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Can you be for gender equality but not a feminist?

(258 Posts)
TanithDaUnicorn Sun 17-Jan-16 23:15:34

I am completely for equality of all people ragardless of gender, sexuality, race, etc. But I don't like being a "Feminist" Mainly because in my opinion it focuses on Gender above anything else, and the fact that there are a lot of double standards when it comes to it.

What is your opinion? Am I sexist simply because I don't want to be considered a feminist?

ICJump Mon 18-Jan-16 04:46:05

What double standards?

HelpfulChap Mon 18-Jan-16 06:09:33

You mean as a woman i take it?

As a man I am totally for gener equality but I'm not sure I would have the right to call myself a feminist.

HelpfulChap Mon 18-Jan-16 06:10:05


merrymouse Mon 18-Jan-16 06:27:42

How are you defining feminist?

A quick Google shows feminism defined as:

"The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes."


"The belief that women should have equal rights and opportunities".

Being a feminist doesn't stop you advocating for other people's rights, and doesn't mean that you have to subscribe to a particular set of views approved by the head of all the feminists. It's not like being a member of the conservative or Labour Party.

However, it's a bit difficult to support gender equality and not believe that women should have equal rights to men, which is essentially what feminists believe.

Lovelydiscusfish Mon 18-Jan-16 06:51:27

I suppose you could do this if you believe there is currently no discrimination against women, and that both genders currently exist on an equal playing field. Would be staggered to find that someone believes this, but I guess it us technically possible.
Otherwise, if as you say you believe in gender equality, you will need to actively support an improvement of women's rights specifically, in order for them to achieve the equality you desire.

FreshwaterSelkie Mon 18-Jan-16 07:03:12

I don't know that I'd say you were sexist because you don't want to be considered a feminist, exactly. But I would say that your quest for equality is doomed to failure unless you understand the ways in which women and men aren't currently equal. You can't have equality of outcome when the starting points aren't remotely the same.

Do you think you're sexist?

PalmerViolet Mon 18-Jan-16 13:48:57

Consider yourself however you fancy.

As long as you're not standing in the way of women gaining liberation from patriarchy, then you're not being sexist.

thedancingbear Mon 18-Jan-16 13:59:08

As a man I am totally for gender equality but I'm not sure I would have the right to call myself a feminist.

This is exactly the boat I find myself in; from what I can work out there are opposing camps on whether men can use the 'feminist' tag. I'm not sure that this matters though - after all, it's not about me

0phelia Mon 18-Jan-16 14:08:41

Feminists don't focus on "gender"
A huge number if feminists recognise "gender" to be part of an oppressive social structure to opress women.
Many feminists argue that indeed both sexes should be equal, but we have different needs based in biology.

The differences and inequalities come from sex not gender.

0phelia Mon 18-Jan-16 14:09:03

*number of

AgeingArtemis Mon 18-Jan-16 14:12:21

dancingbear and HelpfulChap, personally I don't see anything wrong with men calling themselves feminists, as long as they REALLY are feminists!

I see way to many men claiming to be feminists, but who have some decidedly un-feminist views and it drives me nuts!

Maybe to be on the safe side you could say you "support feminism"

0phelia Mon 18-Jan-16 14:14:22

It is not possible to truly analyse and break down the opressive concept of gender, with the goal of equality for the sexes, without being a feminist.

0phelia Mon 18-Jan-16 14:17:43

It's not possible for a man to be a feminist because all of their experience will be limited to secondary experience, theoretical, observed / read about. A man will have no lived experience of opression against women.

A man may have his own experience of opression, but this is not a feminists battle.

gandalf456 Mon 18-Jan-16 14:17:51

That IS feminism. You don't want to be defined as such because of the stereotypes that exist with regards to feminism so it sounds as if you have misjudged what it means and disassociated yourself from it. There is no reason to because feminism is basically what you believe in.

HelpfulChap Mon 18-Jan-16 14:22:07


That's what I try and do, be supportive of Feminist ideals but not be so presumptuous as to call myself one.

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 18-Jan-16 18:28:21

There are different camps about whether men (or any dominant group) can be part of the struggle, rather than an ally. I think what matters massively more is whether they actually are an ally (rather than mansplaining it or doing it to be 'cool').

IME people who talk about equality, over feminism, tend to fight for neither.

It's like all the hateful men who magically turn into feminists whenever Islam is mentioned. They don't actually care about women, they just really don't like Muslims.

Dervel Mon 18-Jan-16 19:24:12

I'm a man, and certainly not a feminist however on such a large number of issues I find myself in agreement with feminists it's ultimately a moot point.

ABetaDad1 Mon 18-Jan-16 19:31:24

I was once very firmly told on here that being an 'equalist' is not the same as being a 'feminist' and that men can't be feminist but they can be equalist.

That said, most women believe they are and should be equal to a man but fewer describe themselves as feminists.

SirVixofVixHall Mon 18-Jan-16 19:34:20

I find it hard to grasp that any adult woman would not call herself a feminist tbh.

TanithDaUnicorn Mon 18-Jan-16 19:52:49

It's just how the definition is worded. "the advocacy of women's rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes" It specifically says "Woman" to me seems a bit too one sided

I prefer Egalitarian, it's definition is much more broad. "believing in or based on the principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities"

If I'm honest I was expecting to be attacked with "Omg you're not a feminist? Die!" Lol. But thanks for the feedback

merrymouse Mon 18-Jan-16 20:07:44

Honestly, looking at the world today women still require quite a bit more advocacy than men.

It would be exhausting if every time you advocated for women you had to say "oh and men deserve the same rights too", and often a bit redundant.

slugseatlettuce Mon 18-Jan-16 20:13:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HermioneWeasley Mon 18-Jan-16 20:16:43

The reality is that it is women who are unequal to men. If you are against that and working to address th balance, I don't think it matters massively what you call yourself.

TanithDaUnicorn Mon 18-Jan-16 20:32:41

Not to sound like an MRA, but Child custody, reproductive rights (To choose parenthood) Genital mutilation protection, woman can access federal and state programs, and vote in elections without agreeing to die, men do not. More leniency in courts, especially when it comes to sexual assault.

Those are 4 rights that women have that men don't. But again, I'm not picking sides, I'm completely in the middle pointing out facts when they crop up.

You are probably thinking "Omg picking men over your own gender blah blah" If you are one of these people, you are not capable of intelligent unbiased discussion and I would appreciate if you just ignored this thread, I am open to debate and discussion, but don't try to push me into a box where I do not fit. Anyway, thanks for the consideration.

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