Whilst the acceptance of feminism is now widespread across every university campus in Britain, you do still come across the occasional misguided individual in the Friendship Inn, convinced that feminists are out to cut their dick off. Here are some common misconceptions about feminism, debunked.
Feminists hate men
The theory here being that because feminists are so invested in fighting for equality for the female sex, that this obviously involves crushing their male counterparts to dust in the process. This is quite clearly not true, since the point of feminism is to have equality for both genders. Feminists in fact don’t hate me, they hate sexism, misogyny and the patriarchy. In Feminism is For Everybody, bell hooks rightly stated: “Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”
Feminists are hysterical
It’s centuries old, but the stereotype of women with a point to prove being hysterical refuses to die. By this logic, feminists are left with no leg to stand on when all of their highly valid points are shot down as overly dramatic. But you quite simply can’t argue with the facts that feminists have to offer. Returning to what bell hooks says: “As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem.” It is a rare passionate feminist who doesn’t have solid evidence to back up her emotional protestations, and facts don’t mean hysteria.
Feminism is only beneficial for women
Feminism helps both men and women as it works to achieve a more realistic version of masculinity for men. There is a strong feminist focus on ending cycles of abuse in the marital home that are thought to stem from supressed male emotions. A study in 1981 called The Unintended Victims of Marital Violence, found that “Male children who witness the abuse of mothers by fathers are more likely to become men who batter in adulthood than those male children from homes free of violence.” By embracing a more equal society, the hyperbolized figure of masculinity is defunct.
While not exhaustive, these are some of the most general misconceptions about feminism. Next time you get irritated at Lena Dunham or Caitlin Moran’s latest tweet and are about to try and take down feminism in one fell swoop, bear these in mind.