5 Arguments Feminists Are Tired of Having

Ad failed to load

I think it’s fair to say, in general, that feminists like to talk about feminism — because, when your advocating for equal rights for all and trying to dismantle centuries of systemic gender inequality, there’s an awful lot to say. But there are some arguments that feminists are tired of having. Or at least that I, as a feminist individual, am tired of having. More than tired. Exhausted.

There are some arguments that feminists have been having repeatedly, almost continuously, for a long time. Arguments about race, gender identity, sexuality, ability, and the countless other ways that axes of identity impact hierarchies of power. Arguments about what “gender equality” actually looks like. Arguments about how gender equality can best be achieved. Arguments about how feminists of different backgrounds can best support each other and the movement.

These arguments have been happening for decades and they should keep happening because, to put it mildly, this sh*t is complicated. The object of feminism is simple (the “economic, political, and social equality of the sexes,” thanks Merriam Webster), but the execution of that goal is anything but. There needs to be ongoing, attentive conversation about how feminism approaches the complexity of human identity and experience and how to move forward in ways that are inclusive and effective.

Ad failed to load

But then there are other arguments that inevitably pop up over and over and over that make me think, “This again?” Often rooted in false stereotypes and misreadings of the basic meaning of feminism, these are debates that will not die. I can’t speak for all feminists (nor do I want to), but these are a few of the debates about feminism that I, a feminist human, am tired of having:

1. Being a feminist does not mean you hate men.

Ad failed to load

“Feminism is anti-men” is probably the most prevalent stereotype of feminism there is, and it’s false. As Bustle’s JR Thorpe has described, the stereotype that feminism is anti-male comes from a long history of anti-feminist activism bent on discrediting the women’s movement by portraying its supporters as unnatural, angry, hysterical, and ugly.

Are there feminists out there who hate men? Yes. I certainly don’t hate men (and, as far as I know, I’ve never met any feminists who do), but this is a big, crowded world we’re living in, and I’m sure there are people who both describe themselves as feminists and who claim to hate the entire male gender. And that sucks. But that bias against men isn’t embedded in feminism, which is about equality and improving women’s lives so that they can achieve equal rights and opportunities — not punishing or denigrating men.

2. Feminists are not campaigning for female supremacy or “special treatment” for women.

Ad failed to load

The point of feminism is not to create a matriarchal society in which men are servants to a female overlord (although... I would watch that movie). Feminism strives for equality — as in equal, as in the same amount — not more for one group of people and less for another. Trying to change a system that inherently privileges (white) (heterosexual) men to give other people equal rights doesn’t amount to “special treatment.” If women receiving equal pay, or women having an equal voice in government, or women having equal representation on screen signify “special treatment” to you, you might want to check your dictionary for the word “special.”

3. Feminists are not all the same, and they don’t all believe the same things.

Ad failed to load

In general, feminists agree on two things: 1) All people should have equal rights, regardless of gender. 2) Gender equality does not currently exist. Beyond that, feminists can disagree about… a lot of stuff, TBH. No one feminist speaks for all feminists.

All too often in internet debates about feminism (dangerous territory, I know), I see someone trot out a statement made by a person claiming to be a feminist that is anti-male, or hateful, or simply bizarre, and then the internet commenter says, “See?! This proves that I am right, and feminism hates men/hates women who shave their legs/hates stay-at-home-moms/hates puppies/etc. etc.” Nope. Being a feminist does not require that you agree with everything that every other feminist has ever said.

4. Yes, a man can be a feminist.

Ad failed to load

Men can be feminists. Of course they can. Being a feminist means supporting the equal rights and opportunities of everyone, regardless of gender, and there’s nothing to say that you have to be a woman to do that. Feminism benefits everyone — because everyone’s lives are better when people have full rights and opportunities — and it benefits men particularly by dismantling harmful social pressures that dictate that men and boys conform to extremely limited stereotypes of masculinity. Feminist men are able to recognize the ways that gender constructs impact their lives, acknowledge their own privilege in a system that has historically favored men, and listen — really listen — to what women have to say about their lives and experiences.

5. The idea that sexism is dead and now everything is perfect and we don’t need feminism anymore.

Ad failed to load

Look, not everyone has to embrace the word “feminist,” but to suggest that the fight for gender equality is simply unnecessary because sexism is gone and everyone is now on an even playing field, with equal rights and opportunities, is to ignore basic facts about the world we’re living in.

Women make up half of the population of the United States, and yet they sit in only 20 percent of the seats in Congress. Women make approximately 77 cents to every man’s dollar (and that number drops significantly for women of color). One in six women is a victim of sexual violence. Women make up less than a third of speaking roles on film, and less than a quarter of film industry positions. Women make up less than a quarter of U.S. STEM jobs. That’s only a few examples, and they don’t even begin to take into account the oppression and violence that many women face in other parts of the world. Conditions for women have improved greatly in the last century, but there’s still a long way to go before gender equality actually exists.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here Are The Exact Steps To Take If You Want To Travel All The Time & Work Remotely

When I first decided I wanted to become a digital nomad — someone who travels non-stop while working remotely — I was terrified and unsure if I would actually go through with it. I worried my work would suffer from all the travel and time zone change…
By Suzannah Weiss

Here’s Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In April

As the virtual shelf life for non-original Netflix programs grows shorter and shorter, fans of the streaming service are bidding woeful goodbyes to their favorite titles left and right. So, for those who need some time to prepare, here's everything l…
By Angelica Florio

11 Ways To Stay Positive When Dating Feels Like The Worst, According To Matchmakers

With every first date that leads to nowhere or every non-relationship that ends up being a waste of your time, finding love can seem far from possible. It can also be pretty rough on your self-esteem if you continually put a lot of effort into dating…
By Kristine Fellizar

7 Ways To Celebrate Your 30th Birthday That Are Feminist AF

Turning 30 is a pretty major milestone; it's one of those birthdays where large parties, floods of presents and many bouquets from besotted admirers seem to be in order. And as a woman and a feminist, I'm here to offer some additional 30th birthday i…
By JR Thorpe

Is Amazon's Alexa Making Our Relationships Weird?

Earlier this year, I started dating a guy who was in a very codependent relationship with Alexa. Alexa helped this guy (I'll call him "Paul") decide where to eat dinner and reminded him to work out. Alexa handled his to-do lists, restocked his toile…
By Sophie Saint Thomas

You Can Get Too Faced Mascara & Tarte Lipstick For HALF OFF At Ulta This Month

It's finally here! Ulta's 21 Days of Beauty Sale runs from now through Saturday, April 7 and is the retailer's epic "event" of the year. The promotion features "Beauty Steals," which means 50 percent off specific products for a single day. It also in…
By Amy Sciarretto

7 Things My 20s Taught Me About Toxic Relationships

I'll be turning 30 in less than a week, and while I'm trying to get all the habits of my twenties out of the way ASAP, I'm also reflecting on the what I learned over the past decade. And top of the list is the lessons I learned about toxic relationsh…
By JR Thorpe

7 Surprising Things That Happened When I Went A Month Without Drinking

If someone asked you if you could take a break from drinking alcohol, would you be able to do it? You may think it’s no big deal to take a month off from drinking, or you may think it’s a *huge* deal, as alcohol seems to be the center of many social …
By Natalia Lusinski

I Wore 'Dad Shoes' For A Week & They Were SO Much Cooler Than I Thought They’d Be

It’s no secret that fashion loves a good polarizing trend. Not too long ago, Birkenstocks made their high fashion runway appearance at Céline and Crocs followed suit on the runways of Christopher Kane and Balenciaga. Now, it’s time for the "ugly" sne…
By Dale Arden Chong

8 Ways Younger Millennials Communicate That Older Millennials Don’t Get

When comparing the ways our parents grew up communicating and the way we all grew up communicating, it seems like their generation and ours grew up in a different world. The technology our parents grew up with was so basic, it's ancient in comparison…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

This Is The ONE Sign That Won’t Be Affected By Mercury Retrograde This Month

It really doesn't seem fair that one astrological sign can ever enjoy the benefit of escaping the wrath of Mercury retrograde — that is, of course, unless that sign is your own — but it happens. Occasionally, the stars just align in the right way for…
By Kaitlyn Wylde

Why My Boyfriend & I Started Couples Counseling 6 Months Into Our Relationship

Right away, Kurt and I agreed on almost everything. We had met through a mutual friend in 2015, but we didn't start dating until we came across each other on Bumble a few years later. That's when we discovered that we were on the same page when it ca…
By Rachel Simon

This Primer & Mascara Combo Literally Doubles The Length Of My Eyelashes

Even as someone who loves beauty, I was never been particularly passionate about finding the perfect mascara. And then I got lash extensions for the first time. While I enjoy the long, full lashes that lash extensions provide, I always found myself j…
By Olivia Muenter

I Accidentally Fell In Love With My Friend With Benefits & It's Painful

Against my better judgment, I have fallen in love with my friend with benefits. I think I may have fallen in love with him month ago, but being stubborn AF, I fought against those feelings, tooth and nail, and, when it was suggested by a couple close…
By Amanda Chatel

This Viral Post About A Woman Breastfeeding In Public Actually Has A Happy Ending For Once

And today in things that will warm even the coldest of hearts, we have this: A story recently posted to the r/TwoXChromosome subreddit about a dad’s response to his daughter shaming a breastfeeding parent is everything. Posted by Redditor u/starsonwi…
By Lucia Peters

These March Beauty Launches Require Your Immediate Attention

I write one of these beauty editorials every month (feel free to check out January and February 2018 if you're in need of even more products to shower yourself with). Sometimes, I get worried that there won't be enough newness to share — especially b…
By Amanda Richards

Here's How You’re Most Likely To Get Your Heart Broken, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

Getting your heart broken can be one of the most painful experiences you can have in your life. But if you're into astrology, being familiar with your zodiac sign can be pretty helpful. For instance, when you know the ways you're likely to get your h…
By Kristine Fellizar

Finger Piercings Are Trending & The Internet Is Very Divided About Them

A new "accessories" trend is asserting itself on Instagram and it's subversive, non-traditional, and so darn precious. It also looks a tad painful but the end result is worth it. Dermal diamond finger piercings are a thing and they may make actual ri…
By Amy Sciarretto

How I Learned Losing Your Job Isn't The End Of The World

Two and a half years ago, I was taking a day off from my marketing job at a San Francisco tech startup to host a friend when I got a call from the CEO. Apparently, I'd missed a pretty big day: 80 percent of the company, including the whole sales and …
By Suzannah Weiss

Meghan Markle's First Appearance With The Queen Included An Homage To Princess Diana

Fashion pundits love keeping a close eye on what the women of the monarchy are wearing, especially when there's an overlap with Princess Diana's sense of style. We're nothing but nostalgic when it comes to Princess Di and her on-point aesthetic. Find…
By Marlen Komar

Why Arizona's Exit From 'Grey's Anatomy' Is A Huge Blow To The LGBTQ Community

Whenever I re-watch Grey's Anatomy, I don't start with Derek Shepherd waking up in Meredith's apartment after their first hookup. I start with Season 5, when Callie first meets Arizona in a bar. I start here, because I want to watch someone like me f…
By Martha Sorren

I Couldn't Find A Beauty Campaign With Plus Size Models, So I Made One Myself

In the fall of 2015, I visited relatives in my hometown, a small suburb of New Jersey. There isn't much to do there, apart from dining at Applebee's or hitting the mall. As a plus size woman, cruising through a shopping mall is a mixed bag. Certain d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

The 21 New Books That Goodreads Users Are Most Excited About This Spring

Despite the fact the Northeast is being pummeled by yet another storm that threatens to trap the region in snow and ice for eternity, winter is finally almost over, and you know what that means. No, I'm not talking about April showers or May flowers …
By Sadie Trombetta

If You’re Addicted To Rewatching ‘The Office,' There’s An Actual Reason For That

A few weeks ago, I tweeted that I was looking for fans of The Office who can't stop, won't stop rewatching the series, and that they should email me if they'd like to contribute to an article about their obsession. By the next morning, I had 32 messa…
By Lia Beck