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Issue 1782 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London


Keep the Cat Free


Is Modern-Day Sexism Flawed?

On the logical gymnastics sexists do to justify opposition to feminism.

Pexels Olia Danilevich 6640531 Photo: Olia Danilevich

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in Issue 1782

Your introduction set the tone for the rest of your comment: your assumption that most people would not finish your article (“If you somehow end up reading this article to the end”) was my first indication that you did not aim at creating a compelling argument, as you clearly did not expect to have an audience to convince. None of your points are well supported or even reach a conclusion, and none of what you “have brought to the table” is a fresh new topic; Simone De Beauvoir even describes your first point as old in her book The Second Sex I (1959). I therefore chose to focus my comment on your blatant sexism and how it is deeply flawed. 

I would have liked to refute your arguments, had you provided arguments to refute. You merely built yourself a strawman, called it a “modern-day feminist”, and destroyed the stupid arguments you created for it. You stand before your pathetic straw creation and exclaim “Look at that feminist! See how their arguments are ridiculous and self-contradictory! I am much smarter than them, which is why I am not a modern-day feminist.” You have no knowledge of feminist movements and what their flaws are. You made this obvious by failing to mention any feminist movement you would align yourself with and refusing to discuss the “past and history of feminism”. Your goal was not to criticise modern-day feminism, an already diverse set of movements, in comparison to older feminist movements. On the contrary, your goal was to criticise “modern-day feminism” in a vacuum, to make it clear that “modern-day” had no meaning, and that, when you finally rejected “modern-day feminism”, you were asking us to consider sexism as its preferable “flip-side”.

Your expectation that feminism should prioritise men in non-gendered issues is proof of how deeply internalised your sexism is.

For that is what the “flip-side” of feminism is: the opposition to gender equality is the support of gender inequality. I have met my share of closeted misogynists, who would never say aloud that they support gender inequality and would rather try to discredit feminism as an excuse for their lack of support to the cause. Like you, however, they never got very far in their main argument, which always was some variant of “feminists should help men, and they do not”. 

Whinging about feminists not focusing on men is doubly stupid. Firstly, it is a lie, as feminist movements are very vocal about men’s mental health and protecting male victims of domestic abuse, sexual violence, and rape. More importantly, it completely misses the point of feminism. Women and non-binary people face legal and social discrimination because of their gender in addition to racism, ableism, social inequity, religious intolerance, or queerphobia (although it should be pointed out that gender discrimination against non-binary people is different from gender discrimination against women, I believe that the fight for gender equality should include the fight for trans-rights and the wider recognition of non-binary genders; when I later refer to non-men, I refer to women and non-binary people, as they are part of underprivileged genders). Non-men also die in wars, go to prison, live in poverty, and die of suicide, but their sufferings are made worse by gender discrimination. The point of feminism is not to abandon those fights which tackle issues faced by every gender, rather it is to not prioritise men over non-men in these fights. When you call these non-gendered issues “men’s issues”, it becomes very clear which gender you think matters more.

Finally, I will use your own argument of authority to show how Aristotle would have supported feminist fights, had Aristotle not been a huge misogynist. You misquoted Aristotle, and his original quote, “[…] it is thought that justice is equality, and so it is, though not for everybody but only for those who are equal; and it is thought that inequality is just, for so indeed it is, though not for everybody, but only for those who are unequal.” (Politics, III. V. 8.), addresses equality in the context of what is just. For example, a very basic feminist application of that quote would be to make access to pads, tampons, and other hygienic products free, and maybe promote paid leave for painful menstruation. This would be treating people unequally, as not everyone menstruates, but it would be unjust to not give special solutions to people who menstruate on grounds that this would be unfair to those who do not. This is one example of a modern feminist front. Obviously, not all feminist fights are worthwhile, and not all of them are just. Some are harmful and stem from hate, and we should all use our critical thinking to recognise and reject those. However, I do not think the bad feminist movements should ever convince anyone that opposition to gender equality is a good thing. I think that, while all feminist fights are not good, all sexist fights are bad.

To sum it up, your article was a poorly disguised attack at what you wish modern-day feminism was. You failed to observe how diverse feminist ideology is and always has been and made it obvious to all readers that you only wished to endorse sexism. Your expectation that feminism should prioritise men in non-gendered issues is proof of how deeply internalised your sexism is. Additionally, your claims about false rape accusations are extremely disrespectful to survivors; that paragraph is vile and perpetuates a myth that forces victims to stay silent and allows rapists to get away with their crimes. Your complete lack of empathy is ugly.

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