Opinion: Feminism Isn't Misguided, You Are

Last month, Thought Catalog published an article entitled “I Am A Mother Of Two Children And I Cannot (And Will Not) Support Feminism.” Though I cringed when I saw this headline and wanted to ignore the piece altogether, I powered through it, figuring it’d be helpful to attempt to understand where the author was coming from.

The article is a disappointment to say the least. Not only does it misconstrue modern ideals of feminism, but it also suggests an ideology that is damaging to both genders.

In essence, the author, Tara Kennedy-Kline, argues modern-day feminism is a list of rules designed to suppress masculinity. She feels personally victimized by the messages conveyed by feminist campaigns, worrying that she won’t be able to raise “her boys” as gentlemen if she identifies as a feminist.

Last time I checked, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” Yet, Kline still holds true to her stance that feminism is a danger that must be averted.

Kline wrongly assumes the purpose of the feminist movement. Her argument, clearly rooted in ignorance, attempts to deconstruct and dismiss modern feminist ideals, yet she never fully understands the true purpose of feminism.

Kline begins her argument by claiming that she was once a feminist, but simply cannot stand by this identity anymore. This statement only proves how Kline’s ignorance has led her to a misinterpretation of feminism. She is confused about her identity, yet still thinks she has the right to lecture on it.

The multitude of disheartening accusations Kline makes is a shame. As a woman, Kline should be less concerned about “100% of all men [being viewed as] rapists” (not true), and more concerned about the fact that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted. Kline should be less willing to accept the notion that opposite sexes can never be completely equal (again, not true), and more willing to advocate for rights that will close the gender inequality gap.

Kline’s attempt to demean campaigns such as FCKH8 and Hollaback! is an almost laughable notion, given these movements advocate against disrespectful norms that Kline has probably been subject to herself.

Kline’s article gives insight into the ignorance of those who stand with her. It is all too familiar to hear people dismiss feminism on the account of male suppression and female domination. And, while I agree that there are many feminist extremists who give a misleading impression of feminism, at least they are fighting for change. When did a movement ever reach success without a couple of radicals?

Modern-day feminism is portrayed in a poor light because of people like Kline, who refuse to see past the extremes and fail to educate themselves on the movement’s pertinent (not to mention very reasonable) goals of equality. If Kline wishes to raise her boys as gentlemen, maybe she should start by educating herself on how to rightfully do so.

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Emma Powers