American women are tired of feminism

Letters were ad hominem and had only two main charges lodged against me.

In between commenting on my “poor knowledge of history,” “lack of judgment” and “lack of critical thinking skills,” calling me a “shame to anyone paying for a college education” and proof that “privilege is still alive and well,” calling my opinion “ridiculous” and “horrifying,” and going so far as to Google my name to (incorrectly) ascertain where I live, my four detractors – Lindsay Hovander, Nick Seeberger, Amy Doyle and David Joseph De Grio – managed to utterly and completely miss the point.

It’s understandable, though; they must have spent so much time coming up with those creative insults that they were not able to think about the argument. I note that not even one of the quotations I provided have had their authenticity challenged; my detractors chose to focus on personal denigration rather than the facts.

Once the ad hominem chaff is threshed away from their letters, there were two main charges lodged against me. Firstly, I was accused of being unqualified to speak on the subject due to my gender. My detractors thought it audacious that I, a male, would “presume to speak for the majority of women.” It is not fair to exclude someone a priori from debate in such a manner – would they claim that whites had no right to express opinions on the civil rights struggle of the 1960s?

Nevertheless, the point is moot, as the claim that American women are tired of – and hostile to – feminism is not my claim, but Abby Bar-Lev’s. In her column, “Using the F-word and being proud of it,” to which I was responding, she expressed disdain that so many of her friends didn’t “get” feminism and denied being feminists.

My letter assumed this as true and a tempted to explain why. My detractors should realize that the point they seem to loathe me for making came, so to speak, from “the horse’s own mouth.”

The second charge leveled against me was that I grossly misrepresented what feminism is – that the definition I work from is different from the one in reality. To be specific, Hovander called my description of the modern feminist movement “ignorant” and “radical.”

To those who accuse me of this, I ask: Why do so many of Bar-Lev’s friends deny being feminists? Read the Bar-Lev column, and you’ll see their responses: “No, I am not a feminist, because I don’t hate men. Feminism is for dirty, bra-burning hippies.”

Perceptions of feminism like that do not spontaneously generate from thin air. Although some feminists perhaps merely believe in the ideal of complete gender equality – the “Webster’s definition,” if you will – it is disingenuous to claim that the modern feminist movement, its main agitators and figureheads, and its lobbying power – is not “anti-man,” “anti-heterosexual,” “anti-family” and “pro-abortion.”

As proof, I refer readers to the quotations in my letter, which as I mentioned, have gone un-refuted by my detractors Ö because they are real.

I would suggest to those feminists who believe in the ideals of the “Webster’s definition” – not the monster that the feminist movement has become – to become an active voice for change. Ostracize radicals like Mary Daly, who called for a “decontamination of the Earth” by reduction of the male population, and promote the ideals of equality, not hate.

Until that day comes, I stand by my assertion – and Bar-Lev’s, remember – that American women are tired of feminism.

And to those of you who have already started composing hysterical letters to the editor in rebuttal – go short on the insults this time and long on the reasoning. Rational observers can tell the difference. (And for the record, Mr. DeGrio: Brush up on your Googling skills. I live in St. Paul, not Stillwater.)

Nick Switala is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]