If you think this is new…you’re wrong

I got permission to quote a brilliantly shrewd Facebook comment on a long thread on Martin Wagner’s wall that was full of guys explaining at great length what’s wrong with feminism today. You already know what they said, because you’ve seen it many times before.

Here is that comment, by Justin Connelly:

1907: “Feminism? Bunch of men-hating women that don’t know their place. They don’t want equality, they want to be men”

1930s: “Feminism?! Pft. Ugly lesbians that just want to do men’s work if you ask me”

1960s: “Feminism? Bunch of ugly, man hating, bra burning hippies. Who needs it”

1990s: “Feminism? Radical man-hating liberal PC Police. Nothing more”

Today: “I just hate how feminism has been hijacked by radicals to be anti-man, rather than for equality the way it used to be. Feminists should abandon the label because it doesn’t mean equality anymore”

If you think your “observation” that the feminist movement is polluted by “man hating radicals” is some new, nuanced critique of a movement that has abandoned the cause of promoting social equality….you’d be wrong. You are, in fact, repeating the exact same tired slander and accusations that have been leveled at the movement since before women had the legal right to vote.

I find this nostalgic harkening back to the “good ol days” of feminism, before the radicals “ruined it” to be as disingenuous as it is historically ignorant. Feminism has ALWAYS been a movement aimed at addressing long-standing gender inequity, from the vantage point of the underprivileged class. And it has ALWAYS been marginalized or dismissed as the crazed ravings of radicals, lunatics, and misandrists. This. Isn’t. New…. You. Aren’t. Clever.


  1. PatrickG says

    Brilliantly shrewd indeed. Would Justin Connelly be ok with having their words shared elsewhere on social media? With or without attribution? With or without link? With or without other constraints they see fit to add?

  2. Justin Connelly says

    @Patrick (or anyone else curious) I have no reservations with you sharing or linking the comment if you see cause to do so. Glad you find it worth sharing!

  3. Hj Hornbeck says

    Yep, ’twas ever thus.

    The authoress does not profess to dispel the cloud of mystery which envelops her subject, but she does raise for our benefit a corner of the veil which shrouds the Great Arcanum of the feminine soul. The picture thus revealed is a curious one, and she is aware that her method of presenting it is likely to arouse the resentment of her fellow-women; but she Is prepared to face the consequences. There is so much to say about woman which has never yet been said, that the truth that is in her must out; and, like Lucifer the light-bringer, she feels bound to fulfil her mission of illuminating a people that now sit in the darkness of ignorance concerning the psychology of feminism.

    The most characteristic portions of the book are those dealing with the great sex-problem, as it is called. “Man,” says Mrs. Roy Devereux. is apt to “rail at the sexlessness of the New Woman;” but, if we may take her as a trustworthy guide, the charge is a baseless one.
    The Psychology of Feminism, The Living Age, volume 212 (Jan-Mar 1897)

    On the signal given by Ibsen’s Nora, a complete feministic campaign at once took shape in the North, and was conducted vigorously and with the most inflexible logic. One of the avowed objects of the movement, and undoubtedly one of its deepest motives, was that “economic independence” of women, which an increasingly-keen competition for the means of livelihood had rendered an absolute necessity; but the Scandinavian woman was by no means content with the privilege of earning her bread independently of her husband’s toil; she also desired emancipation from the chains imposed by the tyranny of marital affection.

    One remarkably clever woman, Mrs. Laura Marholm, the influence of whose works we purpose to consider at this time, had a near view of that simultaneous lifting of the bucklers. “Writing women”— these are her words— “came up like mushrooms under an autunmal rain; then sprouted a certain number of women doctors, and after them followed a cloud of teachers and telephone-workers. They all claimed the right to study, to practice law, to hold local and government office; above all — to vote. The single right about which they said nothing was the right to love. Woman became a neuter being, capable of thinking and producing; incapable, by the same token, of fulfilling her true mission. Every possible variety of sex-deterioration— every deformity which may result from the violent suppression of the natural instincts was paraded in broad daylight. Every opportunity was afforded for studying both temperaments ruined by a precocious development, and others stifled in the germ, — erotic mania and complete atrophy, the abuse of theory and the paralysis of instinct The highways of the moral world were literally strewn with the corpses of these intrepid champions.
    Sailliere, Ernest. “The Reaction Against Feminism in Germany.” The Living Age, Seventh Series, volume 7 (Apr-Jun 1900).

    Even the prose retains the same shade of purple. 😛

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