Anti-feminist “activism” is not a new concept. Since the days of suffragettes, and likely earlier, women who spoke out against their oppression and fought for equality have been mocked and criticized for their beliefs. A new breed of anti-feminists, mostly social media savvy young men, has surfaced: Meninists. This term has existed in the past, but up until recently was not well known and was used in an entirely different way. Now, it is being used to give anti-feminists a stronger voice.
According to feminist.com the previously held definition of a meninist is: “a global organization of men that believe in and support the feminist principles of women’s political, social and economic equality.” When it is used with its rightful definition, it really is a positive thing.
Feminism has also been prevalent in pop culture lately, and it seems that it’s a concept many people are afraid of and do not completely understand. The dictionary definition of feminism is, “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.” In real life situations, the word is interpreted in very different ways by different people. When someone says they’re a feminist, it turns heads.
As a writer for Obvi, my friends and social media followers are well aware of my stances on a lot of social issues. When we get into arguments over these things at gatherings, they often turn to me to say, “We already know your stance, you’re a feminist!” Or, “What are your opinions on this topic? You’re a feminist, I know you have strong viewpoints.” Every time this happens I have to hold myself back and politely explain that being a feminist does not mean that I follow a singular agenda blindly, it does not mean that I will automatically fit whatever stereotype they have in mind.
Many do not understand the depth or fluidity of the term ‘feminist,’ they expect it to align with what they hear about it in the media. Many see feminists as women advocating only for the rights of women at the cost of men, they believe we are advocating for the superiority of women. I think this and similar types of misinterpreted stigmas have led to this wave of “meninism.” These anti-feminists have taken it upon themselves to market the “injustices” of feminism on social media. Their tweets are intended to point out the “injustices” and “idiocracy” of women fighting for equal rights.
Women want equal treatment and payment in the workplace? How dare they? Women want to destroy the idea of, “staying in the kitchen?” How dare they? How dare women think that they should have the capacity to actually act out against inequality? Women want equality? How idiotic.
if the girl i like ever says “you’re like a brother to me” i’m going punch her square in the chest since thats how I play with my brother
— Meninist (@MeninistTweet) January 28, 2015
if she’s on her phone while we’re on a date then I hope she’s calculating how much the food she ordered is.
— Meninist (@MeninistTweetss) January 10, 2015
ladies, why are you still waiting for the man of your dreams to sweep you off your feet? don’t be silly, sweeping is your job.
— Meninist (@MeninistTweet) January 9, 2015
Tweets like these from MeninistTweet’s account on twitter were initially created as satire, but judging from the startlingly common positive responses, #Meninist merchandise, and over 649 thousand users following the account, there are a great deal of anti-feminists on the internet who want to make sure their opinions are heard loud and clear
The mockery of it all is vibrant. Though many who speak in the name of Meninism claim to be “humanists” or “egalitarians,” they are not advocating equality or what the term was meant to stand for. They are attacking women and broadcasting stereotypes and ignorance. They do not even try to respectfully argue for men’s rights versus women’s, they simply criticize feminists and make any true notion of a pursuit of equality into a joke.
We as a society need to destroy the negative connotations and misconceptions about feminism. We need to destroy the stereotype that feminists are anti-men’s rights and only pro-women’s rights. We need to destroy the mockery and games coming into the spotlight. Meninists vs. Feminists: who will win the race? Neither. This is not a game, this is not a fight against one sex or the other. It is a fight for equality. We need to destroy the idea that advocating equality under any specific movement is putting itself above others. We need to spread a positive light on all equality and fight the ignorance.