This is your brain on feminism
In which an all-but-self-confessed Beta male calls for feminism to "re-brand" itself so as to get more blokes on-side:
My name is Martin and I hate the word “feminism”.I’ve been waiting the best part of 20 years to make that dark confession, and, by God, I feel liberated – if suddenly afraid of Twitter.Let’s be clear. I don’t hate feminists and I actively adore what I think feminism stands for: equality and freedom of choice, irrespective of gender, sexuality or race. [Didact: So he's not just clueless, he's also deluded.] I’m not a misogynist, sexist or fascist – those other horrible “ists”.No, my resistance to feminism is precisely because it’s called feminism.In the instantly interactive, increasingly hostile word of 21st century sexual politics, to me the word now symbolises a megalith of negativity: a lightning rod for all that is bad about how men and women interact.
Few other words in the English language instil such an immediate, powerful and usually negative response in men (and, interestingly, quite a lot of women) as the F-word.But why? “Racism” doesn’t automatically offend all whites. “Atheism” doesn’t get the goat of all Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists.Some say the radical feminists – affectionately labelled the “femi-Nazis” – have made the whole concept damaged goods.“All men are rapists” might only have been said once, but it can’t be un-said, and, sadly, it’s the one feminist soundbite most men remember.Has feminism become less of a positive movement and more of a bad attitude?If I had to put this into a neat visual metaphor, when I hear the word “feminism” I see a portcullis thundering down. Psychologically, I’m reaching for the tin hat.Feminism isn’t meant to be sexy, but as a word, it is instant intellectual brewer’s droop.I really, really wish I didn’t feel like this. But as long as feminism is called feminism, a small, dark nugget of my soul will forever resist its message.That’s why I think feminism needs a new name.Why don’t we rebrand, relaunch and reboot it – as we might any other tired brand with too many negative connotations?For my sins, I know all about toxic brands. For seven and a half years, I was the figurehead of one.From 2003-2010, I edited “lad’s mag” loaded – undoubtedly British feminism’s nemesis – and as sales faltered, it was my job to relaunch the magazine on three occasions.We spent a lot of time, money and effort on this, and spoke to thousands of men. And none of it mattered.In a succession of 4am moments, it finally dawned on me: the problem was that we were called “loaded”. We were a brand with so much baggage it was impossible to shake off. Fans loved us, our (mainly feminist) critics loathed and mercilessly attacked us (and, often, me personally) – and never the twain shall meet.So, to appeal to our core fans and annoy the feminists, we became “more loaded” – which was a self-fulfilling prophecy. We should have been bigger than that.In a strange sort of way, feminism is at the same cross-roads. Does feminism adapt and embrace outsiders? Or does it resist and see broader public engagement wane?Or does it take the far braver option – and rip it up and start again?In the case of the latter, what should this new word be?Alternatives have previously been mooted. Genderism? Too wishy-washy. Womanism? Too much like womaniser. Lady-ism? Intersectionality? Egalitarianism? Nodding off yet?In desperation, I decided to phone a friend, who happens to be one of Britain’s leading feminists, the Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director Jude Kelly.Thanks to fatherhood and my work as a committee member for Jude’s Being A Man Festival and regular contributor to her Women Of The World Festival, my recalcitrance towards feminism – still work in progress – has softened since my loaded days.But I still think it needs a new name. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Jude doesn’t agree.“Feminism, like Suffragettes, is a word that is associated with struggle, and therefore it is associated with conflict,” she says.“And like Suffragettes, the word gets boxed and avoided. But if we happily want to believe that equality for women is the job of the 21st century, then I think all men should be feminists.“Then I think it’s a word that can return absolutely to favour.
It is a movement dedicated to the destruction of everything that built once-great and powerful civilisations.
Oh, is that too strong a phrase for you? Does that offend your precious sensibilities?
In fact, that claim is not news to anyone who reads this blog or others like it regularly. For those who are new here, I'll explain, briefly.
Feminism supposedly pursues equality between men and women. This is a fool's gambit. True equality has never existed, and it never will, because it cannot. Some of us will always be stronger, or smarter, or more personable, or more musical, or more willing to take risks, than others.
When it comes to genders, there will never be any such thing as equality because men and women are fundamentally, profoundly different. Our psychologies are created by completely different hormones. Our muscles develop differently. Our sex drives are different. Our preferences between freedom and security are different. Our brains develop neurological pathways differently. To seek equality between men and women is not only impossible, it's quite literally insane.
Moreover, if you look at every great civilisation in history, ever, each and every one of them has resulted from a combination of two critical factors: masculine risk-taking and strength, tempered and supported- but never subdued- by feminine nurturing and fecundity. This is the natural order of things.
In seeking to upend that order, feminism and its adherents seek to overthrow the very foundations of civilisation.
Sadly, they are succeeding.
We are now at the point in Western history where men are scrambling to identify themselves as feminists- no matter how pathetic, soft, and ridiculous they look. Men are tripping over themselves to apologise for the wrongs- both real and imagined- committed by men upon women. And now we have the most whipped men of all plaintively bleating that the problem with feminism is not the goal of the ideology, it is the name of the ideology.
This is a bit like arguing that the problem with Marxism-Leninism is not that over a hundred million people were slain in the name of its Utopian lunacy, it is that the ideology itself was named after two dead blokes with beards and is therefore out of touch with today's "yoof culture".
And now look at what feminism is doing to the minds of supposedly sensible women. It's deranging them to the point that they can't figure out that watching a bunch of drop-dead gorgeous women bouncing around on stage in high heels, very skimpy underwear, and ridiculously overblown wings is actually really good stupid trashy fun and doesn't need to be turned into a lot of finger-wagging over how unhealthy it is to be a supermodel.
Just you try watching the first five minutes of this highlights reel from last year's Victoria's Secret fashion show without being simultaneously amused, aroused, and amazed: