YouTube is a magical land where people can be discovered, keep video blogs, fight causes, watch kittens cuddle, and leave unbelievably offensive remarks on the comments section. Due to an identity crisis, I recently decided to delve into YouTube for some insight. I wasn’t so sure about my self-proclaimed feminism anymore. I had picked up the label without thinking about it. I found more and more that I was using it to express personal resentment towards the male gender rather than using it to express beliefs I had about the world. I wasn’t a feminist; I was a misandrist.
Because of my skewed version of feminism, I began doubting whether feminism was legitimate at all. My search for a new label landed me in some interesting anti-feminist videos. Every time a video would start, I would feel the same. I would be in awe by the intelligence and forward-thinking of the blogger, but once the bloggers exposed their arguments I would realize that they didn’t speak my language. With each video I picked up a new reason for why feminism is still relevant, and I began to feel more comfortable with calling myself a feminist. I know that feminism means different things to different people, and I will not attempt to define the 21st century feminist movement. However, I will say what I believe feminism is not.
One of the first videos I saw on YouTube was “Feminists beat me up on the Internet“, made by Saturinefilms. On the video he begins by saying that while married women make 79.9% of the money that a man makes, single women with no children make 94.2%. After this statement, he concluded that the income gap is a lie. I had trouble following his logic. Are married women not women? Does he not think it’s an issue that married women make so much less than men? Why did he find it so important to make the category of ‘married woman’ when discussing the income figures and not the category of ‘married men?’ He also says: “feminists always make it seem like women who don’t choose to work and be part of a competitive atmosphere are somehow inferior or weak.” Woah there buddy, that’s a sweeping generalization. Saying something like ‘feminists say’ ignores the complexity of the label, and the many different beliefs that come with it. Furthermore, feminism is not a campaign against traditional gender roles. The search for equal choice does not delegitimize choices that have been conventionally available.
I also stumbled upon a video series titled “I am anti-feminism” created by ChristyOMisty. Her video channel no longer exists and many users speculate that she had to delete it because she was being accosted violently. Luckily (or not?), her series still lives thanks to users who have mirrored her videos. Her video begins strong. She refers to the complaint that men don’t know how to treat girls, and says that the issue rather is that men and women don’t know how to treat each other. She then goes to say that men are blamed for everything and blames feminists for it. She also says that she is offended by the term empowerment because it implies she is lacking something on her own. Feminism is not a form of victimization. ChristyOMisty seems to believe that feminism is simply self-pity and problem-solving but it makes no sense that she would refer to empowerment as a victimizing process. By definition, it is the opposite of that. While it is good that she feels completely empowered, she selfishly ignores women who do not share her strong confidence in her womanhood. Feminism does not try to dictate how women should feel.
I was beginning to get tired by her eye-rolling and comments about what a strong woman she is, when she promised something irresistible. She was going to define feminism. My eyes were inches apart from the screen, my ears straining to catch every word. Finally! My identity crisis would be solved. Unfortunately she disappointed me by defining feminism as pre-packaged socialism. On the same breath on which she places socialism, communism, and Marxism in the same box, she tells feminists to “get educated.” Her form of evidence for the intense accusation is a quote from the book The Naked Communist, which was written with Cold War paranoia. The book also states that homosexuality was a way for the Soviet Union to instill their socialist views in the United States. Feminism is not a conspiracy. Feminism wasn’t created by the Soviet Union. Feminists don’t seek to brainwash young women to join their cause.
The biggest flaw I found with ChristOMisty’s video series is that she acts as if the world is made up of a gender binary. She acts as if only straight men and straight women exist. She says that men and women can never be best friends, and that even the notion of a close bond that is purely friendly is preposterous. She says that leadership is a masculine trait and that a woman wanting leadership roles is perversity. Usually, when I hear viewpoints like this they come from illiterate rants on the comments sections of websites, or from street preachers who are being chased by the police. Hearing an educated, intelligent, and well-spoken woman make these points and backing them up with ‘evidence’ really upsets me. It reminds me that people have opinions that I fundamentally disagree with and that I think go against what every person deserves: equal opportunity of choice. ChristyOMisty says that feminism has caused the decline of men, and that it is a woman’s fault if a man is a douche-bag. She finishes her second video by saying that there is something about a woman who is not fighting her femininity and is giving into her real pure womanliness that brings out the best in men. Feminism does not make men become assholes. Assholes make themselves assholes, whatever gender they are.
My favorite video of all was “Why I am no longer a feminist” by username Byenia. I love this woman; she is very intelligent and has great videos exploring a wide array of topics. Also, her ‘anti-feminist’ video does bring up some good points. She mentions how she disagrees with the recent obsession with political correctness and mentions that it blocks people from being able to say what is frank and true. I agree with her in this aspect. Sometimes political correctness and our constant mindfulness of it can create an unproductive language of euphemisms. However, she does say some things that I don’t agree with. She says that feminists blame men for everything, and that they place themselves ‘above and beyond men.’ Feminism is not misandry. And anyone who is a misandrists and calls themselves a feminist should rethink their label choice. Both things are in cahoots. I’ve been there. Furthermore, she says that feminism has outlived its purpose in American society. Feminism is not a blame-game and feminism is not fighting ghosts. There are issues that still need to be dealt with. I believe calling them ‘feminist issues’ is unproductive and misses the point, but seeing an issue through a feminist lens can bring about productive conversation that can lead to change.
Feminism is not a person. Feminism does not say, or do, or think anything as an entity. It is individuals who act on their own beliefs. Just because somebody who calls themselves a feminist berates stay-at-home moms, is closed minded, is over sensitive to wording, or disregards the opinion of men does not mean this is what ‘feminism thinks’. An individual’s actions should not be confused with a movement’s identity.
By: Maria Orbay-Cerrato, Blog Editor