By Eva Þuríđardóttir
I am woman, but I am not a feminist.
Just because I do not label myself a feminist, does not mean that you automatically get the right to label me as something else. It is true I was born into female body and I enjoy all the “strengths” and “weaknesses” that can be attributed to that fact. You can choose to look at the biological differences between men and women through that narrow of a lens, as the only way to come to the conclusion that the female physique has inherent strengths and weaknesses is by comparing it to something else, and in this case the male physique. However, I have chosen not to compare the biological differences between men and women with these variables.
I simply acknowledge the fact, that biologically men and women are different, and I celebrate that diversity in nature. However, that single truth doesn't mean that, I, by “ default” share common interests and points of views with all other persons born into a female body. I am much more than only my gender, like every other person I am multi dimensional human being with my own unique character traits and experiences. Even though I am not equally qualified compared to a man for a certain task due to these biological differences, I do not see that as a weaknesses in my own physical or mental ability.
“The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.” – Aristotle
I want to emphasize that I think that the idea behind feminism is a noble one. It advocates equal rights for everybody irrespective of gender. I agree women should have the same basic human and civil rights as men. Men and women should be socially, politically and economically equal. My first impression with feminism was precisely what it was all about. I have always admired the early days women's rights advocates. Ladies such as Abigail Adams who was the wife of John Adams, and the mother of John Quincy Adam. In my opinion she was one clever kick ass lady, and I quote:
“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” (Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams)
I have made these words my own - but I have also extended them to all people. I don't believe a person of any gender should be forced to obey laws in which they have no voice or representation.
I believe that in its essence, equality needs diversity - without diversity there can be no true equality. Is it really a good idea for women and men, that fight for the “equal” rights of women compared to those of men, to demand that because society recognises the worth and capability of the male gender, we have to accept, by default, that “it’s only fair” that women should be pulled up to the same level? People might not realise it, but when they make these comparisons, they are openly admitting that their understanding the ways to achieve “equality” for women is to use men as the benchmark of how a woman should behave, if she wants to be held in high regards by society - “a successful independent woman”.
The problem modern feminism has when comparing men and women this way is all too common for those who adopt the current feminist narrative, to focus on the top end of society (e.g. corporate CEOs, politicians, top earners, famous athletes etc) and simultaneously disregard, or even worse, refuse to look at the bottom end where also a great majority of men are in hard manual work, on low income, often risking their health and lives doing dangerous tasks. You also have much higher number of male criminals, mental health problems and high suicide rates that could easily be blamed on the low social standing of the lack of opportunities.
The top end society is used as a benchmark to hold a narrative that women are oppressed and everything can be blamed on “patriarchy” They keep forgetting that men are also underpaid, denied education, sexually harassed and raped. My logic tells me that the group over-represented at the bottom poses more serious threat to society in terms of inequality than the one at the top.
Why I am absolutely not a feminist, but an advocate of equality.
What I dislike most about modern feminism, apart from this endless rant from many feminists about how women in general have suffered more discrimination than men throughout history, based on their gender alone (In my opinion, people that truly believe that to be the case are demonstrating a very narrow understanding of what true equality is), is the almost blatant “male hating” aspect of it - the refusal to acknowledge that modern feminism is wagging what seems to be a war against men, and what “we” in general believe to be dominating masculine traits. Going so far as calling male aggression that can be attributed to the fact that men produce more testosterone than women “pathological, evil and abnormal.” In other words something that needs to be fixed*. This is the biggest single reason why I refuse to call myself a feminist. Sure, feminists always say that what they are against is patriarchy, and not men.
However, just as the gay community has often pointed out, the "hate the sin, love the sinner" argument is deeply flawed, and is a very problematic narrative when one is fighting for equality and diversity.
I am of the opinion that my value and worth as a person, and to society should not have anything to do with men, or other women for that matter. It shouldn’t be dependent on anything but myself. I am an individual with distinct character traits and skills. Because if, as a woman, I only deserve to be treated equal to men or to how other women are treated, does that really guarantee the kind and fair treatment everyone should have?