I’ve found another response to Women Against Feminism, one that is better than anything I could have written myself. This article by Emily Shire approaches the situation as a conversation. She takes the women behind WAF seriously, and as a result, she really gets to the heart of why this whole conversation is so disturbing–and so necessary. She says:
“As the Women Against Feminism posts show, many of the declarations stem from a place that feminism conveys preferential [status] for women at a loss to sons, brothers, fathers, and friends. That isn’t feminism, but many people falsely believe that is the effect of it.”
As I said earlier this week, I want to see WAF as the beginning of a political conversation. The conversation, it turns out, is about why women (especially young women) interpret feminism the way they do–that is, as a campaign that forces women to be and think certain ways, that hates men and women who don’t identify as feminist. While it’s tempting to dismiss these women out of hand since they so obviously haven’t done their homework on feminisms, this is really an issue feminists should be paying attention to. After all, these women had to have encountered feminists–or portrayals of feminists–at some point in order to think these things and in order to be as vehemently “against feminism” as they are. Why is it that the impression they came away with was this one? We need to figure that out. The existence of WAF means that feminists have some work to do on communication strategies. Somehow–I’m working on ideas, and I hope others are as well–we need to do a better job of explaining what a feminist is.
As Shire says, “Mocking Women Against Feminism validates their argument that they don’t belong in the movement and affirms their belief that feminism has no space for them. We—and by “we,” I mean feminists—need to be the bigger person in this battle. We need to make every effort to promote feminism as a big-tent movement, and we need to admit that it doesn’t always appear so welcoming.”