On feminism, and why I'm no longer calling myself a feminist.
I’d like to start by saying that I believe in the equal rights and treatment of every person on this earth. I do not care if you’re straight, gay, cis, trans, asexual, pansexual, white, black, asian, hispanic, christian, muslim, hindu, atheist, man, or woman. You deserve to be treated as any other individual on this planet. My views on equality have changed over the years, just as the way I define myself has. This is, in part, to the toxic attitude of over-the-top social justice warriors (SJWs) and their views towards men, heterosexuals, and allies.
I started my social justice journey in high school when a friend introduced my to something called “tumblr”. It was a cool website where you could reblog funny pictures and posts all day. It was a good laugh and fun was had by all. Soon, I started seeing text posts explaining why women or blacks have a much harder time than their white male counterparts. I agreed with these posts, so I reblogged them and felt good about myself. This continued for months until my blog of funny pictures had turned into a blog of awareness and justice for all. Soon, it became destructive.
I saw myself becoming an ever more hateful person. I hated men. I hated white people. I hated the cis-gendered assholes who reigned with the might of the patriarchy and cast doom unto all marginalized groups. I began distancing myself from long-time friends if they made a non politically-correct joke. I would chastise people for not standing up for groups they did not belong to. I had become a warrior, a champion for social justice and bringer of equality. I did not realize how many people I would drive away with my actions.
Friends started leaving and people starting dissociating themselves with me. But hey, that’s ok because who needs those filthy cis shitlords right? Very soon, I found myself trapped in an endless cycle on online activity that shaped the person I was. I hated everyone who did not agree with me. I could not understand why they didn’t realize that they are the problem. I found myself alone every night, typing away and battling the scum of the internet. In short, it was unhealthy. Social justice became the sole thing I thought about; day in and day out.
Then I realized I was alone. Even though I proudly called myself a feminist, according to some, my views didn’t go deep enough. While I was criticizing others for their actions, I would never threaten or wish violence on anyone. Apparently, that’s what I should have been doing, and I soon learned that I was being too soft. I needed to advocate harm and violence upon the victims of my wrath. I needed to threaten them and make them fear for their lives. I needed to make them so uncomfortable that they had no choice but to buckle and agree with me. That was a step I was not willing to take. The reparations I faced we’re ones of an outcast. I was not worthy of the favor of the other SWJs. All of a sudden, I was the shitbag who could do no right. I soon started getting anonymous threats that made me extremely uncomfortable. It was at this point that I made the decision to stop the destructive behavior that I was involved in for over a year.
Finally, I began to change my behavior. I deleted my tumblr account as to not be tempted by it. I stopped participating on online communities where anyone with any type of privilege was lambasted and hated. I traded my suit of armor for comfortable clothes and a smile. I started becoming happier and brighter and my mind stopped being clouded by hate. I could like people for who they are, even if their views differed slightly from mine. Even if people weren’t vocal about social issues, I learned that they still usually agreed with them. I started to diversify my activities and enjoy life for what it gave me. No longer did I spend my evenings in a cave “signal boosting” a post that everyone simply had to see. I made old and new friends and continued on with my life.
Looking back, the scary part about my journey was how easy it was to fall into it. It started innocently enough with me just agreeing with what I saw. Soon, like a bad drug habit, I needed more and more to satiate my need for self-righteousness. I felt that if I wasn’t standing up for every marginalized group, I was part of the problem. What had started as an innocent agreement of equality turned into a destructive period of my life. I’m just lucky that I was turned on and called a “monster” (among other hateful words) and decided I had had enough. It allowed me to break free.
I am still a feminist, in the classical sense of the word. I support the equal pay and equal treatment of women. I realize that yes, all women experience some kind of objectification in their lives. What I now refuse to do is blame every heterosexual male for the problems of society. Most men I’ve met share this view, but the very few who disrespect women are so loud and noticeable that it’s easy to label every male a pig. A better term for my beliefs is “humanist”. Women face problems, but so do men. Not every white person enjoys huge amounts of privilege. Not every skinny person is mocking people with a little weight. A social movement should be as inclusive as possible and not estrange allies. As a humanist, I believe that every single person on this earth has an equal voice, and I’m a much happier person for it.