The secret life-hack - why you should quit feminism
In college, one of my majors was “Gender and Diversity Management”.
I guess it seemed cool to have an entire major dedicated to why you were exceptional, even if it was *exceptionally-unlucky-to-be-oppressed*.
I was calling myself a feminist even before college, but I was a reasonably mild creature, a watered down version of the howling banshee I became once I passed through the gender studies machine.
I remember the drip feed of ideas like "heterosexism", "othering", "androcentrism", "stereotype threat", "socially constructed identities", "institutional sexism", "phallogocentrism" and the stern, brewing, despairing attitude of my Birkenstock-ed professors. It was all adding to a feeling that an insoluble war between oppressed and oppressors was going on.
I was on the front lines, a victim of the circumstances of my birth, entangled in an endless struggle with invisible powers that rigged the system against me. It seemed like a battle of cosmic importance, we were doing something big.
I was neck deep in the literature and getting angrier by the day.
I started looking for the patriarchy, and, like the lesser evils of Crocs and man-buns, it was EVERYWHERE.
I became a one-woman outrage engine, angry and in fear of the predatory world I'd just discovered.
I spent about 5 years during university and then my masters in the grip of a heavy dose of feminist ideology. The kind of feminism that you could only find in Ms. Magazine back then, but is now everywhere in the form of the constant background noise of gender studies outrage of the "I am woman, hear me whine" variety.
The whole world has turned into me at 18.
But then came the moment my monolithic, screeching feminism got a bit dislodged.
I was in the middle of complimenting a female blogger for her writing in the, back then, tiny atheist community in Romania, when I cheekily alluded to the sisterhood, you know, *us, feminists*. She snapped back instantly: "I'm not a feminist."
That was the first time an obviously thoughtful and highly educated woman had said that to me, and I was shocked.
She asked me what I meant by feminism.
I gave her a fiery talk about equality.
About the patriarchy.
About rape and rape culture.
I was laying out my case just as I learned at university, and working my way through the cascade of grievances that I'd ingested from a few years of gasping in fury while reading Jezebel.
She dismissed me, saying that I should have a closer look at the facts.
I emerged from that conversation with a bruised ego and a slight shakiness to my otherwise stern resolve to ‘smash the patriarchy’.
I couldn’t believe that she was impervious to her own chains - the internalised misogyny did a serious number on this one.
I brushed it off, but in the back of my mind, that slap of cognitive dissonance wouldn’t let it rest. What in the world was this woman on about?
This led to about a year of soul-searching, where I gradually chilled out about the patriarchy and started looking for different perspectives.
I've now been feminism-free for 5 years and loving every minute of it.
It's done wonders for my mental health, my relationships, my understanding of the world.
Not even kicking both alcohol and smoking can come close to the catharsis of moulting a crippling ideology.
And here is why you should quit too.
1. Feminism robs you of your #1 tool for self-development
I quit feminism because it told me my life was limited by default.
It told me my destiny was in the hands of grabby men, wannabe rapists, toxic masculinity and this invisible but permeating substance called ‘the patriarchy’. It told me that there was an unbridgeable divide between the oppressors and the oppressed and that all my fears were warranted - and then some.
Third and fourth wave feminism, what is typically called feminism nowadays, have robbed women of the thing we fought most to gain in all other generations: power.
If you’re condemned to victimhood through conspiratorial forces, your agency is an illusion. You're not your own master, you're at the mercy of circumstances outside of your control.
Feminism doesn't offer life skills - it provides an infinite list of grievances and calls for control and protection. It's a return to the pre-1940s' idea of women: fragile, brittle, in need of trigger warnings and smelling salts.
It's an incredibly disempowering idea.
But the thing that feminism doesn't account for is that it's better to be strong than safe. It's better to learn to navigate the world as it is than to throw your toys out of the pram until the entire system bends to your whim.
In my youth in post-communist Romania, I had grown up in a place where there was a palpable tension between the sexes, but I learned how to deal with it and protect myself from the darker side. I understood how to handle men, how to negotiate some choppy waters and how to stay away from the weirdos.
This is a subject you almost never hear about.
These aren't your run of the mill sexists. These are low intelligence guys, with little to no prospects that are just as painfully horny as most guys.
This isn't toxic masculinity, it's just one of the only strategies that a guy in that situation has.
There is a skill to detecting them and it's much handier than pouting, waiting around for them to gain 30 IQ points and assimilate your marxist feminist dialectic about oppressors and consent. It's never gonna happen and it's pretty naive of you to expect that.
You'll be faced with unfairness, sorrow and unmitigated disaster in life.
Babyproofing the world from nuisances like catcallers and manspreaders won't help you overcome life's unavoidable misery. Also, being preoccupied with the most trivial of grievances just makes women look infantile and kind of plays into the dreaded stereotypes about us, just sayin'.
Taking responsibility is a hard thing to do.
It's hard to face up to the fact that some of your problems are your own fault.
I'm finding more and more that life is all about how you take in this information. Some choose to take ownership of their life, and responsibility for their faults and destiny. Some run for cover under the smothering blanket of "oppression" ideologies.
And the most important fact of all is that even if it's *true* that you're under the boot of a constricting patriarchy, it's still the best strategy to take ownership of your life. It's the only mindset that allows you to change the things that you can influence - your own behaviour.
Every self-help book worth its salt will tell you that the place to start is yourself. Want to get anywhere in life (outside a women's studies department)?
Claw back your power from ideologues that want you pissed off and disempowered.
Once you choose to put the power back into your own hands, the world is your oyster, because now, you'll find a way, not an excuse.
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2. Feminism makes sex, relationships & talking to men a pain
Relating to guys isn't always easy, because men have different communication strategies. But add feminism into the mix, and things just got ten times harder.
I find men both fascinating and exasperating, but I accept that they are different.
That makes it easier to come at any problem with curiosity rather than annoyance. It makes it easier to have empathy and understanding when you acknowledge there is a difference, and don't try to socially engineer him out of millions of years of evolution.
And then there is the question of sex.
Sex and aggression are inevitably welded together in nature.
Modern feminism glorifies the one and demonises the other, which results in a universal licence for the kind of sex nobody wants to have.
Consent is a hot topic and is now supposed to be explicit, ideally verbal.
So we've turned something that is supposed to be an outlet for our most basic desires, into an interaction more similar to a pelvic exam. ‘Can I kiss you?’ is a phrase that sends countless tumbleweeds rolling through vast expanses of vaginal deserts, every time it is uttered.
The moral panic of rape, in an era and a place where it is the rarest it has ever been, paralyses men and throws the whole act into a neutered confusion that’s leaving women heading toward the nearest bookshop, where the sales of softcore BDSM like “50 Shades of Grey’ are breaking records. It seems that poorly written Twilight fan fiction silently harbours the last traces of the thing women hate to want: the original violence of desire.
All the while, mainstream culture rejects masculinity as ‘toxic’, as a pathology.
Though you can have as much sex as you want, masculinity should be kept out of it. Only if you sign a waiver, can you play it out as a kink, a puppet drama of the madness of days past, when men were free to be toxic.
Given that women are liberated, they should have as much sex as possible. And casual sex is what's on the menu.
Somehow, male mating strategies seem to be the definition of sexual liberation. Women are now supposed to be cheerily screwing every guy with abs like it's the last days of Rome.
The problem here - women's bodies release oxytocin in response to sex and that's the supreme bonding hormone. It's the main driver of maternal bonding, and it's the same hormone that makes mama bear maul your nuts off if you come too close to her cubs on a friendly hike.
It's potent stuff.
If you've ever wondered why one of your girlfriends is upset that some rando one-night stand she met in a bar isn't texting her, that's why. Sex and trusting affection have about the same hormonal profile in women, and that's a hard thing to override.
The fact that this is even controversial is a testament to how much stating the obvious has morphed into being politically incorrect.
It's up to you to understand that even if you do end up on a one night stand, he's probably feeling different about it than you, and that's entirely normal.
If you own it, more power to you, sister!
If you do want a relationship, though, playing it a bit cool has never gone out of style.
Supply and demand.
If the guy you're after is in any way interesting or desirable, your "supply" of a relationship will probably be higher than his "demand" for one. It's a story as old as time.
Look at it as a sales pitch: you want to seem precious, unique and a scarce resource. A tiny supply of a very desirable individual.
And this isn't simply about sex, it's about your time & your standards.
You're something special, and you're the first one that has to believe it.
3. Maybe we don't want it "all"
The vast majority of Fortune 500 company CEOs are men. Fact.
Modern feminism will have you believe that this is a great injustice and that we need to achieve "equal representation" in the upper echelons of commerce and industry.
It seems to me that these rankings have an air of royalty to them - the unequal, unfair boys club of the ultra-wealthy, polishing their monocles to better sneer at us bottom dwellers.
But have you ever given a bit of thought to what it takes to become and stay a Fortune 500 CEO? Why anyone but the most driven and work-obsessed of people might want to get there and have the stamina to stay there? What sacrifices it might bring?
Have you thought about the infinity of things you can't do because you're too busy doing the endless things it takes to be a magnate?
I think many a woman has thought carefully about it, and she's said:
"Good luck, Sheryl Sandberg, I'm leaning out."
We are at a time when women outperform men in school on every level.
It isn't about questioning if women can do it.
They can, and have proven it.
But for a lot of women, this isn't the only game in town.
Some prioritise making a life over making a living.
Today you have the luxury of choice, but don't let yourself be bullied into a career you don't like or into ambition that's not yours, just because this is the glamorous thing to want.
The writers of Jezebel aren't going to be there when the going gets tough, and you're not going to become a partner in your law firm because you've got post-partum depression, your hair is falling out and your husband has got a high powered career of his own and neither of you has been sleeping in months.
Nobody will shower you with understanding in the moments when you feel like shit because you can't be 100% there for your family and also rustle up another 100% for your job. It's supposed to work, isn't it?
Well, no, we have no idea if it works.
The idea of having a career as the epitome of your life is about 5 seconds old in the history of our species. It's at most a product of the industrial revolution, but still, up to about the 1900s, even the vast majority of men just had "work".
It's not like men have had this wondrous outlet for their ambition since time immemorial and were conspiring to keep women out of it.
Everyone was working to survive.
Some in the home, some in the workshops, some in the fields.
The history of men and women is presented as a narrative of oppression.
It's really a story of necessary cooperation on the eternally advancing edge of famine and war.
4. You can find a better tribe
I know - feminism isn't just a label, it's an identity.
A reason to connect with people.
A uniting force.
It's the Women's March.
It's "what we all think".
It's that BuzzFeed listicle about shitty white men that everyone has been sharing that is literally life 🙌.
It's a tribe.
And tribal feminists, in the name of fighting shame and oppression, shame and oppress views that contradict their own.
Tribal feminism lays out a specific set of beliefs — that everywhere you look there is patriarchal oppression, that masculinity is toxic, and that the only differences between men and women are figments of our cultural imagination, not basic biology.
Break any of those taboos, and you're suddenly a member of the out-group, excommunicated from bottomless brunches and WhatsApp groups that have 💖 emojis 💖 in the title.
I say - good riddance!
Join a book club, a foraging society, and maybe hang out with people that are a bit older. They might all be heteronormative colonialist fossils, but they still know a thing or two.
5. Feminism is hypocritical
Modern feminists have chosen strange bedfellows.
The fact that mansplaining is a major issue, but female genital mutilation and the stoning of women for the crime of being raped are not, tells you something fundamental about this ideology.
It's less about the welfare of women, it's more about sticking it to the man - exclusively the western man, of course, bringer of sorrows, lord of oppression. Maybe that's why cultural relativism is stronger than concerns for the actual, measurable horror of women worldwide. You can't pretend to be supremely oppressed when you're looking at an actual patriarchy and at actual oppression.
So, you look away.
The hypocrisy here is thick, and it brings with it something much more insidious and dark than the so-called western patriarchy:
"Let them handle *their* women as they see fit, who are we to judge?"
It's identity politics, where only one group earns the scorn of every other layer of the oppression pyramid, to the exclusion of much more egregious oppression happening within the ranks of the oppressed.
With the silent blessing of the "allies", of course.
6. Feminism has been lying to you.
Modern mainstream feminism has got all the trimmings of a utopian cult.
Its holy trinity: the pay gap, the glass ceiling and rape culture are arguments that are at best tenuous and at worst false.
Yep, you heard me.
With its roots in postmodernism and critical theory, the new school of feminism sees reality as a ‘social construct’. Gender is socially constructed, and differences are a result of socialisation.
Therefore, men are merely women with different social conditioning and vice versa.
In a world where men and women are supposed to be almost biologically indistinguishable, except for different appendages with varying degrees of floppiness - any difference in outcomes between men and women *has* to be the result of socially constructed systems. When you look at stats like women only make 70 cents on the dollar, and only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, you'd have to be blind not to see the oppression at play here.
The problem here is that we're basing everything on the assumption that men and women are virtually identical, except for socialisation.
They are not.
When a well-respected profession, like engineering or theoretical physics, does not have a 50/50 gender distribution, the theory goes, it has to be the result of the subtle machinations of systemic oppression.
This expectation of equality in outcomes doesn't account for interest.
It's a well-documented fact that, overall, women are more interested in people than in things and for men, it's the other way around.
Most women would rather help people, work in an engaging, interactive environment than rebuild an engine.
You could say that this is culturally mediated.
You could say that women would, of course, be as interested as men in the workings of highly elaborate toy train sets or the minutiae of model aeroplane building, were it not for the brainwashing of the patriarchy guiding them away from this type of fun. You could say it's the damn patriarchy pushing women toward more stereotypically feminine pursuits, such as psychology, teaching or the caring professions.
I call BS.
In a test that measured attention, female babies showed a preference for human faces, and male babies showed a preference for objects.
These babies were one day old.
Either the patriarchy shoots directly into women's vaginas at conception, or these differences are biological.
Another clue in the nature vs nurture debate is the Scandinavian Paradox. Scandinavian countries have one of the levelest playing fields in terms of access to career options for both men and women and one of the most egalitarian cultures to ever emerge on the face of the earth.
Yet, here, the women tend to push the accelerator on stereotypes. Despite all the massive efforts to equalise outcomes, women flocked in greater numbers to the same, tired old fields of education & healthcare.
When societies are affluent and egalitarian, genetic differences tend to matter *more* - women's interest has a larger weight, so they gravitate towards people *more*.
In Scandinavia only 1 in 20 engineers are female.
In Algeria, it's 1 in 3.
"The most striking trend across the world
regions (...) was that sex differences appear to diminish as one moves from Western to non-Western cultures." Source
The less financial pressures women face, the more probable it is that they will choose a profession that's actually fulfilling, rather than one that just pays the bills.
In the golden era of communist Romania, tens of thousands of female engineers were churned out by government schools, because quotas were state-imposed and "gender equality" was enshrined in ideology. It had nothing to do with the government being concerned with what women actually wanted to do with their lives. Engineering jobs were a high-status occupation in the burgeoning industrial utopia and could get someone a position that promised a bit more influence and nutrition than was reserved for the common worker bee.
Historically, equality of outcome seems to be achieved only by decree and mostly in places where avoiding starvation is a 24/7 occupation.
And speaking about pay, here's a nifty fact.
Technical jobs can scale almost infinitely, caring jobs can not.
Even the best nurse or teacher sees her potential to deliver value for extra people diminish fast after a few patients/students. On the other hand, an app developer can offer a bit of value to millions of people and be rewarded with a few cents from each one, leading to a potentially uncapped income. It may be unfair, but it's intrinsic to the task.
Add to that:
The fact that, on average, women are more agreeable as a personality trait and that makes it harder for them to negotiate salaries.
The fact that women work part-time a lot more.
The fact that, if they choose to be mothers, they have to carry, give agonising birth to and feed ultra sensitive tiny humans who need to be cared for, for 18+ years because unlike any other animal baby, they are useless for decades.
The fact that they actually *like* to hang around their babies more - than let's face it, most guys.
The fact that they aren't crazy about dangerous but high paying jobs like underwater welder, electrical power line installer or logger (somehow by far the most dangerous job).
And, last but not least, the simple fact is that most women just don't want to be CEOs.
The thing I find most amusing (and a trick I've used myself in the past) is what I call "The feminist allegiance trap".
It's that fateful moment when someone asks you: "Do you believe that men and women should be treated equally?"
And you, sane person, invariably say: "Yes."
"Ah, then you're a feminist!"
Of course, by this definition, almost any person who isn't dreaming of some sort of male totalitarian state like Saudi Arabia will be a feminist.
The problem is that 5 minutes later you have to start making picket signs and pledging to be an intersectional ally and take on board the innumerable other things one needs to be a good feminist these days.
So, come on down to Egalitarian at the corner of Sanity and Reason.
We've got peace and quiet.
We've got different opinions.
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Controversial Books (you should read nonetheless)
While the book that marks my break from feminism most is The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, these 3 books have some solid arguments why it might be time to stop burning those bras.
And if you have 30 minutes to spare, here is the video version:
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