Three Things Feminists Do Not Say and Two Things Modified to the Point of Meaninglessness (a response)

“Five Things Feminists Need to Stop Saying”

I find that the three things feminists do not say at all (1, 3, 4) are often perpetuated by people who do not identify as feminists. It is most often women who indulge internalized misogyny and men and non-binary people who indulge in misogyny who say that all men are motivated by sex and violence to the point of destruction. As its corollary, heterosexual relationships are necessary because the gentle gatekeeper that is all women will keep these men in check. (Or, in other radfem cases, all men are a lost cause so political lesbianism is where it’s at)

To address how these are each problematic and why feminists never say them:

1. “If women ran the world, it would be more peaceful” Putting women on a pedestal of being the ultimate peacekeepers like this is perpetuating misogyny because it plays into established gender roles of all women as maternal and incapable/not prone to violence. Do you know women who love guns? I know a whole bunch of them. I know a whole ton of women who think the Iraq war was justified. Ironically, these are also a lot of the women whom I have heard say this.

2. “Government must ensure that women earn as much as men” but only if they’re doing the same job. This person seems to imply that feminists think receptionists (a job dominated by women) should make the same amount as firefighters (a job dominated by men). That is not real. Women on average earn approximately 77% of what men earn in identical positions. Women CFOs earn only 84% of what men CFOs make, at companies with the same market values (so “women are only CFOs of corporations that don’t make any money” is not a valid protest). This is what feminists are protesting.

Also teachers should make more money because are you kidding me? Doing their best to keep the country literate and math-capable? That is a societally valuable job. That is more valuable to us all than pro-business lobbying firms.

3. Women are smarter because they don’t hump everything they canYou know what perpetuates rape culture? Saying men can’t control their sexuality, but women can (because they don’t have any unless they are socially deviant), and therefore women must control all people’s sexuality. You know what feminists don’t like? Rape culture. Women are permitted only to be sexual in ways that are sexy to men, if you were thinking “BUT COSMO SAYS…”. Even Cosmo’s rare article about women masturbating includes “do it in front of your guy he’ll think it’s so hot!” Deviance is someone who is not a man enjoying sex for themselves, and not for someone else. Feminists also don’t like that (although I guess Jezebel would protest that).

4. Women are more spiritually evolved than menI have read exactly one book that dealt with this in an incredibly patronizing, misogynist way, and not being a spiritual person or a person that spends time with people who talk about spirituality, I do not think I can adequately address this beyond feminists aren’t all about putting women on a pedestal.

ETA: My friend Jyoti said, about this: “I was under the impression that the whole ‘women are more spiritual’ thing was a way of trying to make them accept their subservient roles in society with a promise of a better reward in the afterlife (at least in Christian societies),” which I think is a good evaluation. Needless to say, feminists are anti-“women unquestioningly accepting subservient roles because of their gender.”

5. You can’t say that because it’s offensive to women. You can say things that offend women, you’re just going to get called out on statements that espouse sexism. Individual women get offended by more than attacks on their gender. “Your argument is bad” would probably offend a lot of women to hear, but that isn’t the same as “women are bad at science,” which is misogynist.

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3 Responses to Three Things Feminists Do Not Say and Two Things Modified to the Point of Meaninglessness (a response)

  1. liberalcynic says:

    I’m confused; I have given examples of women saying these things. These women have, at some point, identified themselves as feminists. How can you claim to speak for all feminists by saying that feminists don’t say this or that? In fact, you should have titled your post: Three things a true feminist shouldn’t say, and then given your reasons as to why saying these things actually harms women.

    I agree with you. When men put women on pedestals for no reason, it’s because they either haven’t thought it through or they want the women to enjoy subservience. But when women who call themselves feminists say this, they’re exalting the superiority of the female in solving problems and being non-violent. And feminists do say this. Like you said, feminists who own guns and support wars talk about how peaceful a woman-ruled world will be. Why don’t you notice the misandry is perpetuates? People are convinced that being male is a pathology that people need to cured of. Read Christina Hoff Sommers on this issue.

    I clicked around your thinkprogress article to find the original news report of the CFO-salary gender disparity. Bloomberg reported that female CFO’s make 16% less than male CFO’s. They add that this study didn’t control for the fact that women are more likely to interrupt their careers for pregnancy and child-care, a factor that leads to less pay. They didn’t account for the fact that men move up the corporate ladder by jumping from company to company, another factor that leads to higher pay. Women are more likely to move the ladder in a single company. They also didn’t check for spousal income for all these CFOs. I bet most married female CFOs have husbands who make equal to or more than they do, whereas the wives of the male CFOs don’t make nearly that much, if they work at all. Men are motivated to negotiate frequent and large salary increases because of the higher impact the increases will have on their standard of living. These factors do better to explain the gender disparity in income better than an inherent bias. In fact, never-married women made more than never-married men between ages 45-54 as early as 1960, says Jessie Bernard in The Future of Marriage. So, we cannot interpret every single pay difference as discrimination before analyzing the data.

    Teachers’ salaries should be like any other salaries: fixed by demand and supply. I remember in my school, the male and female teachers probably drew similar salaries, but the female teachers drove expensive cars, because each one had a husband who made a good living not teaching. The male teachers were poor because what they earned was what their family spent. I don’t think you or I should be presumptuously say what someone deserves to earn because of their perceived value to society. Such terms are hard to define, and harder to quantify. If teachers don’t make enough money, they can go do something else. If society suffers because those teachers aren’t around, the salaries will go up, trust me.

    First of all, nobody like rape or rape-culture, whatever that is. I agree with you that painting women as sexless beings objectifies them more. Your opinion on this is more nuanced than many feminists. The feminists I’m talking about say that men can be forced to agree to anything if sex (consensual sex) is promised. Women feel sexual urges, but are smarter about handling them. That’s the opinion I disagree with. I have linked to a study that shows women guaranteed a good sexual experience being promiscuous.

    Comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard said women are more spiritually evolved than men on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. That’s just one example. I’ve heard it at other places too. From women who call themselves feminists. Such sentiments are used to manipulate women, but you can’t disagree that some feminists do actually believe it.

    As you said, feminists are anti-‘women unquestioningly accepting subservient roles because of their gender.’ True. But sometimes, in that zeal, they trample upon the liberty of some women who happen to disagree with them. It’s ridiculous how feminists are unable to see how some women are satisfied being housewives and raising children. How is it a feminist position to tell them what they’re supposed to like.

    If a person makes a sexist statement, you must call them out on it. The statement, “Women are bad at science,” is not only sexist, it’s also ridiculous. Who defined ‘bad at science’? Suggesting inherent gender-based differences in science-aptitude as a possible theory to explain the under-representation of women in science is a scientific hypothesis. It’s validity as a hypothesis can only be determined by analysis and not by how repugnant or sexist it sounds.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  2. Scarlett says:

    “I’m confused; I have given examples of women saying these things. These women have, at some point, identified themselves as feminists. How can you claim to speak for all feminists by saying that feminists don’t say this or that? In fact, you should have titled your post: Three things a true feminist shouldn’t say, and then given your reasons as to why saying these things actually harms women.”
    I can claim to speak for all feminists in this sense because I know what feminism is, and it is not promoting misogyny or positing that women are inherently superior to men. Radical feminism, which is the most likely form of “feminism” to espouse anti-male sentiments is widely criticized for a variety of reasons, including that its current mission is not feminist (their ideology rejects intersectionalism [that gender is not the sole means of oppression for women, but their race, class, ability, sexual orientation, and gender identity also play a factor, which is why women of color do not experience gender discrimination in the same ways as white women], and is horrifyingly transphobic). These people are not feminists. I do not feel the need to respect their identity as feminists if they insist on oppressing women.

    “I agree with you. When men put women on pedestals for no reason, it’s because they either haven’t thought it through or they want the women to enjoy subservience. But when women who call themselves feminists say this, they’re exalting the superiority of the female in solving problems and being non-violent. And feminists do say this. Like you said, feminists who own guns and support wars talk about how peaceful a woman-ruled world will be. Why don’t you notice the misandry is perpetuates? People are convinced that being male is a pathology that people need to cured of. Read Christina Hoff Sommers on this issue.”
    Christina Hoff Sommers… no. I do not do transphobic (in this case by means of erasure) “feminism” that refuses to see gender as a social construction, and ties it so firmly to sex. Her opposition to Title IX is offensive. So no.

    Women who call themselves feminists and say that are not actually feminists. The women I know who own guns do not identify as feminists. “Misandry” is not real because there is no systemic oppression of men on account of their gender in any meaningful (restricts livelihoods, disproportionately disenfranchises, subjects to unequal representation in power structures) way.

    I think I already said or implied that it was sexist to say that men want to murder people all the time.

    “I clicked around your thinkprogress article to find the original news report of the CFO-salary gender disparity. Bloomberg reported that female CFO’s make 16% less than male CFO’s. They add that this study didn’t control for the fact that women are more likely to interrupt their careers for pregnancy and child-care, a factor that leads to less pay. They didn’t account for the fact that men move up the corporate ladder by jumping from company to company, another factor that leads to higher pay. Women are more likely to move the ladder in a single company. They also didn’t check for spousal income for all these CFOs. I bet most married female CFOs have husbands who make equal to or more than they do, whereas the wives of the male CFOs don’t make nearly that much, if they work at all. Men are motivated to negotiate frequent and large salary increases because of the higher impact the increases will have on their standard of living. These factors do better to explain the gender disparity in income better than an inherent bias. In fact, never-married women made more than never-married men between ages 45-54 as early as 1960, says Jessie Bernard in The Future of Marriage. So, we cannot interpret every single pay difference as discrimination before analyzing the data.”

    It is discriminatory to determine a person’s income based on their spouse’s income. I cannot believe that I have to say that. When hiring a person, you hire them, not them and their spouse. Since your argument is that these women have rich husbands, it is misogynist to say so. Furthermore, do the companies hiring these well-paid husbands take into account that their wives are also in high-paying jobs? Because you say these men pretty exclusively have wives who don’t make as much as they do. This is a function of both women not being paid equally, and that women are less likely to be hired into high-paying jobs.

    Discriminating against women because they are or might get pregnant violates our current employment discrimination policies (see: Pregnancy Discrimination Act).

    “Teachers’ salaries should be like any other salaries: fixed by demand and supply. I remember in my school, the male and female teachers probably drew similar salaries, but the female teachers drove expensive cars, because each one had a husband who made a good living not teaching. The male teachers were poor because what they earned was what their family spent. I don’t think you or I should be presumptuously say what someone deserves to earn because of their perceived value to society. Such terms are hard to define, and harder to quantify. If teachers don’t make enough money, they can go do something else. If society suffers because those teachers aren’t around, the salaries will go up, trust me.”

    Society is currently suffering from a lack of teachers. It just doesn’t care, and children suffer in large classes in which the teachers are penalized if test scores aren’t high enough. It isn’t difficult or presumptuous to say that education is a good thing.

    Your argument of “if you don’t like it get another job” ignores the rampant classism in our society. Poor people are not poor because they want to be. Our kyriarchal society is very invested in, and therefore very good at keeping people in their current socioeconomic classes. Saying “just quit” is far easier said than done, and reveals class ignorance.

    “First of all, nobody like rape or rape-culture, whatever that is. I agree with you that painting women as sexless beings objectifies them more. Your opinion on this is more nuanced than many feminists. The feminists I’m talking about say that men can be forced to agree to anything if sex (consensual sex) is promised. Women feel sexual urges, but are smarter about handling them. That’s the opinion I disagree with. I have linked to a study that shows women guaranteed a good sexual experience being promiscuous.”

    Please read about rape culture. People like it. The idea that men can be forced into doing anything with just the promise of sex is not a feminist one.

    “Comedian and actress Sandra Bernhard said women are more spiritually evolved than men on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. That’s just one example. I’ve heard it at other places too. From women who call themselves feminists. Such sentiments are used to manipulate women, but you can’t disagree that some feminists do actually believe it.”

    Bill Maher is a horrible person (he is routinely unapologetic about his sexism, racism, and xenophobia), and I am not surprised he has fake feminists on his show.

    “As you said, feminists are anti-’women unquestioningly accepting subservient roles because of their gender.’ True. But sometimes, in that zeal, they trample upon the liberty of some women who happen to disagree with them. It’s ridiculous how feminists are unable to see how some women are satisfied being housewives and raising children. How is it a feminist position to tell them what they’re supposed to like.”

    This is why I said “unquestioningly.” It is important to analyze how and if our actions are functions of misogyny. If a woman stays at home with her kids because that’s what she’s supposed to do, or because she expects only her spouse to work, that is generally a function of misogyny. The same can be said for any job. Women who criticize all women who are homemakers, even if they have gone about it in a feminist way, are in fact limiting the roles that women can take, which is precisely what patriarchy does. The fact that they choose different roles to inhibit is irrelevant – both are wrong.

    That said, “choice feminism” also isn’t real feminism because it posits that everything women do or like is feminist. Internalized misogyny and a lack of self-criticism and awareness refute that.

    Frankly, it sounds like many of the people you know who call themselves feminists are intensely misogynist, and therefore are not feminists.

  3. Darrel says:

    I kinda feel that arguing about misandry not existing only serves to hurt feminism in the long run because that’s like arguing that Jews don’t do terrible things. We’re all human after all, man and woman. Man haters and woman haters all exist. And technically, misandry it at its core, man hating. Denying it is like pretending that Nazism doesn’t exist. It’s an elephant in the room that no one wants to address.

    Granted, misandry isn’t that widespread and problematic but like many things on this big blue earth of ours, there are many surprises. The point is by saying that “it doesn’t exist”, you are fueling the very idea for misogynists to harden their stances. It also fuels MORE bad feminists who then abuse their positions to make life miserable for men who have nothing to do with the issue.

    I’m not going to force my take on this issue on you though because you seem like a reasonable person overall. This is just my two cents and for the most part I do agree with you except for the “misandry doesn’t exist” part.

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