A Reply to Lauren Southern’s “Why I’m Not a Feminist”

Dear Lauren,

In the last couple days, I have seen your video “Why I’m Not a Feminist” pop up a few times. In the video, you describe why you are not a feminist. At the heart of your message is the assertion, “I am not a feminist because I believe both genders should be treated equally.” Setting aside for a moment the problems with your assumption that gender can be reduced to a binary of male/female (here’s a decent introduction to that if you want), I want to talk about the misinformation you offer in your video: misinformation about feminist activism and scholarship, and misinformation about domestic violence and rape. I don’t often find engaging in these types debates online to be the most fruitful use of my energies, since people that produce anti-feminist content generally are not very open to meaningful engagement with feminist thought, however I’ve been stewing over your particular video for a day. I think it’ll be under my skin until actually take the time to I address it.

So, let’s tackle some of your claims one by one. I will try to offer some specific references to actual feminist work so that you can see where my assertions actually come from. Hopefully this might also help you go out and check up on some of your claims, since it appears you haven’t taken the time to engage much feminist work before forming your argument and lambasting feminism to your wide viewership. Alright, onto your assertions…

1. You ask: “Why don’t we see equal representation [by feminists] of both gender’s issues?”

Lauren, I think if you look at the history of feminism, the answer to this question is pretty clear…Feminism emerged out of women’s rights movements. Thus, the roots of feminist scholarship and activism come from a challenge to the inequality of women. Feminism today exists as an agglomeration of past and present efforts to address forms of inequality facing women, including: the inability of women to be recognized as full citizens; women’s lack of rights over their own bodies; women’s lack of protection from violence in the homes and on the streets, and their unique experiences of violence in times of war; the restriction on women’s ability to pursue the same opportunities as men; the gendered norms that constrain women’s ability to freely express their gender, personalities and their bodies; the lack of attention and respect given to women’s voices and experiences; the devaluation of women’s labor; the lack of freedom to love who they wish and the assumption of their heterosexuality; the absence of women in the arenas of power where decisions are made about their lives; and, the pervasive inequalities shaped by race, ethnicity, colonialism, citizenship, gender identity, sexuality, ability, and language that work alongside gender. As you hopefully know, all of these issues remain deeply persistent sources of women’s inequality, and therefore addressing how they operate in the lives women remains at the heart of the feminism.

This does not mean that feminists hate men or that they do not care when men are harmed, nor does it mean that feminists themselves are somehow sexist. There are real and serious inequalities that continue to face women, and it is not unreasonable or sexist for a movement for gender equality to focus primarily on those problems. Would you tell those working to address racial inequality that they are racist unless they also work to address all of the problems facing white people? Maybe you would, Lauren, but I really hope not.

Now, that being said, I actually think that feminists do focus quite a lot on issues impacting men. As I describe in #2 below, the gender regimes that impact women also impact men, and feminists offers many tools to challenge them alongside one another. Don’t get me wrong though, this doesn’t mean that feminism is only important and legitimate when it is also useful to men. There are serious issues of security, freedom, and equality uniquely facing women, and if you are only willing support movements to confront these problems when they also benefit men, then you are missing the point.

2. You say: “Feminists remain silent” on the issues of male suicide, male workplace deaths, male combat deaths, and male homicide death.

Actually, Lauren, a long history feminist analysis of gender does give us some pretty profound insight into a lot of these male deaths. In particular, feminists demonstrate how norms of femininity and masculinity entrench ideas about appropriate male and appropriate female behavior, which deeply shape the conditions of these banana beachesmale deaths. Take the issue of combat deaths, for example. Feminists have written extensively about gender and war pointing to how norms of masculinity are deeply implicated in producing a society in which men are expected to embody sacrificial stoicism, masculine physical virility and strength, while women are expected to be weak, passive, and in need of (male) protection. To engage with a fraction of this literature, check out: Cockburn 2007; Cowen 2008; Daniels 2006; Dowler 2001, 2011, 2012; Eisenstein 2008; Enloe 1983, 1989, 2010, 2014; Fluri 2008, 2011; Goldstein 2001; Jacobs et al 2000; Mohanty et al 2008; Moser and Clark 2005; Puar 2007; Sjoberg 2013; Tickner 2001; Yuval-Davis 1997.

As a means of illustration though, feminist Iris Marion Young (2003) has written about this as “the logic of masculine protection”. She writes, “In this patriarchal logic, exposing menthe role of the masculine protector puts those protected, paradigmatically women and children, in a subordinate position of dependence and obedience” (2). Feminists have challenged this logic of protection in multiple contexts, pointing both to how this robs women of agency, and to how it shapes male participation in war, and subsequent injury and death. Cynthia Daniel’s (2006) book Exposing Men deals extensively with the way that male soldiers–and specifically, their reproductive health–are injured, and how ideas of masculinity (like that “a man should be verile, not weak”) also contribute to the lack of medical help men seek for these injuries. Trust me, Lauren, feminists are writing about this.

I’ll just add on the note of male combat deaths, though: part of the reason it’s disproportionately men is because sexist policies in the U.S. military have historically barred women soldiers from combat roles. If you want equality in solidering, you might want to check out some feminists, like Cynthia Cohn or Megan MacKenzie (among others), who have both written persuasively about the myth that women can’t fight and challenged the exclusion of women from combat positions.

To your other examples (workplace death, suicide, and murder), there are also feminists who illuminate how notions of masculinity shape labor forces and the willingness of workers to use safety equipment, such as my college Arielle Hesse who examines masculinity and worker safety in the (largely male) natural gas workforce of Pennsylvania. Or Miles Groth, whose book “Boys to Men: The Science of Masculinity and Manhood” describes how stereotypes about what it means to “be a man” impacts high suicide rates among young men. Groth argues that feminist efforts to abolish restrictive gender norms offer vital pathways to address the problem. (There are others who discuss this connection too—just google it. You can also google masculinity and crime/gangs to help think through the ways feminism could be a helpful way understand the male murder statistics. I also recommend Melissa Wright (2011), who has written about murder of both men and women in Mexico through a feminist lens).

3. You say: “Almost half of all domestic violence victims in the U.S. and Canada are men.”

Given that you do not cite your source here, Lauren, I do not know where you found this statistic. However, depending on where you look, you may find dramatically different numbers. Some will show what you describe (a relative gender symmetry) while others show that it is largely women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV). So, why are there such different numbers? Actually, Michael Johnson (2011) has a pretty good article that will respond directly to most of your claims–it’s called Gender and types of intimate partner violence: A response to an anti-feminist literature review, but I’ll try to lay some of it out here. Since other people have already done this work for me, I’ll quote Kelly and Johnson (2008) on the topic:

“For over two decades, considerable controversy has centered on whether it is primarily men who are violent in intimate relationships or whether there is gender symmetry in perpetuating violence. Proponents of both viewpoints cite multiple empirical studies to support their views… These two viewpoints can be reconciled largely by an examination of the samples and measures used to collect the contradictory data and the recognition that different types of intimate partner violence exist in our society and are represented in these samples… Based on hundreds of studies, it is quite apparent that both men and women are violent in intimate partner relationships. There is gender symmetry in some types of intimate partner violence…”

So, then we break down the data! What you’ll find is there are a few important, but different, types of IPV (which are differently documented in the statistics you find):

  • Coercive Controlling Violence: This is what most people think of when they envision domestic violence. This type of IPV is routine and used to control the partner through multiple forms of coercion (economic threats, leveraging children, blaming, isolation, sexual violence, emotional abuse, intimidation, and physical violence.) This type of violence is more likely to result in serious physical injury or death. While men can be victims of this type of violence, on the whole it is overwhelmingly perpetrated by heterosexual men against their female partners. This type of DV is rooted in patriarchy and misogyny. As Johnson and Kelly describe, data obtained from women’s shelters, court-mandated treatment programs, police reports, and emergency rooms are more likely to report this type of violence.
  • Violent Resistance: This type of IPV accounts for the fact that some people respond to coercive controlling violence with violent resistance (akin to “self-defense” but that has a specific legal meaning). The vast majority of violent resistance is done by women against male coercive controlling partners, but charges are sometimes filed in these cases and they contribute to the patterns in the statistics. Unlike the coercive controlling partner, violent resistance is reactive and the intention is not to control.
  • Situational Couple Violence: This is by far the most common type of IPV, and is perpetrated by both men and women close to gender symmetry (although men still slightly higher). This generally results from the escalation of an argument between partners, but is not representative of chronic violence, intimidation, or stalking. Although it is serious and can be lethal, on the whole it tends to involve more minor forms of violence (pushing, shoving, grabbing), and is much less likely to result in serious injury. Fear of the partner is also not a characteristic of men or women in this form of IPV. Large-scale survey research, using community and national samples, account more for this type of violence and therefore report greater gender symmetry in the initiation and participation of men and women in partner violence.

So, yes, Lauren, you’re right that men are victims of intimate partner violence too. Both men and women commit violence in both heterosexual and same sex relationships. All of this violence does matter. But when you’re talking about systemic violence, violence rooted in fear and control, and violence that results in serious injury, the vast majority of assailants are men and the vast majority of victims are women. At least a third of all female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by male intimate partners (compared to 2.5% for men). On the whole, gender symmetry in IPV tends to be clustered at the lower levels of violence, as the statistics you quote do not distinguish based on severity, frequency, whether an attack was in self-defense, or if it was part of a pattern of fear and coercive behavior. Also add to this that men are more likely to call the police on their partner, more likely to press charges, and less likely to drop charges.

This does not mean that feminists don’t care when violence happens to men, or that they don’t want to see men protected from this violence, cause they do. However, given the realities taking place when you examine the numbers closely, it’s not surprising that most feminist energy addressing IPV is focused on women facing (coercive controlling) violence. Plus, consider the ways that IPV is still shaped by systemic, legally-enshrined patriarchy in this country. Until recently men had the legal right to beat their wives. In fact, as recently as the 1980s, police would delay responding to domestic violence calls, and often wives had no legal recourse to demand protection from the state. This logic about male dominance over women is not wiped from our history yet, Lauren, and it continues to shape the treatment of women by partners and by the state which is supposed to protect them.

It is also very important to add that your claim that men don’t have access to victims services is also incorrect. The Violence Against Women Act, which feminists championed in 1994, legally protects both women and men (in both heterosexual and same sex relationships) who are victims of domestic violence. And, the VAWA does offer male victims all the same services and protections that are available to women.

While there are many feminists who work on the issue of intimate partner violence, if you want to check out some more I particularly recommend the work of Rachel Pain and Dana Cuomo (both links will direct you to some of their work).

4. You say: There are more men raped in prison than women, but “feminists remain silent on the issue”.

The claim that feminists have remained silent on this is just plain false. First of all, feminists fought front and center to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims (and to include other forms of rape, like statutory rape), which it previously hadn’t. It was the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine that launched a campaign called “Rape is Rape”, culminating in changes to the old definition that didn’t include men. Second, feminists led the broad coalition advocating for the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, which works to protect all prisoners from sexual assault (the majority of whom are men). (Relatedly, you may also note that women and feminists have been at the forefront of challenging rape in the military, which also affects many men.) Prison rape remains a really serious issue that affects thousands, and is certainly something that deserves more attention than it currently receives, including among feminists. However, among those who are fighting on this issue, feminists are there and they are not silent. For more feminists working on issues of incarceration or detention (some specifically dealing with rape), try Angela Davis (2003, 2005), Dillon (2012), Gilmore and Loyd (2013), Jackson (2013), Lamble (2013), Puar (2007), Sabo and Kupers (2001), Sundbury (2005), and others.

5. You say: “Feminists place a blanket statement on all men that they are all privileged, and that all women are oppressed.”

This is a warped characterization of what feminists argue. Yes, feminists argue that being a male in a male-dominated society has particular privileges—whether it’s being paid more, having greater representation in seats of power, having your voice privileged in many spaces, or so on. But, feminists do NOT assume that all men equally benefit from these systems of privilege, nor to they assume that all women are equally marginalized. The complexity of privilege and oppression underscores why feminist turn to the notion of intersectionality (Hey! It is “Feminism 101”!). Intersectionality notably emerged from critiques of white feminism by women of color and Third World women, who called for a feminism that was more attentive to the way the race, class, colonialism, and other systems of power worked alongside gender. Again, not all women are marginalized in the same ways, and the privileges that come, say, with being wealthy or being white can play a large role in how or whether someone might feel oppressed due to their gender.

Feminists do NOT claim universal oppression among women. In fact, the assertion that all women are oppressed is one of the very issues that galvanized postcolonial feminists and feminists of color in their critique of second wave feminism. There had been (and to some extent still is) a tendency by white feminists to characterize women of color and Third World Women as universally oppressed by their cultures and their men, and thus in need of others (white feminists) to rescue them or to speak about them, or for them. This is what Spivak meant when she argued that brown women do not need white men (or women) to save them from brown men. If you want to learn more about this discussion about feminism and oppression, try checking out Gayatri Spivak’s article “Can the Subaltern Speak” or Chandra Mohanty’s “Under Western Eyes”. These insights are a cornerstone of what is generally understood as Third Wave Feminism, which you claim is about universal oppression.

So, yes, feminists do talk about the way that patriarchy and sexism overlap with other structures of race, class, sexuality, nationality to produce unique violences in women’s lives. But, as you can hopefully see, it is a much more nuanced argument than your characterization. (On the issue of privilege/oppression, you may also be interested in the wide writing of feminists who challenge the idea that men are natural perpetrators or aggressors and women natural victims. Here is one example. Another good source would be Clark and Moser’s (2001) book Victims, Perpetrators or Actors, as well as many of the others I mentioned earlier who write about gender and war.)

6. You say: “As a woman, I will almost always win custody in a divorce case.”

Again, you might look to the extensive feminist literature about gender to craft a meaningful analysis of why this occurs. Undoubtedly, the issue of women being more likely to be granted custody cannot be understood separately from the gender norms that assume that women (not men) are natural caregivers and naturally nurturing, or that assert their primary and most important role is motherhood. In contrast, in our society men have historically been thought of as the breadwinners and the productive citizens. Feminist have challenged these ideas for decades, since they profoundly restrict the options available to women, and contribute to the devaluation of women’s labor both in and out of the home (Mitchell et al 2003). Just a few examples of the impacts of this assumption (of women’s natural role is as the office party planningmothers) include: stigma toward women who don’t want to or cannot have children; the devaluation of work in the home such that it need not be paid or treated as productive; lower pay for women working outside the home (“her income is just to supplement that of her husband”); the characterization of women who don’t fully embody the motherly norms of nurturing caretakers as “pushy”, “overly assertive” or “bitchy”; or even the assumption within workplaces that women will be naturally good at domestic responsibilities, and are therefore are disproportionately expected to do domestic labor in the office, such as cooking, party planning, decorating, and cleaning. (We all remember Phillis, Pam, Angela and Meredith doing that work!) I could go on, but I’ll stop with the examples there.

Anyway, men who are invested in reshaping ideas about their male parental rights may be surprised to find that gendered assumptions about women’s inherent motherliness (which feminist critique) also carry over into how society perceives them as parents (think of the attitudes towards men who are stay at home dads). They may actually find that feminist goals align closely with their own, in terms of changing the gendered expectations about child rearing. Further, in terms of family policy, feminists have actually advocated for many policy changes that benefit men, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and paternal leave policies.

7. You say: As a woman, I will “actually have my rape and assault claims taken seriously.”

Lauren, how often do you read about rape cases in the United States? Do you really think that it’s fair to say that women have their rape and assault claims taken seriously? Really? Seriously, really? Women are consistently blamed for their own rapes (“she must have led him on”, “she shouldn’t have been dressed provocatively”, “she shouldn’t have been with him in the first place”, “she shouldn’t have drank so much” and so on). There is SO much documentation of women not being believed for their rapes that your claim here is actually really disturbing. This is particularly true for women of color, who are even less likely to be taken seriously. Here are just a few articles to reinforce what I’m saying: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. In terms of feminist efforts to address rape in the U.S., Title IX legislation which feminists have fought for on college campuses offers protection from sexual harassment and assault for all students, including men.

8. You say: As a woman, “I won’t be laughed at for not being manly enough.”

i need feminismYou’re right, in most instances, you probably won’t be laughed at for not being manly enough. But as a woman, you may be laughed at for being too manly. Crossing borders of accepted gender behavior (a man expressing femininity or a woman expressing masculinity) can be difficult for both men and women, and again, there are a LOT of feminist resources that will help give you the language, strategies, and support needed to confront and challenge the harms experienced by both men and women due to gender norms.

As a related caveat, however, if you’re a woman in a male dominated field like the military, policing, firefighting, etc then you likely will come up against the standards of “not being manly enough”. Again, turn to feminists to help understand this (e.g. women in firefighting, women in the military).

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Anyway, Lauren, I hope that helps clear up some of your issues with feminism. I also hope it will encourage you will do a bit more research on the work that feminists do and reconsider your position. If you want to learn a little more about ways feminism has helped men, here are one and two more sources on that for you. You might also find it useful to talk to some feminist men sometime about why they are feminists.

All the best,

A feminist

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FOLLOW UP MAY 4, 2015: Lauren ended up replying to me after I wrote this letter, and asked if I wanted to do an online debate about feminism. We decided to do a call-and-response style discussion where we post questions and replies to one another. My contributions are posted on this blog, and hers are on her youtube account. The discussion is currently on-going. If you would like to follow alone, here is the progression of the conversation: 1) the announcement of the format for our discussion, 2) my first prompt for her, 3) her first video reply, and 4) my second post for her. We hope the conversation continues to be fruitful, and we both welcome you to follow along and participate in the discussion!

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References:

Cockburn, Cynthia. (2007). From where we stand: war, women’s activism, and feminist analysis. New York: Zed Books.

Cowen, D. (2008). Military Workfare: The Soldier and Social Citizenship in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Cowen, D. and A. Siciliano. (2011). Surplus Masculinities and Security. Antipode. 43(5): 1516-1541.

Cuomo, D. (forthcoming). Security and fear: the geopolitics of intimate partner violence policing. Geopolitics.

Daniels, Cynthia. (2006). Exposing Men: The Science and Politics of Male Reproduction. New York: Oxford University Press.

Davis, Angela. (2005). Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture.

Davis, Angela. (2003). Are Prisons Obsolete. Dillon, S. (2012). Possessed by death: the neoliberal-carceral state, black feminism, and the afterlife of slavery. Radical History Review. 112: 113-125.

Dowler, L. (2012). Gender, Militarization and Sovereignty. Geography Compass. 6/8: 490-499.

Dowler, L. (2011). The hidden war: The “risk” to female soldiers in the US Military. In S. Kirsch and C. Flint (Eds.), Reconstructing conflict: Integrating war and post-war geographies (pp. 295-314). England: Ashgate.

Dowler, L. (2001). The four square laundry: Participant observation in a war zone. Geographical Review 91(1/2): 414-422.

Enloe, C. (2014). The recruiter and the skeptic: a critical feminist approach to military studies. Critical Military Studies. No issue number.

Enloe, C. (2010). Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Enloe, C. (1989). Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics.Berkeley: University of California Press.

Enloe, C. (1983). Does Khaki Become You: The Militarization of Women’s Lives. London: Pandora Press.

Fluri, J. (2011). Bodies, bombs and barricades: geopolitics of conflict and civilian (in)security. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 36: 280-296.

Fluri, J. (2008). ‘’Rallying public opinion’ and other misuses of feminism’ in R. Riley, C. Mohanty, and M.B. Pratt. (Eds.), Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism, London: Zed Books. Pp. 143-160.

Gilmore, R.W. and J. Loyd. (2013). Race, Capitalist Crisis, and Abolitionist Organizing: An Interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, February 2010. In J. Loyd, M. Michelson, and A. Burridge (Eds.), Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis (pp. 42-54). Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Goldstein, J. (2001) War and Gender, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jackson, J.L. (2013). Sexual Necropolitics and Prison Rape Elimination. Signs. 39(1): 197-220.

Jacobs, S., R. Jacobson, and J. Marchbank (Eds.) (2000). States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance.London: Zed Books.

Lamble, S. (2013). Queer Necropolitics and the Expanding Carceral State: Interrogating Sexual Investments in Punishment. Law Critique. 24: 229-253.

Laliberte, N., L. Dowler, K. Driscol-Dreickson. (2010). ‘Advances in Feminist Thought: Geography’s Contribution to International Studies In Political Geography: InternationalStudies Compendium’, C. Flint (Ed.), Malden: Blackwell

Loyd, J.M., M. Mitchelson, and A. Burridge. (2012). Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.

Mitchell, K., S. Marsten, and C. Katz. (2003). Life’s work: An introduction, review and critique. Antipode. 35(3): 415-442.

Mohanty, C. (2003). Feminism Without Borders: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity.

Mohanty, C. (1988). Under Western eyes: Feminist scholarship and colonial discourses. Feminist Review. 30: 61-88.

Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and Robin L. Riley. (2008). ‘Introduction: feminism and US wars—mapping the ground’ in C. Mohanty, M.B. Pratt, and R.L. Riley (eds), Feminism and War: Confronting U.S. Imperialism. New York: Zed Books, 1-18.

Moser, C. and F. Clark. (Eds). (2005). Victims, Perpetrators or Actors? Gender, Armed Conflict and Political Violence. London: Zed Books.

Pain, R. (2015). Intimate war. Political Geography. 44: 64-73.

Puar, Jaspir K. (2007). Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Sabo, D., T. Kupers and W. London (Eds.) (2001). Prison Masculinities. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Sjoberg, L. (2013). Gendering Global Conflict, Toward a Feminist Theory of War, New York, Columbia University Press.

Sundbury, J. (2005). Global Lockdown: Race, Gender, and the Prison-Industrial Complex. New York: Routledge.

Tickner, J.A. (2001). Gendering World Politics: Issues and Approaches in the Post-Cold War Era.New York: Columbia University Press.

Wright, M.W. (2011). Necropolitics, Narcopolitics, and Femicide: Gendered Violence on the Mexico-U.S. Border. Signs. 36(3): 707-731.

Young, Iris Marion. (2003). The Logic of Masculinist Protection: Reflections on the Current Security State. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. Yuval-Davis, N. (1997). Gender and nation. London: Sage.

371 thoughts on “A Reply to Lauren Southern’s “Why I’m Not a Feminist”

  1. After seeing Lauren’s 2nd video I wonder why you would even bother to continue the discussion. Lauren appears unable to grasp the basic concepts of feminism and presents a point of view so simplistic and uninformed it’s laughable.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I agree it can be frustrating to feel like the message isn’t getting through. For me, a part of it was about having a conversation with Lauren. But, a much larger reason this felt worthwhile was there were many others who were encountering the video and trying to reply to people in their lives about it. Even if I can’t convince Lauren, it’s nice to see that many people have found it useful in their own lives.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. No offense meant towards your learning or understanding of the topic, but I feel you are missing her and many other people’s point as to why they are not feminists. You point out a lot of things that feminists have done and work towards. But, the issue a lot of people take on modern feminism is not its goal, but its ad-hearers. If you read a lot of “I don’t need feminism because…” or “I’m not a feminist because…” you find a lot of subjective opinions not on what feminism pushes for but what the people who identify as feminists say and do.

        And that is what is important. It is what feminists say and do. And what people see them saying and doing is play the victim card, make misandrist statements, harass others, and really not reinforce what your goals are as a feminist. If I was to compare it to something, I would choose religion. Feminists are stating you must conform to their institution and anti-feminists state that I believe in what you believe in but I don’t want to conform to your institution. Modern feminism suffers from a face problem.

        Now take me. I think your movement is sexist. I believe its sexist because your axiom, what its entire goal and purpose is is to create “social, cultural, and legal equality for women.” Since I am not as academically literate as you are, just trust I took the definition from Google and found conforming definitions with Dictionary.com and Oxford Dictionaries. The only dissenting definition was from Merriam-Webster which conformed to the definition I most hear from feminists which is about equality between the genders. Further look into Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy continues the trend of feminism being about women.

        That is fine. A movement for women’s rights is fine, but it does mean you are sexist by definition. Anything that promotes other gender movements are by definition not feminism. A lot of the examples your provide of feminism helping men was not done with the intent to help men. It was done with the intent to help women, or solve an issue that clearly effects both genders and it just so happened to also help men. By that logic I could argue that it was a good thing your house burned down because it also boiled an egg. The extremeness I used was for comedic and shock effect, not to belittle your ideals. In fact, one of the issues that affect men more the women was done through the guise and language of helping women, showing the intent was to resolve this women’s issue. It was your Prison Rape article.

        Now what does this mean? It does put to doubt any claim feminism is for the equality of the genders, It is about the equality for women. And you see that in the focus of getting more women into the STEM fields. An egalitarian or humanist movement would focus on removing and gendered differences within any field. And your argument that feminism promotes men into more female dominated fields is suspect because it doesn’t do it is the same fashion as it does with the STEM fields. It does it through removal of biases that help your cause, not through active campaigning or promotion.

        Look, there is very little wrong with being a feminist. You just have to deal with a lot of baggage created and maintained by others that identify and promote your movement. I didn’t touch on the “us v them” mentality inherent in the movement but its there. The biggest flaw I see in feminism now is that a lot of feminist are bully people who don’t want to be feminists. They don’t want to deal with the baggage, They don’t want to part of a movement that shuts down MRA events under the assumption that MRA activists is misogynists. So if you do respond to this reply, I will ask you to explain two things. First, why do feminists need other people to be feminists when they don’t want to? Second, how do you explain your movement is for both genders when it is built upon the idea of making women equal to men?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jenna,

        This is a fantastic article, well researched and straight to the point. It eviserates every anti-feminist/MRA argument I’ve ever encountered. Still I’m left a little disheartened because for every solid article like this there’s a million half baked clickbait articles being regurgitated onto the internet. When I mention these articles I’m not just talking about anti-feminist propaganda like Lauren created but also purportedly feminist articles intentionally promoted for the sake of attracting commenters who will drive up the view count. I really get the sense that this advertising technique is creating a false image of many social justice issues while at the same time providing a forum for bigots and the ignorant to further deride this false image of vital social movements.

        I’m curious, have you reflected on this phenomenon, studied or written about it?

        Like

      3. Hi Patrick,
        I can’t say I’ve studied the impact of clickbait (or digital communication in general) with regard to feminism. If I were to just give a knee-jerk reaction, I think the clickbait type thing is pretty prevalent in all arenas, so it’s not too surprising that feminism is included. There is an upside and a downside to it. On the downside (at least as far as I’m concerned), I think it could be read in terms of the ways that capitalism has come to permeate almost every arena of our lives. This includes our social movements, such that we monetize even our most radical, progressive, and revolutionary ideas. On the brighter side though, I think it does make feminism something that people (and in particular young people) now get more exposure too. While there are the folks who are vehemently anti-feminist, I think there are far more young people who are open to feminism than when I was a kid and young people are coming in contact with feminist ideas in greater numbers. I mean, we even see mainstream celebs claiming it, like Beyonce (the impact of this on the tone of feminist ideas is a separate conversation). I think there is sometimes a tendency by adults to scoff that young people aren’t exposed to a lot of written content (and thus substantive ideas) since so much of the written content they encounter is in the form of tweet, buzzfeed lists and clickbait snippets. I read somewhere that kids actually read more today than they used to, so even though much of this is just nipples of good and bad content, they add up. As for the bad content, I think part of it is indicative of the user-generated nature of a lot of internet content, and as much as I hate to see badly done feminist content, maintaining the democratization of ideas and voices is more important. Part of it is just capitalism at work though–another reason we need feminist and other strains of radical thought. I don’t know. That’s all I got on that.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Lauren understands the full concepts of feminism and has talked about it in much deeper detail in money other google hangouts she did, Your concepts of patriarchy and rape culture and wage gap and the ill informed author wrote here is the only thing laughable.
      The whole violent resistance thing is actually what most men are accused of violence for. no authority figure would arrest a woman because she defended herself and the author should no valid statistic there.
      As well as countless other delusional culty things in the article that im not going to put out because you don’t seem welling to argue.
      Also one of her main problems with feminism, is you people’s blatant anti criticism which is basically anti free speech.

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  2. Lauren is dumb because she’s arguing about the term feminism. More importantly she doesn’t know its definition and is fighting an imaginary cause. What’s worse is the traction she’s gotten and how much misinformation she’s spread. Wouldn’t it be great if Lauren decided to attack gender inequality and try to even out the gender grounds rather than sit there attacking those who are trying??
    Also, loved that you gave us your reference list. You stuck it to her and it was marvelous. I wish I was as eloquent.

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      1. Unless you’re an intersectional feminist like my family (my mum got my dad and me into it). Then you’re fighting for equal rights for all as a feminist.

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      2. You do realize equality means equality, equality for women is equality for men, i don’t understand how people can think that only one side can be equal, equal means ‘ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are treated fairly and equally and no less favorably’ you cant have one without the other.

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  3. YOU need to make a video, seriously…social media is the way to go. No logical, well written, referenced article can reach the majority of the hum drum public. Most people don’t have the patience to read anything anyway.

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    1. Yes, would you please make a video? The thing is, people don’t want to sit down and read a well written article for 30 minutes. A 3 minute video was the only clever thing Lauren did as she knew how to impact upon great swathes of people. If you could make a 3 minute video, I think it would be powerful indeed, and help people like myself who are feeling a lot of despair over the video and the positive attention it has garnered from close ones. I am a performer and would be happy to deliver it/be the face if that is an issue for you. Anyone, just please make a video! xxx Thank you so much for writing this excellent article.

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      1. I’ll think about it! I’m much more of a written-word person than a spoken-word person,…but I’ve heard the request enough times now that it’s worth considering.

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  4. Usual feminist shit, most of you are so closed minded about her video, until you understand what it’s like to be a male you can’t talk or say shit, we get put through as much shit as you girls do yet it seems to be always our fault. Here is an idea, if you believe in equality, then feminism is not for you.

    Just look at the name feminism, yep all about female. Just a reason to complain and shit on about how fuck our law and society is. I do agree on equal rights but most of the feminist I have met almost rather a world with no males.

    So before you give this woman shit who is trying to stand up for equality, maybe you should look at yourself and see how being a feminist has over filled your ego and perceptions of men.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and sorry you feel this way. The title of feminism does have to do with the devaluation of the feminine, but it has come to encompass much more than this. Today, it is more broadly a set of theories, tools, and activism that is concerned with power broadly–including how it operates through other avenues of race, class, colonialism, sexuality, and so on. It is not all about women, which is why you see more and more men embracing feminism today. I have NEVER met a feminist who would rather a world without men (and I know a lot of feminists), so it’s very unfortunate if this has been your experience. I hope you have better experiences in the future–and I hope you remain open to listening and being open to some of what they say. You might find that they are not about what you think they are. Kind hint though: If you enter the conversation with a feminist by calling them shit, you may raise some hackles before the conversation begins.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Pop culture feminism and academic feminism are two very different things. That’s great that you can find and cite plenty of peer-reviewed academic articles that support your points and I concede that, sure, certain feminists scholars are interested in raising everyone up to the same level instead of dragging certain groups down to their own.

        But all this research you’ve done? It falls flat in the face of the mindless “feminist” hate mobs of twitter and tumblr who, in their frenzy and self-righteous fury, cause people to lose their jobs and ruin lives. It’s lost in headlines about very vocal women who actually think that their “twitter PTSD” is comparable to a Veteran’s combat PTSD, and actively tries to get these Veterans reprimanded when they take offense to her statement. It’s the #killallmen and #yesallmen hashtags, and the assertion from vocal self-proclaimed “feminists” that “all men are rapists”.

        So yeah, I’m empathetically trying to understand your position – maybe Southern and myself really don’t understand Feminism as you do, but based on what we see on a near daily basis, it’s pretty essentially as bad as the worst MGTOW or MRA, and no attempt at gaslighting our own experiences will change what we perceive on a daily basis.

        Maybe instead of blindly defending your own movement, we can admit that there are fractal problems within it and that instead of taking a reactive approach to Southern’s video, view it as systemic of a larger issue that maybe needs to be addressed.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Jenna, I’m right in with Michael’s comment about pop culture feminism vs academic feminism. The moment I saw a bunch of references to clearly acute-market texts (“Exposing Men” has 2 reviews on Amazon – “Men Explain Things To Me”, a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek book – “She writes about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.

        She ends on a serious note— because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, ‘He’s trying to kill me!'”

        Of course he is, we’re all trying to kill all of you. That’s why this has 124 reviews and is infinitely more popular in search results.

        Writing academic tomes for academics to read and have academic discussions and round tables is great and all, but many academics (though certainly not all) aren’t as in need of ‘enlightening’ as someone who, say, eats Big Macs on the subway en route to their minimum wage job instead of munching on a veggie burgers or cage-free egg whites while riding their solar power-assisted fixed-gear bicycle to the library. Gender identification has been a hot academic topic for over two decades. On the other hand, Caitlyn. Point made.

        So sure, there are some people we’ve never heard of writing books no one will ever read which completely and totally exonerate all those who operate under the umbrella term “feminist” for the sweeping, damaging, hypocritical generalizations about both men AND women which come forth under the banner of #feminism and for whatever reason are protected as such. But whereas many movements work hard to prevent hi-jacking, feminism turns a shy eye to man-hate. For a simplified comparison, imagine the ACRL treated ISIS/ISOL the same way. Yeah, it’s kinda like that.

        In this and so many of these “reaction” articles, the natural tendency to argue against anything which claims to argue against you is in effect. If you give an honest review of your own response, you’ll see that it reads like this:
        “She’s right, but there are a few of us who are doing what she says we’re not, so she’s wrong.”

        I sadly still expect I’m more likely to hear a feminist say
        -“Feminism is the radical notion that all women are human beings” (which ‘innocently’ leaves out about half of all human beings), or
        -“Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.”, or
        -“I do want to be able to explain to a 9-year-old boy in terms he will understand why I think it’s OK for girls to wear shirts that revel in their superiority over boys.”, or
        -“The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately 10% of the human race.”, or
        -“I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” …
        -or the truly egalitarian “I want to see a man beaten to a bloody pulp with a high-heel shoved in his mouth, like an apple in the mouth of a pig.”.

        You likely know them. You’ve likely defended or dodged each of these quotes in the past. At any point, did you wonder how you would feel if the genders were reversed? If you were a man and this was being presented to you as “feminism”, how supportive do you think you’d be of the idea?

        Ah that's why more rapes occur on server restart days and during power outages! Makes sense now! #feminism pic.twitter.com/4cxKpHAMtZ— White Knight Kit (@crayolakitty28) August 6, 2015

        Ya. I also start automatically engaging in a ‘humping’ motion whenever a breeze blows the wrong way.

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      3. ” it is more broadly a set of theories” it’s a cult…. it’s a cult writtern by ill informed people who have no degrees or understanding of human physiology telling people whats right and what’s wrong.
        it is honestly scary that you people have such lack of common sense that you will believe anything that is presented to you in a mental gymnastics way. I just ask you to think about these theories please.

        Also NO ONE actually victim blames in the west like you suggest. It’s different on the internet because some people are anon. trolls who just want attention. but NO ONE in real life says “she shouldnt have dressed so sexy”
        and your whole justification of the statistics of male violence is just sick. you had no proof, and the whole violent resistance is exactly what happens to men. woman hits a man, man hits back, man gets arrested.
        But more justification and theories that proof women can’t have privileges just “advantages”.
        But i do appreciate the fact that you were nice with writing this article instead of resulting to insults. and great job on keeping the comment section open and allowing criticism. just ignore trolls

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      4. The reason more males are becoming feminist is because it’s mainstream, and popular. I’ve been told many times I was a piece of shit and even that I deserve to die by feminist women I know at school when I said it was not right that a women should be able to just withdraw consent days or even weeks after a sexual encounter and proclaim it rape, after they had given their consent to their partners. Why is it that by stating my beliefs I am immediately publicly ridiculed and humiliated by a host of people that claim they are just dealing out justice. If I was doing what they were doing to me it would be in the media and I would be proclaimed a sexist, but double standards surrounding this topic make it so it’s “okay” for them to react like they did and it was “justice” when they targeted me. How can a group that is “oppressed” everywhere they look also receive a huge amount of mainstream media attention, and be a huge popular movement that is supported by millions of men and women alike as well as celebrity women that make millions (Yes the poor oppressed dears make millions) and even the president of the U.S.? How can oppressed group have a larger impact and voice than their oppressors?- wouldn’t they be censored or silenced? How can a group that makes up the majority of voters be oppressed? The only reason you see sexism everywhere is because radical feminist doctrine taught in gender studies tells you that. I also challenge you if you think a class based on the problems men face – a class for men just like gender studies for women- would even be allowed in colleges- it would spark outrage and it would be called things like sexist and misogynistic. I realize that their will always be problems for both sexes, but saying that you are oppressed with all this support and popularity is just ridiculous. I believe there is such a thing as reverse sexism, but I know that feminist won’t acknowledge my issues as long as they are going on scavenger hunts to find evidence of a nonexistent oppression. Saying over half of our society are treated like second class citizens is a damn hefty statement if I do say so myself, and I see it to be to broad and misleading. Yes there are environments where both sexes are mistreated, but claiming this is evidence of oppression is ridiculous. If a man looks at the huge host of female coworkers at a school that he teaches, he doesn’t see it as a point of oppression that they aren’t more male colleagues. But, if a woman was at an engineering firm and was surrounded by men, she would claim that the oppression of women and the patriarchy are responsible for more women not being there. Why are there double standards?- a man can claim that he was raped and be met with laughs- a woman with a support group and media coverage, a man can be hit by his wife and when he hits back charged and sent away, but if a woman is in the same situation and acts the same way she will be seen as brave and supported by a large number of people. We in our society have developed a behavior that applauds female accomplishment and fights for there issues, but also suggests that they are constantly oppressed and second class citizens. I will await the day when you can all wake up in the 21st century and see that you aren’t oppressed and that you are capable and strong. You are all just as much citizens as any man, and you can do anything. Stop sitting around and claiming these things and seize the proof that you aren’t oppressed. Become an engineer, a doctor, anything you want to be! Nobody will tell you you can’t (if someone does leave them to me and the law system)- and know that I think every woman has potential to do great things. I am pro-equality and I think feminism has morphed into something it was never meant to be. It too ,like the hateful beliefs that were against it, are outdated. They don’t have a place in the continuance of humanity. They divide us all and spark new hates between each other, while trying to stop a hate that doesn’t exist anymore to the rest of us in the western world. Please understand that I think love ( call me a hippy if you want to, I don’t care) is the answer and I don’t think feminism brings that to the table it just creates new hates and tensions. I’m not trying to say all issues have been resolved, but I think that feminism has run it’s course and accomplished what it set out to do- women are able to vote, they are equal under law, and they have the capabilities and the right to do anything a man used to be only allowed to do (just look at the badass women in the army rangers!). Telling the strong, empowered modern female she is oppressed is just wrong; we should be spiriting her into the world of opportunities the modern age has brought to women thanks to the older waves of feminism!

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  5. Jenna, what amazing post. I loved reading it. Please keep posting. The world needs more people like you. Thank you so much for taking the time responding to Lauren and bringing these issues to light. xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. *Facepalm*. Yanno, I sit here thinking “thankfully someone has intelligently gathered a cluster of information which presents a different perspective on this story. Now, maybe, some of those who have refused to understand the concerns and fears of men can see that our problems are all the same, and that injustice, inequality, violence, and abusive behavior are unacceptable in ANY context.”

      Then I get to the bottom – “oh great, and to make sure she and all of similar mind listen, he calls her a bitch and suggests everything she says is wrong.”

      It’s simple. Stop picking sides. Everyone. Every side. Red v. Blue, me v. you…. in the end, no one wins.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah I just wanna be like, LOL that’s what feminism is trying to say. That like men, women can be aholes too! But all those women in power keep telling us that’s not true! And that’s why we keep getting custody of children even though some of shouldn’t. Seriously, who put all those women in the House and Senate?

        And then we keep wanting to discuss things like rape, which includes prison rape, because you know, rape is rape even if it’s being committed by men to other men, because you know, rape is rape.

        And we can’t because peeps like Lauren are telling us we need to push aside our agenda so we can help with their agenda and that’s why we’re not relevant except I’m not even sure peeps like Lauren understand what their agenda is or what our agenda is because if they did, they would see that essentially, we all want the same thing: gender equality, for rape to be taken seriously no matter who the victim is, for the best parent to be considered in a custody battle and not the gender of the parent, equal pay for equal work and equal expectations because above all things, men and woman are humans.

        sigh.

        Jenna, I’m sorry I can’t articulate my thoughts as clearly as you did. Thank you for writing this piece for the aholes of the world like me who want equal recognition.

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      2. I want to not be referred to as “peeps”. I am not a marshmallow. Reductive is not seductive. Something else to write on poster board. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Frick, my thoughts exactly. A great rebuke and rebuttal followed by “u dum bitch”…. It’s like Plato ended the Phaedo with “Yolo!”

        Oh god, that’s to many accented “o”‘s

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    1. I think it is normally and healthy to have a conversation about ideas and politics, particularly when they have real, tangible impacts in people’s lives. She is welcome to have her opinions though!

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    2. Engaging with someone’s opinion is not the same as censorship. Jenna is letting her have her opinion. No one could feasibly take it away.

      Jenna is sharing hers in return.

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  6. Reblogged this on Killing Me Softly: Emotional & Psychological Abuse and commented:
    This post by Jenna Christian addresses what many women perceive as an anti-feminist backlash that seems to have broken out in full force just as men’s violence against women was finally taken seriously. While I acknowledge that woman can and do perpetrate domestic violence and will always be an advocate for those who are silenced by their abusers, regardless of gender, I also disagree with the underlying assumption of the One in Three Men campaign – ie that males and females are equally responsible for domestic violence against an intimate partner. Jenna Christian’s post is both articulate and backed by research and statistics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You disagree with the reality of Intimate Partner Violence because you’re being force-fed lies.

      Ask Erin Pizzey, the founder of the first Women’s Shelter in the UK who was stalked and threatened out of the country by angry feminists for the offence of telling the truth about IPV. It’s not a gender issues and if you want to solve the problem, we need to cut out the deception!

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  7. My response:

    “Setting aside for a moment the problems with your assumption that gender can be reduced to a binary of male/female”
    – In terms of feminism, it is. I don’t think any assumption was being made there. It’s just that when it comes to feminism, people talk about men and women. People shouldn’t need to have a disclaimer saying that there are of course other genders.

    “since people that produce anti-feminist content generally are not very open to meaningful engagement with feminist thought”

    – From my experience, the case is rather that people anti have logical thought and hear the same arguments over and over again and so don’t need to keep thinking it over once come to a conclusion. When new arguments are presented, people do discuss them though (that is from what I’ve seen). The majority of feminists on the other hand have no desire to think about what they say and what is said to them. They just state points and already think they’re right as feminism is always right apparantely. Anything said against it is considered invalid.

    “Lauren, I think if you look at the history of feminism, the answer to this question is pretty clear…Feminism emerged out of women’s rights movements. Thus, the roots of feminist scholarship and activism come from a challenge to the inequality of women.”

    – Oh dear. It’s that excuse. That is such nonsense. Feminism emerged out of women’s rights movements, yes. That does not by any means, mean that it must stay that way. In Western Society, in the years of early feminism women definitely needed to be concentrated on. That is not at all the case now though.

    And then you list. On a side note, it wasn’t really necessary to list as no-one here is saying that women’s issues are non-existant. But as for the “issues” you asserted:

    “the inability of women to be recognized as full citizens” – In what way? Women have equal rights (in Western society. That is just your overall point disguised as an individual issue).

    “women’s lack of rights over their own bodies” – If you’re referring to abortion, that is not as simple as “her own body”. It is a life being taken. I don’t agree with feminist involvement in making abortion legal. It’s not an inequality of women. It’s about whether murder is okay in certain circumstances.

    “women’s lack of protection from violence in the homes and on the streets” – As stated in the video, women have places they can go for support. Not enough, maybe. But there are a lot of them. Men on the other hand, have barely any support. It’s simply not taken seriously for men and it should be.

    “and their unique experiences of violence in times of war” – I don’t know what you’re referring to there. Anyone who does please respond.

    “the restriction on women’s ability to pursue the same opportunities as men” – Untrue. Women can pursue the same opportunities as men, and as said in the video they are given an advantage on it; people will hire and accept to univesity females for their gender.

    “the gendered norms that constrain women’s ability to freely express their gender, personalities…” – Gender norms affect men and women and other.

    “and their bodies” – If by this you mean the sensitivity towards breasts, I agree. Breasts shouldn’t be a big deal. I think it’s rather an issue of society getting prudish over the years, as opposed to men’s oppression but yes, it is an issue that should be dealt with.

    “the lack of attention and respect given to women’s voices and experiences” – Really? From what I’ve seen women get a load of respect whereas men’s experiences when any sensitivity is shown, is considered… well, “Ha Gayyyy!”.

    “the devaluation of women’s labor” – To a degree, yes.

    “the lack of freedom to love who they wish and the assumption of their heterosexuality” – Excuse me? Assumption of heterosexuality is an LGBT issue not a feminist one, given that it applies to not only women. And it isn’t a big issue anyway as most people are heterosexual, so that is what is assumed unless someone says otherwise. It can easily be corrected with “actually I’m ______”. As for lack of freedom to love who they wish, if you are referring to arranged marriages, yes there is a big issue there, however that is a religion thing and that isn’t something that is going to be changed with feminism. I’m not quite sure how you tackle that.

    “the absence of women in the arenas of power where decisions are made about their lives” – Less women choose to go into governmental roles. Just as less men choose to go into nursing. That isn’t an issue on either part. It’s just how it happens to be. There are in fact biological reasons for certain jobs being predominantly occupied by one gender (that is men or women. I’m not sure how other genders come into that). You can look those up.

    “the pervasive inequalities shaped by race, ethnicity, colonialism, citizenship, gender identity, sexuality, ability, and language that work alongside gender.” – I don’t really know what that refers to.

    “As you hopefully know, all of these issues remain deeply persistent sources of women’s inequality, and therefore addressing how they operate in the lives women remains at the heart of the feminism.”

    – Well besides everything I’ve said above, you’re missing the point that men have issues to. It’s not a battle of who has more so needs to be solely concentrated on. The fact is, both have issues, so feminim should tackle both. Feminism would benefit a lot from dealing with issues of more than just women as a lot more people would be on board with it.

    “This does not mean that feminists hate men or that they do not care when men are harmed, nor does it mean that feminists themselves are somehow sexist.”

    – Given that these feminists care only for women’s issues and think men’s inferior, yes they are indeed sexist.

    “Would you tell those working to address racial inequality that they are racist unless they also work to address all of the problems facing white people?”

    – If living in a society where both had a lot of issues, yes.

    “Now, that being said, I actually think that feminists do focus quite a lot on issues impacting men. As I describe in #2 below, the gender regimes that impact women also impact men, and feminists offers many tools to challenge them alongside one another.”

    – “A lot” is frankly just wrong. Whether some feminists focus on men’s issues or not, it is not done on nearly the same scale that women’s issues are and consequently, it’s ignored on a large scale. Also, there you show that men’s issues can be dealt with when it goes alongside and furthers women’s issues. Issues that affect men alone, like not getting custody of children unless the mother has a serious fault of some kind, or female privellages when it comes to university and job places, are simply not dealt with.

    You later said “Trust me, Lauren, feminists are writing about this”. I would think Lauren knows that some do, and I know that some do. But as I said, that is on a minor scale so issues don’t in fact get dealt with. Whereas things that aren’t in any way issues, but are complained about by feminists, are dealt with.

    “However, given the realities taking place when you examine the numbers closely, it’s not surprising that most feminist energy addressing IPV is focused on women facing (coercive controlling) violence.”

    – Why is it though that women have to be concentrated on, as opposed to simply dealing with both at the same time? Why is it so much more difficult to refer to it as an issue that affects men and women, and set up support centres for men and women, as opposed to solely women (practically).

    “The Violence Against Women Act, which feminists championed in 1994, legally protects both women and men (in both heterosexual and same sex relationships) who are victims of domestic violence. And, the VAWA does offer male victims all the same services and protections that are available to women.”

    – Legally, yes. Men should have the same protection as women. However in reality, women are favoured in courts and men aren’t really taken seriously when it comes to claims of abuse, particularly when from women.

    “First of all, feminists fought front and center to change the federal definition of rape to include male victims”

    – On a side note, feminists of Israel fought to get the legal definition of rape to be of a man sexually abusing a woman (so that men apparantely can’t get raped and women can’t rape).
    That whole paragraph of the article was good though. I’m glad it is getting dealt with. I take big issue with the feminist claims that Western society is a “rape culture” and the massive effort that goes into making rape seem like something that only really affects women and that all men are potential rapists etc. That all goes way too far into ignorance and prejudice.

    “You say: “Feminists place a blanket statement on all men that they are all privileged, and that all women are oppressed.”
    This is a warped characterization of what feminists argue.”

    – Hardly. That is pretty accurate of what so many feminists do say; that could easily be a quote.

    “Yes, feminists argue that being a male in a male-dominated society has particular privileges”

    – Except it isn’t male dominated. And females have privellages also.

    “whether it’s being paid more”

    – Oh you mentioned the wage gap. I was hoping from your last list that you knew better. It is complete nonsense. You can look up why. There are many videos explaining it in detail and I assume articles also.

    “Again, you might look to the extensive feminist literature about gender to craft a meaningful analysis of why this occurs. Undoubtedly, the issue of women being more likely to be granted custody cannot be understood separately from the gender norms that assume that women (not men) are natural caregivers and naturally nurturing, or that assert their primary and most important role is motherhood.”

    – Actually there is biological study into gender norms and we know that to a degree they are in fact biological. Meaning women do in fact have natural motherly instinct and men are instinctively providers. As you can see I don’t care to find the best sources, as from my experience feminists don’t change their opinion and so I can’t be bothered to waste too much of my time, but you can look it up, it’s all easily accessible.

    That being said, men are capable of taking care of children and equal custody should be given and if that is not available, whoever is best suited (however you determine that).

    “stigma toward women who don’t want to or cannot have children” – I personally have never seen or heard of that. In fact we have family friends who don’t want to have children. I’ll ask if they’ve ever received stigma for it.

    “the devaluation of work in the home such that it need not be paid or treated as productive” – “Need not be payed”? Well of course. You don’t get payed to do your own housework. And from a broad sense, it isn’t particularly productive. Not that I have an issue with someone doing it if they want to but jobs contribute to society whereas housework just helps yourself and whoever else lives there (again, that’s fine, but not as productive as working a job).

    “lower pay for women working outside the home” – Again that’s nonsense. Please do look it up.

    “the characterization of women who don’t fully embody the motherly norms of nurturing caretakers as “pushy”, “overly assertive” or “bitchy”” – That isn’t people who “don’t fully embody the motherly norms of nurturing caretakers”. That is people who are rude and think they’re in charge. The same is said about men.

    “or even the assumption within workplaces that women will be naturally good at domestic responsibilities, and are therefore are disproportionately expected to do domestic labor in the office, such as cooking, party planning, decorating, and cleaning.” – From my experience, women tend to choose to party plan as they enjoy it more.
    I don’t have experiences in the others although I see more male cleaners (far more).

    “There is SO much documentation of women not being believed for their rapes that your claim here is actually really disturbing.”

    – That is because a lot of women regret their decision to have sex and so decide to call rape. It is a very difficult thing to judge the truth of, so naturally many accused aren’t convicted. And the false allegations count for a lot of the supposed failed rape convictions. The way rape is dealt with needs to change but how I don’t know, as by making it easier to convict, you allow many innocent to be convicted and thus their lives ruined. The point of Lauren’s statement here was accurately that males will be believed to a far lesser degree than females.
    In terms of your quotes there, I don’t think that applies to the majority of people.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I find it telling that rather than offering support for Lauren’s right to her views, you haven’t at all addressed the fact that people are labelling her a raving idiot on your blog. One huge part of an educated, respectful debate is showing respect for the person you are debating with. Instead you seem to be relishing the hate targeting your adversary and focusing on the popularity of your posts, which, I’m afraid, seems a very feminist habit. You are doing feminism no favours, here.

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    1. I am sorry you view it that way. I have said multiple times to people that Lauren has a right to her views though, and I have always been respectful to her in everything I have written. You’ll see this is also how I have replied to commenters who have disagreed with me and called me names on the blog. I have approved and responded pretty kindly to all the people who have called me things like feminist trash, a bitch, or such. I prefaced the debate with a statement about wanting to hear the debate proceed respectfully, and I do believe the tone of everything I have written stays true to this. That said, I didn’t take it upon myself to police all the comments. Perhaps I could have done more to encourage people to speak more respectfully about Lauren, but I have been making an effort to keep the conversation respectful on multiple other fronts, including by modeling how I would want the conversation to look through my own writing. Your words are definitely a good reminder to encourage others to speak respectfully, and I thank you for that…I just think they are a little dismissive of how I have actually conducted myself in this space.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This is your space, not this space. Personal responsibility, especially of those with a platform/loudspeaker is a major part of the conversation.

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  9. The person who posted all the pics and cut-and-pastes… did they even read your article?! I’m wondering if they’re a troll, that’s a lot of work they’ve done. That energy could have been put to much better use :\

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    1. You mean the person that presented evidence that demonstrates the fallacies that this article is based on!

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    2. It’s a pre-fab post, put together by one of the ‘Men’s Defense’ type sites.

      Here it is very simply – when men feel women have their interests at heart, they’re more open to having women’s interests at heart.

      When men are vilified for being born with and continuing to associate with their penis, enmity is created.

      “Feminism” either needs a new name or a concerted effort to effectively change the meaning of the old one, because no matter how you cook it up or dress it down, it’s still built on retaliation, not cooperation.

      Like

    3. So you don’t take their article seriously because they provided lots of facts and supporting evidence? This brings a new level of ignorance to the table like I have never seen before. Facts = credibility, credibility = right.

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  10. I don’t understand why they would have an interest in the debate if they’re bound and determined to ignore what she has to say anyway. People can be so reactionary and ridiculous when it comes to this topic. If only they could see beyond their own ideas, maybe we’d have more common ground. I’m sorry for the tone of my previous comment. I was just really hoping that having an honest debate about this would bring people together, and I’ve been disappointed by the stubborn refusal of some of the commenters to expand their ideologies and their eagerness to resort to petty name calling. It seems like this is all that comes from these discussions, and it’s rather useless. Hopefully things will change for the better as the debate continues. It’d be interesting to see the debate take place with a moderator to keep commenter participation logical and on point.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Honestly, I am not attacking this post nor defending it. I think that there is a major disconnect between those outside on the periphery of feminism and those on the inside. I am a white male who was raised by a strong woman and two older sisters while my father was literally working himself to death. I was raised with a healthy understanding that women are equal to men and I will champion that cause to my dying breath. However, as some on the outside will say there is a very strong misandronystic element within the fractured structure of feminism which makes the appearance that it is female supremacy and not female empowerment aimed at equality. Despite my beliefs in equality I have met with hostility when trying to engage in level headed dialogue. I hope that I am believed in my sentiments, but that really is secondary to having the chance to speak my honest feelings. If TRUE feminists wish to be heard there needs to be a denouncement of those who embody what they themselves denounce in their opponents: “Close mindedness and pettiness.” There are two responses to what I am saying. The first being outrage at my gall to impugn the integrity of a noble endeavor. The second being an honest look at a noble cause that might become twisted in anger. Look at the French Revolution. It stood for justice and equality and turned into something else. I have met many strong women in my life and become very good friends with them. I have also met awful people who are the mirror-darkly opposite side of the misogynistic, oppressive coin that prompted feminism to come into existence. My hope for feminism is that just like men who stand up for women’s rights, despite being born into entitlement by our sex, true feminists denounce those in their own camp who are giving their cause a bad name. These people do exist whether, whether it is convenient to believe or not. I believe in equality and I want to believe that feminists as a whole also do. I hope that by at least expressing my opinion honestly, I can get those who truly believe themselves to be feminists to think for a moment about whether those around them also espouse that same mission of true equality or whether they are just warped by negative emotions. That is my hope at least.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Lauren your right. Forget these moronic opinions based on emotion and not on the poiint you were trying to make. At the end of the day these “femenists” are just in it for the arguement and dont care about the fundamentals. Oh and ive never seen a physically appealing femenist. Coincidence? I think not.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Standing applause!! Amazing and eloquent response. Thank you so much for engaging her and for putting in the time and effort it would have taken you to craft such a dissertation. Wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Just to address your first point. I think you’ve missed the point entirely. Lauren specifically was talking about feminism not addressing male issues because she was being told from feminists, that feminism was about equality, with the assumption that it involved the equality of both genders. To then say that Feminism is only about equality as it pertains to females, is EXACTLY lauren’s point. All you’ve done is redefine feminism for her, which is what she is against in the first place.

    Here, let me spell out my perspective: I didn’t used to be against feminism. I don’t care for feminism. I think feminists can do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t affect my rights to discuss the things that concern me. Some of these issues include concerns that only affect men and have nothing to do with women. An example includes male suicide rates. I’ve been unfortunate enough to have had a close friend who had committed suicide and I’ve always wanted to work on it as a “men’s issue”. There are groups that (perhaps incorrectly) call themselves men’s rights groups. Realistically, I don’t think suicide is an issue of right, but these groups do often touch on men’s issues, and so I subscribe to them. Feminists on the other hand, consider these groups hate groups and go out of their way to protest against them. When Warren Farrell came to talk at my university, I wanted to attend only to hear the things that he wanted to say. Unfortunately I couldn’t get in as feminists blocked the entire area off and some even attacked and spat on me and my friends as we were outside trying to get in. That is why I have become against feminism. Became feminism goes out of its way to impede my rights to pursue avenues that aren’t under the domain of feminism. Feminists are convinced that if I don’t pursue a gender issue within the boundaries set out by feminism, I am therefore against women and against equality, which is not true.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I think it’s fantastic this conversation is happening and I really hope it does go on. I think it does highlight some key problems with how counter-intuitive feminism is to many people. I especially find it interesting how Lauren consistently devalues your use of academic sources and language. It begs the question for me of how we can speak about feminism in ways which are not seen as threatening or ‘academic rambling’. Well done, I think this is very worth while.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. There’s an interesting reply to the ‘more men are raped than women’ thing, here https://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/guest-post-more-men-are-raped-in-us-than-women

    There’s also a good FAQ section (trying to counter-act the massive anti-feminist brainwashing – by the 1%s media machinery) & propaganda we’ve been treated to during the last few decades)

    And a fun article here about why we (still) need feminism ( & yes, EVEN in the ¿so much more superior…? west): http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/220290/tabloid-headlines-without-the-sexism/

    Thankyou so much Jenna for taking the time to do this painstaking work!

    Like

  17. As a (pro-)feminist man, I’d just like to thank you for your courage and determination to write these great answers in spite of all the hatred, attacks and defensiveness that go flying in your direction for deciding to speak out – and not necessarily to make men feel better about themselves – while happening to be a woman.

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  18. Thank you, Jenna, for your intelligent, considered, and well-researched response to Lauren Southern’s video. I doubt very much that she’ll trouble herself to examine the research you’ve presented, but it is nonetheless great to have such an excellent analysis available online to anyone who wants to examine her claims.

    I’m sorry about the trolls who have responded to your post! Can’t you delete them, as clearly, they have no interest in informed discussion, yet they are taking up so much space?

    Like

    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lois.

      As for the comments, I decided early on not to delete posts from the discussion, so I’ve just stuck by that. I’d probably draw the line if someone was getting violent. It opens up a whole different bag of worms if I start being the arbiter of who is or isn’t civil though. Got to take the positive feedback along with the rest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see your point, Jenna; it’s just that the trolls’ comments are so off-point/long-winded/rude (pick any combination!). Still, if you keep up with the great analysis, they’ll remain unable to actually achieve anything with their comments – beyond mild irritation!

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    2. Whatever you do, do not make men feel better about themselves. Ever. Their great great great great great great great great grandfathers already got to do that, at least we’re pretty sure. Also they owned slaves. Women never owned slaves. So – die, men. We’ll, don’t die, just yanno… Sit. Good boys.

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  19. Lauren: If feminism is a movement for equality then why don’t we see equal representation [by feminists] of both gender’s issues?

    Jenna: Because Feminism was born in response to problems facing women in society. This doesn’t mean feminists hate men.

    She didn’t respond to the original point. A lot of people claim that feminism literally means “The belief that all genders are equal and should have equal opportunity” which is great in heart but doesn’t seem to measure out to usage. Jenna here admitted that the movement focuses unfairly on womens issues (in the process of explaining why) so rather than correct Lauren she is unwillingly agreeing with Lauren’s position. Then she went and said that about it not meaning feminists hate men, which is correct but also stupid because it implies that that’s what Lauren was saying.

    Lauren: Feminists remain silent on issues facing men in today’s society.

    Jenna: Feminists have actually spent a lot of time analyzing how these are a result of gender norms in our society.

    That’s not a response. She entirely dodged the question; which is, if feminists are so concerned about equal rights, why don’t they complain about the terrible inequalities facing men in society as well? Why are they always focused only on women’s issues? Why do they even go so far as to attempt to shut down talks to tackle men’s issues and ridicule people who bring them up?

    Lauren: Almost half of all domestic violence victims in the US and Canada are men and yet they are almost never taken seriously.

    Jenna: There are widely varying statistics available. Apparently domestic violence happens about equally between men and women, but the much more serious violence, the type that results in injury, etc. is overwhelmingly performed by men against women. Also men have equal access to victim’s services as provided by the Violence Against Women Act.

    Again she didn’t respond to the main point. Lauren isn’t complaining against the women who are domestic abusers, she’s complaining against the people who don’t take their victims seriously. Namely feminists. And the law protects men the same, yes, it’s obvious from the video that that’s not what she’s talking about. Watch the video again. She said men have limited access to abuse shelters, which is entirely true.

    I’m really noticing a pattern here where Lauren says one thing and Jenna addresses an entirely different claim Lauren never made. I don’t feel like going through the rest of these though.

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    1. Lauren: If feminism is a movement for equality then why don’t we see equal representation [by feminists] of both gender’s issues?

      Jenna: Because Feminism was born in response to problems facing women in society. This doesn’t mean feminists hate men.

      Matthew: She didn’t respond to the original point.

      It seems pretty obvious that she did. Lauren asked why feminism doesn’t have equal representation of gender issues. The answer was that the movement came out of addressing inequities for women. How does that not answer the question? The only thing that perhaps could be inferred from Lauren’s question that Jenna didn’t specifically say – that I can think of anyway – is perhaps that Lauren thinks that in order for a movement to be in favor of equality between genders it has to have equal representation of gender issues. The obvious answer is: “Why would it have to?”. I mean if the point of a movement is to remove structural inequities for women. How does that not favor equality between sexes and how does that disqualify it from being a movement “for equality”?

      Matthew: I’m really noticing a pattern here

      Perhaps “noticing” isn’t the right word.

      Like

  20. Yek’s last note-
    If a video or a response to it is ‘everything you have to say’ on a matter, and you either blindly disagree or agree with all points, you have nothing to say on the matter and are just noise.

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  21. Feminism is about treating men and women equally. So that’s that, guess she is a feminist who doesn’t hate men. Jenna I was fortunate to find your blog from another blogger I follow. Keep up the great posts! I look forward to all the men here who are supposedly fighting violence against men to fight for gender equality and also help women who have experienced violence. Otherwise they are using battered men as a tool and battering them again as tools to batter women who want better for men and women.

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  22. Interesting conversation. A couple of suggestions/questions. Is it helpful to make a distinction between feminist philosophy / theory / research and feminist ideology? The latter would draw from the former, but with the objective of removing uncertainty and ultimately influencing policy. In social terms, it is commonplace hierarchy-building based on a sense of belonging and not really that much different from patriarchy in the end. The ones who believe and proclaim feminism the most, are at the top of the heap. Lower down are the feminists in name only. Then the allies. And at the very bottom of the heap are the non-feminists, anti-feminists and MRAs. It is a means of (as Bourdieu would say) distinction.

    This stuff is what I think most people see from ‘feminism’ in online media. Even where research is cited and solid, it’s interpreted in ways that completely misrepresent it. Of course, this is about the same thing with just about any social movement I’ve seen. It’s mostly just humans being humans. I don’t particularly think that capitalist society is to blame. The behaviour is as much like medieval or classical society as it is post-industrial. “If she weighs as much as a duck, then she must be made of wood and therefore… she’s a FEMINIST! BURN HER!” and “She turned me into a newt … I got better!”

    On the other hand, feminist writing and theory as written in the dusty alcoves of the library — that stuff is fascinating and informative, but often not air-tight certain (thank goodness!). Perhaps the answer is “get off the Internet and read a book.” Not sure that’s going to happen soon, but it seems like a pretty good start.

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    1. Hi Ryan, I could see some distinctions between academic feminism, certain modes of activist feminism, and something that might be called pop feminism. They overlap and inform each other in a lot of ways, but the practices associated with each can sometimes be different. Within the academy, there are often conversations about how to get feminist theory and research to make more meaningful engagements with activism and public scholarship, but the results can be mixed. I will say, however, that at least based on my own experience the academic feminists I know tend to take part in activism at a greater frequency than some other disciplines. Always room to improve. Not sure if that speaks to what you’re saying, but it’s what came to mind.

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  23. I almost almost considered your opinions valid till i saw all your resources which are years old and do not represent the feminism today. Also, if you wanted to combat Lauren’s arguments than maybe you should have limited yourself to the topic because she was specifically talking about the feminism in Canada. Also, the books that you claim to be about men, their pourpose aren’t to help men at all but to prove points of why men should be the ones to change to adapt to feminism. Also, i don’t understand why i see lots of people that commented and challenged your views yet you haven’t answered to them. Dissapointing.

    Like

  24. Reblogged this on Of the crimson skies and commented:
    I just think this is very, very important for everyone to read. Especially anyone who has watched that video and agreed to what it says. I do not wish to start any debates about this here. Just thought this was brilliantly written, and needs to go around.

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    1. The more important thing to read is the lengthy reply that brings forth loads of evidence and supporting claims by Arthur Chall. I dare you to actually read it with an open mind, and try to dispel his arguments that are supported by facts.

      Like

  25. Hey there Jenna. I really enjoyed your article, I thought it responded to the video pretty effectively, with only a couple tiny misses. Down below I noticed a great list of information opposition feminism was posted (unfortunately, by an asshole). Ignoring the tragic last line of the post, I wonder if you’d respond to the bulk of it? It seems to make a strong case for at least a present and intellectual subculture within modern feminism which is grossly anti-male.

    The sentiments of many of those linked articles and references run contrary to your far more reasonablepresentation of feminism. Is this, as is paralleled when one brings up the issue of religious violence in debate with the religion, a case where they are “not true feminists”? Are their self-perceptions as feminists flawed?

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  26. All of your arguments are thought out well, researched well, and communicated well. As a feminist myself, I am happy that Lauren didn’t just ignore your comments and sweep them under the rug calling them irrational like many (but not all) non-feminists do. I look forward to following your constructive debate and am proud that it is going forward.

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    1. Read arthur challs long reply, and when you can dispel all of his facts and evidence- I will become a feminist.

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  27. I don’t know, I mean I get what Lauren us trying to say about how feminism doesn’t actually have a male-advocation equivalent of the same type and prominence. But the movements purpose is to highlight the dangers propagated by members of the dominant groups, make them see what is the real damage being done, and demand change. This video reminds me of the #alllivesmatter bullshit. People point out a problem and others trying to divert the energy away from it. It’s like a sedan in front of a red-light being rear-ended by an 18-wheeler only to have the truck driver bitch about the scratches and dings on his bumper while the sedan is totaled with a dead man in the passenger seat.

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    1. Her main point is that the feminist movement has become one for female supremacy and entitlement rather than equality. Hence her opposition to feminist claims that we exist in a “rape culture”. Such claims may seem like harmless rhetoric but may lead to, or be used to justify, oppressive laws. For example England recently passed legislation making it illegal to possess pornography portraying rape. It was deemed to be in line with human rights legislation because such a law would help combat “rape culture”.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. A really well written article but simply a reaction to an opinion you don’t like. I’m not an uber masculine male. I was raised by a single mother with 3 sisters. Being the only boy in a female dominated family I was raised to respect women as equal.
    I could compare feminism to communism. On paper it looks fantastic and your arguments show that. Unfortunately an academic article written by someone who has had the time to research does not reflect reality. Proof? Look at the soviet union.
    Feminism claims equality and in the same breath cries I’m a victim of male oppression, let’s handicap him.
    Reality is not a scholarly article.

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  29. Dear Jenna,

    I’m Spanish, and Lauren’s video is running around on Facebook in Spain after getting subtitles. A couple of friends have pointed the video out to me, asking for my opinion (seems I’m the local expert on feminism, which is weird since I’m a man). I actually gave a lengthy response, using some of the arguments you have here, but without your impressive reference database (wow). Anyhow, after answering I googled “criticism to anti feminist video” and your post came up, so here I am. Just wanted to say I’m deeply impressed by your work and your writing, and grateful that you took the time to detail all of these arguments. Needless to say, my friends in Facebook are already directed to this blog 😉

    With love from Spain
    Pablo

    Like

    1. Hi Pablo! Greetings to you in Spain! Thanks for the kind words of support. Don’t be shy to reach out if there is ever a way U.S. feminists like myself can support whatever you are up to over there. Warm wishes, Jenna

      Like

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