Wednesday was Women’s Equality Day and, predictably, social media was overloaded with feminist rhetoric. As people and popular brands tweet support for the sexual equality movement, I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of third-wave feminism and my reasoning for denouncing it.
The very definition of feminism is something to oppose today. The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” In western society, and especially in America, such advocacy is unnecessary. Throughout the entirety of my life, the only people to tell me I am not equal to a man are feminists.
Fighting for equality among the sexes is noble. So noble, in fact, that the fight was largely won almost 100 years ago. So the prevalence of feminism should have decreased, yet in 2020 the movement has gained even more momentum and is pushing for more radical policy changes.
I have seen an abundance of posts and advertisements designed to address two feminist platforms: the sex-wage gap and abortion rights. Both are central pillars of third-wave feminism, and a part of my reasoning for loathing it.
In honor of Women’s Equality Day, Jennifer Carroll Foy, a Democrat candidate running for governor in Virginia, tweeted, “In my lifetime, I don’t remember an election more consequential for women than this. Our reproductive freedom is on the line. Our ability to get paid what we’re worth is on the line. Our fundamental rights are on the line.”
In my lifetime, I don't remember an election more consequential for women than this. Our reproductive freedom is on the line. Our ability to get paid what we're worth is on the line. Our fundamental rights are on the line. Make a plan to vote this #WomensEqualityDay. #BidenHarris pic.twitter.com/nAD26D8QDy
— Jennifer Carroll Foy (@JCarrollFoy) August 26, 2020
Even Ben and Jerry’s decided to join in by tweeting, “Today is #WomensEqualityDay! But we’d have a whole lot more to celebrate if women in the US didn’t lose a combined total of almost $1 trillion every year due to the gender pay gap.”
Today is #WomensEqualityDay! But we'd have a whole lot more to celebrate if women in the US didn't lose a combined total of almost $1 trillion every year due to the gender pay gap. Learn more: https://t.co/78B6BRfRfp pic.twitter.com/qsalWc1SPY
— Ben & Jerry's (@benandjerrys) August 26, 2020
The idea of a wage gap between the sexes in the United States has been around for years. While the evidence against it has grown, support for the argument is still strong. Throughout the years, many politicians have cited the statistic that women make 77 cents compared to every dollar that men make, with even Barack Obama using it in a 2012 campaign ad.
As a woman, I am supposed to believe that my sex will loom over my career and cost me up to 30 percent of my income, but I just don’t buy it. The wage gap is not caused by one’s genitalia, it is caused by career choices. The career I choose, the hours I work, and my education level will dictate my wages, not my sex. If one of the most common issues feminists advocate for is nonexistent, what incentive do I have to identify as one?
Another pillar of third-wave feminism is abortion, or as Foy called it, “reproductive rights.” Over the past couple of decades, the so-called women’s movement has rallied behind the pro-choice movement and made significant changes to abortion laws in the United States. Because I am a pro-life advocate, this “victory” for feminism leaves me horrified. The right to kill unborn children should not be guaranteed, and I am not inclined to align with a movement that celebrates it. Abortion is not a right, it is a travesty.
These two platforms seem to be the most popular within third-wave feminism and have been brought to the forefront of politics since President Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. The Trump administration’s role in gender politics is heavily scrutinized heavily, on such commemorative days especially.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted yesterday, “This #WomensEqualityDay is bittersweet, as our nation faces down a pandemic and economic crisis that’s disproportionately impacting women—especially women of color—while an administration steeped in misogyny and racism looks the other way. We’ve got work to do.”
This #WomensEqualityDay is bittersweet, as our nation faces down a pandemic and economic crisis that’s disproportionately impacting women—especially women of color—while an administration steeped in misogyny and racism looks the other way. We've got work to do.
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) August 26, 2020
Hating President Trump and anyone who supports him is common among third-wave feminists and leaves little room for me to provide support. I believe that President Trump has done great things for the American people, women included. So how am I meant to support a movement that hates me?
As a woman, I am expected to devoutly submit to the feminist movement and mindlessly follow the preachings of popular feminist figures. Any dissent or independent thought meets hateful insults, including being told I’m a traitor to my sex.
But still, I cannot identify as a feminist. Feminism used to be a necessary movement that brought about amazing results, but now it has turned into something ugly. Feminism is no longer about fighting to give both sexes equal opportunities in life, it has turned into the fight to squash masculinity and create a matriarchy.