The Guardian recently manufactured a minor ‘feminist’ cake eating kerfuffle over the apparently shocking news that a Tory MP shared a platform with ‘anti-feminists’.
EYEconsider what the label ‘anti-feminist’ actually means and why ‘feminists’ want to silence them.
Anti-feminism is broadly defined as opposition to some or all forms of feminism.
Anti-Feminist: 1. Someone who rejects feminism (the political ideology) not women (the gender). 2. Someone who believes in equal rights and fair treatment from the state for both men and women.
Masculinity So Fragile?
Just as the political ideology of ‘feminism’ encapsulates a broad spectrum of views and beliefs, opposition to ‘feminism’ takes many different forms.
Anti-feminism is often misunderstood or misrepresented as equating to an opposition to women or equal rights for women.
Some may indeed hold misogynistic views or oppose concepts of equal rights for women (for example, many early 20th century anti-feminists resisted votes for women), however 21st century anti-feminists are generally opposed to the extremes of modern third wave feminism, as apposed to denying women the right to equal opportunity or protection from sexual harassment or violence.
Anti-feminism is generally motivated by the belief that feminist theories of patriarchy and disadvantages suffered by women in society are often incorrect or exaggerated and that feminism as a movement encourages misandry which results in harm or oppression of men, women and families.
An attitudes to Gender in 2016 Britain survey commissioned by leading feminist charity The Fawcett Society found that while 83% of people in the UK (including 86% of men) support equality of opportunity for women, only 7% identify as feminist. Conversely 4% said they don’t know what feminism stands for, 4% actively oppose it and 61% believe in equality but don’t identify with feminism.
Whilst acknowledging that the overwhelming majority of the public don’t identify with modern feminism, the Chief Executive of Fawcett argued that ‘the simple truth is if you want a more equal society for women and men then you are in fact a feminist’.
On the one hand she is right but on the other she is entirely avoiding the significance of such data. For example ‘controversial‘ men’s rights activist Mike Buchanann has gone on record as stating that he self identifies as feminist based on the simple understanding that it means supporting ‘an equal society for both women and men’.
The reality is that most anti-feminists are both entirely comfortable and passionate about such a basic notion but are extremely critical of ‘feminist’ demands or views on how best to achieve ‘equality’.
And yet recently there were calls for the suspension of Conservative MP Phillip Davies because he shared a stage with ‘anti-feminists’ and expressed the apparently controversial opinion that radical feminists ‘want to have their cake and eat it‘.
Philip Davies MP has clearly demonstrated he is not able to represent his constituents fairly with his speech to the international conference on Men’s issues. 1/2 of his constituency are women and if he demonstrably does not believe in equality he will not be representing them equally in parliament. Petition to UK Government
Remarkably (or predictably) among the public figures who called for his head were the Leader of the Labour Party, the Shadow Minister for Gender Inequalities and the Leader of the Women’s Equality Party (who’s catchphrase is that ‘equality is better for everyone’).
Whilst Sophie Walker may claim to know what’s best for everyone, the reality is that her party no more represent ‘women’ than the Conservative Party represent ‘men’.
A petition to Parliament calling for Davies’ resignation was quite rightly rejected given that it was so blatantly party political, a fact underlined after a survey conducted by the Daily Express indicated that 92% of their readers agreed with Phillips.
The fact is that ‘feminism’ is a political ideology. Women (and men) are not born ‘feminists’, most do not grow up to identify as ‘feminists’ and the current push to silence the growing number of ‘anti-femisnists’ by branding them as misogynists and enemies of the state is nothing less than Stalinesque.
If feminism has receded in visibility and prestige, it is precisely because its vision of life’s goals and rewards has become too narrow and elitist. Camille Paglia
So who are these ‘anti-feminists’ that the modern social justice movement are afraid of? What do they think? What do they want? Why do they want it?
EYEprofile eight high profile enemies of the sisterhood, including one that Phillip Davies dared to share a platform with.
EYEwill leave you to work out which one….
1. Ella Whelan
Ella Whelan is a freelance British journalist and staff writer at Spiked Online. She has developed a reputation for speaking out against the censorious nature of today’s identity politics today.
She has been especially critical of modern feminist perspectives that promote victim-hood and the idea that women are weak or lack agency and therefore need special treatment or to be protected.
In the aftermath of the Phillip Davies cake kerfuffle Whelan spoke out against the current spate of witch-hunts againt anti-feminists, pointing out that whilst no political ideology should be elevated above public discussion and debate in a democratic society, we are drifting dangerously close to criminalizing criticism of feminism.
Feminism has become untouchable. Criticise feminism on the internet and you’re branded a troll; speak out against the latest feminist campaign and you’re labelled a misogynist; disagree with the idea that we live in a rape culture and you’re called a rape apologist. The treatment of feminism’s critics as heretics, to be sacked, silenced and excluded until they repent, shows how contemporary feminism is taking the shape of a new religion. We are treating feminism as if it is infallible.
Here’s Ella discussing freedom of speech with the notorious thought criminal Dapper Laughs.
2. Professor Christina Hoff Sommers
Christina Hoff Summers is the resident scholar at conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute. Despite self identifying as an equity feminist, her critics have branded her as an anti-feminist due to her regular critiques of “third-wave” feminism and her support for the GamerGate movement.
Her books Who Stole Feminism? and The War Against Boys have argued that misandry is “rampant” in western society, that many modern feminists have an “inability to take seriously the possibility that the sexes are equal but different” and that schools had become “toxic environments for little boys.”
She has become a prominent figure in the online libertarian movement and produced a popular web series called the Factual Feminist series which has analyzed data relevant to various popular feminist myths and claims such as the purported “gender wage gap” .
3. Erin Prizzey
Erin Prizzey is a family care activist who became internationally famous for starting the first domestic violence refuge. Chiswick Women’s Aid opened in 1971 and grew into the charity Refuge which is the second biggest domestic violence in the UK.
Pizzey has been the subject of death threats and boycotts from militant feminists because of her belief that most domestic violence is reciprocal, and that women are equally capable of violence as men.
Her research supports the view that domestic violence is a learned behavior by both sexes in dysfunctional, violent families that is also complicated by alcohol and substance abuse, poverty, lack of education, and a variety of other factors with no relationship at all to gender.
By the mid-seventies, Pizzey found herself under bomb threat and pickets for allowing men to staff refuges. This led to a long exile from the UK. She moved to America opening shelters, lecturing on family violence and re-inventing herself as a best-selling writer.
4. Lauren Southern
Lauren Southern is a Canadian libertarian activist, political commentator, and writer.
Southern first rose to prominence through her participation in a social media campaign involving women offering reasons why they don’t need feminism. As a consequence she received attention and complaints from feminists who argued that feminism was a movement for everyone.
The following year she posted a video directly addressing these criticisms and reaffirming her rejection of the notion that feminism is a movement for equality.
She has continued to advocate for individualism and freedom of speech through different forms of activism and is a regular contributor to the Conservative media platform ‘The Rebel’.
In 2015 she stood in the Canadian Federal Election representing the Libertarian Party of Canada. She was briefly suspended by the Party after feminists made complaints and false allegations after a video of her protesting at a “Slutwalk” event went viral and attracted significant press.
She was quickly reinstated after an outcry from libertarians during which over ten fellow candidates resigned or threatened to resign.
5. Polly Vernon
Polly Vernon is a fashion journalist and columnist who has written for Vogue, the Guardian and the Evening Standard amongst others. She is currently Grazia’s Editor at Large and also writes for the Saturday Times.
In 2015 she published the book Hot Feminist which presented her own personal perspective of modern feminism and included the observation that the various recent ‘twitter storms’ was evidence that modern feminism had become extremely judgy and intent on man-bashing.
The Guardian published a review describing her book as ‘an attempt to rewrite feminism into a sloppy self-help movement whose main aim is to make you feel better about your thighs‘.
As a consequence she experienced a steady stream of abuse from feminists on twitter which ultimately lead to her abandoning the social media platform after she was left feeling depressed, anxious and body dysmorphic.
This new incarnation of feminism seems as occupied with shutting down any voices it finds uncomfortable, as it is with proactive change. That’s bad. It’s bad because ideas and ideologies need to be tested. How do you know you still believe in the things you’re so sure you believe in, if you never have to argue in their favour?
I marvelled at the extraordinary combination of self-congratulation, narcissism and bile in evidence all masquerading as feminist commentary.
6. Janet Bloomfield
She was an active contributor to the #WomenAgainstFeminism movement on twitter which lead to her account being suspended for a period after complaints from feminists.
She is a stay at home mum with an MBA who takes pride in the fact that her children have never seen the inside of a daycare center and her husband has never had to pack his own lunch.
As long as feminism is going to hold on to the “patriarchy” as an explanation for why so many men are suffering, rather than looking at the real economic, social, political and cultural reasons for that suffering I will continue to turn my back on it. What is the point engaging with a movement that thinks 50% of our human population just might be “obsolete”?
7. Professor Camille Paglia
Camille Paglia is an American academic and social critic. She is a commentator on multiple aspects of American Culture and a frequent critic of modern feminism.
She has been described as a anti-feminist feminist who is critical of central features of contemporary feminism but maintains her own special variety of feminist affirmation.
Famous feminist Gloria Steinem once suggested that Paglia calling herself a feminist is similiar to a Nazi saying they’re not anti-Semitic. By contrast Paglia called Steinem “the Stalin of feminism.”
If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts. Camille Paglia
Paglia has said that she is willing to have her entire career judged on the basis of “probably the most important sentence that she has ever written”: “God is man’s greatest idea.”
8. Germaine Greer
Greer is the author of the International Best Seller ‘The Female Eunuch’ and is widely regarded as as one of the major voices of the second wave feminist movement that rose to prominence in the late 1960’s.
She has fallen out of step with the popular third wave feminist perspective on transgender women and has been accused of transphobia and misogyny for asserting the view that she does not regard transgender women as women.