the work of many unabashed feminists from decades past. The label has morphed over the years, and it does have a mostly negative connotation today (for you and me at least), unfortunately. I think that is kind of sad. But, I hate the Mommy wars, too. I guess that is the problem with labels…

    I think there is way too little civility, good manners, and empathy in the world today. I placed a big premium on raising a “gentleman,” and I would kick his butt if he didn’t open doors for his companions, male or female, at any opportunity.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and I look forward to continuing discussions here.

    • Well said, Laurie. I agree that there are many ways in which opportunities for women have improved over the past several decades due to the work of feminists. I suppose I take issue with the way it is done in most instances and the consequences of some of these changes, whether intentional or not. I’d love to see more of an emphasis on support for women and families regardless of career choices.

      I love your statement “I think there is way too little civility, good manners, and empathy in the world today.” I couldn’t agree more!

      Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate your comments. – Amy

  2. Its unfortunate that feminism has been twisted around until people of both genders feel the need to eschew the label altogether. I’m proud to care about and speak up for equal rights and protections. Im proud to be a feminist. And of course women and men are different from each other…just as women are different from other women and men are different from other men. We all show up on different points along one continuous spectrum of physical and psychological strengths and weaknesses — that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to create a world where someone is supported in their desires to pursue whatever role they choose for themselves (vs making people fit into a role that’s dictated by society). I spent a lot of my time in college in gender studies classes exploring these ideas. And yes, at first you get a little angry when your eyes are opened to the injustices that exist all around you. Anger is just the first step in recovering ones own self worth. It isn’t sustainable. And eventually that anger subsides and morphs into something more healthy. We come to realize that only when we can sit down with open hearts and minds and discuss these things like adult human beings, will we ever hope to create a better world. I urge you to not throw the baby out with the bath water. There are problems with capitalism and democracy and sex but we don’t turn on backs on these things because of the negative that exists in them. Right?

    • I appreciate your comment Tea, though I do disagree with you on a few points.

      I don’t see that feminism has been “twisted around.” Rather, I believe that the feminist movement presents itself as hostile and antagonistic more often than not, resulting in the tendency of many women to avoid identifying with that label in spite of their support of equal rights.

      I also don’t think that my approach to feminism “throws the baby out with the bathwater,” because I, like you, am wholeheartedly in support of equal rights and protections (the “baby,” if you will). However, I don’t believe that feminism is truly about equality, but rather about advancing women at the expense of men and families.

      Perhaps our differences lie more in the way we view the definition and/or purpose of “Feminism.” We seem to both feel strongly about people being allowed equal opportunities. I think there are many women and men who support women’s rights and yet do not agree with the feminist viewpoint.

      Regardless of our divergent opinions, I do appreciate you reading and taking the time to share your thoughts.

  3. I came across this blog from a Pinterest pin and the article, while well written, seems to be a bit misguided to me. Dictionary.com states that a feminist is described as “advocating social, political, legal, and economic rights for women equal to those of men”. Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism at it’s roots only aims to gain the same rights as men. In stating that your disagreements with another commenter “lie more in the way we view the definition and/or purpose of ‘Feminism'”, I’m hoping that you simply didn’t know the definition of this theory.

    • Thanks for the comment Staley. As is the case with many things, I think having a true understanding of feminism goes beyond knowing the dictionary definition. In practice, feminism is much different than these simplified dictionary versions.

  4. The fact that you recognize that women deserve the choice to be a stay-at-home mom is thanks to feminism. The fact that women have that choice at all, instead of it being forced upon them, is thanks to the women’s movement. It’s not pure chance, luck, or grace that allows women to be in loving marriages with men who support them in many different ways so they can be happy and fulfilled at home, at work, and in their roles as mother. Choice is feminism, the end.

    • I certainly agree with you that the fact that women have so many options is the result of feminism. However, I don’t necessarily think that feminism is what allows women to be in loving marriages with men who support them. I actually think that feminism, as it is often practiced today, has done quite a bit to harm relationships between men and women. There are absolutely good things that have come from the women’s movement. I just believe that it has gone too far. I’ve been thinking about and intending to revisit this post for many, many months. Maybe now I will :)

      Thanks for your comment, Chaunie.

  5. I am a sophomore in college and I am surrounded by feminists everywhere!Hahaha. I was always and still am annoyed when a student(always a woman) claims that a certain book, show or essay or someone’s opinion is sexist and gets all defensive over something that isn’t sexist at all! It always irks me when I hear women degrade men in the name of “feminism”. I am all for women empowerment(in a healthy and appropriate way) as well as men empowerment. Basically, I am all for HUMAN empowerment. I think we should all just learn to love and accept that men and women are different, and more so that every human being is different and their own person. Your post was a breath of fresh air. I felt and sometimes feel guilty for being annoyed by so-called feminists. Women can make a stand without putting anyone down and just doing what ever it is they desire. Same goes for men.

    • Yes, I remember college being a place of quite a bit of the hostile version of feminism. The excessive claiming of “sexism” is one of my biggest frustrations with it. Recently I heard about a research study (done at a university) that basically said that men who do nice things for women are more sexist than those who don’t. I thought my head would explode :)

      Thanks for your comment Jessica.

  6. I feel like you don’t know what feminism even means to be honest. It stands for equality, it means that if I were to work the same job as a man that was “dangerous ” I would get the same pay for the same job obviously. That’s Equality. It also means I shouldn’t be harassed walking down the streets whatever I’m wearing. It means me,as a women not getting raped at night against my will, drunk or not . It means men having the right to stay home with their child and take care of it just as much as women do today if they’d want too. It means that I shouldn’t have worse policy’s because of my gender. It’s not about feminists thinking it’s bad if you stay home with your child . I understand if you’ve gotten this twisted but saying you don’t want this to happen is like disliking and not wanting rights for yourself . I hope you can see this from my point of view. This is the feminism Emma Watson wants her organization is called “He for she” check her out she’s amazing. Everybody has different views on feminism but this is mine.

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