A common critique of today’s feminism is that it has ‘gone too far’. Some say that we’ve ‘created’ a gender ideology, that we hate men, that we cook up harassment stories, and that we’re easily offended, angry or radical. Others want to belittle feminism by calling it a fad.

‘Today’s feminism’ implies that, once upon a time, there was a more acceptable, amicable and effective feminist movement. When people criticise ‘today’s feminism’, they assume that ‘yesterday’s feminism’ was preferable. And I wonder, was it?

The first wave of feminism took place between the 19th and early 20th centuries. It focused on achieving women’s suffrage among other basic rights. These feminists were known as the Suffragettes. The right to vote, to property and to divorce may seem like obvious demands now, but they were met with ridicule at the time.

Suffragettes were depicted by media outlets as disgusting, boisterous and radical.

Men who supported them were publicly mocked. Anti-suffragists claimed that women’s ability to vote would grow radicalism, increase domestic terrorism, and generally turn the world on its head.

Anti-Suffragette Cartoon from 1908


A second wave of feminists emerged in the 1960s. These women fought for sexual and reproductive freedom, against strict beauty norms and for their right to work outside the home.

Second wave feminism suffered a tremendous backlash.

Society declared them ‘petty’ for discussing bras and body hair instead of ‘real problems’. Feminists at this time were heavily stereotyped as being humourless, hairy-legged, man-hating and unhappy women. Media outlets censored their fight by using the past tense when referring to feminism and falsely declaring that feminism was ‘dead’.

As a backlash to the backlash, a third wave of feminism sprouted in the 1990s – largely influenced by punk and underground trends. Third-wave feminists fought for social justice and focused on increasing the intersectionality and inclusivity missing from earlier forms of feminism. However, once again, they were demonised with the same arguments: man-hating, ugly, crazy, going too far.

I make these brief historical references to point out that no feminism has ever been fully celebrated. And in the current fourth-wave of feminism, which uses digital tools to strengthen the fight, anti-feminist voices are as loud as ever.

Anti-feminists have been critiquing ‘today’s feminism’ for decades.

Doing so allows them to acknowledge that widely-celebrated changes from the past were good, while simultaneously attempt to halt current and future progress.

Most people today will agree that to vote is a basic right and that women deserve economic independency and sexual agency. But not everyone understands yet that trans women are women, that sexism is an everyday problem and that the pay gap exists.

In 30 years time, we will look back and think of the #MeToo movement as a crucial point on the feminism timeline. It will be recognised as a necessary step on the way to equality – in the same way that no one now doubts that women’s suffrage was worth the fight.

One day in the future, 2019’s feminism will be normalised and seen as worth the fight. But for this to happen, we must never let them tell us that we’ve gone too far.

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Category: Feminism    Rights    Society
Tagged with: #MeToo    antifeminism    backlash    feminism    Gender    Gender Equality    Human Rights    Reproductive Health    Rights    suffragettes    universal suffrage    waves of feminism    Women's Empowerment    women's rights    women's vote

Georgina Diaz

@dgeorgina

Georgina is a feminist communicator passionate about tackling gender inequality and SRHR issues among the youngest generations. She holds a Degree in Marketing and a Masters in Education, Gender and International Development from UCL. Georgina has worked in communications and project management roles with several international and grassroots NGOs in the United Kingdom, Uganda and Nicaragua. Her work has focused on sexual and reproductive health, sex workers' rights and supporting women in conflict-affected countries.

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  • Avatar

    MGTOW really is the way to go isn’t it? Sucks to be a society built on pleasing women. Have fun with your empty bars.

  • Avatar
    Shaun Snapp

    This entire article uses the logical fallacy of a staw man or paper tiger argument. It also has not aged well. Let us take this quote.

    “In 30 years time, we will look back and think of the #MeToo movement as a crucial point on the feminism timeline.”

    No, #MeToo, with Joe Biden has been modified to #MeTooIfYouBelongtoTheOpposingPolitialParty or #MeTooButNotifJoeBiden. Amber Heard ruined the whole “believe all women trope.”

    Women have been exposed as entirely hypocritical on #MeToo.

    Here is another problematic quote.

    “Most people today will agree that to vote is a basic right and that women deserve economic independency and sexual agency. But not everyone understands yet that trans women are women, that sexism is an everyday problem and that the pay gap exists.”

    What is economic independency? Does this mean a continual transfer of wealth from men to women through family courts? Because that is what women in the US and in Europe are currently doing. What is sexual agency? Does that mean women have the right to pay for kids they do not want? Because again, family court to the rescue. Does it mean that women are selfishly entitled to be single mothers with no partner — even though we know the outcomes of single mothers — on average, poorly performing and adjusted children? What is the pay gap? The often quote pay gap of 77% is not for the same jobs. It does not account for the significantly smaller amount of time women spend in the workforce. If you are quoting the pay gap in the developed countries, at least, you are not investigating things, or are bad at math, or are lying to make a point.

    Modern feminism is not about “equality,” it is about superiority. Women want to dominate the home environment (and receive preferential family court treatment) and also the professional environment. They want high-status jobs and leave all of the difficult and dirty jobs for men. Modern women see the world as a buffet line where they can pick and choose the good things and leave the bad things, the difficult things to men. THAT is modern feminism.

    So yes, modern western women have lost their minds. And something else — the arguments presented by feminists actually illustrates the point that even though more women graduate from college than men now, they on average have a significantly lower logical reasoning ability than men. Secondly, modern western women live in a fantasy land, where they do not realize who is doing most of the work to hold maintain their standard and style of living. Women live in houses their sex does not build, own furniture they do not move, rely on technologies their sex had little hand in creating and rely on a repair and maintenance system they have little involvement in supporting.

    The sexes used to have a more reciprocal relationship — but now feminists have tricked women into thinking that are men and that they do the same things as men, that they can do things they cannot do or have a poor aptitude for doing.

    This is all false. And these false claims are put out by women studies departments which aren’t academic departments as much as professional grievance entities, entities which know nothing about biology and say idiotic statements like “sex is only a social construct.”

    However, because of the logical problems so many women have, it is impossible for most women to understand these facts.

  • Avatar
    Nosherwan Ali

    Just watch a few media broadcasts of these women’s rights protests and other clips, of which many you can find on the internet of women basically harassing men for making a “sexist” comment or any related action. These men are not only being harassed but these public dialogue exchanges lead to a disturbance to the public and the woman’s refusal to abide by the laws even when security asks them to shut it, which might I add, would lead to a more physical conclusion towards a male. I myself am a victim of this. I have no prejudice against women, in fact, I think women, not exactly rights, but are deserving of a higher level of respect than men if they dont take advantage of that. You give a woman almost anything, she is capable of making it better. They deserve opportunities in professional jobs but there is no excusing the fact, that the keeping together of a house, which is no dishonorable job, can only be done by a woman. While many think that the first human was a man, in religious terms, I believe that it was a woman. What she is capable of cannot be undermined. This might be a goofy analogy, but women can be viewed as elves while the males are dwarves in terms of the lord of the rings. The elves, a gentle and elegant race of immortals, living in there magnificent castles in forests while the dwarves, lords of stone, halfwits and rough yet also capable of being kind and loyal. I hope that made sense.

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