The word Feminism in this article is intended to describe modern Feminism, as this is the most common form and which I consider to be radical Feminism. If you identify as a Feminist and genuinely use the term to mean equality for all, if you genuinely fight for Women’t rights worldwide and not simply complain about how far apart Men’s legs are when they sit down, AND if you actively acknowledge and condemn your fellow Feminists when they do so then know you are in the minority, and also know that this is not aimed at you…also, you are probably Christina Hoff Sommers.
Recently, yesterday in fact, I was in a discussion about Feminism on a news story by the Telegraph through their Facebook posts, they post a lot of pro-Feminism stories because it’s considered to be politically correct and I often reply to them and end up arguing my points with feminists who invariably leave the conversation once facts are brought into play. On this occasion however, the chap I was debating against decided to go a step further than usual and check out my Facebook page for ‘ammunition’. This led to what he must have thought was a brilliant question:
How can you be an Atheist and not a Feminist?
Don’t those two things go together? He asked smugly, explaining that he felt that all Atheists should be Feminists because of the inherent levels of misogyny in religious texts and how religion often attempts to perpetuate the traditional Male-Female dynamic. I found this logic flawed and felt compelled to write a rather lengthy reply, explaining exactly why I believe that Feminism is equally worthy of my disdain as religion. Naturally, he promptly disappeared from existence after this, but it did inspire me to write this piece to explain my feelings regarding Atheism, Feminism and religion and why I find it perfectly natural to feel about Feminism as I feel about religion.
It seems that wherever I look there are Atheists who identify as Feminists and I recently learned of an attempt to subvert Atheism into the Feminist agenda (which seems incredibly silly, considering that Atheism is simply a lack of belief in God/s) called Atheism+, which appears to mean Atheism plus misandry from what I can tell. As such, I expect that this article will alienate anyone who arrived here thinking that I might feel the same way, or support such a ludicrous and bizarre idea as Atheism+ but I’ve never been afraid of alienating those who don’t want to hear opposing arguments so let’s get started by asking a question:
Is Feminism a religion?
Feminism, historically speaking, was intended as an equality movement, during a time when Women were not always given the same rights as Men in the Western world and in this sense it was a noble enough cause (if you ignore the hypocrisy of some of those who paved the way, I suppose) and if this was still the intention of Feminism then today we would be seeing modern Feminists bravely tackling the subjugation of Women in cultures such as Islam and I’d be right there with them, supporting their efforts and cheering them on in their noble cause! Instead though, modern Feminism has no real intention of doing anything quite so fraught with the danger of being deemed politically incorrect or which might simply be too difficult to deal with.
What we see from Feminism these days is a movement which picks its fights carefully for the most part, sure there are those who fight the good fight as best they can, but those who are identified as Feminist leaders are far too concerned with furthering their own cause to bother actually trying to help Women who actually need help. Much like religion these days, Feminism is a business and, for the professional victims who appear daily on our TV and PC screens, business is good!
But is Feminism a religion? Well, in a literal sense, no. But there are plenty of parallels to be drawn between Feminism and cults, and what is a religion but a cult which has simply outgrown the term?
OK, so perhaps Feminism isn’t a religion per se, but there are plenty of parallels to be drawn between the two, in fact, many of the reasons for my dislike of feminism are the same as for my dislike of religions in their various forms.
Both assume that Men are potential rapists. Feminism makes no bones about this one of course, buzzwords and phrases such as ‘rape culture’ and ‘teach Men not to rape’ are used to sow the seeds of suspicion in followers, the idea, which has been said in so many words, is that all men are potential rapists (in fact, try typing “all men are” into Google and you’ll find a whole world of hate fuelled articles and propaganda from Feminists). This is something which religion is known for believing too of course. A great example, without even needing to flick through holy scripture, is the Niqab in Islamic culture. It is used predominantly to subjugate and control Women but the general idea is that if a Muslim Woman doesn’t cover up then she may expect to be raped by sex-crazed Men who simply cannot contain their urge to rape any longer.
Both refuse to acknowledge or condemn extremists. Feminism, like religion, has its extremist element. Most movements do, the key similarity here is that, while both are more than happy to proclaim extremists to be ‘not real feminists/members of said religion’, they are less eager to condemn their actions because in both cases, the moderate element realise that what the extremists are enacting is precisely what their religion or movement has prescribed and that ultimately, speaking against these actions will result in a backlash. While they may not agree with the methods, they realise that in-fighting will be detrimental to their overall aims.
Both operate as a marketable brand. As previously mentioned, it’s common knowledge that religion is business, there is money to be made from religion and people have been doing so for many years to great success. More recently however, Feminism has become a brand in itself. radicals such as Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu have successfully made a very good living as ‘professional victims’, offering little to society other than the ability to blame their shortcomings on sexist attitudes rather than their own ineptitude in their chosen fields and yet, managing to become inexplicably successful and famous as a result (thus completely disproving much of Feminist theory). Feminism is also being marketed in the shops with such theoretically ridiculous premises as ‘Feminist lingerie‘ (I think they misunderstood the point of lingerie with this one since it’s just regular underwear) suddenly bursting onto the scene.
Both use fear to control. If you do not subscribe to our religion then you will burn in Hell is the general gist of religion. If you are an infidel you will die horribly or some other awful threat. We all know that religion has used fear as one of its main tools as a form of control since religion was first invented. Feminism too uses fear as a device to keep people in line because let’s not forget that all Men are potential rapists and that without Feminism they’d simply run rampant, subjugating and having their way with all Women. In fact, for a movement which claims to be focused on empowering Women, Feminism seems to spend much of its time telling Women how weak they are, how child-like they are that they should be completely unable to handle criticism like the rest of us and how afraid they should constantly be of the big, bad Men.
Neither work without perpetuating myths. Once again, religion works exclusively based on myths and fairy tales and once again, Feminism follows suit here. We hear a lot about the gender pay gap as well as rape culture and most supporters of Feminism never really seem to stop to wonder if these things might be true. There’s no statistical proof for either of these things and in fact, the statistics that are often used to ‘prove’ them have been refuted and disproven many times over already, and yet, these same myths are perpetuated daily as though they were facts. Sound familiar?
Both are oppressive. Not only that, but both oppress Women, ironically. While religion is well known for its oppression of Women, Feminism is widely regarded as either being about equal rights for Women or for being a hate group against Men. Either way, it’s hard to imagine that Feminism itself would ever oppress Women right? Well, try telling a Feminist that you don’t identify as a Feminist! Just ask the various unsuspecting celebrity Women who did so, they were portrayed as being stupid and lacking common sense in the Feminist and regularly asked to reconsider their foolish decision until, more often than not, they were forced to cave in and accept Feminism as their personal saviour. Much like apostasy is a crime in some religions, not being a Feminist will see you tarred and feathered in the media.
Reason and logic are their natural enemy. Of course, when you have a religion or a movement which employs tactics such as media manipulation and myth perpetuation, reasoned discussion and logic are their natural enemy. To demonstrate this, try to have a discussion about evolution with a religious zealot or better yet, try to explain to a Feminist how having a movement for ‘gender equality’ and calling it FEMinism is akin to having a movement for racial equality and calling it Whitism, and see how long it takes before they result to name calling and/or outright ignoring you.
They both have a Devil: Beware the evil Patriarchy. This sinister and completely fictional organisation is always out there, trying to hold down Women in our society because, while we marry and spend our lives with them, we obviously secretly hate them and want them to stay out of our jobs, our places and our nerd cultures because reasons. This is the true face of evil and if you’re not a good Feminist then you’ll spend your days trapped in a world of rape culture, eternally tortured by the Patriarchy monster.
And so, fellow Atheists and Dudebros (I’m taking that word back since I can’t seem to find it offensive), can we at least accept that Atheism and Feminism do not go hand-in-hand? Feel free to let me know your thoughts.