In 2015, a Tumblr user whose profile declares, “Modern Feminism, Progressivism, and Antifa are dangerous embarrassments,” wrote a post in response to an anonymous critic. In the years since, the Tumblr user’s post about why feminists aren’t “strong women” has gone hugely viral, with interest flaring in the last 24 hours. According to Bored Panda, the post has racked up more than 200,000 views, with more than 10,000 notes.
In August of 2015, an anonymous user messaged a Tumblr called “Disgruntled Nut,” writing, “aw. aren't you the cutest? men who are scared of strong women are so adorable.” The person behind the Tumblr struck back, arguing that feminists are not strong women, a sentiment that many feminists would regard as a head-scratcher. He wrote,
OK, so, clearly there’s a lot going on here. I’m with this guy for the first paragraph — his mother and grandmother do indeed sound like amazing women — but things go off the rails after that. Obviously, this Tumblr user is not a fan of feminism, which is his right — not everybody has to be a feminist or feel the same way about gender or politics (or anything, really). But I would argue that his characterization of feminists as whiny babies who hate men doesn’t match with what feminism actually is. Feminism, at its core, is simple (though it is complex in practice): It’s the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities — and the acknowledgement that equality doesn’t currently exist. It does not mean that women deserve special treatment, or that they hate men, or that men should suffer. And feminism doesn’t mean “put[ting] anyone else down to make themselves feel stronger.” It just means fighting for equality.
And catcalling? Not OK. Being yelled at and harassed isn’t the price anyone should have to pay simply for being in public — and refusing to put up with it doesn’t make someone weak.
With thousands upon thousands of views, clearly this Tumblr argument has struck a chord with readers. Many have commented in support of the post. One person wrote, “As a woman I agree with everything here. I hate social justice warriors”; another commented, “He worded this very well. Feminism is equality not females being superior” (via Bored Panda).
Others disagreed with the post. A number of people objected particularly to the idea that “strong women” should just put up with catcalling. “I agree wholeheartedly,” one person wrote. “But the catcalling… It can really stop. Please :( It’s not fun.” Another said, “Walking down the street, a dude called me a ‘f’ing slut’ b/c I wouldn’t humor him. Doesn’t matter if women are strong, we don’t need that.”
Others took exception to the Tumblr post’s use of strong women to attack feminism. One person wrote, “If you’re using the ‘strong women’ in your life to attack feminism, maybe you should ask said ‘strong women’ what they think about it first.”
“Strong woman” and “feminist” don’t have to be synonymous. There are a lot of ways to be feminist, and there are a lot of ways to be strong, and they don’t always have to coincide. That said, women fighting for gender equality — for themselves and for others, in big ways and small — seems pretty darn strong to me.