Earlier today, this “infographic” from Vagenda Magazine showed up on my Twitter timeline:
…Right. Let’s go through all of these, in order.
- “Not sexy” – This defeats the object. Women should not be defined based on whether or not they are sexy. This is a patriarchal myth.
- “Un-feminine” – The fact that a “feminine” stereotype even exists shows that feminism is needed. The “feminine” stereotype is a patriarchal myth.
- “Makes you feel guilty” – Again, THAT’S THE POINT. You realise that certain things you say/do are inadvertently sexist, so you stop saying/doing them. Once you’ve done that, nobody should continue to “make you feel guilty”. This perceived permanent judging of people who have genuinely changed is a patriarchal myth.
- “In-fighting” – There’s also in-fighting in politics. There’s in-fighting in most friendship groups. There’s in-fighting in life. People disagree. This isn’t a reason to avoid feminism; if anything, it’s a reason to add your support to your chosen opinions. There is no more in-fighting in feminism than in any other activist group; such a notion is a patriarchal myth.
- “Angry” – Okay, so feminism is angry; but this shouldn’t be a bad thing. If you realised how much oppression is faced by so many groups of people, you’d be angry about it too. Anger is (usually) how change happens. Also, when was the last time you heard a man being told to calm down? Turns out that anger being a bad thing is, too, a patriarchal myth.
- “Unattractive” – See “not sexy”. Patriarchal myth.
- “Hostile” – Only if you say something massively offensive. I’m relatively new to this – the blog’s been up for just over a fortnight – and everyone’s been really welcoming so far; the only Twitter argument I’ve had was nothing to do with feminism (or gender at all, for that matter). I went to my university’s WomCam meeting for the first time the other day, and they were similarly welcoming. As you may have guessed, any hostility surrounding feminism is a patriarchal myth.
- “No longer needed” – Actually, yes it is. A quick look at The Everyday Sexism Project, as well as its #ShoutingBack and #StandingUp hashtags, proves this. The idea that feminism is “no longer needed” impedes feminism. Guess who benefits from that? It’s another patriarchal myth.
- “Confusing” – Seriously, it really isn’t. Women and men should be treated equally – in fact, everyone should be treated equally. If you believe this, you’re a feminist. And if there are any terms or concepts that you don’t understand, just ask. If you don’t want to ask the person, then ASK GOOGLE. It’s really not hard; that’s just a patriarchal myth.
- “Intimidating” – See “hostile”. Patriarchal myth.
- “Academic” – See “confusing”. Patriarchal myth.
- “Dogmatic” – “Forcibly asserted as if authoritative and unchallengeable”. (Yes, I had to look it up. It took about ten seconds of my time. See “confusing”.) This sounds more like the kyriarchy and mainstream media to me. However, applying the label to feminism and intersectionality looks better for, you guessed it, patriarchal myths.
- “Too radical” – So wanting gender equality is too radical? Would you rather maintain gender inequality? Who would? The patriarchy. Hence all the patriarchal myths.
- “Not relateable” – This depends on the person, I suppose, but most people (regardless of gender) have experienced sexism. Have you ever been told that something is “for boys” or “for girls”, “masculine” or “feminine”? Have you ever experienced harassment? At work, have strangers ever assumed you were a different gender due to the type of job you do? Congratulations, there’s going to be something you can relate to. This relates to what I said about “No longer needed” – most people feel they can’t relate because they genuinely don’t realise the discrimination they’ve experienced, because sexism doesn’t exist according to, again, patriarchal myths.
- “Scary” – This is understandable, but like “Angry”, this shouldn’t be a reason to avoid speaking out. In fact, the reason I set up this blog and Twitter is because I realised that I kept refraining from tweeting about sexism due to who could possibly see it. And that’s what the people you’re scared of want you to do, because if women aren’t speaking out, society is allowed to continue to spread patriarchal myths.
- “Man-hating” – This is factually incorrect. Feminists do not hate men. Feminists hate the patriarchy. The patriarchy is not men. The patriarchy is a system maintained by some men as well as some women; in fact, there are occasions where men (particularly fathers) suffer discrimination due to stereotypes about “women’s work” (particularly parenting). Feminists realise this. Feminists want equality. Anything else you hear is a patriarchal myth.
- “Seemed exclusive – not for people like me” – Unfortunately, there are some self-proclaimed “feminists” who do exclude others, as shown by certain transphobic articles published this week. However, this is not true of all feminists, and should not be used to put people off feminism as a whole. In fact, I get the feeling that these transphobic articles made it to publication in order to perpetuate this perceived “exclusivity”… making it a patriarchal myth, for a change. 😛
- “No education about it” – See also “Confusing”. But seriously, if there’s no education about feminism, that’s a reason to support feminism, not a reason to avoid it. Under this logic, if there’s no support for feminism, more people will get away with not educating others about feminism, so there will be less support for feminism, etc. Sounds like a patriarchal myth.
- “Too intellectual” – See “Confusing”. Patriarchal myth.
- “Pious” – “Marked by false devoutness; solemnly hypocritical.” I can see why this would apply to a minority of feminists, see also “Seemed exclusive – not for people like me”, but like I said, they certainly don’t speak for all feminists; this is a patriarchal myth.
- “Irrelevant” – See “No longer needed”. Patriarchal myth.
Please tell me you see a recurring theme here, because now I’m sick of typing “patriarchal myth”.