The PR Failure of Modern Feminism

Lauren Reiff
Aug 18, 2018 · 5 min read

The question should be asked: why are so many people, especially those politically un-opinionated or unaligned, so turned off by contemporary feminism? Why is it that surprisingly few people, when polled, are willing to brandish themselves as feminists? If the feminist movement were really about the alleged basic equality between the sexes (a general premise few would take issue with) would it not be true that the public would blithely count themselves in? It begs for explanation, then, this incompatibility the actual feminist movement has with its favorite little mission statement — “feminism is about equal rights for men and women,” so chosen because of its harmlessness, its virtuosity, its uncontroversial sheen.

It goes without saying that modern feminism has colored their image for the worst in recent decades and made sloppy work of their reputation (particularly concerning their trustworthiness and authenticity) because of the profound gap between what they actually are and what they say they actually are. So much of a brush of criticism and feminists are wont to proclaim (whiningly, of course, gratingly even): “feminism is about equal rights for men and women!” which sanctimoniously implies, “Don’t you want to offer women basic humanity and the same rights of men?” It’s a question (variously posed) that is intended to give one a guilty conscience if not quickly agreed with. (Because if you don’t unquestionably agree, then you must have some problem with women being “treated like basic humanity” — an alarming claim by the way.) But feminism is no longer about equal rights between men and women. This task has long been accomplished, women have shared in the same options, dangers, and freedoms as men for some time now. Objectively, “equal rights” have been attained. (Unless of course, you are a feminist that wishes to correct, for example, the perceived injustice that women have periods and men do not, thus making it wrong and unjust that women must pay for their own feminine hygiene products.)

The label is indeed startling that is placed on those loathe to identify themselves as feminists — as those that apparently do not believe in “treating women with basic humanity,” a clearly outrageous claim. Such totalitarian, absolute thinking they enjoy! Modern feminism can always trot out this platitude or their ‘equal rights’ line whenever they find themselves criticized for their ends and their means, even though they represent something far less straightforward. In a cowardly fashion they hide behind these slogans as a means of grafting onto their grievances a legitimacy and a respectability. Such hide-behind platitudes act as a protective shield to spare themselves contention. Absent of opportunities to claim oppression and victimhood, modern feminism would have to shutter their entire movement. Feminism currently engages in a lot of squabbling over the merits of men, finding new ways to claim oppression, and clinging to a conflict narrative rather than pursuing a harmonious one between the sexes, amongst other things.

The rift between what the feminists say feminism is (aka “it’s about equal rights for women and giving them humanity”) and what they actually appear to represent and engage in is both discernible to the equivocal masses and disturbing to a large portion of them. No one wants to count themselves in on a movement that is inauthentic about their basic aims, that is so dishonest about what they truly stand for. For the vast majority of Westerners, this discrepancy is as plain as day and no amount of tireless repetition of their saving-face line will be enough to heal the feminists’ reputation or otherwise induce the public into widespread belief and submission to their cause.

Besides this giant contradiction, another reason why a large proportion of females likely find the feminist movement unattractive, if not even a bit insulting, is because of the demeaning attitude taken towards femininity itself, at the core of nearly all women. This attack on traditional feminine qualities does not help their cause. Additionally, feminists are excellent (unfortunately) at morphing everything into something political. For example, high heels cannot be pretty shoes that women simply enjoy wearing, but rather a tool of oppression unleashed by the evil patriarchy for centuries on end. Maybe women want to be feminine! Maybe they don’t want their daily lives rife with the tricky (and quarrelsome) ideology of political meaning when it needn’t be applied. Maybe the average women doesn’t want to alienate men or doesn’t feel the need to go to war with them. Have they ever thought of that?

The contemporary feminist movement is not very convincing that they have anything left to achieve to ensure women and men are on equal footing or have the freedom to make their own choices (they are, and the can) and the masses are increasingly suspect that this particular cause hasn’t been simply fabricating grievances for the sake of continuation of the movement, gaining traction or dominance, or otherwise causing a wreckage in society. It would seem there’s an impulse towards it (wreckage, that is) that feminists can’t get out of their veins; after all, victimhood is inherent to modern feminism. As well, a movement that is so hopelessly and unfailingly disparaging towards men obviously does little to rally the male gender to your cause, hence men are in even greater numbers suspect of the movement. Modern feminism is both dishonest and two-faced as well as facing a general crisis of appeal and necessity, two reasons for their lack of mass voluntary “membership”.

Increasingly I am convinced that contemporary feminism is nothing but grandstanding egotism, part of womenkind’s masquerading insecurity about itself. For women do not really want to be men do they? They do not really want to coalesce themselves in this middling, gray, stultifying area, do they? If women are to shove themselves into competition with men in every way they can, would this not almost certainly make them unhappy? In this way, I am sometimes sad for the feminists that constantly feel they must battle with men rather than coexist with them. Men are not here to principally compete with, to be the enemies of women, or to comprise the elusive patriarchy. I have since come to the conclusion that the feminist view is not so much a choice, possible “intellectual” reading of the state of gender politics (that women are covertly oppressed by men) in the 21st century as much as it’s a stupid, close-minded view of the world and gender relations. It’s a hand-picked bouquet of the ugliest of flowers. The language of feminism is all about the language of power. It’s very postmodernist, very combative, and obsessed with the oppressed-oppressor dynamic. Ever wonder why you hear the particular word “empowerment” so much? Now, empowerment isn’t bad, but this terminology can be revealing.

Modern feminism is fated to failure. They can only manage perpetual conflict and victimhood. They seek power, not authenticity for the female gender and are facing a crisis of waning supporters because their facade of respectable “equal rights” rallying is rapidly slipping.

Lauren Reiff

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writer & aspiring therapist. forever in love with words