If you want to see some of the spiciest hot takes (Translation: uninformed opinions) and the most vitriolic commentaries on the internet, open Twitter dot com and search for “feminists”. Going as far back as 2010 in the digital space, the amplification of hate towards feminist identified people became more insidious. “Bitter”, “man-hating” (you may also notice that the insults have remained woefully…bland), “lonely”, “ugly” are some of the more common descriptors that are levelled not just at feminists, but at the very nature of Feminism and what it was founded on. With the digital space’s virality and penchant for giving a voice to the loudest empty barrels, these particular assumptions manage to remain tethered and synonymous to Feminism. Episode three of the #FeminismLiteracy Series is tackling these myths and assumptions in an attempt to lay them to rest…or at the very least to educate on their fallacy. This blog post, however, instead of looking at the “not all”, will explore the why. Why do these myths and assumptions exist and why do they prevail?
With that said, here are three reasons why these myths and assumptions have managed to find their way to freedom and STAYED:
Think of hecklers. Hecklers are known for their disruptive and interruptive behaviour during performances, events, sporting matches, you name it. At their core, they exist to draw attention away from whatever is being centred by using disparaging comments to either spotlight themselves or cause others to question the message, authenticity or credibility of the performer. When hecklers of Feminism and feminists call women/non-binary people “bitter”, “lonely” or “man-hating lesbians”, it is often in an attempt to magnify what they deem as a personal failing to partner with men, in a society that values cisgender heterosexual romantic pairings. If they can prove that the women who espouse Feminism are “undesirable” and have not conformed to what is the cornerstone of our society (🤮), then the message gets discredited and the focus is shifted towards the personal life of the individual feminist.
2. FEAR OF LOSING POWER.
WE’ve mentioned before that a major component of Feminism is to critique systems of power and that includes the people who hold them up. In a society built on hierarchies with people who are invested in maintaining them or aspire to climb their way to the top, a concept like Feminism that calls for its complete destruction incites fear. It’s why men, in particular, are the most vocal detractors. Under Patriarchy, men have and stand to benefit the MOST from it and this is especially true if they’re cisgender, heterosexual, white and from the Global North (think of America, Canada and Western Europe). Promoting and spreading assumptions ensures that their position at the peak of the social, political and economic pyramid remains unchallenged.
3. PLAIN OLD IGNORANCE.
People do not like to read. That’s it. That’s the explanation. 🤷🏾♀️
Next week WE take this closer to home! We trace the development of Feminism in the Caribbean, looking at the ways in which Caribbean women have moved women and their needs from margin to center!