Why I Left Feminism (Or, How Feminism Left Me)

Why I Left Feminism (Or, How Feminism Left Me)

Here are seven problems with modern feminism.
Heather Wilhelm
By

When I was a child—and through most of college, in fact—I always thought of myself as a feminist. Remember back in kindergarten, when they ask you to draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up? Here’s mine:

HeatherPic

That magnificent creature, in case you can’t tell, is Wonder Woman. If she looks kind of pregnant, I think that’s because I was trying to accurately recreate “Wonder Woman” star Lynda Carter’s magnificent, voluminous, eagle-spangled bosom.

Wonder Woman, you see, can do pretty much anything a man can do, and she looks spectacular doing it. This, in turn, is what I thought feminism was all about. Aside from the “looking spectacular” part—don’t worry, everyone, I read and thoroughly absorbed Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” in high school—that definition of feminism also kind of echoes the one from Merriam-Webster: Feminism, the staid dictionary states, is “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

If that’s the case, I guess I’m still a feminist. Sadly, somewhere along the way, things got increasingly complicated, with leading “feminists” adopting various strange, quasi-religious credos that certainly didn’t match my own. Christina Hoff Sommers published her landmark (and fantastic) book, “Who Stole Feminism?” in 1994. Unfortunately, I didn’t read it until about five years later. Fortunately, by that time, I was already distancing myself from the f-word.

Here’s how it happened.

1. Current Feminism Lies to Young Women About Sex

Feminists like to tell young women many crazy lies, so it’s hard to cover them all. Most of them, however, surround sex. Here are a few:

  • Sex is a purely physical act and is completely meaningless.
  • Casual sex is not only a right, but it is also empowering!
  • Casual sex will leave you with no emotional or psychological damage.
  • There’s a “sexual double standard”: Guys get away with rampant casual sex, so why shouldn’t we encourage the same behavior for women?

If you’re an emotionally healthy human being, deep down in your heart, you likely know these four statements are false. Even someone as crazy as Lena Dunham, deep down, knows they’re false. Casual sex, it turns out, can seriously mess with your head, your soul, and sometimes, your health.

Also, on another note, isn’t it odd that instead addressing the infamous “sexual double standard” in a positive way—say, encouraging guys to take sex seriously—feminists attempt to drag women down as well? Yet the lies go on and on and on.

2. Today’s ‘Feminists’ Give Terrible Advice About Safety

One of the great things about being a college sorority girl—along with the unlimited bins of free Lucky Charms cereal in the sorority house basement—is that you also often get free yearly self-defense seminars. Each year, some SWAT team/Navy SEAL/ninja guy would delicately set himself up on our awful floral couch, then proceed to scare the living you-know-what out of us while conveniently selling everyone pocket-sized pepper spray.

Now, most modern feminists would get upset about the very existence of a sorority self-defense seminar—“teach muggers not to mug!” and all that—but I was happy to be there. Here are a few things that I learned:

  1. Do not jog alone at night.
  2. Always go for the eyeballs.
  3. If you go to a college party, for the love of all that’s holy, never, never, never drink the punch.

Let’s elaborate on number three, shall we? Here is a fact: In college, if you went to a party, and there was “punch,” do you know what people called it? “Rape juice.” I’m serious. Sometimes the party hosts tried to call it “jungle juice” or something cute, but everyone knew it probably had something nightmarish like Everclear in it and was bound to get you 110 percent obliterated. Everyone with half a brain, men and women alike, also knew that was the goal—the raison d’etre, if you will—of the juice.

Here’s where today’s feminists come in. In a recent Slate article, writer Emily Yoffe tried to gently suggest that college girls drinking to the point of incapacitation might not be the best idea, safety-wise. Feminists, of course, blew a gasket. “Real equality is when women have the right to be as drunk and stupid as men,” Jessica Valenti wrote at The Guardian, in a column that is not satire. “This false idea, that women’s behavior is the real reason they are victimized,” wrote Katie McDonough at Salon, “is regularly used to blame sexual violence on the ‘problem’ of young women today.”

Well, no. We all know where the blame lies: with the perpetrator. The goal is to encourage women to protect themselves, with reality being what it is. It almost leads one to wonder: Do feminists really care about women’s safety at all? Or do they care more about their dream world, where there’s an abortion clinic on every corner and a “Vagina Monologues” in every theater?

Either way, congrats, feminists: Thanks to you, thousands of college girls will spend this weekend drinking until they pass out or throw up all over the place. You go, ladies! You’re just as dumb as men!

3. The Vagina Monologues

4. Current Feminism’s Craze for Slut Walks

You can always wander off and go to a football game or something if you’re in the middle of one right now. It’s not too late. No one will notice!

5. Today’s ‘Feminists’ Embrace Victimhood

I don’t know what it is, but modern feminists love victimhood. Everything—men sitting with their legs spread on transportation, men saying “hello” on the street, the existence of Sen. Ted Cruz, “traumatizing” and “triggering” elements in things like D.H. Lawrence novels—is a form of unbearable oppression to women’s apparently fragile, delicate constitutions.

I was thinking about this as I took a run this morning, and, much to my delight, Katy Perry’s “Roar” popped up on Spotify. Say what you will about Perry, but as I made my way up the trail, I realized, with a not-so-small sense of wonder, that “Roar” is probably more empowering than the past ten years of mainstream feminist thought combined. What does this imply about the state of modern feminism in America? I’ll let you decide.

If you want, you can watch the video here, which is also magnificent, although I should probably apologize for the fact that the male character gets eaten by a tiger.

6. Hillary Clinton

I don’t know if most modern feminists have noticed, but right now, there is a pretty dreadful person being bandied about as a potential 2016 presidential candidate just because she’s a woman. I don’t think we’re as oppressed as you think we are.

7. Today’s ‘Feminists’ Eschew Independent Thinking

Here’s The Guardian’s Valenti again, rallying the troops for modern feminism:

Without some boundaries for claiming the word feminist, it becomes meaningless. So once and for all: Can you be an anti-choice feminist? No. A Republican feminist? Unlikely. A feminist who thinks that the issues of importance to women of color or gay women or trans women or disabled women aren’t ‘feminist issues’? To quote Flavia Dzodan, ‘My feminism will be intersectional, or it will be bullshit’ – and I’m not interested in bullshit.

Well, shoot. Here’s the bad news: I, after assessing this paragraph, am apparently very interested in bull excrement. But here’s the good news: Even though I’m a woman, I can think for myself. I can be pro-life if I want, and I am! I can vote Republican—and sometimes, gasp, Libertarian—because as of now, it’s still a free country! I can think those last two sentences in that paragraph are pretty much complete and meaningless mumbo-jumbo, because they are!

Isn’t it great to think for yourself? In fact, it might be the most empowering thing in the world. Modern feminists—and the hordes of young women being spoon-fed their terrible advice—might want to take note.

Heather Wilhelm is a writer based in Austin, Texas and a senior contributor to The Federalist. She an editor at BRIGHT. Follow her on Twitter.

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