The PR Failure of Modern Feminism

The question should be asked: why are so many people, especially those politically unopinionated 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 soiled their image in recent decades and made sloppy work of their reputation (particularly concerning their trustworthiness and authenticity). This is 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 gratingly proclaim: “But feminism is only 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 the notion of women as “human beings”.) But in the age of the 21st century, feminism is no longer about equal rights between men and women. This task has long been accomplished and women have shared in the same options, dangers, and freedoms as men for some time now. By any objective measure, “equal rights” have been attained.

The label is indeed startling that is placed on those loathe to identify themselves as feminists —individuals that apparently do not believe in “treating women with basic humanity”, that is — a clearly outrageous claim. Such totalitarian, absolute thinking they enjoy! Proponents of 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 legitimacy and 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 and entertains itself with finding new ways to claim oppression. Clinging to a conflict narrative rather than pursuing a harmonious one between the sexes is one of its most favored activities.

The rift between what the feminists say feminism is 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 and that is blatantly 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 due to the demeaning attitude taken towards femininity itself, the essence at the core of nearly all women. Their attack on traditional feminine qualities does not help their cause. Additionally, feminists are excellent (unfortunately) at relocating everything into political territory and couching it in the accompanying language. To cite one extreme example, high heels cannot simply be pretty shoes that women enjoy wearing, but are instead a tool of oppression unleashed by the nefarious patriarchy for centuries on end. Maybe it’s as uncomplicated as women liking to feel 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 feel a need to be hell-bent on alienating men. 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 possess the freedom to make their own choices (they are and they can). Consequently, the masses are increasingly suspect that the feminist cause has simply been fabricating grievances for the sake of continuation of their movement, with an eye towards gaining traction and cultural dominance and generally causing a wreckage in society.

It would almost appear as if there’s an impulse towards wreckage that feminists can’t get out of their veins. After all, victimhood is inherent to modern feminism. In addition, 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, prone to giving it a wary eye. Modern feminism is both dishonest and two-faced in addition to facing a general crisis of appeal and necessity — two reasons for its lack of mass voluntary “membership”.

Increasingly I am convinced that contemporary feminism is nothing but grandstanding egotism, part of womankind’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 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? Oh, the feminists that constantly feel they must battle with men rather than coexist with them. (That’s an option, they should know!) Men do not exist principally to be competed with, to function as womankind’s enemy, or to comprise the elusive patriarchy.

I have since come to the conclusion that the feminist view is not so much a choice “intellectual” reading of the state of gender politics (i.e. 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 at large. 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 quite revealing.

Modern feminism is fated to failure. The movement, as it stands today, only manages to assume a posture of victimhood and to rustle up perpetual conflict. Its proponents seek power, not authenticity for the female gender. They are facing a crisis of waning supporters precisely because their facade of rallying for respectable “equal rights” is rapidly slipping.

Written by

Writer of economics, psychology, and lots in between. laurennreiff@gmail.com

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