Are a freshman in college, excited by the idea of adult life and making something of your own? It’s the first day of class and you walk in the classroom, take a seat, and wait for the teacher to arrive. A sophomore had recommended this class to you, women’s studies. She said it enriched her cultural awareness and give her a new perspective of the world. The teacher walks in and asks, “Who in here is a feminist?” Nearly every hand in the room is raised, expect you and someone else in the front. Everyone now knows where the class stands and the two of you are the odd ones out. Two days later, you drop the class for anthropology and soon forget about the awkward experience in a sea of tests and papers.
If the purpose of a class is to teach, then why use such a divisive statement to start off the semester? In a time when having the wrong opinion can be social suicide, shouldn’t a teacher be more aware of how theses students might be viewed in the class? Not really, I hate to say it, but being mildly uncomfortable for a few seconds in a freshman class is a minor inconvenience that should be quickly forgotten. The real issue is how quickly that teacher went to divide the class. Something like this in the classroom setting is inconsequential, but in day to day life is detrimental. Feminism quite often polarizes people undecided within gender politics. There is a common phrase within the feminist community, “Feminism is the advocacy for equal rights [for women] so if you are pro-equality you are feminist.” There are quite a few things wrong with that statement. Firstly, you do not need to a feminist to to be pro-equality. There are egalitarian, men’s rights activists, and a plethora of other activist groups tiring to promote equal rights; who’s to say that you even need to be part of an activist group, you can advocate for equal rights on your own. There’s also a veiled threat I this statement, if you are not a feminist you are against equal rights. Using scare tactics to gain sympathy for your movement is only effective in garnering mistrust and animosity towards your movement. Not everyone is hyper aware of gender politics and not everyone holds the same world views. People who would have been sympathetic to your movement will lose that sympathy, which you need to get the social change you want. Implementing such polarizing language discourages people with different opinions and ideas from joining the movement and encourages people with the same ideas, producing an echo chamber of opinions and making it more difficult to for opposing opinions to be acknowledged. When only like minded people come together, diversity, creativity, and criticism die. If everyone thinks the same way, how do you comes up with new ideas and differentiate the the goods ones from the bad ones?
Feminism has always been a movement known for being radical for wanting freedom and it is still viewed that way. The issue with modern feminism is its approach to gaining these freedoms. You cannot start a hashtag advocating for the death of all men, half the population, and expect not people to not get upset. If someone were to start a kill a women hashtag, they would be labeled a sexist and probably fired from their job. The feminist community already wields an immense amount of power and use it quite threateningly. There are people whose lives have been destroyed by modern feminists who seem to care little about who they hurt. Plenty of people avoid or are against the movement for those reasons, but the feminist movement’s largest advisory is is their apparent distaste for free thought.
There was a “Listen and Believe” campaign for rape victims, which can is a nice idea in theory, but in practice is certifiably insane. You cannot disregard due process on a claim no matter what the crime. If this theory were to be applied to all crimes, you would be able to send anyone to jail, even if they hadn’t committed a crime. In fact, this seems to be discouraging thought and inquiry, which are necessities to miniver in or individualist society. In a world that values theses principles above all else, why become a feminist?