• Alison Tennent

I Don't Care If You're A Feminist

Updated: Jun 15

I'm Not A Feminist Either Anymore

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay free from copyright

Words have meanings. And I'm tired of hearing the word feminism misappropriated. Buckle up.


It's become quite common amongst certain types of women to co-opt the word feminist, while instructing other women to be kind to men, include men and centre men in their discussions and concerns. These women, known to real feminists as libfems (I personally call them shamfems or quislings) generally have some confused notion that feminism means something about choices and patting all women everywhere on the back no matter what they're doing.


No.


Feminism is not about cheerleading every choice every woman makes, that's libfem propaganda. I should pretend that pole dancing like a stripper is empowering because something something choices?


Also No.


Yes, the fact that women have many more choices these days is down to the hard work of feminists and other decent women and men, many of whom wouldn’t count themselves as feminists. However, if what you're engaged in doesn’t further women (as a sex) in their fight for societal, economical and political rights then what you are doing is not feminist.

You may have been given the choice thanks to the work of feminists - but that doesn’t necessarily mean you're making a feminist choice. And that seems to be where the confusion lies.

No, you don’t get to have your own feminism, any more than you get to have your own algebra.


Women, as a sex are not treated equally to men politically, societally or economically. Women, as a sex, have lesser rights, freedoms and protections worldwide to men in all these areas. That’s a given, is well evidenced and I won't be reinventing the wheel. I don't debate flat earthers either.


But what about the women in Saudi Arabia you don't care about but would like to use to derail and time waste? (I hear you ask). Well, knowing that women in Saudi Arabia have it worse than women in Australia doesn't make it acceptable to deny women's sex based rights in any country. And further, I can actually care about more than one thing at a time. In fact, I can manage to care about many different issues, all at the same time, without detracting from any of them. You should try it, it's fun for all the family.


Feminism does not centre the male sex. Feminism is not humanism. Feminism is also the only movement whose champions are regularly instructed to open their borders, be "inclusive" and spend their time and emotional labour fighting for other groups too.


Exclusive doesn't mean unethical

It's perfectly acceptable not to be inclusive in many areas. Men don't have to be inclusive of women's cervical cancer issues when discussing prostate cancer concerns. Environmentalists should not be inclusive of the desire of coal mining corporations to prioritise cold hard cash. And women need not be inclusive of men in their fight to retain or reclaim the rights of women to economical, political and societal equality.


And while we're at it, feminists don't have to be inclusive of religious objections to abortion.


Abortion mythology

There's a bizarre mythology built up around abortion, what it means and what it is. A controversy has been manufactured. And yet it is an absolutely normal part of life. Society has been trying and failing to stop women having abortions throughout all of written history. Society has also supported and assisted their efforts in birth control, including abortion. Just depends which bit of history you happen to dip into.


The first recorded evidence of induced abortion is from the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus in 1550 BC. A Chinese record documents the number of royal concubines who had abortions in China between the years 500 and 515 BC. According to Chinese folklore, the legendary Emperor Shennong prescribed the use of mercury to induce abortions nearly 5000 years ago.
Many of the methods employed in early and primitive cultures were non-surgical. Physical activities like strenuous labour, climbing, paddling, weightlifting, or diving were a common technique. Others included the use of irritant leaves, fasting, bloodletting, pouring hot water onto the abdomen, and lying on a heated coconut shell. In primitive cultures, techniques developed through observation, adaptation of obstetrical methods, and transculturation. Archaeological discoveries indicate early surgical attempts at the extraction of a fetus; however, such methods are not believed to have been common, given the infrequency with which they are mentioned in ancient medical texts.

In other words, abortion is common practice in all societies and, from the evidence, we can assume it always has been, and can extrapolate that it always will be until we devise an utterly foolproof and extremely easy way of preventing pregnancy.


As for men's rights regarding women's bodies? They don't have any. And vice versa of course, for women re men.


I mean, men might sometimes impose forced birthing, but that's not the same as having the right to do so.


Obviously, the male sex does have the right not to orgasm inside a woman or donate sperm to women.

So if anyone would like to discuss that one incident you've heard of where a woman accessed a man's sperm without his consent I'm sure there are articles out there that cover it, or you could write one and link me to it.
This is not that article.

Apropos, this is the very best article ever written on the topic of abortion.:

So, we know abortion is normal and commonplace, we know it's practised worldwide and always has been, and until we figure out a totally foolproof way to prevent pregnancy it always will be.


The only real discussion is whether you think a blob of cells with the potential for human life is more important than an actual human being.


I mean, seriously. I genuinely don't even understand why it's a discussion, let alone so emotive. Perhaps I just think about it too logically now that I know the facts. I understand that we are emotional creatures, but I still don't agree that we should make arguments by feelings alone and if I discover facts that debunk my feelpinions, I generally go with the facts.


I've never had an abortion. I'm glad, because I was force-fed the same poisonous, pointless guilt about the subject that most females throughout the world have to endure, and I suspect having an abortion would have left me quite distressed.


But the fact is that the majority of women report feeling perfectly matter of fact and relieved about abortion. I have known four women who admitted to having an abortion, only one expressed regret of any kind, and still stated she was glad she had done it. One used it as a form of birth control (which, after all, it is), and though I found her attitude a bit cavalier for my tastes, it was her body and her choice after all.


So we return, in a circular fashion, to feminism.

If you are in favour of the woman as incubators trope, you have every right to argue your case and voice your opinion. If you disagree with the science below, you can argue against that too. But what you cannot do is claim it's feminist to do so. And yet I saw a woman recently try to do just that.

It is not a feminist stance to be anti-abortion. Not ever.

I could cite you all the scientific information explaining that a foetus cannot feel pain or consciousness up till around 29 weeks:

"In fact, we know that the brain structures necessary for conscious experience of pain do not develop until 29-30 weeks, while the conscious processing of sounds is only made possible after the 26th week"

I could then go on to point out that nearly all abortions are carried out prior to 20 weeks, according to the Guttmacher Insititute, and I’d even be willing to have a discussion about the ethics of having abortions past 29 weeks, using science as the backdrop for that discussion.


I could remind you that women are not incubators, no matter what the circumstances, and their lives and rights must always supercede everything else in that equation, including the foetus. We could talk about the fact that having dependent children is a main contributory factor to stripping women of their freedoms, choices and rights.

But if you've decided a foetus is more important than a woman, you won't listen anyway.

To consider how ridiculous and deeply misogynistic it is that anybody (I am not saying this refers to you, dear reader, but I have seen it time and again) would be in favour of forced-birthing think on this: We literally would never force any human parent to give even a pint of their own blood to save the life of an already born child standing in front of them begging for help. Something that would almost certainly cause the donor absolutely no harm. Because that would be an assault on their bodily autonomy and human rights.


And yet some misogynists claim that forcing a woman to risk her life, change her body permanently in many ways and alter her entire future for a foetus isnt an attack on her human rights.


Yes, really, in this day and age pregnancy can still kill a woman, does still increase her chances of other specific illnesses and has the potential to shorten her life span. Carrying a baby to term is a large risk, life-changing no matter what the outcome, and can come with enormous costs (as well as huge benefits for some of us, of course).

The point really is just this - believe what you like about abortion. But you definitively cannot claim that being anti-abortion has anything to do with feminism.

Rationality Trumps Emotion

The reality is that foetuses are potential human beings, no more a human being than my skin cells.


I had a miscarriage once. More than two decades later I still remember how incredibly distressing it was, and I understand that women don't feel that their foetus is just the potential for life. Miscarrying was deeply upsetting and left me grief-stricken and quite depressed for some time.


But nevertheless the reality is that foetuses are potential human beings. Not babies and not children.


Any woman can feel any way she likes about her own pregnancy and call her foetus a baby if she wishes. Of course she can. I did. It still wasn't a baby, of course. And thank heavens for that.


How I wish I had known that the reality was that the foetus I miscarried was not conscious and was incapable of feeling any suffering. I would have found that so comforting, in my sorrow.


And Another Thing - Stay At Home Mumming Isn't Feminist Either

Tolerating the rise of the "it's all about choices innit" derailing has led directly to women claiming that being a stay at home mum is a feminist choice.


Again, no.


I have encountered absolute rage from stay at home mums on this topic. Some just cannot seem to grasp there's nothing feminist about staying home to child mind and clean house.


I stayed home for several years with my children. How I loved it. I returned to work when my youngest started Prep (aged about 5), and of all the things I've done over the last 25 years, caring for my children in their young years was one choice I do not regret. They were my heart's delight and filled my life with meaning and joy. I absolutely loved that I got to make that choice.


And, of course, it was inarguably not a feminist choice.


In no way, shape or form does removing yourself from the workforce, modelling that to your kids, allowing society to coerce you into patriarchally approves roles, missing out on years of career advancement and earnings and throwing your entire heart and soul into the care of others assist women as a sex to regain equality in political, societal or economic spheres.


As I alluded to earlier, shamfems call actual feminists rad fems. However, there’s nothing radical about knowing what feminism means and understanding that we don’t all (including myself) follow feminist tenets in our lives all the time.


No feminist, or supporter of feminism always behaves as a feminist or makes feminist choices.


Throughout my life I have often chosen to wear makeup and pretty clothes. I get my hair and nails done, I care about my skin. My views have altered over time, waxing and waning. I have tried to defend indefensible anti-feminist rhetoric when too young and ill-educated to know better.


I accept that sometimes I don’t follow feminist tenets. In no way whatsoever does my wearing makeup and sparkly sandals empower women as a sex, or assist women to regain their societal, political and economic rights.


In no way whatsoever does my choice when younger to get married (a deeply patriarchal institution) and have children assist women to regain their societal, political and economic rights.


I recently re-married, to the love of my life, and am delighted to be in that happy union. And that was absolutely, definitively NOT a feminist thing to do.

Just as buying eggs is not a vegan thing to do and not recycling is not an environmentalist thing to do. It's not a slur, it's just a fact.

I accept that I am a product of my upbringing, era and my own genetic mix and that I hold many feminist tenets dear. And sometimes I don’t behave like a feminist.


None of us are all political/feminist/humanist/radical all the time.


And that’s ok, because it just has to be.


The Damaging Bullshit of ShamFems

Women are not, of course, their own worst enemy. That's still the men who beat, rape, oppress and murder us.

But there is certainly something specifically nauseating to me about a woman who is desperate to earn cookies from men, particularly at the expense of other women. These females sometimes age out of the libfem behaviours of pandering, grovelling, collaborating and kowtowing when they realise that no matter how many cookies they ask nicely for, the sort of men they are trying to please don’t see women as fully human, and likely never will. The cool girl libfems, the not like other girls libfems, the pro-prostitution libfems (they often call themselves sex positive in an attempt to make women who aren’t keen on sexual slavery and degradation sound like they’re just anti-sex): they’re usually not behaving as feminists at all. They just do not fit the straightforward definition.


Once more, for the cheap seats at the back. Feminism is a movement dedicated to reclaiming economic, political and societal equality for the sex of women. If your behaviour or choice doesn't go towards achieving that goal, it's not a feminist behaviour or choice.


You're Quite Entitled Not To Be Feminist

You don’t have to be a feminist. If your stance on politics and law and behaviour is not that women’s rights are human rights, that’s fine. If you feel the desperate need to #notallmen and kiss men’s arses every time anyone discusses women’s rights, nobody’s stopping you. Pander away.

There was a time I would have ended this article like this:


But while you’re at it, do actual feminists a favour, leave the term feminist alone. Actual feminists are terribly tired of handmaidens trying to redefine feminism. Call yourself anything you like while you’re earning those cookies. Just don’t call yourself feminist.


These days, however, I am tired of shouting into the void. How does the saying go?


Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results

I cannot alter wilful or profound ignorance of the term all by myself. But I can choose to simply opt out.


So What's A Real Feminist To Do?

Thanks to the word feminist being co-opted by everyone from the alt-right to the synthetic leftist libfems pandering to the patriarchy, it really doesn't mean much any more. Many have the wrong idea about it, and actual feminists end up writing long, unhappy screeds like this one trying to hold back a tide of woeful ignorance.


In reality, the logical step is to simply remove myself from the debate and leave the panderers to keep the descriptor they've so tainted.


I feel like I should try to discover, or even invent, a new term that means what feminism actually meant, but one which has not yet been misappropriated by cock grovellers. One which might offer clarity for those bamboozled by the deliberate obfuscation of what really should have been a clear concept.


But in the meantime I'll just say "as a believer in women's rights", and hope that a more gifted mind than mine can coin a useful term.


So, well done, shamfems. Well done to the foolish and the furious, the misanthropes and the misogynists who have managed to kill such an important word, who have managed to corrupt and derail important conversations, who have managed to create from a true and meaningful concept a pile of ignorant confusion.


You win. Have the word. This is me, signing off as an imperfect feminist.


Coming soon, I will call myself an imperfect...


Hmm.


I'm open to any suggestions.



For those of you who can't resist trolling, let's just pretend you already answered with a very clever response to "I'm open to any suggestions" and I've already said well done, how clever you are, and blocked you. xox

Sources: https://www.bionity.com/en/encyclopedia/History_of_abortion.html

https://thebrainbank.scienceblog.com/2012/12/04/what-can-science-add-to-the-abortion-debate/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/when-does-consciousness-arise/ https://www.feministcurrent.com/2020/02/10/j-los-pole-dancing-during-the-super-bowl-is-not-benign/







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