I am a pacifist! War is bad. Violence begets more violence, and that’s a bad thing. Boo using physical force as the solution to your problems when there are other means available. If I were alive in the 60s, I’d be sticking flowers in riot police gun barrels. (Actually, the hippies were kind of racist, so maybe not . . . I would try to stick flowers in guns, there you go.)
Why am I talking about being a pacifist? Because I wanted to make a point. Pacifism is an ideal that I personally have. It is a label I give myself because it is an ideology that upholds certain notions that I value and that views the world through a lens that I think is appropriate. But in the end of the day, that’s what pacifism is: an ideology. I personally think it’s the best one and I will try to explain why I think that using the best reasoning I can, and maybe I’ll sway a few people, maybe I won’t. But the fact still remains that I follow pacifism because it views things in a way that I like to view things and values the things that I value and contends with issues the way I would prefer to contend with issues. But that’s what I think. Some people do not value non-violence as much as I do, and I can’t call them wrong. I cannot objectively say that pacifism is right just because that’s how I see things. Violence and war are nebulous concepts prone to very specified subjectivity–you can say that an act of violence was wrong or that a war was unjustified, but once you start saying, “Violence is bad no matter what, and that’s just how the world is in truth, and there are lots of sociological theories saying that promoting violence is the cause of lots of problems and has bad affects on people,” that’s when you get into ideology territory. I fully acknowledge that.
You know what else in a ideology? Feminism. And that is not something that feminists are even willing to cop to.
Ideologies tend to take root in the basic fact of the matter, then add an opinion that isn’t all that objectionable, then run with it in ways that you may or may not agree with. With pacifism the basic fact of the matter is that violence hurts people. The relatively non-objectionable opinion is that hurting people isn’t a good thing to do. Step three is saying that you shouldn’t do it and that lessening the impact of violence is the cause of lots of societal issues. Feminism starts with the fact that sexism exists, goes on to say that sexism is bad, then runs with it by saying that sexism is the cause of lots of seemingly tangential societal issues and *this* is how we should deal with that.
Feminists’ “rape culture” is a sociological theory the same way libertarians’ “invisible hand” is. That’s how you think the world works. Libertarians value the free market and business autonomy and personal choice, so they see the world in a way that emphasizes those values. Feminists value gender as an identity and safety and equal-footing, so they see the world in a way that emphasizes those things. People who do not think that way are not going to be inclined to agree with them on everything. You can bring objective facts into the matter to support your ideology. Let’s pretend that feminists’ used statistics accurately for a moment. They have statistics that show that male-on-female rape is a problem. That would be the fact that supports the ideology. Where the door is opened up for people to disagree with them again, however, is when the feminists say, “Rape is a problem, and our way that emphasizes the patriarchy and rape culture as the main causes of the problem and therefore the things that should be fought against is the way it should be dealt with.” That’s where it gets into ideology, and that doesn’t seem to be something that feminists realize.
They equate feminism with the fact of the matter instead of realizing that it’s actually just one way of responding to the fact of the matter. That’s why not being a feminist is seen as such a terrible, damnable thing to them. They think you’re denying that sexism exist because they’re seemingly incapable of realizing that feminism isn’t the one and only way of viewing the world’s gender relations. Feminism is not the one movement to rule them all. It is not the end-all-be-all for theories on gender interaction. The feminist theory that “the patriarchy hurts men too” because [insert reasons] is no more valid or invalid than the liberal theory that the government should have a hand in the well-being of its citizens because [insert reasons] or the conservative theory that people should be left to their own devices to sink or swim for [insert reasons].
It gets into personal opinion really fast. The most logical opinions can be backed up with more objective information while the less logical opinions that can’t be backed up without the pathos to go along with it are deemed stupid. You can argue against theories. Just because the people who uphold those theories say that it’s the truth of how the world functions or should function and that other theories are wrong, that’s a paradigm that they created within their own ideologies. A feminist is going to think that the patriarchy is real and is a problem because one of the tenants of feminism is that the patriarchy is real and is a problem. Being one of the core tenants of an ideology doesn’t make something infallible, and it doesn’t mean that detractors should argue with feminists on their own terms. An anti-feminist isn’t going to act like the tenants of feminism are true any more than an atheist arguing against a creationist will run under the assumption that Genesis is an accurate depiction of history and then take off from there with their argumentation. Feminists seem to expect people to acknowledge that feminist theory is accurate and then argue against it from that point when not thinking that feminist theory is accurate is the reason for the debate in the first place. Thinking the very basis of the argument is flimsy makes the rest of the speech rest on a pillar of sand. If someone doesn’t think the patriarchy is all that bad, building an argument around the unspoken idea that the patriarchy is the root of all evil isn’t going to convince them.
You can see that with my own writings on the subject. I think that even if the patriarchy is a thing that still exists in my country that it’s not even worth mentioning at this point, it’s so ineffectual. So a feminists needs to explain to me why the patriarchy is such a big deal before going into another spiel that just assumes that I already think that because being a paradigm in your belief system doesn’t mean it’s a paradigm in mine. It’s like the whole white privilege thing that’s the equivalent of someone starting a conversation about racial relations by saying, “Well, since I know we all already agree that white people suck, let’s get this nuanced discussion on race started!”
Ideologies are all about what you as a person values, and that ideology goes on the further shape how they see things in the future. I value taking the civil route, so I’m a pacifist. Being a pacifist made me more fine-tuned to noticing when people brushed off violence without treating it with the gravity that I believed it should have been treated with. Feminist values the female gender identity and protecting it from unfair treatment. Being a feminist makes one more fine-tuned to anything that could conceivably count as unfair treatment. You hear all the time about young college feminists who just never noticed all the sexism around her before she became a feminist. Does that make the sexism worse, or is that just an indication that having certain ideas makes you notice certain things more and react to them differently than other people?
A feminist will flip her shit if a guy makes a rape joke. I don’t care as long as that rape joke is funny, because levity is another one of the things that I value a good deal. Feminists are offended by sexy magazine ads because they’re objectifying women, while I just sit here and wonder why that model’s probably getting paid more than a teacher or a firefighter just for being pretty. It’s personal taste–what you personally think is important based upon your personal view of the world. Some people being more sensitive to some facets of a situation than other people isn’t an objective cause for alarm. Anita Sarkeesian will say that Princess Zelda is a terribly sexist character that promotes misogynistic stereotypes because she’s a feminist and that’s what she’s been trained to see: Robin Williams named is daughter after the character because he was a gamer and he thought that Princess Zelda was amazing. It really makes you wonder how much of it is just chalked up to individual perspectives–what individuals take out of an experience.
And if feminists would calm down and say that their theory is indeed just another individual perspective that puts emphasis on certain specific ideas, I’d be fine. But they act like it’s the fact of the matter. They act like rape jokes are objectively the worst thing ever and that magazine ads are definitely sexist. These are facts that people need to know. They don’t just get the idea out there and hope that some people bite, they get the idea out there and expect people to accept it as fact and demonize the ones who don’t.
So what’s with the title?
I used it to point out how ridiculous the flame they’re getting is once feminism is rightfully regarded as an ideology–not the truth, but just another way of looking at things. So the chick from Divergent and The Fault in Our Stars isn’t a feminist. So Lady Gaga isn’t a feminist. So Katy Perry isn’t. The feminists treat this like a fucking travesty. “They’re not a feminist! How could they not be a feminist?! They’re a woman! They’re supposed to be a role model for young girls! How dare they say something like that!” Every time a celeb goes out and says that they don’t consider themselves a feminist, that is how the hoard reacts. And it makes even less since once you take into account the fact that the statement is usually something along the lines of, “I believe in gender equality, but I’m not a feminist.” which is a perfectly legitimate stance to have since feminism is, once again, an ideology. Thinking that the genders should be equal doesn’t mean you agree with what the feminists say the problem really is or the paradigms they have or how they go about doing things to deal with what they perceive the problem to be. Feminism is not the only way to be for equality. Feminism has its own ideas about how to achieve gender equality, and they may not fit everyone else’s.
So this is essentially them getting up-in-arms over someone not agreeing with them enough. You’d think that if they truly valued gender equality they’d be happy to have an ally in action, a strong and prominent woman whose out in the media promoting the idea that girls can be as awesome as they want. But no–it’s the label that’s important. It doesn’t matter how pro-gender equality you are in your beliefs and actions or even if you straight up say that you’re for gender equality. It doesn’t matter if Lady Gaga is, in action, all about empowering herself and others to be whatever they want to be, women included. None of that matters. It’s what you call yourself that’s important.
Feminists don’t seem to care what people actually think, or even what they actually do. The chick from Divergent apparently refuses to take parts in movies where she feels her role as the girl of the movie is too cliched. She’ll only play “strong female characters.” But, nope. Since she’s not a feminist, she’s a problem. They just care about people toeing the line and agreeing with them with the label. It’s protecting the label that matters the most, not actual action. Because when Lady Gaga and Katy Perry say they’re not feminists, they make feminism as a movement look bad. And making feminism look bad is a fucking thought crime to these people. Nothing could be worse than someone who disagrees with them. Why is helping the feminist movement something to be put above everything else? Why is it so important that not appealing to feminism specifically is an inherently harmful, stupid, negative action that should be stopped, no matter how much of a female role model you are or what your actual view on gender is?
Why do I need an additional layer of dogma and ideology to believe what I believe? Why do we need to questionable ideas of feminism to believe in the good idea of equality? Would the result be any different? And isn’t it better to actually think things through for yourself than to just follow a set of ideas laid out for you?