the lip crew on women against feminism
So…you don’t need feminism, huh?
‘“Why would you want to make it harder than it has to be?” This was the question raised by my basketball coach during a losing game. Our team wasn’t communicating properly; we were making awful passes and executing some pretty half-arsed plays. All in all, the game was a mess.
“I just don’t understand why you are making it harder for yourselves”, he said, running his fingers through his hair in frustration. “These are your mates you’re playing with out there! You should be trying to make it as easy as possible! I just…don’t understand…”
“Why would you want to make it harder than it has to be?”
Today I find myself asking the same question of the women participating in the #WomenAgainstFeminism Twitter campaign. It’s great that you may feel you no longer need feminism to help you achieve what you want (hell, that’s one thing that feminism is about, being given the option!), but why make it harder on the rest of the team to shoot goals? Why make it harder for those still struggling to even get a score on the board? Women should be cheering women on for their ability to make choices, shaking their pom poms in support rather than holding up signs in the grand stand with messages beginning with “I don’t need feminism because…”
That is not a sign I would like to see when hauling my tired arse down the court to shoot the lights out for gender equality.
I have a sign and it reads:
I will always need feminism because I understand that in the game of life there was a time when women weren’t allowed to take a shot. Hell, there was a time when women didn’t even have a team. Whether you think you need it or not, feminism is keeping you in the game.’ – Brianna Doolan, Writer
‘I remember the first time I read Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s short story The Yellow Wall-paper while I was in my second year at university. The female protagonist suffers from depression and her actions, thoughts and feelings are all controlled by her doctor husband. As a “cure” she is imprisoned within her home. Doing activities like reading, writing, or exercise are frowned upon. Her need to be present within the world, the world governed by men, is maddening. I’ve read and re-read this short story a lot since. It’s kind of one of my go to stories that I’ll pick up every six months or so. It’s the perfect taste of poignancy on my tongue. But, another reason why I always go back to this story is because it wakes me up to feminism and why we need to hold onto it, why we can’t deny or reject it. We can’t be Women Against Feminism. Gillman’s story of abuse, pain, suffering and solace is a reminder to me of how far feminism has come but it’s also a reminder to me of how much feminism has to go, no matter how big or subtle patriarchy is. Feminism is something we have to uphold or we will revert to living in the world that Gillman lived in, that Gillman felt trapped in, that Gillman rebelled against.’ – Emilie Bertsch, Writer
‘This kind of thing makes me tired. I didn’t read through the entire hashtag because the retweets and responses – a very, very tiny fraction of all of the tweets—- were enough to make me physically and emotionally drained. I’m not sure what more to do about this sentiment anymore. I’ve confronted in my personal, professional and academic life. Does feminism need a rebrand? This question comes up whenever some variation of #WomenAgainstFeminism appears; whether it’s a high-profile CEO denouncing the movement or a misinformed celebrity emphasising her love for men. (Which raises another question: why are we treating social justice the same way we’d treat a corporation?) I don’t think a rebranding of feminism is the issue. I don’t even think a better understanding among the women participating in the hashtag is the issue. This feels like a byproduct of a movement that is trying to undo deeply ingrained sexism, classism, racism, cissexism and heterosexism and we who still feel a connection to feminism can only continue to do the work, even for those people who reject it. – Shannon Clarke, Writer
‘When I first heard about #WomenAgainstFeminism I genuinely thought it was a sick joke made up by some misogynistic bastard. But upon looking at their Facebook page, I was saddened to see that these “women” – who were actually predominantly young girls – were dead serious about this so-called “cause” they were supporting. Some of their responses were downright hilarious and others made me cringe – but they all made me incredibly angry. It’s perfectly fine to not label yourself as a “feminist” or to call yourself something similar like an “equalist”, but to completely misinterpret the term by claiming it is derogatory to men or whatever dumb excuse they used, is ignorant, idiotic and, to be honest, completely laughable. I mean, who’s going to take these women seriously? Whilst I was reading the responses I was thinking: “Good for you, you white privilege ignoramus!” You may not need feminism, but the reason why you have the choice to be a domestic goddess or a CEO or in the military is because feminists fought for your right to vote/work/drive/own your own home/receive equal rights in the eyes of the law/etc…etc… Not to mention these first-world ideals and problems are miniscule compared to the boundaries we still need to conquer to fight for women’s rights in third-world countries where being born female gives you a life sentence in male dominated oppression. These women against feminism really need to open their fucking eyes and see that they aren’t the only ones in the world with problems. Godamnit. I’m so angry right now, I’m gonna turn into the SheHulk… AAAaaAAaRrRRrrrRRGggGgGGgHhhhHhhHHhh!!!’ - Jade Bate, Writer
‘The Women Against Feminism phenomenon is frustrating, but is it all that surprising? It’s a sentiment that comes up often,when young women actively disassociate themselves from the word and young men to wonder out loud whether it is worth the trouble to date a “Feminist”. The frustrating part is that the “feminism” described in the WAF photos and tweets is rarely one I recognise. It’s mostly negative stereotypes and misconceptions of what it means to be feminist, or gross generalisations based on the actions of one person who happens to identify as a feminist. As people who are more than willing to wear the feminist badge, what are we supposed to do about this? Personally, I’d like to see feminism, both the word itself and all its great and powerful ideas, discussed much more often in the public sphere and popular culture. I want to become addicted to a TV show where a female lead is willing to declare herself as a feminist and explore what that means. I’d like to watch Rom Coms in which characters are unashamedly feminist. I’d love to read magazines that talk about feminism more often. There are examples out there, but we need more. We also need more explicit statements from prominent people in our society about their commitment to feminism. If feminism is going to shed some of its (unfair) negative connotations, we need to stop letting society and popular media get away with the assumption that feminism has achieved all of its goals, so we don’t need to talk about it. We do need feminism, and we need to speak up about why.’ – Rosie Hunt, Writer
‘Feminism has a branding issue. Some people think we have hairy armpits. Some people think we’re all sluts. Some people think we hate men, while others believe we hate fun. Does porn make us horny or make us vomit? Can I wear a short skirt? Is an abortion a human right? Are feminists even allowed to become mothers? Good God, how do women know what feminism is? We’ve got Our Lady Germaine Greer assessing Julia Gillard’s body when she was PM; we’ve got self-described feminist Beyonce making millions from her commodified body; we’ve got a gazillion different opinions and definitions of rape culture. This is because feminism isn’t a church, or a single philosophy. It is a collection of souls who believe aspects of our society oppresses women, and works to change that. Much of the #womenagainstfeminism photos take issue at experiences from interactions with a single feminist. Understandable – if you’ve been judged or hurt by an individual, it can be easy to let that warp your perception of what they represent. HOWEVER, it’s short-sighted. How can a small sample of feminists represent a worldwide movement that is essentially an ongoing conversation of enlightenment? Feminism is slippery and ghost-like. It cannot be easily defined. For every feminist views feminism through the lens of their own privilege, history and education. Feminism does have a branding problem. But we cannot control the brand.’ – Lou Heinrich, Books & Literature Editor
‘When I first heard about Women Against Feminism, my coworker and I spent an hour scrolling through the tumblr, heaving sighs of despair. Some of their complaints about feminism – including that the movement tends to amplify white, middle-class voices – are valid. As with any movement that aims to improve the lives of EVERYONE ON THE PLANET, the voices within it will be diverse and it will grow and change as the world spins madly on. There are movements within movements and ideologies within the larger ideology of equality and social justice. And we don’t always do the right thing. We have work to do to be more inclusive. The feminist movement is not a static one, and many of the complaints feel like they’re rooted in an idea of what “the feminist” is and looks like, or how she votes. The women who cited loving their husband/ boyfriend as reasons they don’t need feminism have antiquated, misguided ideas of the movement, and it’s disheartening. My boyfriend is a feminist. Many of the men in my life are feminists. And some of the women in my life aren’t. You can’t necessarily spot a feminist, and I would have thought that people like Beyonce and Lady Gaga would have done something to dispel the myth of the angry, butch, man-hating feminist. But alas, we clearly are doing something wrong if we’ve alienated all of these women. Perhaps it’s time to look within and make sure that we’re being inclusive and clear in the goals of “the movement,” whatever that is. But if there are women who feel like they are okay with us facing the lion’s share of domestic violence and rape, and are okay with female genital mutilation and sex trafficking and violence against transgender women, then frankly, I don’t want them in my movement.’ – Phylisa Wisdom, Writer