The Thinking 

The Definition of a Non-Feminist

December 20, 2010


IT  appears to be increasingly common for women to superficially disavow feminism. That means, when asked if they are feminist, they say, “No, I’m not a feminist.” But saying so doesn’t necessarily make it so. I can say I don’t notice cold weather, but if I wear a coat, obviously I do.

What does it take for a woman not to be a feminist? She must explicitly and publicly reject feminist principles. A woman who is not a feminist would openly criticize and judge women who unilaterally divorce their husbands. She would not remain silent. She would criticize the glorification of career and the glorification of absentee mothering (even a woman who has a career can in this sense be anti-feminist). She would denounce hiring preferences for women and support preferences for men. She would never criticize her husband publicly, even to her closest friends, because to do so is to show disrespect for him and contempt for his authority. She would, within her own social context, encourage and approve of femininity.

I’m not saying that a woman would do nothing else but harp against feminism, but that all this would be part of her life. Saying she is not a feminist means nothing. If a woman tolerates feminism everywhere, she is wearing the feminist coat.

                                                                                 — Comments —

Karen I. writes: 

I think that one meaningful way women can express their non-feminist views is to not seek the services of female professionals, like doctors or lawyers, when an equally qualified man is a viable alternative. For example, I had been going to a dentist who was a butch female but switched to an equally qualified male dentist who received good patient ratings online. Women can make a powerful statement if they choose male attorneys, accountants, veterinarians, doctors and so on over female ones, provided they are equally qualified. That may not be possible everywhere, as in the case of some top-rated female pediatricians I take my children to. Also, I know many women prefer to go to female ob/gyn doctors when possible because the female ob/gyns are often more understanding. But, overall, I think this is a good policy for non-feminist women to consider. 

By the way, what are your views on truly talented, gifted professional women such as top female doctors? I think that the vast majority of women belong at home, if at all possible, but I also believe there are times when an intelligent, gifted woman has so much to contribute that her lack of participation in the work force would truly be a loss to society.

Laura writes:

Your first suggestion is excellent.

As for your question, it should be possible for women to be doctors, but at the same time it should be considered generally undesirable. I know this is shocking to say, but it was common sense sixty years go. The loss to society of the male provider is far more serious than the potential loss of women doctors. Women are very rarely responsible for significant advances in medical science. That is a fact. So if there were many fewer women doctors, medical care would not be worse. Some people say women make more nurturing doctors. (I have not found this to be true in my personal experience.) However, there are many opportunities for women to nurture others if that is the prime reason they go into doctoring. I have met women who have spent many tens of thousands of dollars going to medical school, and taking an enrollment spot that could have gone to a man, and then later come to the conclusion that they would rather raise their children.

Jill F. writes:

I have known young women who love science and want to pursue a degree in medicine.

My question to them is; how much of a debt load will you be carrying when you graduate and have you considered how that debt will shackle you to a career even if you want the option of staying home with any future babies you may have?

Another consideration is how much a medical degree will tempt you to be discontented with a “normal” life (ie., a life given to nurturing and loving a husband and children). Those of us with regular college degrees may have our moments of wondering if we should be working to “help” our husbands but those with a law or medicine degree will constantly be pressured by others who cannot believe they are “wasting” their schooling. We live in a culture which worships at the alter of law and medical school graduates. The temptation for a woman with such a degree to give into pressure and go to work will be extreme.

A woman who is truly passionate about science can find fulfillment in many ways other than working outside the home or can consider alternatives which will blend well with family life such as midwifery.

When a woman has a vision for the truly high calling of influencing and blessing those who God has put into her personal sphere everything else seems like a pale imitation of “real” work.

Anonymous writes:

I entered medical school in the first class that was “open” to women. (Of course, there were always women doctors, and we had female professors. By “open,” I mean, accepting women AS women). There had been a long-running debate about this before it happened. Every single negative prediction made by the Neanderthal faction has come true.

Every single one.

And no one talks about it. All of the “keep medicine male” arguments of 1963-72 are down the memory hole.

All the dysfunctions – bad handoffs, “sorry- I’m-just-covering,” rampant “burnout”, medical student suicide attempts, “care teams” without head coaches – this was all predictable, and predicted.

Stephanie Murgas writes:

I agree that “anti-feminism” seems to be an up-and-coming subculture. I meet more and more young women my age (mid 20s to early 30s) that are not offended by my views and are even interested in learning more about returning to “old” values. It seems that more and more young women are realizing that feminism cannot offer a suitable substitution in exchange for the tenable rewards that assuming a traditional sex role brings. Unfortunately, many people assume that not being a feminist relegates a woman to a merely decorative position, when in fact that could not be further from the truth. Submission is often confused with silence, which is then further confused with inactivity. When a woman fully embraces her femininity, she is liberated in the most basic human sense because she freely submits herself, and is therefore not “really” dominated by her husband or parents in the traditional sense. The smart feminine woman knows how much she is needed, and how much value there is in her acts of service. Every action she performs, because she willingly gives her precious time, becomes sacred (at least to her) and therefore has redemptive qualities for her family and her community. She casts her bread upon the waters, and it always returns to her, which brings satisfaction in the most personal way. 

I do not know how common this belief is among young people (referring to those still held in the grips of the “educational” system) today, since the recovery from feminism seems to happen more naturally after a young woman experiences disillusionment after leaving college, realizing the false and corrupt beliefs that have laid waste our culture. I do not know if the same thing happens to young men, or where they will find the courage to re-establish refined culture in America, in a gentleman-like fashion. One of my “downfalls” is I have very few men that I genuinely like and respect because most seem to be such wafflers when it comes to “sentiment” and “ideals.” But, that may just be because I have yet to meet another man in the flesh who measures up to the masculine standards I have in my mind, since I am married to (in my own opinion, of course!) The Greatest Man in the World.

Stephanie adds:

 I personally would prefer to deal with women in all my own business, just because I feel more comfortable interacting with them and they do seem to have greater understanding of female “situations” but I also agree that women should be gently discouraged from the high-powered professions. I say this from my own experience as a musician. I play piano, but I also played trumpet from middle school all the way through college. I “chose” that instrument because my father plays trumpet, and I was the only female in a band class with 20 or more trumpet players in middle school, which was exceedingly difficult. Anyway, I gravitate towards professional women, especially doctors, because I highly respect those who have tackled those same questions that have been posed in this discussion, and chose their career because it was something that was THAT important to them, and they endure it because they wish it. I respect anyone who has that same dedication to any art or technical field.

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