A few weeks ago, I had an online discussion with someone I have a lot of respect for, and who happens to identify with the term “feminist”. I’ve done quite a bit of research on the ideology of feminism, along with the statistics and data surrounding rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse, child abuse, gender inequality to women’s disadvantage, and gender inequality to women’s great advantage. I have a genuine desire to understand the background of any group of people that have historically endured the kind of hardship and abuse that I relate to myself as a member of an ethnic minority who grew up in a systemically racist society (French, Native American, and African descent).
After getting a thorough understanding of the ideology and reading the literary works of famous feminist authors like Betty Friedan, Virginian Woolf, Naomi Wolf, and Alice Walker, I have a genuine respect for the effort and passion behind feminism ideology…yet I still find the ideology fundamentally flawed. So I should probably make it clear that I’m not looking at feminism or its advocates from a perspective of dismissal or disregard. The issues that inspire their movement and ideology are very real and in serious need of addressing. My personal criticism of feminism is rooted in the term itself, which naturally inspires the misguided ideology that guides how most of its advocates go about presenting, confronting, and addressing these issues in my personal experience. As a worthwhile sidenote to consider, I perceive it the same way that I perceive ideologies like the Black Panther Movement, the Gay Rights Movement, etc. You’ll understand why later.
The foundation of this critique resides within my understanding of how language and word usage shapes one’s perception and experience of whatever a person describes with particular words. If you’re familiar with Neuro-Linguistic Programming, you’ll already understand where I’m coming from. But for those who aren’t familiar with that field of knowledge, I’m going to try to break down a pretty complex concept as best I can.
Root words (prefix and suffix) make up the most fundamental part of a word’s basic use and definition. They serve as the initial point of reference that isn’t open to interpretation (pre-semantic) and establish the basic perception and understanding of what the word is associated with or represents. For example, two people can use very different definitions for the same word like “feminism” and argue that their own definition is more accurate. This is the essence of Semantics. But semantics come into play only if one or more people in a discussion define and perceive the term differently from one another. In other words, semantics get argued if they create their own version of a word’s definition outside of the definition established by a dictionary. If they both use a standard definition for the word, like the textbook Merriam-Webster’s definition for example, then semantics/interpretation gets minimized. If one breaks the word down even further into root words, semantics gets eliminated. That’s why it’s always worthwhile to take a moment to clarify how an important term has been defined before a person gets into presenting a viewpoint based on it.
Getting back to the term “feminism”, the prefix “fem” clearly establishes the term as biased in favor of females before the word is even complete. So the very first part of the word’s creation, along with any ideas associated with it, is gender biased. In light of the fact that feminists claim to strive for gender equality, the term itself fundamentally contradicts the concept of gender equality that they are striving for. Even the basic definition of feminism reveals a clear bias in favor of supporting women
1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests
Whether providing extra support for women is the ideal or appropriate way to achieve equality between women and men isn’t what I’m referring to at this point. The method of addressing the issue resides on the level of an ideology’s execution, which I’ll cover later. What I’m addressing is feminism’s ideology at its most fundamental level of conceptual existence.
An approach to an issue is always inspired and shaped by the perspective that a person has on it. The perspective that one has on any given issue/concept is inspired and shaped by the words that one uses to describe it. It is at this deep level of conscious perception where the quality of one’s experience first takes form, because the choice of words that one uses to describe any given issue/concept is inspired and shaped by a combination of past experience, present mood, exposure to similar concepts, size of vocabulary, familiarity with the terms that are most relevant to the concept, and most of all, desire. The way one WANTS to perceive a particular concept has the potential to override everything else…present mood, logic, vocabulary, past experience. Desire will attract and manifest all of the vocabulary, logic, and even manufacture memories in order to create the perception of a concept that a person prefers.
I described all of that to more thoroughly explain the significance and deterministic impact that the word “feminism” has on the entire ideology and what it achieves. I also wanted to more thoroughly explain how the use of that term contradicts, undermines, and hinders the mission of feminism to achieve equality between women and men. As long as that word serves as the foundation of the ideology and personal identity of anyone who supports it, the bias that it fundamentally represents by definition will taint every idea, discussion, plan, or project that is carried out in its name. It’s a metaphysical law of manifestation that’s so simple that it’s most often dismissed as semantic. But I assure you that it’s not.
If “feminists” were to abandon that term in favor of a term that is actually in alignment with gender equality and identify with more congruent term as deeply as they presently identify with “feminist”, they would then experience a profound evolution in the way they perceive and approach gender inequality. A new ideology would form, and inspire strategies and approaches that actually produce their desired result. In my opinion, the term that would be most aligned to the concept of gender equality is “humanist”. That term encompasses both women and men, which fundamentally represents gender equality at the very root of it’s defining concept.
Anyone who identifies with the term Humanist would be perceived and experienced as someone who’s authentically devoted to achieving equality between the sexes. Instead of the adopting the feminist way of focusing primarily on issues that affect women, a person who identifies with humanism would naturally focus on any issue related to gender equality, whether it affected one gender or the other, and perceive all of these issues as equally valid and worthy of support. And instead of using the privileges and freedoms of men as a standard of reference to compare a woman’s experience to, a new standard and point of reference would be needed and established…a standard that encompasses and represents the ideal social dynamic for humans overall and both genders by default.
Feminism focuses so much on getting women the same rights, privileges, and protection as men that they’re unable to see that the quality of experience that men live with is actually pathetically inferior to a humanist’s definition of an ideal social dynamic for all. Their bias clouds their perception and inspires them to aim for goals that are unworthy of pursuit in the first place. In a global society in which 99% of us are economic slaves, what sense does it make to aim for being an equally oppressed and exploited economic slave?
If feminists were to acknowledge their bias, recognize how it undermines their mission, drop the righteous favoritism, and align their focus to goals that would benefit both genders equally, I believe they would lose their political enemies, eliminate ideological division between the sexes, enjoy much more support and compassion from men, and inspire the respect and appreciation that they have always deserved. An unbiased outcome can never be inspired, innovated, created, or developed by anyone who is operating from a fundamentally biased perspective on the issue.
Humanism is the way to go.
– Michael Verdun