Inside Martin’s mind: If you’re not a feminist, does that make you an anti-feminist?
Let’s play a quick game of identity politics bingo. Are you a feminist? No? So if you’re not, does that make you an anti-feminist? Sexist? Or a woman-hater, even? OK, by the same token, if you are a feminist, does that make you a man-hater? It seems harsh.
Yet we live in a world that is obsessed with identity politics. For the first time in human history, everything we say, do or post on social media, is used to instantly label us: Sexist! Racist! Misogynist! Homophobic! Transphobic!
WHY WE DO THIS?
Since the beginning of time, men and women have wanted to feel a sense of belonging. We all want to ‘fit in’. From ancient tribal feuds, to simply being on #TeamJen during the Brangelina hook up (and subsequent divorce), our sense of kinship – and adversity – defines us as humans. But this divide and conquer mindset has an ugly side. What if you don’t ‘belong?’ What if you’re not ‘with us?’ Surely that means you’re ‘against us,’ right?
On a macroscale, we see this close-mindedness manifest itself in wars based on nation, race, religion and politics. And on a more individual scale, we see it on social media.
Take Black Lives Matters. Everybody can agree that the killing of black people (or indeed, any people) by police officers (or anybody else) is a terrible thing. But when five white Black Lives Matter protesters recently blockaded City Airport because they decided air pollution was ‘racist’, I disagreed with what they did, not because I’m racist, but because I thought they were idiots.
As we all know, idiots come in all sizes, genders, religions and colours. Some think I’m an idiot – and they might be right.
Earlier this year, a study by the Fawcett Society, a leading feminist charity, showed that only 7% of all Britons – and a mere 4% of men – labelled themselves as feminist.
So does that mean that 93% of Brits are anti-feminists? Or just that they don’t want to be labelled as one? Hopefully, it’s the latter. I don’t identify as a feminist.
Yet I get called anti-feminist all the time, mainly because I campaign on serious issues that disproportionately affect men and boys, such as suicide and poor educational attainment. In the eyes of some, that means I’m obviously ‘against’ women, if I’m ‘for’ men and boys.
On the one hand, this strikes me as hilarious, mainly as my wife is a feminist. How can I hate feminists if I love one, live with one and made two children with one?
In Theresa May, we have a woman who’s been called ‘our most feminist Prime Minister ever’.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Angela Merkel is effectively Europe’s President. To that, I say: ‘Go, girls!’ – I don’t care about what’s in their trousers. I care about what’s between their ears.
We should feel proud of who we are, and be less quick to label others. And besides, how boring would the world be if we all agreed with each other? What on earth would we all talk about?
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