Why Anti-Feminists are Anti-Feminists
I spent a significant amount of time interacting with people in a telegram group named “Egalitarian Club” over the past couple of days.
They said that the name was chosen to mean “anti-feminism” and that the group isn’t really about egalitarianism.
It was very difficult to explain to my friend how in Malayali diaspora “egalitarian”, “free thinker”, etc now means wholly different things than the words suggest. Anyhow, here are some recurring points that I could see them articulating.
- Feminism is about women alone.
- Feminism says that men are not oppressed.
- Feminists live by the oppressed-oppressor narrative and when they call someone oppressed, they are calling those who don’t belong to that group “oppressor”.
- Feminists are hypocrites because they use words like “mansplain” - and words like “mansplain” are sexist.
- Positive discrimination is reverse casteism, reverse sexism, etc.
- Hierarchy is “natural”, designed by “mother earth”. It is futile to work against hierarchy because it will re-emerge. It is also costly to work against hierarchy.
- Hierarchy emerges through biological differences.
- Feminists want to see gender as a social construct and claim that biology has no role.
- Social phenomenons can be explained through reproduction/sexuality. Men are disposable. Female hypergamy makes society consider women as assets.
- There is a pyramid or hierarchy and men occupy the top few slots and vast majority of men are at the bottom. Women are in the middle and oppress vast majority of men.
- Capitalism/free market is the best socio-economic organization. It doesn’t need any modifications. Modifications are futile because capitalism is natural as evidenced by its success.
- People who take risks or work hard succeed. Those who do not succeed don’t because they chose to not take risks or they did not work hard.
- It is the system that is the problem, there is no patriarchy.
- Political correctness is against free speech.
- Political correctness makes it difficult to express concepts.
- Political correctness is a tool for suppression of dissent and encourages totalitarianism.
Based on these, I could form a few theories about how their logic works.
The concept of privilege is very distorted for them. They see privileges as natural/biological advantages and therefore they do not see a need to design systems in inclusive ways. They have great confusion about the word systemic oppression and patriarchy. They see these words as blaming men. They also find it very hard to connect the lived experience of sexism with male privilege. Saying male privilege makes them give countless examples of how men are oppressed, suggesting that they think that male privilege means that every male is privileged. This blocks them from thinking about the gender axis of oppression at all.
The lack of intersectionality and inclusive communication in some strains of feminism has really triggered them. A lot of their discontent is with brahminical/white feminism. They keep going back to the narrative that men are oppressed too every now and then as if the argument that feminism makes is that men oppress women. The visual of a pyramid with majority men at the bottom is very powerfully ingrained in their minds. They also talk very passionately about how men suffer in various situations - dangerous workplaces, violence, etc.
Biological essentialism/biological determinism is deeply rooted in their thoughts. This is also combined with the capitalistic/casteist notions of merit. They are very comfortable in attributing every difference, every hierarchy, every oppression we see in the world to nature.
At a deeper level, I sense that they have a learnt helplessness about the world. They feel threatened by change. They probably think that any change will destabilize the system. Generally, they have great belief in the fairness of the current system and think it is unnecessary, dangerous, costly, and/or futile to change it even a bit.
Their politics also seems very reactionary. They seem to be talking about how there are unfair demands made by feminists. They seem to have very few demands of their own. It also makes it very difficult to find common grounds with them.