When other people describe me as a former radfem who is now incel/manosphere sympathetic, that is…well, absolutely correct. Since other people have noticed that weirdness, I guess I’ll explain how I got here.
Firstly, I think I was always doing the radfem thing wrong. See, I never hated men. I wasn’t a TERF either. My views were TERF-adjacent and that was something I really struggled with. I hope nobody will lambast me for admitting to views that I now admit are problematic. I’m hoping by explaining my thought process, it might help people to understand what the hell the TERFS are thinking.
Oh, and definition for anyone who isn’t total internet trash. TERF=Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminist.
I believed that gender was a social construct. I believed that the very concepts of male and female needed to be abolished.
Working with that perspective, trans people kind of…well, they throw a wrench in the works. Trans people existing reinforces the gender binary. For radical feminists who believe the very concept of gender is evil (NOT gender is a spectrum, but gender is all a construction and needs to be deconstructed), the only choice is to be a TERF or be…..very confused. I chose the latter. I never could figure out how trans people fit into my view of gender. I usually landed on ‘well, they’re wrong to reinforce the gender binary, but I guess that’s what they have to do to be happy. They get enough shit, I’m not gonna say anything.’
My other radical feminist views were of the slut-shaming variety. I was forever tearing down other women for what they wore and how they conducted themselves.
I was anti-sexy dancing. Grinding was the big thing when I was young. We didn’t have twerking yet. I would lecture the other girls in my high school on how they were objectifying themselves.
I was anti-high heels, anti-purses, anti-makeup. I would lecture any other female who would listen (and many who didn’t want to) on the evils of makeup and how wearing heels and dresses was just a terrible way to enforce the gender binary, and by extension, female subjugation.
Playboy fashion was pretty big when I was in my teens and early twenties. Girls in my high school were always walking around in Playboy bunny t-shirts and necklaces. My stepmom (who barely knows me) bought me a Playboy purse for my 18th birthday. I was absolutely disgusted and threw the thing away. I was nothing but nasty to girls who “chose to objectify themselves and turn themselves into sex objects for the male gaze.”
I’d also like to point out, this is the period of my life when I was the most boy crazy. I’ve been called a ‘pick me’ since I started making manosphere issues a part of my platform. Can I just point out, I was super thirsty for male attention in my late teens and early twenties, while I was simultaneously a radfem who dressed like a fucking lumberjack. I just don’t believe anybody is forming their political ideology around the need for male validation. To put it bluntly: nobody has to go to that much trouble for male validation.
Anyhow, that was about it. I didn’t hate men. I was not a WGTOW (female separatist), and although I struggled with terrible cognitive dissonance, I was not a TERF. And the problematic views I held towards transpeople, I generally kept to myself.
During my radfem days was when I first encountered a MGTOW/MRA. I worked with one. I said something about the patriarchy and he very politely expressed a few of his views. He said that the wage gap wasn’t real and that in many ways women were privileged over men. I bit his head off. What he said felt like an attack on me.
Men oppressed? What he was saying was a threat to feminism! A threat to the fight for women’s equality! Was he that selfish, that he actually didn’t care about how hard women have it?
I was actually so pissed off, I threatened to report him to management. For expressing a viewpoint. Ack. I cringe. I was 22 and I was an idiot.
Throughout my twenties, I slowly, without even realizing what was happening at first, transitioned into liberal feminism. It started when I began taking my academics more seriously. I moved from my undergrad into my graduate program and was surrounded primarily by liberal feminists. I started reading more libfem content, primarily trashy blogs. I started reading Lena Dunham and Roxanne Gay…I know, I know. I got pretty hooked on an intersectional blog called ‘Everyday feminism.’
I remained in libfem limbo for awhile, and while I was there, I started getting interested in male issues. It started with a couple of libfem books about toxic masculinity. That sort of peaked my interest.
Then I saw the Red Pill Documentary, and I guess that was the beginning of the end. I was so conflicted after watching that documentary. I could NOT believe how feminist media refused to report on male issues, like BokoHarem. #Bringbackourgirls. How did the media fail to report on all the male children that were murdered?
I have a soft spot for kids, so that story really primed me to question everything. And while the term ‘gynocentrism’ sounds gross and the manosphere needs a new freaking word, when the entire world is losing their shit over some kidnapped girls and no mainstream news outlets are reporting the boys that were burned to death, it’s hard to ignore the reality of male disposability.
I was becoming more and more disenfranchised with feminism. But it wasn’t until I became active on reddit that I started to think about dropping the label entirely. Like Christina Hoff Sommers, I was thinking I could try to fix feminism from inside of it.
But what happened on reddit was me being banned from feminist communities. A lot. A freaking ton actually. Usually for, what I saw as, pretty benign stuff. One question posed to redditors was, “What do you think is the main source of oppression for women?” and I answered something like, “I don’t think there is any main source of oppression. As a Western woman, I don’t think I am oppressed. I believe there is some misogyny in the world, and feminists should combat these and strive for gender equality. But I don’t think we’re unilaterally oppressed and have it worse than men. I think women have some issues and men have others and we should all work together to solve them.”
That doesn’t seem outlandish to me. I no longer believed in ‘the patriarchy’ but of course I believed in misogyny. Just like I believe in misandry. I thought I could be a feminist and hold that view. But I kept getting banned from feminist communities and I had so many criticisms of modern feminism anyway. I just kind of got to the point where I was like, “You know what? Y’all want to say I’m not a feminist. Fine. Fuck it. I’m not a feminist.”
This was a point that took me several years to reach. Before I started tipping over the edge into a more antifeminist viewpoint, I spent quite a few years waffling in antipathy while calling myself a libfem. I didn’t care about any of the issues libfems were talking about. Emotional labor. Air conditioning as sexism. Manspreading. It all sounded like trivial bullshit to me, but for a good four years or so, I really didn’t care enough to speak up about it.
This is why I’m never going to be the type of non-feminist who slams feminists. The vast majority of feminists are not academic feminists, bloggers, slut-walk protestors; they’re just women who have accepted liberal feminism as the default and don’t really care enough to call out the b.s when they see it. The vast majority of feminists have a few key issues they really care about (mine was media objectification) and the vast majority are not misandrist. I just want other women to know I don’t hate feminists. I don’t think you’re “bitter and lonely” or any of that crap that some antifeminists use to silence dialogue. When I push back against feminism now, I’m pushing back against the movement as a whole, while knowing that most individual feminists are decent women doing what they hope is the right thing.
As for how I came to be sympathetic to male issues. Like I said, I think I was doing radical feminism wrong. I never hated men even at my most radfem. I grew up in such a hippy-dippy liberal household. It sounds so freaking made up, but I was raised by a Wiccan, lesbian, feminist single-mother who ran a ceramics company and a sex toys shop. My mom always had a ton of lesbians hanging around. The straight women she had as friends were sex-positive libfems. But the majority of my mom’s friends were guys. She used to run a Dungeons and Dragons group every Friday night in our kitchen. She was one of two women in a group of ten people. I think my upbringing had a lot to do with how easily I gravitated to radical feminism, but I also never saw feminism as anti-male. The brand of feminism I was raised with was definitely very third-wave liberal feminism. It was probably only my interest in media studies and Jean Kilbourne in high school that tipped me over to radfem territory. But yeah, I just never had the anti-male component. I grew up with a bunch of “uncles” who taught me about D&D and helped me with math homework. My mom was good friends with them and super feminist. I never saw the two as conflicting.
But while I wasn’t anti-male or into the idea of political lesbianism or female separatism or anything, I also didn’t think men had any real issues. I thought male issues were nonsense until I watched the Red Pill documentary and that sent me into a spiral of my own research.
Now, my interest in incels, I do feel for those guys, but I’m primarily interested in them because I believe they are a symptom of a larger problem.
Why care about a bunch of dudes who say such awful stuff about women?
I mean, I think empathy for empathy’s sake is a good enough reason (and I promise, I am working on feeling that way for the femcels-they were fucking rude to me and I’ll have empathy for them again at some point). But also, even if you don’t care about THEM, you should care about the disease that they are a symptom of.
Why are there so many NEETs? The public school system is built for female success and the higher education gap is only growing.
Why do so many young men feel they have no purpose? Because nobody really has purpose in our postmodern world. Women are in trouble too. The loss of the nuclear family, the loss of judeo-Christian values, the loss of monogamy and marriage as the cornerstone of our culture (lol I actually really hope my hippy-dippy mom never reads this and realizes I’ve turned into Jordan Peterson); this is why ALL people are in trouble, but particularly young men. Incels are a symptom of that, but the disease goes so much deeper.
Instead of making them the punching bag of the internet, we should all be trying to figure out how we got to this point. A society with a large segment of young men checking out and descending rapidly into nihilism isn’t good for anybody.
There are far more young men in crisis than there are self-identified incels. But looking at incels is the fastest, most gripping way to get to the heart of the problem.
The loss of monogamy as the norm and judeo-Christian values, the existential dread ushered in through the rise of Modernism and exacerbated in Postmodernism….we’re in trouble. Look how freaking weird I am. People need a stable two-parent household. Men need families to provide for so that they have a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning. Without it, we get male lethargy, MGTOWs, incels.
Men need the option of blue-collar jobs, the ability to earn a decent paycheck without a college degree.
Women need incentive to settle down faster. I think that social norms are enough of an incentive. Let’s start celebrating monogamy and family again.
Women need to stop being told that sleeping around is “empowering.” Stop with the sex-positivity already. Let’s get some marriage and family positivity. Did I mention I started helping my mom with vibrator inventory when I was eight? I was fed the sex-positivity pill. Women are not happy when they are promiscous. I thought something was wrong with me that I kept feeling so ashamed, used, and depressed. The feminist narrative hurts women too.
Let’s start celebrating motherhood. I never wanted to have kids until recently. I think a big part of that is I haven’t seen many positive depictions of motherhood in the media. It always looks like such a horrible burden.
Right now, women are more unhappy than ever and studies reflect that. Men are spiraling into inceldom and NEET-lifestyles.
If anyone was ever indoctrinated into the lassiaz-faire individualistic philosophy of postmodernism, it was me. I’m saying now, I think we have it wrong, and I think we as a society need to self-correct before we go too far.