I believe in equality of the sexes, but I do not align myself with the modern feminist movement. I have watched friends and peers identify as feminists without really knowing what modern-day feminism stands for. At a glance, feminism seems agreeable to any reasonable person. According to Merriam-Webster, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes.” However, the actions and ideals of present-day, third-wave feminism treads into territory well beyond this definition.
The root principles of feminism are important concepts, but, when co-opted by radical political activists whose message revolves more around gender dominance than equity, it becomes overwhelming and inflicts the same injustices it was founded to prevent. Women fought tirelessly for the right to vote, equal pay, and treatment equal to that of their male counterparts. While de jure women’s rights were first enforced in 1971, some women still lacked relief from de facto discrimination.
According to Dr. Jenna Elis, an opinion contributor for The Hill, feminism has “gone from demanding equality to demanding entitlements.” While we are by no means at the destination, the fight for equal opportunity has been largely achieved. Modern feminists have now centered the fight around liberation from men, marriage, and even their own children. Men and women are vastly different biologically, which results in differences as members of society. Despite this fact, modern feminists attribute outcomes of biological difference to the effects of a patriarchal society.
The most significant difference between men and women is their role in reproduction. Women experience a much more intimate role in this process because their bodies are made to nurture children. Men are limited in what they can provide for their newborn children since their bodies cannot contribute to many of the baby’s needs. Therefore, in the early stages of a child’s life, it is often in the best interest of the child for the mother to raise the child and the father to work and support the family. Third-wave feminism intertwines pro-choice and pro-woman positions, making the case that if you do not believe in abortion, you do not believe in women’s rights. In 2017, the Women’s March excluded pro-life feminists from joining them in support of issues that concern all women.
Third-wave feminism also promotes the harmful view that men— and more specifically masculinity— have become “toxic” to not only women, but society at large.
In The Science of Sex Differences is Nothing for Feminists to be Afraid of, Aurora Sola explains that “as feminists, we are shooting ourselves in the foot by making arguments for gender equality that hinge on the false premise that the sexes must be the same in order to be equal. To be relevant today— and to avoid becoming embroiled in pointless disputes— feminists need to ground their advocacy in science.” Taking a leading role in the nurture of your child should not be stigmatized, women have a unique functionality within society that is different from men. This does not mean that women can’t work, provide and be mothers and wives. The entire premise of feminism is that women should have the choice and ability to be all three yet, somewhere from first to third wave feminism, we began to exclude the role of women as nurturers and see it as a weakness rather than the strength that it is.
Releasing yourself from responsibilities is not advocating or supporting your rights, but rather teaching women to reject and discard who they are and what they have to offer. It is crucial for women to work with men to create the best society for both genders.
The unfortunate truth is that, as a woman, I have been treated worse by some feminists than I have been by men. In his article What’s the Problem with Feminism, Mark Manson concluded that “tribal feminism laid out a specific set of beliefs— that everywhere you look there is constant oppression from the patriarchy, that masculinity is inherently violent, and that the only differences between men and women are figments of our cultural imagination, not based on biology or science.” Because I do not associate myself with these feminist beliefs, I have been shunned by the very people who claim to be fighting for my rights. This tribalism is all too prevalent in the modern feminist movement, and, if not remedied, their platform will have lasting negative effects on parts being a woman that they find weak or condescending, such as marriage and motherhood.
While I respect how far feminism has come, I cannot stand for where it is going. I believe in the success of men and women alike, but third-wave feminism asks for more than equality. Feminism has transformed into more than just a philosophical idea, but rather an exclusive identity in which women believe they stand on the moral high ground for being historically disadvantaged. It is important to keep the past in mind, but it is dangerous as a society to use past mistakes as justification for present-day wrongdoings.