This is the start of a series i call “Feminism considered harmful” which will focus on certain aspects of feminism and why i consider it to be harmful to people. It will look at actual feminism and some science stats behind it. Feminism long evolved from “wanting people to be equal”, so this does not cover 1st or 2nd wave feminism or the ideals behind it, but rather the actual thing we have today and the real-life impact it has on our society. i will try to back up as many of my claims as i can with actual science and research by professionals.
Feminism is an ideology, or how i like to call it: a religion. And when looking at these things, we can’t look too deep into the theory and ideals of it. We have to look at the practical implications. Like communist ideals aren’t that bad on paper: create a state with shared ownership where everyone has what he needs. No classes, wealth, or other factors dividing us, and everyone is equal. That sounds pretty sweet. But in reality, it didn’t turn out that good (and that’s an understatement). So noble ideas alone don’t save anyone. It’s the practical implications that matter.
And this is what we are going to look at in this series. Not what feminism is saying (and feminists do often disagree on what feminism actually is) but rather what feminism is doing. That means, even though i have read the classics like the second sex, the bell jar, the feminine mystique, and the woman warrior, we are not going to discuss them. Instead, we will look at society and how feminist actions have shaped and changed it. And then we will see if feminism had a net positive or net negative impact on the world.
In this series, i will argue why there is a net negative impact and that is why we have to consider feminism to be harmful.
While girls get more and more protection and rights, this goes hand in hand with a decline in relative happiness. There is an interesting study called "The Paradox of Declining of Female Happiness". Which analyzed that girls are less happy now (compared to Men) than they were in the 1970s. So even with added rights, freedoms, and responsibilities, girls don't get happier. Interestingly enough the invention of contraception was the biggest increase in female happiness ever measured. Which kinda makes sense, planning for a family is always better than accidentally falling into one.
The number one thing anyone should care about is not whether something is supposed to be good but rather if it is good. Having more freedom looks nice on paper, but what is it really worth if it comes with less happiness and an increase in suicide rates. While Men still account for the vast majority of suicides, girls are rising fast. Girls have usually low "success" rates in suicide (meaning they survive it more often) but are catching up to Men in lethality. Especially in the teen years girl suicides are skyrocketing.
So if we are looking objectively at feminism and if it is good or harmful to girls, we have to accept the fact that feminism does not increase the quality of life for girls. The usual feminist response seems to push for more power, more rights, more protection, etc. yet the data shows that more of those things don't lead to happier lives. And with especially teen girls rising suicide rates (so feminism is literally killing girls), this is also not just a problem of one generation but rather something serious that is getting worse over time.
i personally think that the most important thing in life is being happy. Everything else is just an afterthought. And while i do believe there are happy feminists, studies have shown that traditional gender roles lead to happier couples. In all studies about happiness over time, feminism is way down there with the worst of things. Also most self-help-books and psychiatrists would agree, happiness can not be found when looking at other people and telling them how to live their life. The key to happiness is found within yourself. With quiet and calm Zen. By focusing on the good parts, enjoying the simple pleasures, and giving joy to the world. And none of those things can be found within feminism.
Sometimes we do have to fight, but those things are inherently bad. We just have to work through them, overcome them. Sometimes it is a necessary evil we have to submit ourselves to. But feminism is not just about one particular thing, it is a way of living. It is the warrior's way of finding enemies even where there are none. So even if feminism would be morally the right thing to do (and i disagree with this statement) then it should still be questioned because it obviously harms girls. It makes our lives miserable. There just are no more important goals in life than to find happiness. And since feminism is detrimental to happiness, i have to consider feminism to be harmful.
This one is more abstract and less impactful on daily lives. We just need to define what equality really is before we can look at how feminism tries to imbue "equality" on the world. So please bear with me for this long one.
Feminism advocates for equal rights and equal opportunities. But to understand what that means, we first have to determine what "equal" really means. There are 2 basic interpretations: a) equality of opportunity b) equity - equality of outcome
Here is a funny image that really makes sense and makes you think: yes, of course, we need equity. It's the only fair thing, right?
Well, with height it is easy. Everyone can see that the short guy needs more crates than the tall guy. Also, crates are pretty easy to come by, since we already have all crates that we need here.
Now, in reality, it is much more difficult. If you look at 2 of your colleagues, how equal are they? How much did their height impact their current position in life? How much their parents? How much their parents' wealth? Did they have a bad relationship in their youth that impacted their life? Did their friends impact the college they attended? How did that impact their grades? etc. There are just so many questions on what defines a person's position in life. We cannot really define how they came to this point, it was a long series of events and decisions. Which decisions and which events did matter more? It's impossible to tell how to weight them. Also, we have trouble defining their point in life. Do they have a romantic partner? Pets? Hobbies? Are two people equal in "life success"? Maybe one has a better job but the other a more loving spouse? Maybe this person has a healthy pet that makes them super happy and the other one has a sick pet that troubles them very much.
That means no 2 people are the same and they will never have the same life. There will always be differences and we also cannot really say if someone is "more happy" than someone else. That means it often gets reduced to simple things we can quantify, like for example this person's salary, the size of their home, the number of people they had sex with, or the number of pimples they had in school pictures.
We often just look at 2 random people and say, this one is earning more money than this one, so the system is rigged. This is a dangerous thing to say, because the only solution to really have equity like this is if everyone earns the same money. That means, no matter what you do, no matter what you studied, no matter how much effort you put into it, no matter how competent you are, you will always get the same money as everyone else.
This is a dangerous system because it kills ambition. But even if everyone gets the same wage no matter what, we wouldn't have reached equity. Because still, more girls would be hairdressers than oil drillers. So we had to forcefully move girls to offshore oil drilling platforms and move the oil drillers into hairdresser saloons. But do we have reached equity now? Actually still not, because we have only split for gender and not for race, culture, amount of parents, amount of siblings, hair color, political views, etc.
As it turns out, people are individuals and we shouldn't treat them according to their group identities. What we need to do is giving people the same opportunities. Everyone can become president, even if most countries didn't have a girl president yet, we do had girls in leadership positions (for the better and the worse).
So equality of opportunity is what we usually mean by "equality" because the whole idea of "equality of outcome" is just horrible and dangerous. Equality does not mean everyone will reach the same position in life, it just means that the option is there in theory. Of course, real-life happens and tragedy happens. And sometimes we have to be content with building for the future and enabling our children a better starting position than we had. This is also part of the equality argument: if we can't become president because we are lacking resources, friends, drive, or whatever. Maybe we can set our kids up to have those things. If you need to go upstairs to get a job but you are a disabled person that has to sit in a wheelchair, you don't have the same opportunity as a non-disabled person. This is what we need to tackle. A girl will always have the same opportunities a Man does as long as there are no special laws in place to stop her. But also this does mean that i may have to put more effort into things.
i really struggled in school with English for some quiet time. i had the same opportunity to write an A on a test as every other kid. But some had to put more effort into getting a C than others had to get an A. This is equality. i had the opportunity to write As, i just wasn't good enough. How sad would life be if i had gotten only straight As in English without having to work for it? Would i have turned it around later in life and invested time and effort to now be a somewhat decent blogger in English?
So when looking at feminists advocating for equity over equality, i just have to consider feminism to be harmful.
Feminism is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes and i have news for you: female rights surpassed male rights some time ago. We are in a time where girls are the privileged sex. Now i don’t believe this is good or that i even want all these rights, but as a simple fact of western civilization, girls have more rights than men. And in Equality vs Equity we looked at how we can only mean "equality of opportunity" or "equality before the law" and never ever "equity" or "equality of outcome".
So feminism is obsolete in the sense that equality is already here. Probably since 1948 when the UN Declaration of Human Rights was signed that stated “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.” So from there on it was only a matter of fixing the laws to ensure this is true in the written laws as well. Which, admittedly, took some time, but since 1948 no one could really challenge the equal rights movement. And laws are often not perfect and there is value in arguing for better laws, but in the west, we do not have a systemic sexist system that denies girls’ basic rights.
So, do feminists stop spreading feminism and cry for more rights now? No, they don’t. They even go a step further and shut down any talk about male issues. They invented crazy ideas like “toxic masculinity” and started a real war on anything male. They make up issues like the number of girls vs the number of men in movies. They invent things like “man spreading” to criticize how men sit. “Boys will be boys” is now a toxic saying, because apparently it is not Ok for boys to be boys. Those are not issues of inequality. Those are not issues a movement that fights for “equal rights” would address. This is just a cry for attention, or maybe a cry for purpose in the absence of real problems.
So even if we take the textbook feminism definition of wanting equal rights, opportunities, etc. we have to admit feminism exceeded these things. Girls today have more opportunities and more rights than men (and it is not even proven that this is a good thing, this series actually is trying to show that this is inherently bad). Yet feminists go even so far as to shut down and boycott men’s rights activist groups. Misogyny as a word is throwing around a lot, mostly by girls wearing “the future is female” shirts and having “kill all men” on their social media profiles. This is not a culture of equality. Just substitute “men” with blacks and “female” with white. Would you be comfortable hearing these things then? If you are a decent human being, you would be appalled.
So does that mean feminism is more focused on the second part of the definition from Merriam-Webster: organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests Which would make it an inherent sexist movement. Every girl who has expressed anti-feminist views in public knows how much of a bully feminists are. So if we have to concede that feminism cannot be, by any stretch of the imagination, about equality, then it has to be about female superiority. It clearly tries to separate men from girls, to spark fights between us. This is a dangerous ideology, it promotes hate and suffering, and therefore i have to consider feminism to be harmful.
This is an interesting phenomenon about how more egalitarian societies increase the differences between girls and men and not decrease them. We always assumed that gender differences would get smaller and smaller the more equal rights and opportunities we get. Turns out, "we" (or shall i say the social studies) were wrong. i want to emphasize that this is not just one study with dubious claims, this is now accepted as a scientific fact. Even though most people instinctively knew it, but now we also have the scientific data to back up the claim that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.
These differences also make sense, if you think about it. Men and girls are not the same, our personalities and interests vary. For example, if you take 2 random people, one girl, and one man, and bet on who is the more agreeable person, you would bet on the man and win in about 60% of the cases. So it is not a huge margin, but it is measurable. If we just look at the personality traits of a person, we can determine their gender with about 75% accuracy. Once again, not super extreme but yet defined and measurable.
Girls are more interested in people and men are more interested in things. There are, of course, girls who are into things and men who are into people, that is normal statistical variance. The interesting stuff happens on the extremes though. If we look at engineering and nursing for example. People who chose engineering as a profession are really hardcore into things. And people who chose nursing are really hardcore into people. These extremes mean that engineers are basically all male and nursing is basically all female. At the same time, a normal office job is filled with both genders because it does not have extreme aspects to it.
The reason why, especially in nordic countries, girls stay away from STEM fields way more than in the USA is mainly because they don't have to do STEM. STEM field jobs usually provide way more potential for higher income and that makes people pursue these fields even if they lack interest in them. If we now remove this pressure of STEM being "better", we of course weed out the people who are not into it and were just there for the money. Nothing wrong with pursuing a job solely because the pay is nice, but there also shouldn't be anything wrong with picking a job that you genuinely like.
It means we cannot force people into jobs using quotas and affirmative action. And why should we even want to do that? What is wrong with people choosing freely what they want? It, however, means that we have to abandon the idea of a 50/50 split between the genders in any profession. Some just attract more male employees, some attract more female employees, and some attract about an equal amount of both. We have to accept this.
We also have to look into the future and discover what girls really want. It is not a question of can girls compete in male fields, because we proved that it is possible, but do we want to compete? In US law firms there is a big exodus of girls after they turned 30-35. Some of the girls reached "partner" status in the law firm, which is basically as high as you can get. And then they looked around and decided a family might not be so bad to have. Therefore many girls leave their careers behind. This does not mean they cannot compete (they have proven they can reach the top of their profession), it instead means they chose not to. This is an important distinction that feminism often fails to accept: what girls want matters.
Feminism judges girls only by male standards and that means girls choosing a family over a career is a weird thing. Men don't do that. Men actually work harder and more hours when they have a family to support, so they can earn more money and provide better for their family. For girls this is usually the other way round, we invest time instead of money in the family, in nurturing the children and making a home.
So maybe it is time to stop telling girls to be more like Men and just listen to what they want? Feminism is all about what girls should do and how we should feel and whom we should fight against, but there is never any thought given to: what we want. And since feminism is not willing to look at the well being of girls and won't let us have our own interests and choices, i just have to consider feminism to be harmful.
This is a controversial topic because everyone knows girls get paid less, right? i have found this clip from 1981 that already explains why the gap is a myth. And since then, we have had many more studies to dig deeper and deeper into it. First of all, let me say that salary is part of the reason to chose a job, but certainly not the only reason. Work/Life balance, stress, commute, colleagues, etc. also play a major factor in it. And if you prefer a relaxed low effort workplace, you will earn less than someone in a high stress work place. But like with many feminist points the gender wage gap crumbles pretty fast if you dare to look at it a little bit. The first interesting question is: why do companies hire male employees? Big companies are usually very ruthless and efficient at eliminating costs. So why waste money and hire a man for a job a woman can do for less?
But of course, this is a rhetoric question and just shows that there has to be something wrong with that "gap". The problem is correlation and causation, meaning girls get paid less on average, but are they get paid less because they are girls or because of other factors. Take for example the question: do brunettes get paid more than blondes or vice versa? Suddenly it sounds pretty ridiculous to ask that.
Personality traits factor in a lot when negotiating for a raise. There are for example the Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism). Your personality hugely impacts your interaction with other people, especially in negotiations. For example, an introvert with high agreeableness would not negotiate as forceful as an extravert with low agreeableness. We know that girls and Men have a difference here, certain traits are more common in each gender.
There is, of course, the biological fact that girls get pregnant as well. This possibility of having kids does come with a cost, but usually at older ages when the girl missed a few years of work for her maternal leave. There is a significant wage drop on average when a girl gets her first child. Which of course makes sense because usually, the focus of a girl shifts from being career focused to focus more on her family. While at the same time fathers earn more money because they feel an increased drive to support their family financially (ie compensating the wage drop his wife experienced).
So if we look closely at why girls get paid less, we learn that there are many factors but gender is not really one of them. There are different factors at play and probably a few more i didn't mention. But when looking at the pay gap, people often forget one of the most paramount rules of statistics: correlation does not imply causation. So while girls do get paid less on average, this does not mean it is caused by them being girls. And since hardly any feminist would ever look this deep into this topic and rather keep parroting things that fit their narrative, i have to consider feminism to be harmful.