Let me start by saying that I love feminist stereotypes because there is just no end to how funny they are. Most of them are so bizarre that I can’t believe people bother repeating them. In fact, I would love to meet these baby-eating, free-bleeding, man-hating feminists that I hear about constantly on the Internet.
Unfortunately, to the dismay of the masses, feminists are pretty much just normal people who are passionate about eradicating sexism. Which is deeply disappointing because, per the poster on the left, I expected witchcraft.
So why the stereotypes? These ridiculous associations are meant to scare women away from identifying as feminists – and it’s worked. Thousands of women who believe in gender equality refuse to embrace the “label” out of fear that they’ll be seen as angry, hairy, bitchy ballbusters. (And this fear of not being attractive is an issue in and of itself, but that’s for another day.)
Without further ado, here are the top five feminist stereotypes:
Now let me clarify that feminists certainly are angry – angry that women all over the world still face oppression in 2016. But this stereotype seems to imply that we are in a state of anger 24/7, running around yelling at people with an inability to ever have a rational conversation. Frankly, that sounds exhausting and I’ve never had the urge to start screaming at someone in the middle of a calm, civil discussion. (Oh, and bra-burning is a myth. Literally never happened.) The angry stereotype is also sometimes evoked because we “can’t take a joke” about rape, oppression or violence against women.
This almost certainly arises from the class of feminists that has decided to forgo shaving and make-up. Which is perfectly okay! Beauty standards are indisputably an invention of the patriarchy. But it should be pointed out that some feminists continue to shave – and some non-feminists choose not to shave (gasp!). Most importantly, these personal decisions are no one’s business, especially to a man who has never shaved his legs in his life.
Like the hairy/ugly stereotype, the idea that all feminists are lesbians is based on a grain of truth. Political lesbianism, often associated with radical feminism, is the idea that women can and should choose romantic relationships with women. However – and I think it’s crazy that this even has to be said – the majority of feminists are not lesbians.
This is an easy way to infantilize feminist beliefs and reduce them to a personal level. Turning feminism into nothing more than an attack on men based on irrational hatred is an attempt to discredit the movement. Essentially, it says feminist issues aren’t “real”. The label of man-hater is particularly dangerous because women still grapple with a desire to remain attractive to men.
5. Gender supremacists
This stereotype, echoed often in conservative circles, holds that feminists seek to establish domination over men. It paints an image of a world where men are reduced to slaves. This idea was born because whenever minorities demand rights, the people in charge perceive their privilege as being threatened. The majority class immediately caves to fear because they can’t stand a movement that does not include them (see #AllLivesMatter).
Check back for our future posts when the myth-busting continues on topics like rape culture and the wage gap!