Herizons Commentary

Pussies Against Feminism  by Lyn Cockburn
Pussies Against Feminism

They’re mostly well-educated, young and female, and they want us to know that they don’t need feminism.

They’re part of an online site titled Women Against Feminism, and its popularity appears to be growing. As of this writing, it sports a 4,000-person-strong Facebook page and, over at Tumblr, Women Against Feminism has 4,000 posts and 8,000 followers. These sites have been around since last year but have really only taken off in the past few months. To participate, all you have to do is submit a photo along with a handwritten sign beginning with “I don’t need feminism because.....”

My favourite so far is: “I don’t need feminism because I can own up to the mistakes I’ve made in my life and do not have to blame them on the completely fictional PATRIARCHY.” Coming in second for the silver in the Feminism Sucks Games is this: “I don’t need feminism because society does not objectify me—feminists are the ones who tell me that.” And for the bronze: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t hate all men.” Special mention goes to the one woman over 40 on the site who is wearing a T-shirt sporting a fake Starbucks logo
with the line “I heart GUNS & COFFEE.”

It is likely that when Gloria Steinem said that feminism is the only major social movement that has to reinvent itself every generation or so, she did not have Women Against Feminism (WAF) in mind. WAFers have created an atmosphere akin to slut-shaming. Here is but one example: “I don’t need feminism because getting drunk at a party and having sex with a stranger is just irresponsibility, NOT RAPE.” This is followed by sign after sign announcing, “I don’t need feminism because I am not a victim.”

But the most fascinating aspect of WAF (yes, it is tempting to change that acronym to WTF) is that its adherents spout every definition of feminism that has been used over the years to damn feminism. Disgruntled men, outraged conservatives, religious leaders and, indeed, some women have used the feminists- hate-men argument to denigrate the movement. The zenith of this accusation is reached when a man who has come on to you responds to your rejection, however polite, by saying, “Oh, so you’re a lesbian.” Note that this same man will apologize to your boyfriend if he appears with the drinks.

You and I know what feminism is and isn’t, but I find it sad that so many young women do not understand that they can protest, vote, work, become prime minister, buy a house, live openly as a same-sex couple, play hockey, marry as an equal partner or not marry. All because of feminism.

It seems so straightforward, so simple, so welcoming. Of course there are bad-tempered feminists—we, too, are human. And of course some feminists are lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, as well as straight, white, black, brown and “off-white,” as a Spanish friend of mine calls her skin tone. We speak a variety of languages and live in a variety of countries. We are of every age.

And, despite stereotypes, we do have a sense of humour. I direct you to a wonderful site that keeps me moderately sane while reading the miscast signs by WAFers. It is confusedcatsagainstfeminism.tumblr. com. My favourite is the photo of lovely tabby cat opining, “I don’t need feminism because someone already picked up my poop today.”

Then there’s “I don’t need feminism because I am a princess,” coming from a puss dressed in princessy pink. And a snoozing kitty vows, “I don’t need feminism because I plan on sleeping my way to the top.” The top prize for Cats Against Feminism, however, surely goes to the beautiful fluffy white cat shown in a photograph being taken for a walk by her human. Her sign declares: “I don’t need feminism because if I can’t see the leash, there is no leash.” 