In today’s day and age, many people find the internet a great place to voice their opinions, start/join movements, and try to get others to take their side. A Facebook post or a tweet can be shared immediately and millions of people can view it, respond to it, and share it within seconds. As the feminist movement has arisen from the ashes yet again, it has become a hot topic within both the social media and blog world. With every social movement comes opponents that disagree with that movement. Many anti-feminists seem to use the internet to shame feminists for their beliefs and their efforts. As a result, feminists can be described as individuals that stand up against the oppression of women, but experience oppression for doing so.
Many people refuse to be feminists simply because they lack the knowledge of the true definition. Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”. Too many people see the word “feminine” in “feminism,” and create their own falsified definition, assuming that it means that woman should be above men. This often leads these individuals who have not bothered to educate themselves on the topic to shame or belittle those who have. Unfortunately, this has caused the definition to expand from believing in equality of the sexes to believing in equality of the sexes and getting shamed for doing so.
Daryush Valizadeh, better known as “Roosh V” is an American blogger known for his controversial writings on anti-feminism. His blog, Roosh V, entails a category called “Girl Behavior” in which the latest post states that the three purposes of women are: “reproductive sex, child rearing, and homemaking” and “a woman who engages in behaviors outside of those three roles is going against her biology and will experience suffering as a result”. Titles of posts in the “Feminism” category include: “It’s Time To Start Delivering Death Blows To Feminists,” “Feminists Are Successfully Creating A Society Of Shameless Sluts,” and “Do Not Have Sex With Feminists”. Here, lies a single human being, who is shaming all those who are peacefully rooting for equality, and he is gaining fame and followers as a result. Roosh V uses his blog to ridicule feminists, and even women in general; he makes claims about the entire female race and treats them as facts. This leads many people to actually believe in his words and support his views. Men around the world have formed local “tribes” in which followers of Valizadeh can attend “tribal meetings” to discuss their anti-feminist views (Tribal Meetings). This clearly demonstrates the terrifying reality that people like Roosh V can influence society.
Both feminist and anti-feminist Twitter users may recognize the Twitter handle, @MeninistTweet, which currently has 1.27 million followers. In their biography, they claim to be a “parody” account that is “obviously sarcasm,” but many of their tweets seem to be legitimate disses toward feminists, the most recent being “I was gonna be a feminist for halloween but my head wouldn’t fit up my a**”. Another is a meme that reads “wage gap is a myth”. Yes, these seem to be “obviously sarcastic,” but they are still offensive and aimed at trolling feminists. Yet, this account has over a million followers. They even sell apparel that reads “#Meninist,” and people actually buy it, and wear it. Progressive, or in this case, regressive social media accounts can actually hold a lot of power. In the case that they promote regression, it can be very alarming to see their propaganda spread by supporters.
Milo Yiannopoulos, or “@Nero,” is a name that most feminists and “meninists” are extremely familiar with; feminists see him as an infamous villain, while “meninists” see his as a famous hero. He is a British journalist, well-known for getting permanently banned from Twitter and for traveling around the world, preaching that “Feminism is Cancer”. In an interview with Dave Rubin, Yiannopoulos claims that modern-day feminism “seems to be about man-hating. It is an angry, bitter, profane, ‘lesbianic’ sort of feminism”; he also claims that “the wage gap is a myth” (The Rubin Report). During a debate between Milo Yiannopoulos and Julie Bindel, Yiannopoulos says that women are not paid less because of their sex, but because they do not work as hard as men do (Han). Again, an individual is making claims about feminists and all women (and gaining fame and fortune as a result). Most people consider stereotyping to be an immoral action, and yet, many people praise Yiannopoulous for his words. He is right about one thing: feminists are angry and they are bitter, because they are constantly being oppressed for their progressive views.
Today, many feminists face oppression through the use of the internet and social media. There, people can easily voice their opinions, which can be very influential, as they can spread across the world in seconds. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion as long as it is their own, they have done their research, and they can explain their reasoning using facts and logic. However, it is not okay for someone to shame or belittle those that disagree with them. Feminists often find themselves facing bullies that stereotype them in the worst ways: feminists are oblivious, profane, man-haters. The strongest, most graceful way for a feminist to react to these claims is to continue being a feminist.