Does Feminism = Sexism ?

As a man, I have been reading the various articles written by feminist columnists on News24 with great interest over some period of time. And I often agree with their views, yet more often than not I have grown concerned at the seemingly escalating rants or attacks against anything “male”.

Firstly it is important to understand that I am 100% in favour of the equality of women and women's rights. Way back, I did my articles at an all-female firm. Even being the only man at the firm and even when receiving the lowest salary and no maternity leave, I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and never felt threatened or inferior.

The word “feminism” in its simplest form is defined as “the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes “. However, the same word has unfortunately been tainted by some of the extremist feminists who have in their understandable fight for equal rights, in fact only became the sexists themselves. A contradiction if ever there was one.

Instead of making issues of inequality known and stating what could be done regarding equalling the playing field, feminists are increasingly purely turning to quite aggressively attacking absolutely anything and everything which has to do with men in general. Recently I read a column on how even century-old fairy tales are apparently sexist and set a bad example for young women.

Seemingly the most common “mistake” by feminists is to paint ALL men with the same brush. If some men do not pay maintenance, all men are bad. If some men make sexist statements, all men are sexist. If a few men are abusive, then all men are abusive. If one Afrikaner male disrespected a woman, all Afrikaner men apparently sees women as marginal.

But the biggest contradiction lies in that feminists apparently fight against sexism, yet their own words and statements are often more sexist than the vast majority of men will ever be. In fact, the world has become so hypocritical that even the common definition of the word “sexism” is sexist in itself: “Prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex”. I could only shake my head at that.

More damage is done through the way in which “hardcore” feminists fight for equality. Many become so confrontational and aggressive in their quest, that it only makes things worse. Only serves to give the actual meaning of the word “feminist” a bad name.

Logically, if you attack a person or group constantly and even unjustly, that person or group will become defensive or even aggressive themselves. Many feminists attack men to such an extent that it represents nothing other than abuse. The very thing feminists often fight against. The constant verbal and written attacks against anything male (and males in general), is nothing other than abusive and in fact even often infringes on their right to dignity.

How many sections do we see on news sites such as News24 which are entirely devoted to men and where men can write sexist columns in which they attack women? None of course. For you will end up before the SAHRC or press ombudsman in a blink of an eye. It will be seen as sexist and abusive.

So why then this seeming carte blanche for feminists to attack and even belittle men in column after column, week after week?

Can one not be a feminist and fight for equal rights of women without generalising against all men and labelling pretty much anything to do with men as bad? Even fairy tales?

When I was working abroad I met the most wonderful woman in my life. To this day I love her with every fibre in my body. And she was one of the biggest feminists I've ever met. But what made her special is the WAY in which she approached it. Completely peacefully and non-confrontational. And purely through her calm and logical way of fighting for equality, she gained the utmost respect from all the men who ever had the honour of working with her.

Instead of attacking men, she showed them what she was capable of. She educated herself, she worked in fields seen as “male territory”. In fact, she was so good at what she was doing that she made more money than any of us guys and we admired her for it. Not once did she attack men. Eventually she became my boss and to this day she was the best boss I've ever had. And did I mention that I truly loved this girl?

On the flip-side, I met three other feminists in my life. Without exception, their histories were tainted with abuse. One had an abusive farther which left the family. One had an abusive husband who also just disappeared, leaving her with a child. Another was raped and mistrusted men ever since.

The one thing they all had in common other than abuse against them, was their utter hatred of men. And men in general. In their view all men are abusive, cannot be trusted and will probably run away from their responsibilities.

That was the underlying reason for their feminism. For WHY they became feminists. It was not so much about equal rights for women, but rather to fight against men as a result of their own intense dislike or hatred of men. Which again brings us full circle to the contradiction regarding “sexism”.

Some of News24's most ardent and extreme feminists are so attractive, intelligent and seemingly “sweet” people, that I cannot single out any one of them in my own personal response. I often actually think with sadness what a loss some of them are to men and mankind. “Mankind” - should even this word be omitted from the dictionary eventually? “Humankind” being more PC probably?

Even the latest Hollywood craze amongst actresses (sorry, female actors), is to now refer to themselves as rather being “humanists” than feminists. (Some lady wrote a book on feminism and this term has been doing the rounds like the latest fashion gossip).

In my opinion the “feminist quest” has somehow gone off the rails somewhere. One can be a feminist and fight for equal rights of women without the constant attacks (abuse) on men and their dignity. Peaceful and level-headed debates and actions always bear more fruit than conflicts do. Friends progress and build whereas enemies only regress and destroy.

I am 100% behind equal rights for women at all levels. But a handful of “extremist” feminists are doing their cause a lot of damage. And it is increasing when I look at some of the columns being churned out by some feminists on a weekly basis all over the internet.

Of course the subject is much more complex than this. I have no space to go into all of that. But what I am attempting to do is to point out to some feminists that by using the right approach you can achieve so much more than through being abusive, aggressive and attacking anything which has to do with men.

Do not generalise. Do not hate all men. Do not see men as your enemies. And do not forget that certain things and institutions have existed for literally thousands of years and cannot simply just be undone or turned on its head in just a few decades.

Also remember that certain things come at a price. Ask yourself why there is such a rapid disintegration of the family structure in modern times for example? Does the fact that both men and women are now working parents not affect the way in which children grow up alone at home with little guidance and left to their own devices?

And what about the child of a single parent? Is it always in the child's best interest to now grow up without a male role model for example? Does this not only compact the problem of children, especially young girls, growing up to mistrust or even hate men? That child will in all probability grow up with the same views and prejudices as her mother, since children are inherently innocent and then moulded by the subjective views of adults imposed on them - be it racism or sexism or any other “-ism”.

Just a few “simple” questions. I will leave you to mull over that in your own time.