“We Can Do It!” That’s the slogan that should pop into everyone’s mind when the word “feminism” is brought up.
Sadly, the strong, empowering image of Rosie the Riveter flexing with a brazen smirk and a raised eyebrow, daring anyone to come at her, is no longer at the forefront of feminism’s modern image. Terms like “feminazi” are almost guaranteed to be used when anybody today brings up a feminist viewpoint.
People have turned on feminism so much so that this year a movement called “menimism” was created to belittle the movement. Likewise, the media has widely contributed to “the end of American feminism.” Mainstream media outlets continue to champion traditional gender roles over feminist activism — when Target announced it was getting rid of gendered toy aisles, this was met by tons of criticism from conservative outlets like Fox News.
Unfortunately, the term feminism has been redefined by some groups to mean, instead of equality, the hate of men. Indeed, these radical, men-hating, fourthwave feminists do exist. The other day, I read a disillusioned woman’s testimony of how her university’s gender studies courses were mainly just women talking about how terrible men were; the students discussed how all men were sexual deviants and serious physical and emotional threats to women. On the radical feminist website WomenAgainstMen.com, activist Robin Morgan is quoted as saying, “I feel that ‘manhating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.”
However, to imply that women like Morgan make up the entire movement is wrong. The comments section of any article with the word “feminist” in the title — regardless of how mainstream the author’s idea may be — can tell us that children of the Internet age are more likely to envision, instead of old Rosie, a woman like Morgan in an S.S. uniform, whip in hand, proudly standing on the corpses of ten thousand straight “white-cis-men” — and that just isn’t what feminism is about. Just as a Muslim should be proud of their faith without fearing “terrorism” stereotypes, a woman (or man) should be able to proudly call themselves a feminist without fearing backlash from the actions of a few.
Recently, more and more people are trying to console this schism in the modern feminist movement. Buzzfeed.com has emerged as an unsuspecting ally. It has quickly become a leader in the equality-based-feminism movement. Searching the word “feminism” on its website will bring up lots of articles and videos designed to promote feminism in a positive light. Some titles of these articles are: “If Hollywood Age Gaps Were Gender Swapped,” “When A Woman Has An Opinion,” and “26 Times Celebrity Men Stood Up For Feminism.”
How is the Internet reacting to these articles and videos? In many instances, not well. Whenever Buzzfeed uploads a pro-feminism video on YouTube, there are many negative comments criticizing them for trying to make feminism look good. One of the things Buzzfeed does is upload two separate videos, one of men doing something and women doing the same thing. In separate videos of both men and women dyeing their armpit hair for the first time, the women received four times the amount of dislikes than the men, despite them both having roughly the same amount of views.
Can Buzzfeed really change the image of feminism? Only time — lots of time — will tell.
Lauren Williams is a contributing writer for The Spectator.