I’m not a feminist. It’s not something that I like to throw at people, because I’m wholly accepting of most feminists and admire their concern for social issues, but when someone speaks to me with the assumption that my gender requires me to be a feminist, I feel inclined to burst that bubble and deviate a bit. Especially considering that the group behind tomorrow’s Women’s March on Washington retracted a partnership with a pro-life feminist group, proving that mainstream feminists would rather turn away women who disagree with them on a few issues than show solidarity against a president-elect who is being accused of sexual assault.
Needless to say, I’m not in good company on a college campus, considering that 78.3 percent of college women identify as feminist, according to a survey by Her Campus. When I lived in an all women's residence hall on Douglass, there were two separate situations where my friends said to me, “Oh, you’re a feminist, you just don’t know it!” and, after two minutes of deliberation, admitted that they were wrong and that I was indeed not a feminist. And I think that it’s unfortunate that women are pressured to identify with feminism. If a woman vocally dismisses that notion, she has to receive the same tedious and patronizing response that amounts to “But don’t you know feminism just means you believe in equality?” Feminists seem to forget that their view is a political movement — a movement that in the United States is less of a necessity than in third-world countries where women have little to no rights. It’s a broad and convoluted movement that includes vocal radicals who believe that gender is an oppressive construct of the patriarchy and that all men are lesser. Western feminism is much more complex than believing in “equality” — and those who opt out of being associated with the movement are not misogynists.
Most feminists do believe in “equality,” but because women are virtually guaranteed the same political rights as men in America, feminist “equality” is more concerned with the government solving insignificant — or just made-up — inequities in American society. For example, even though the wage gap is a huge talking point for feminists, economists by large concede that women do not get paid less than men, generally, and that women earn less because they choose lower-earning jobs or work fewer hours — even if that is due to social pressure women face, it is not something the government can solve through legislation. There are positions that have been widely publicized on Jezebel and Buzzfeed — like tampons and sanitary napkins being “human rights” that no one who believes in limited government can support. There are real issues — like rape and sexual harassment — that feminism has failed to solve or has not been prioritized by radical feminists who make issues out of nothing.
Feminists think it’s an issue that pink pens cost more than blue pens. Perhaps the cost could be a result of marketing towards females being more expensive, or the product being better quality, but no — Bic definitely thinks women are terrible and we should be oppressed. Feminists forget the fact that women have the right to not purchase pink pens — if the consumer does prefer pink pens, the price increase is marginal, yet they stubbornly see it as a worthy fight in a society where there are no important issues. They also think it’s an issue that pink pens even exist, because why should pens be gendered? Never mind the fact that gender roles have never been as weak in American society as they are today — things that we see as normal, like women wearing pants instead of dresses are the product of centuries of progression and the breaking down of traditional gender roles. But no, it’s oppressive that the color pink is associated with femininity. Maybe our society isn’t perfect, but it’s not for lack of trying. There is little regression to speak of — women have generally been getting more rights and privileges as the years have gone by — so if a woman is content with the status quo and doesn’t identify with feminism, so be it.
Feminists have a right to fight against whatever inequities they see in American society, but it’s unethical to pressure all women to subscribe to such a complicated and messy movement, especially when it implicitly goes against the views of many Americans who believe in small government. Mainstream feminists demand so many other beliefs besides “equality,” and as tomorrow’s March on Washington proves, it’s more exclusive than one would think.
Andrea Vacchiano is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore double-majoring in history and political science. Her column, "Tory Time," runs on alternate Fridays.
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