In a poll conducted by Refinery 29 and CBS, 54 percent of young women claimed they are not feminists and do not identify nor care for the policies and societal criticisms that come along with the label. However, I find that nitpicking through policies that are aligned with feminism and disagreeing with them is no excuse to leave behind the changes that still need to be dealt with. And, most of the excuses to not supporting feminism as a whole are quite hypocritical.
Overall, these young non-feminists find the movement to be overbearing and a hotbed for drastic, far-left policies. They find women to inherently be equal to men, and that feminism in the modern West world is not necessary anymore.
Refinery 29 interviewed some of these women, and their statements giving their lack of support to fourth-wave feminism. One interviewee, Leah, finds that the movement has become too far left for her independent political mindset.
One movement she is highly against is the “push” for abortion. In her words, she believes that feminism markets only the positives of abortion rather than focusing on the negative effects as well.
“Most feminists that I’ve read deny any negative emotional backlash or health risks for women having an abortion, which is extremely disingenuous in my view,” commented Leah. “Although not all women suffer emotionally or physically after an abortion, many do, and their stories are ignored by mainstream feminism because it doesn’t fit the narrative of abortion being a good thing for women.”
But with the uncertain fate of Roe v Wade, is this the time to lash out against how feminists market abortion? It is understandable and agreeable that there is an extreme lack of focusing on the negative effects of abortion. However, there is only an emphasis on the positives to ensure that this choice remains available for all women, because, after all, the right to an abortion is all about a woman’s agency over her own body.
Another argument against fourth-wave feminists is that the movement is no longer necessary for women in the developed world.
“I don’t think women in the modern western world are oppressed. Women are doing just fine. I think modern feminists try to create a boogeyman out of what they call the patriarchy and hunt it down, but it’s not necessary,” said Stephanie, a 25-year-old Republican. “Men and women are equal, but different. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledging that is not sexist.”
Stephanie’s statement may have some truth to it; women are doing extraordinary things in their professional lives and have closed the equality gap quite a bit. However, that does not by any means translate to the job being done. The pay gap is still very much large and real, and women are treated extremely different in the work place still.
Additionally, just because there is seemingly not much work to do for women in the modern world, that doesn’t mean fourth-wave feminism isn’t standing up for the rights of women in developing countries. Even though we’ve advanced in our country, women around the world are anything but equal to men in their societies. Disparaging feminism on the grounds that it isn’t necessary for a specific country or part of the world is a plainly selfish, egocentric view.
Another independent affiliated interviewee also said she is against feminism because she finds it to be “man-bashing,” something that she doesn’t agree with. However, there is little to no man-hating going on within the feminist movement. Anyone who believes this is seriously misunderstood should do further research. And, if this were even true, why would there be multiple feminist identifying males?
While it is understandable and everyone is completely allowed to have their own opinions, I really believe women who outwardly and aggressively pit themselves against the feminist movement should reconsider the issues in which they have a problem with. As a feminist, I find that overall the movement is about women supporting other women.
In Leah’s situation, disagreeing with pro-choice advertising for its lack of advocating toward women’s physical and mental wellbeing is feminist in its self. By saying you’re not a feminist because you’re concerned with misinformation regarding women’s health is just hypocritical considering a main policy push from fourth-wave feminism is advocacy for women’s all-around health.
I agree with Stephanie, in the fact that there are some issues that are being nitpicked within today’s view of feminism, and I agree that women are striving in ways that were unimaginable 50 years ago. However, just because women living in the modern world are doing ok doesn’t mean that women in other parts of the world do not need advocates to fight for their rights. It definitely doesn’t mean that those issues don’t fall under the fourth-wave feminist umbrella.
Lastly, “man-hating” is the oldest excuse in the book to not being a feminist. I understand if your extremely low confidence level makes you bash feminism in fear of being unappealing to men. But, the truth is that more and more men are identifying as feminists themselves. And, you shaping your opinions and views around that fear is just another reason why feminism exists. Females shouldn’t be afraid to call themselves feminists just because it doesn’t place them in the ideal girl mold that boys, not men, want.