Feminism is not at war with men, but with their privileges

1. Only a woman can be a feminist

Feminism is a system of views, so both women and men who share these views can consider themselves feminists. True, there are those who believe that since feminism is about women’s rights, men can only be “pro-feminists” or “allies.”

2. Feminists are women who hate men. In fact, feminism is a kind of sexism, a war of the sexes

Among feminists there are probably those who “hate” men. But most feminists hate partiarchy, a system of gender inequality that puts women in a subordinate position. Feminists seek to destroy the patriarchal system, including by depriving men of their privileges. Feminism is a war not against men, but against their privilege.

3. Feminists are against male gallantry and can sue any man for handing her a coat

Most feminists are concerned about such issues as domestic violence, wage inequality between men and women, and the denial of women’s reproductive rights. So it is unlikely that any feminist would think of suing for giving her coat, especially since courts are often unable or unwilling to protect women on much more serious issues.

Although, of course, “male gallantry” is part of patriarchal culture, where roles are gendered: he gives the coat, she takes it; he earns it, she makes it cozy, and so on. In an equal relationship, each partner can put on his or her own coat or, conversely, serve it.

4. Feminists are insecure and resentful women who have failed in their personal lives

First, not all women are interested in men. Second, “personal life” as a romantic relationship does not necessarily determine one’s political views. Third, even if personal experience leads a person to certain political views, this does not mean that such views should be devalued: it makes sense that a girl who has been bullied because of her unconventional appearance can find herself in feminism. Feminist values are shared by very different people.

5. Feminists have unconventional ideas about family and motherhood

They are in favor of same-sex marriage, they advocate for fathers to take maternity leave and take care of the child. And in general, feminists are more likely to be childfree.

There are many different trends in feminism, but most feminists advocate freedom of choice in family relations and motherhood. A woman should be able to have as many children as she wants, ten or none at all. Both women and men should be able to marry the person they love, no matter what gender, and raise children with him or with her. And paternity leave gives fathers the opportunity to distribute responsibilities more evenly within the family.

6. Feminists are aggressive, masculine, and unattractive

Attractiveness is subjective. As for being aggressive, when women actively stand up for their rights, it is somehow perceived as aggressive behavior. But when men behave in exactly the same way, it is perceived as justified outrage. It’s again about our stereotypes and the expectation that someone will follow them.

7. The goal of feminism has long been achieved. It is no longer necessary

After all, women already have all the rights. In particular, women have the right to vote and to be educated.

The right to vote and to be educated are goals that the so-called feminists of the first wave achieved in the first half of the twentieth century. Now feminists are fighting for equality in other spheres: in wages, in the distribution of domestic responsibilities… Considering how many women die each year as a result of domestic violence, how high the percentage of women is among the poorest people, and how low the percentage of women in leadership positions, it is obvious that women are still far away from equal rights with men.

8. Feminism is a Western phenomenon. There is only one feminist in Russia

Feminism in Russia appeared at the same time as in other European countries: at the end of the nineteenth century. In Russia, feminists called themselves equal and also fought for women’s access to education, professional careers, and, after 1905, for the right to vote. Moreover, Russian “equal rights activists” enjoyed more support from men than their counterparts in the West. It was because of the active activities of the “equal rights” that Russian women were among the first in the world to receive the right to vote in the spring of 1917. This, by the way, happened under the liberal provisional government, not under the Bolsheviks, as many believe. After the Bolsheviks came to power, women were legally equalized with men, and much was done in family policy. Although Soviet women activists such as Alexandra Kollontai did not identify themselves as feminists, historians now regard them as “Marxist feminists.

Russia was largely excluded from the discussions of the so-called “second wave” of feminism, but even in the ideological isolation of the late 1970s there were feminists in the Soviet Union. They even published self-published feminist magazines: the almanac Women of Russia and the journal Maria. During perestroika a new period of the feminist movement in Russia began. So Maria Arbatova is just one of the many feminists in Russian history.

9. Feminists justify all their behavior with discrimination by men

It is difficult for me to understand what is meant by “any behavior,” but feminists struggle against patriarchy as a system of inequality. Therefore, many things that may seem like an individual action by an individual are seen as the product of power relations within the patriarchal system.

10. Men hate feminists, fear them, and/or laugh at them

Tell that to actors Benedict Cumberbatch or Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who starred in “This is what a feminist looks like” T-shirts.