Why the “Not-Feminist” Feminist Trend Is Frightening


When I think of “Not-Feminists,” usually images of older men, probably not very educated. Older women, like from my grandmother’s generation. Some people who didn’t go to college, or maybe high school. Hillbillies. The religious right. Sarah Palin types.

What’s disturbing is the new generation of Anti-Feminists are young women. Young women with careers. Seemingly educated.

They also believe that they should have the right to vote. They believe in “equality.” They believe they can be whatever they want without feminist principles.


Via Women Against Feminism 

But they aren’t “feminists.”

Sure, Taylor Swift is one of these not-feminist feminists… back in 2012, she said in an interview:

I don’t really think about things as guys versus girls. I never have. I was raised by parents who brought me up to think if you work as hard as guys, you can go far in life.

She’s bubbly, talks about boys, and I get it. When I was younger, I tended to dumb down my demeanor. In fact, it’s a bad habit (drives my father bananas) I still do to this day. (See my video from yesterday). Maybe she knows what feminism is, but knows very well what identifying as one would mean. Maybe she didn’t want to politicize her work because that would cost her the “nice, non-threatening girl” image.

She’s not alone. Lana Del Rey is not interested in feminist issues. Lady Gaga “hails” men. Shalene Woodley says you can’t take power away from men.

“For me, the issue of feminism is just not an interesting concept,” she says. “I’m more interested in, you know, SpaceX and Tesla, what’s going to happen with our intergalactic possibilities. Whenever people bring up feminism, I’m like, god. I’m just not really that interested.”  says Lana Del Rey, “My idea of a true feminist is a woman who feels free enough to do whatever she wants.” 

At first I thought, “Whoa, people need to get themselves a dictionary.” Here’s the Webster definition of “feminism”


noun \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

Do we need a new word for “feminism” then?

Somehow, the word “feminist” got confused with misandry. I’m going to make an educated guess, and say the dominant group (men) felt threatened and mistook requests like, “I’d like to own property and vote” for “I want world domination.” The feminist brand is that of an angry woman, who probably hates men. Has a chip on her shoulder. Doesn’t shave. Wants to be a man.


I’d like to say, yeah, let’s get a new word! Woo hoo! New word! But the fact is, it’s called “feminism” because at the moment, women do not have the same rights and privileges as men. Feminism focuses on how to get women the same rights as men. Not more rights. The same. They don’t focus on getting men the same rights as women, because you know, why would a man want to be subjected to slut-shaming or having his wages cut by a third, even though he got better grades in college.

What needs to happen, like with any misconception, like remember when smoking was marketed as being “good for you?” No? Yeah, because people campaigned heavily for the truth: smoking is bad for you. The truth is feminism means men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.

Are you a feminist?



We need to talk about what feminism actually is, rather than pulling a Taylor Swift and saying we’re not feminists, but we do believe in feminist principles.


jennineWhy the “Not-Feminist” Feminist Trend Is Frightening

Comments 42

  1. Lisa

    And many of us over 50 want to throttle all the women saying “not a feminist,” for precisely the reasons you give.

    1. Post
  2. Fia

    Janine, I really enjoy your entire blog. You have light and fun posts but you’re not afraid to go deep. And you tackle the deep posts with such honesty.

    1. Post

      Thank you so much Fia. I’m still figuring out how to balance fun content with stuff that I also really care about. Thank you for noticing! :)

  3. Lollie Shopping

    Ugh! I didn’t even know this was a “trend.” What it boils down to, just like you said, is certain people not even knowing what the word “feminist” means. I don’t think that this is an issue of young women showing an appreciation for men and not feeling the need to fight for or defend their rights to equality. I think this an issue of ignorance, stupidity, and a lack of a dictionary. Thank you for providing them with a definition. Let’s hope they know how to comprehend it. But I’m too damn cynical to believe they will. PS: LOVE the pic of Swift you included. Cheeky! ;)

    1. Post

      Lol, that TS pic is hilarious! Love those “I’m just an innocent girl, or am I?” images. Such an example of the male gaze.

  4. daisybabie

    I 100% agree that a new word is needed. Women have come a long way since the movement started (when was that? the late 19th century?) and have many hurdles to still get through. I have an issue with the shaming of those females who don’t want to be identified by this decades old terminology. If lack of understanding the concept is the issue, educate the individual female.

    I had a discussion about this with a female friend recently. She did not want to be called a feminist. I was surprised as she is a smart, strong minded lady who is always up front about standing up for her rights. After digging a bit deeper, it seems that she really wants the same rights as that of a feminist; equality. She just chooses to do it on her own terms, to achieve her own personal purposes.

    Perhaps the generation who shy away from the word “feminism” has the same goals, just achieved differently? The ranting, and shaming, and guilt mongering (not in this post necessarily, but in general socially), at least I feel this, defeats the purpose of the movement’s bigger picture. God knows, maybe I myself have it wrong and not understanding. If you also think this, please enlighten me. It would be welcomed.

  5. Soph

    It’s so frustrating, I agree with your post entirely. It doesn’t make sense to me why anyone could be opposed to equality!?

    There’s been a real resurgence of visible feminism in the UK recently (thankfully) with Caitlin Moran, the Everyday Sexism project and No More Page 3 campaign but we’ve so much further to go.

    1. Post

      Once I was asked if I were a feminist, and my reply was, “Feminism is about equal rights. Why would I be FOR inequality?”

      Oh yeah, I always wondered about that Page 3 thing. Then again, we have a version here in the US, I think it’s Page 6 or something.

    2. Smarter than you

      If you are for true equality then You aren’t a feminist you are an egalitarian (the belief that all people are equal and deserve equal rights) feminism is a form of “all about me” in said situation… A group dealing with one sided issues while letting everyone else fall thought the cracks

  6. Smarter than you

    Just because you define something doesn’t mean you act something… If feminism mean pulling a fire alarm while a conference you disagree with is taking place and have firefighter appear and thus having their time wasted while cheering about it… Then feminism isn’t something I would admire… Saying something and doing something isn’t the same thing… Defining the word doesn’t mean you act that way… You don’t bring up legal issues like how men are more heavily punished than women for the same crimes so how is it you want equality if you aren’t willing to talk abou areas where women have it better… I have a feeling my comment will soon be deleted so this was pointless… I will end with if you believe that all people should be equal and are born equal then you aren’t a feminist you are an egalitarian

  7. Steve J.

    Feminism is being rejected because slowly more and more people are realizing that women already have everything men have plus more. There’s no need for feminism at the moment. The feminist agenda continues to assert that women have it worse than men in the form of wage gaps, etc even though these assertions have been debunked over and over and over and over. Please stop repeating the dictionary definition of feminism. We know what the words say. The thing is, actions speak louder than words. Actions such as the predominant aggressor policies. Affirmative action policies. Selective service. Drunken consent. Female pedophiles receiving slaps on the wrist. Numerous double standards running rampant. If you understand what I’m saying, we can now move on towards genuine equality. If you’re still in denial, then we will continue to not see eye to eye for as long as it takes to get the point across. We’re tired of talking.

    1. Post

      Women do not “already have everything men have plus more.” The wage gap has NOT been debunked by any serious census or media sources: http://time.com/105292/gender-wage-gap/

      Drunken consent? So, if a woman is passed out and unconscious, is that “drunken consent?”

  8. Adam

    I think the ladies you refer to in this post are not objecting to the dictionary definition of feminism. They object to the misandry that is frequently at the heart of it. With famous and important feminists stating things such as “all sex in a patriarchal society is rape” “women are the real victims of war for they have to deal with the loss of sons, husbands and brothers” “women are superior to men” or “all men are potential rapists” is it hard to believe that some women would find it worthy of objection or wish to distance themselves from such an ideology?
    The women of which you speak seem to see feminism as an ideology that demonises the men they love and one doesn’t have to look too hard to see why they think so.

    1. Post

      That’s exactly the point. Why is it that because a few extremists exist that the WHOLE term is touchy? Like, there are a few extreme and violent Christians (Army of God), but there isn’t a discussion to change the term “Christianity” because of it. Or anyone saying, “I’m not a Christian because I don’t kill doctors.”

      It’s because people are wrongly identifying the word “feminism” that’s the problem. That trying to separate the meaning of feminism and the political ideology is impossible. Like, how can you be a non-political feminist? Rights like voting, owning property, equal pay for equal work, access to education, and healthcare are ALL political. And yes, ALL those battles were fought by feminists, and I’m pretty sure, the women I quoted in the article, would be upset if say, they couldn’t own property. Or if they got paid less for selling the same amount of music as a male counterpart.

  9. cheque realité

    The next sentence after a whopper better be evidence, or why should anyone continue to read? In America, which “same rights and privileges as men” do women not have? You offered no specifics. Let me help. Women do not have the right to be denied financial aid if they don’t register to have their bodies potentially conscripted into the war machine. Women do not enjoy the privilege of outnumbering the opposite sex 11 to 1 in prison. Women do not enjoy the privilege of outnumbering the opposite sex 9 to 1 in homelessness. Women do not enjoy the privilege of outnumbering the opposite sex 4 to 1 in suicide. Are there any privileges that men have and women do not have that you would like to add to this list? By all means do.

    1. Post

      Ok, I agree there shouldn’t be a draft. I have a son, and would rather fight in his place than let him go.
      But the rest? Those are entirely different topics, and they are not privileges or rights.

      1. cheque realité

        Maybe they ain’t and maybe they is, but they on the page. You have invoked “rights and privileges” that men have and women don’t, but named none. Even when invited to do so, named none. If the goal is to achieve equality with men, then the icky undesirable equality is part of the package too. Are you aware that men receive 60% harsher sentences than women for the same charges? Not comparing murder to jaywalking, like the pay gap myth compares finance to babysitting, but district by district, charge by charge, men receive on average 63% harsher sentences for the same crimes. That is definitely institutional sex discrimination in favor of women, and a privilege. It is still your turn to offer an example of sex discrimination privilege in favor of men, as it has been for two days. Or actually many decades. I am eager to learn what my privileges are rather than simply hearing endlessly that they exist. Please.

      2. #thatdad

        Not privalages or rights? What about shared parenting? Over 85% of women…according to the US Census…are custodial parents. Can you honestly say that only 15% of men want to be more active in the lives of their children? The family court industry…run on gender biases…treats dads like second class citezens. All those figures stated above have direct correlations to that bias. Think about title iv d and the Bradley Amendment. They specifically target men and push them in to poverty. A recent cdc report showed that women are more likely to use physical and emotional abuse in a relationship. Yet, VAWA is centered around women. It enables false accusations that can ruin lives.

        Feminism does need a name change. Look at the root of the word. I believe in equality of the genders, but I don’t consider myself a feminist. According to your article image, if I’m not a feminist…then I suck. That sure doesn’t like an equality-minded agenda to me.

  10. leslie

    THANK YOU. Here are my thoughts on the matter: http://techcrunch.com/2014/05/25/women-vs-women-or-the-ugly-side-of-feminism/

  11. Janet

    Cheque and Adam make excellent points. The reality is now in the US and UK feminism really has nothing left to fight for and yet it still keeps going either by trying to accomplish more rights for women beyond that of what a man has or by trying to erode the rights of men to below what a woman has. Both are starting to get on everyone’s nerves. You only have to turn on the TV and see women on every advert / film / sitcom swanning in as the intelligent one and the man having to play the part of the baffoon to see the affect of feminism on society. And this never flips around, there is never balance.

    This is the case with education as well, schools and colleges have been so tuned to the way of teaching to help girls that now boys are failing badly. This year alone saw 80 thousand more women apply for university than men. The head of the admissions board indicated that men are now the disadvantaged group. Boys are coming out of the feminised school system and not wanting to go on to college because it will be more of the same.

    Are feminists fixing this ? Are feminists campaigning to resolve these issues ? To help boys ? Because that would be the equal thing to do… But no they aren’t, they are happy with superiority.

    These are just a couple of things people see when they think about feminism.

    And then you turn around and quote the dictionary definition at people and wonder why people don’t believe you…

  12. Daniel

    If feminism is about obtaining “equal rights” for women, tell me right now what rights women in the United States lack that men currently have?

  13. Daniel

    The wage gap is a myth and drunken sex is not rape, it’s just plain stupidity. If a man having drunken sex is NOT rape, then it isn’t rape when a woman does it either.

    1. Daniel

      Obviously, though, if the woman is in a drunken, unconscious stupor then she didn’t consent and it is rape (which literally NO ONE would challenge), but saying that she should not be in a drunken stupor around dangerous men is not victim blaming, it’s using common sense to avoid a harmful situation. If women are equal to men, they should also be equally responsible to take care of themselves.

  14. MikeZhao

    Feminism can be whatever one wants it to be. When someone criticizes feminism for the goals of one of its controversial varieties, a feminist can respond that feminism is better thought of as one of its less controversial varieties.

    In any case, there are feminists who are responsible for the accrual of the reputation in question in this article. For example,there are an appreciable number of feminists who want to ensure that men’s well being does not improve. Consider the feminist contingent that attempted to prevent young male University of Toronto students from gathering to discuss issues afflicting men (Google ‘Warren Ferrell Protest University of Toronto - Full Version’ ‘Youtube’). That video depicts female feminists deplorably treating the male attendants; I suspect that feminists would object to men treating women in such a manner. For instance, one young man attended the event to acquire information that might help him understand why two of his friends had committed suicide; while he stood in line, a young feminist stood next to him and repeatedly yelled ‘you’re scum’ -point blank- into his ear. Her behaviour does not appear incongruous with the behaviour of those who accompanied her.

    I think most people would agree that young men should have the right to meet to discuss the issues that afflict them. Young men need to be able to have these discussions. For some examples, consider that men have no resources with which to protect themselves from domestic violence; moreover, few people seem to care that it happens: police do not arrest women for domestic violence, and I suspect many readers believe that female on male domestic violence doesn’t happen or that it doesn’t matter (however, an article in Jezebel reports that it probably occurs more often than the reverse does: Google ‘Jezebel Have you ever beat-up your boyfriend, cause, uh, we have’); to add insult to injury, awareness campaigns managed by universities and colleges often present men as the only sex that perpetrates such abuse (suppose they do perpetrate such acts more often, why not make such messages out to perps and victims of domestic violence generally?) - you can imagine the feeling of isolation that creates. Feminists demonize men by preventing men from discussing instances of their victimization and promoting awareness of instances of female victimization. Thus engendering a conception of men as the only people who do wrong but never suffer wrong-doing. I.e. demonizing them. Perhaps more importantly than issues of domestic violence, these young men also need to discuss higher rates of suicide; the fact that they die at least 3x more frequently at every age in every country (see WHO statistics); lower educational attainment; ZERO reproductive rights; the fact that the authorities awarded men public housing less frequently (on an application-to-application basis) despite the fact that men constitute 75% of the homeless; that men do not have the same parenting rights as mothers (see UN declaration of human rights Article 25.2); that a man’s chance of committing suicide increases 300% after divorce - calculated from an already greater baseline suicide rate; that men are the only sex conscripted to the frontlines in countries that have mandatory military service (Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Israel, Singapore…) - whereas women have the option, but not the requirement, to serve on the frontlines; that they die at work much more frequently; that a number of European countries prohibit men from testing the paternity of their children; that for similar crimes, male perpetrators escape charges less frequently, and that the authorities sentence them to 60% more time in prison; that the law requires male victims of rape (in some cases as young as 13 years old) to pay child support to their rapist if she conceives as a result of the rape (Google ‘Hermesmann v. Seyer Wikipedia’ for a well established precedent.) However, despite the existence of these issues and a number of others, some version of feminism has done an excellent job ensuring that men do not gather to resolve these problems.

    In sum, to anyone who wonders what might prompt a person to judge feminism unfavourably, I advise impartially considering how the actions of an appreciable number of its advocates seem to those who do not regard themselves as feminists.

  15. Mark Fyten

    I appreciate your post and as a father of a daughter who I love, I would have to say that by your definition, I am a feminist. However, as a marketing professional, feminism has done a lousy job of choosing (or policing) their spokespersons. As the father of two sons, I have a problem with them being labeled rapists and a abusers for the simple fact they were born male.

  16. Joahnn

    Please tell me you know the difference between the definition of Feminism, and what Feminism is, Feminism isn’t strictly it’s definition, It is also defined by what the members do, Radical or not, And plenty of Feminists do and say things that we disagree with frankly, And I’m getting sick of people pointing at the definition of Feminism and saying “See! You don’t get it”.

  17. Dèjá pseu

    I forget whose corollary it is, but “the comments received on any post about feminism prove the continued need for feminism.” Huzzah, and great post.

    1. Post
    2. Kerri

      Agreed. Wow, reading through these comments…

      I find it interesting that people don’t consider that many of the challenges men face, some of which were listed above, are a direct result of patriarchy. A benefit of feminism would be better quality of life for men as well. I could go on forever on this topic but I learned a long time ago that a ‘logic war’ is not going to convince anyone because its not really about logic for many.

      I hope you didn’t regret this post based on some of the comments you received; I was so happy to see it in my reader and really enjoy your blog as a whole!

  18. Fidelbogen

    The non-feminist trend is here to stay, and I do recommend discarding the word feminism. It is a tainted brand.

    The following may be of interest:



  19. Anne-Marie

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you for this amazing post!

    Dear Jennine,
    I lost all my bookmarks last fall when we got a new pc (yuck, I’m a macgrrl!) I realized the other day that I hadn’t seen your blogs in awhile. Great timing, grrlfriend. My mom starting taking me to her women & the law parties/marches/gatherings when I was 10. Her friends are my good friends. They fought and still fight for everything from women’s rights including equal pay & equal representation in parliament to grandparents rights and women’s rights to pensions.
    Thanks again!! So important and so glad you said this. I had forgotten about Taylor Swift. Ugh.
    I will send the gals your link so that they know the movement has not died with us!! :)

  20. Christine MacDonald

    Like Lisa, I’m over 50 and it really makes me both sad and mad at some young women today.

    And the comments you’ve received — what bitter men! I’m a feminist, I loved my ex, I love my son and I worked very hard to show him to treat women with respect. Thanks to my ex doing the same, my son is a good man. He knows there’s a “war on women” now, and it makes him unhappy.

    Thanks, Jennine, for publishing these posts. And I think all mothers owe the future to teach their sons and daughters about feminism.


  21. lana

    I think if you up to debate, you should give an answer to every comment. There’re some valid points from both sides and personally I think that’s the problem. There’s still sides and no one is seeing the whole picture. Extrems are not good and feminism (not by definition but for the majority of their acts) is an extreme.

    If we are talking about a controversial theme you should accept that some people doesn’t think just like you and don’t complaint about it. I just saw your post on FB and you said that the facts are BS, so come and share it here, with the people who is saying it. We people want to debate things or talk about this but we run to other channel to said is ll bullsh*t. I don’t think that’s the way to handle it.

    Also, if you look up the definition of “capitalism”, “marxism”, “socialism” and a whole other -ism you will see that the definition and the application of the term in our daily basis is not the same. So for me, the definition of a word doesn’t mean a thing if the application has nothing (or just a little) to do in real life.

    I am not a feminist and I am not a non-feminist but I think this whole subject (in general) is treated the wrong way.

    ps: sorry for my english is not my primary language.

  22. Kristen

    Thank you for this post Jennine. I was so honored Gloria Steinem about two years ago, and I was excited to tell my female friends. I could not believe none of them under 35 knew who she was. I agree with you, somehow the word feminism is now considered antiquated or associated with angry bra burners—which I bet many young women would be if the difference in rights between men and women was as stark today as it was a few decades ago. But the celebrities you mention don’t really have to worry about unequal pay or unfair promotions in the workplace, so they don’t care.

    Feminism, like the book “Feminism Is for Everybody” says, is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression. And those all still exist. It’s shameful that celebs like Taylor Swift and Lana Del Rey can’t see beyond their own gilded worlds to care about women who might be struggling because of exploitation.

    Here are some reasons why we still need feminism: http://www.upworthy.com/if-you-still-dont-think-we-need-feminism-you-should-see-the-signs-these-girls-were-bullied-for (Yes, they still ask what the victim is wearing. Oh and here’s what they were wearing: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/sexual-assault-survivors-answer-the-question-what-were-you-w) And here are some more reasons why we still need feminism: http://www.buzzfeed.com/ailbhemalone/18-reasons-we-still-need-feminism; http://www.buzzfeed.com/janeclaireh/40-reasons-we-still-need-feminism-cqtr

    And the rights and privileges everyone’s asking for specifics on? How about the right not to be blamed for being raped? How about the right to influence government? (Men significantly outnumber women in the House and Senate.) How about the right to not have to be constantly fighting for our reproductive rights? How about the privilege of equal pay for equal work (which Jennine actually mentioned)?

  23. Pingback: So I Just Put My Age on Facebook #TBT

  24. Maia McDonald Smith

    Ugh! This thread of comments is reminding me why I shouldn’t read comment threads about feminism if I don’t want to get depressed! I just wanted you to know that I loved reading this post and as a younger woman I proudly call myself a feminist and have since I was in middle school and my “well behaved women rarely make history” tshirt was my favorite item of clothing. So thank you for writing this! And sorry you had to deal with the trolls.

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