At the Women’s Caucus Table at the Activities Fair during Yellowjacket Weekend, we were teasing a member of ours who was saying to those passing by, “Come join Women’s Caucus, we’re really nice.” So we all had a good laugh about that – but when I went home it occurred to me that maybe Women’s Caucus does have to say that.
I mean, when someone explains Women’s Caucus to you and tells you it’s the on-campus feminist organization, how many people already have an image in mind? That image typically refers to what Rush Limbaugh named the “feminazis” and probably has little to do with feminism today.
If you search Facebook groups for any group containing “feminist” in it, your search will result in 82 groups. Of these, a few of these are jokes. Many of them are different chapters of “This is what a feminist looks like” or another assertion that one is a feminist.
Yet as I looked among the groups, I found something that really startled me. Of these 82 groups, at least 12 of them are either chauvinistic or the group has a self-identification of being “Anti-Feminist.” These groups have names such as “I’m a women, and I hate feminists,” “Anti-feminism- yeah I clean barefoot” and “Anti-feminists of the world.”
The descriptions of these groups spout such valuable pieces of knowledge as, “Because if we spent more time in the kitchen we might be better cooks” and, “Because having babies should be more important than having jobs” – and are both from the last of the groups listed above.
Yet apparently, 31 college students agree with that sentiment, with many other groups of the same mentality having even greater or equal members. This leads me to ask those 31 college students that if having a baby is so much more important, why are you going to college anyway? As a friend of mine once said, “it’s going to be a heavy burden on your husband’s salary to pay back your student loans.”
That is not to say that you have to work after college. Many people make this mistake, that feminists only want women to work, be more masculine, etc., and think that any woman cleaning is holding women back.
This is why Facebook groups such as “Feminists ruined it for us happy domestics” start to exist. But I promise you that feminism now is really about CHOICE. People of both sexes now have the opportunity to work or not work, to be a neat-freak or a lousy cook, to be a power executive or a terrible driver. While people can say that they long for the time of traditional gender roles, I could ask them to see that it’s better when people can be anything they want (or I could refer them to over 200 members in groups mourning the loss of traditional gender roles).
The numbers shock me. There are 61 members in the group “UR Feminists.” There are 89 members in the group “I Hate Feminists.” Yet if one looks at the Illinois Chapter of their campus feminist group, they list the things the group stands against. These include domestic violence, rape, racism, class inequality and human trafficking. Can anyone think of anyone who openly supports these things? How could anyone have a problem with people not being in favor of domestic violence? Apparently though, anti-feminists do. “I hate feminists,” “Yeah, Me Too,” “All that talk about equal pay and voting,” “Yeah…and especially them wanting to stop human trafficking”.
I mean, seriously? I personally just want equality for everybody, so I can understand why some people feel uneasy labeling themselves as a feminist as they are concerned about the connotation of putting men down (Although there is actually a Facebook group called “Feminism is not Anti-Masculinism).
However, I urge you not to go so far as to react to the level of being an anti-feminist. For as we can see some of the things that anti-feminism apparently supports are not things to be proud of, but as for the feminists, well, maybe despite the connotation in your head, they actually are really nice.
Frank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.”Women’s Weekly” is a bi-monthly column written by Women’s Caucus members.