Top Ten Feminist Myths

December 4th, 2009 by Pelle Billing

10. Society values men higher than women.
Men have traditionally been the norm in society, but women’s lives have been valued higher (women and children first…). So all in all you cannot claim that society values men higher than women.

9. Girls are shortchanged in schools.
Boys are the ones underperforming in schools, and female students dominate colleges and universities. How can this mean that girls are being shortchanged?

8. Women work two jobs, men only one.
Men and women work the same number of hours every week in developed countries, when you add up paid and unpaid work. People often forget that many domestic chores are considered to be male chores.

7. Domestic violence means a man hitting a woman.
Extensive research shows that men and women are just as likely to hit each other within intimate relationships. Domestic violence is thus a two-way street. Women do get hurt more, and women are more often afraid, but that is due to men’s greater physical strength and not because of the frequency of assaults.

6. Women earn less money for the same job, which is terribly unfair.
Warren Farell has shown that men and women earn the same money for the same job, when you control for 25 important variables. A large study performed in Sweden failed to find any systematic pay discrimination of women, even though that was the goal of the study.

5. Men oppress women in third world countries.
Women can certainly face a lack of rights in third world countries, which is deplorable. However, men face dangerous jobs and military conflicts, and can also have very few rights. These human and gendered hardships are due to the division of labor, not because of any intrinsic urge to oppress either women or men.

4. Men dominate women through human sexuality.
This belief is the linchpin of radical feminism. However, women are usually the sexual selectors, since women only have a limited number of eggs during a lifetime, while men have an almost unlimited number of sperms. So how can human sexuality be a sign of male dominance?

3. Men dominate women by saying that a woman’s place is in the home.
Men working outside the home and women working in the home was the result of needing to produce food effectively, for example during the stone age or during agrarian agriculture. Now that we have industrialized nations with a surplus of food, women have the same access to the labor market as men.

2. Men create wars.
Nations or tribes go to war, and very often this is supported by both sexes. In democracies such as the US, troops are still sent away to fight, even though the majority of voters are women. So how can men be the ones who create wars? What remains the same though, is that men are the ones who do almost all of the fighting.

1. The male gender role is more privileged than the female gender role.
Each gender role has its own unique set of challenges, and it doesn’t make much sense to compare who has it worse. The reason people believe that women are worse off is because feminism is the only source of knowledge for most people when it comes to gender roles, and feminism only speaks about female issues, while conveniently forgetting to mention all the important men’s issues.

0. Can we please get a sane discussion on gender issues going?
As long as we’re blaming men for everything we’re never going to get any constructive work done; work that can help both sexes.

17 Responses to “Top Ten Feminist Myths”

  1. Toysoldier Says:

    Feminism is no longer about (if it ever was about) constructive discussions about gender. Feminism is a political movement and as such it will always lean more towards the provocative, the inflammatory and the less than factually true but emotionally satisfying. To make any real progress there must be a shift from focusing on politics. It has to be less about winning an argument or being right. I do not think, however, that most people who hold such political views will be willingly to set them aside in order to do constructive work. It is much more satisfying to have enemies to stick it to.

  2. Chris Marshall Says:

    One reason why number 7 takes so many people by suprise is that the average man is stronger than the average woman, so what does the average man have to fear?

    He has to fear the police and courts who have shown themselves very unwilling to believe that a man was attacked by his wife when they are called, no matter how obvious the signs are the woman attacked the man.

    This unwritten rule, that if the police are called to the scene after a domestic fight then it must have been the man who attacked the woman, takes any physical advantage the average man has off the table. The man knows this and the woman knows this.

    No matter how slight her injuries, and no matter how serious his, any injury to her will mean that he must have caused the fight.

    What you are left with, then, is how willing to be vicious both people are. And that quality is much more evenly distributed among the sexes than physical strength is.

  3. Danny Says:

    Along with what Chris says the reason number 7 is so hard to shake off is because the current landscape on DV is WAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY too profitable for a lot of people and it just so happens that the ones that are profitting are the ones that have the power to enact direct change.

    Judges, cops, and politicians win brownie points for “helping women” and “looking out for the best interests of the children”.

    Lawyers and those who get their pay from DV funding are making a lot of money.

    And as it stands those people need the illusion that the definition of DV is male against female and need the public at large to think that all other forms of DV don’t happen enough to raise concern (or get more than the feminist lip service line “Patriarchy Hurts Men Too”). For if that were to happen that means they would not have the market cornered on helping victims of DV.

    From item 2. What remains the same though, is that men are the ones who do most of the fighting……and most of the dying.

    Item 1.
    1. The male gender role is more privileged than the female gender role.
    Each gender role has its own unique set of challenges, and it doesn’t make much sense to compare who has it worse. The reason people believe that women are worse off is because feminism is the only source of knowledge for most people when it comes to gender roles, and feminism only speaks about female issues, while conveniently forgetting to mention all the important men’s issues.

    A fitting myth for the number one spot. How fitting for a movement that focuses on one gender to conclude that their own gender has it worse than the other and only mention how bad the other gender has it when benefits them. But rest assured that when women have it worse its just pointing out oppression but when men have it worse its Oppression Olympics.

    Sad part is feminism has done a lot of good and there is still a lot of good that needs to be done but as the movement is today it has been poisoned.

  4. Jim Says:

    TS is right. While there are people who both identify as feminist and also have a sense of justice and equality and the ability and wilingness to argue reasonably, that is rarely who you find yourself debating with. Instead you find yourself debating with people for whom these myths are articles of faith. It is almost exactly like debating evolution with a Fundamentalist.

    Feminism has become a religion. The only purposes of debate are to identify the practitioners and then to provoke them into discrediting their positions.

  5. anon Says:

    “These human and gendered hardships are due to the division of labor, not because of any intrinsic urge to oppress either women or men.”

    In Islamic cultures women are often systematically oppressed in incredibly sadistic ways that have nothing at all to do with labor. In Islam women barely qualify as objects, let alone as human beings.

  6. Chris Marshall Says:

    Anon:

    The only Islamic country I have any first hand knowledge of is Iran.

    I think Pelle’s summary applies there very well. Iranian women are not any more oppressed as a gender than Iranian men are.

    I would be curious what specific countries you have in mind when you slur Islam and what specifics you could offer.

  7. Toysoldier Says:

    Anon,

    Regardless of what Islamic culture one views one will likely find the if their is oppression of women their is general social oppression in the culture and society. While I am not a historian, of the cultures I have read about I can think of none in which only women as women are subjected to oppression. Every culture or society I have read about in which women face severe discrimination always has an oppressive regime in power that subjects the entire society to severe discrimination.

    One other thing to keep in mind is that groups who are oppressed are generally hated to such an extent that they are enslaved with an attempt to control their numbers or there is a genocide. I can think of no instance in which a group of people are oppressed but the culture or society goes out of its way to establish said group as more deserving of protection or deserving of being placed on a pedestal.

  8. Cecil Says:

    There are other issues not mentioned here. As much as women were objects in the days of old, they were also afforded alot of slack, pandered to such. There was no expectation that she behave responsibly, contribute financially or much of anything else. Men were, and still are financial objects to women.
    Feminism also moves to hyperbole in their accounts of how women were treated as a whole. Most men loved their wives, and although chauvinism was certainly an issue, it is unlikely that the average husband spent his days beating and raping the woman he loved twice a day. This image is however held as undeniable truth when speaking about such things.
    As my mother once put it “There were certain advantages to being the engendered sex, job, no responsibilities and very few standards. All we had to do was sit back and wait for prince charming to show up give us everything we wanted in exchange for a little domesticated behavior and the occasional blowjob.”
    Clearly, this came at a cost, and only a fool would deny that.
    Now it is expected that a man still do those things. He is to provide, financial and otherwise. He must bear an equal portion of the housework, all of the social responsibility, financial responsibility for any children and be blamed solely for any problem that arise in the relationship. A woman is entitled to choose whether or not she works or stays home. She is entitled to custody of the children regardless of her character. Simply put, when a woman wants to be treated like it was 1950, a man is obliged to accommodate whereas if she desires to be treated as an equal for a specific thing the man is also obliged to succumb to that desire.
    I am actually writing a book about this. I would love to talk to a few of you about some things. I would also like to reference this article.
    cainchild at yahoo dot com

  9. Anastasia Says:

    This is the first post I’ve read on your site, will definitely be reading more. Splendid breakdown of the harmful myths and fallacies that everyone in Western society is fed as truth. The only one I would speak more in detail about is #5…both men and women have it hard in third world countries but women’s rights are near nonexistent in some of them.
    And my favorite point in this entire article, of course, is #0. If we don’t talk about these things in a fair, nonjudgmental way then we’ll always be at odds…and the Fems will win.

  10. Pelle Billing Says:

    Thanks for your comment, Anastasia. Glad you like my site.

  11. A.Roddy Says:

    Yes men were more valued at one time than women because they could earn a living. Girls were married to the highest bidder to ease family finances. They were seen as nothing but baby makers. While i agree men can be victims of domestic abuse, it also wasn’t that long ago men could almost get away with domestic battery. Even today we have politicians making comments about legitimate rape and female rape victims are still blamed for the crime. For years, men could get a divorce easier than women. Women waited for Prince Charming because marriage was their only goal. I think some of you need to reread your history books.

  12. Pelle Billing Says:

    A.Roddy,

    Nope, it’s you who need to learn more about the perspective of men, and the suffering of men. I’ve read lots and lots about feminism, but I doubt that you have read very much about men’s rights.

  13. Cecil Says:

    You’re wrong Roddy. A man beating his wife in days gone by could result in his being put to death or banished. Pure and simple that entire notion is a lie at best. You also need to get it into your head that a man was responsible for his wifes behavior. Thus, if a woman stole, murdered or assaulted someone, it was her husband who would be punished for the crime.
    Only in areas where things have moven to extremes, such as taliban controlled pakistan could a man get away with such things, and he would still be shamed.

  14. A.Roddy Says:

    Uh have you read the Bible? Stoning for alleged harlots was common. Unmarried girls could be forced to marry their rapists. Joseph was going to pput Mary away because he thought she was an adulterer. In ancient Greece, women ahd no rights. I read this in my world history book. During the Salem Witch trials more women were hung. I jus laugh at the notion on some ‘war on men’.

  15. Meggie Says:

    Adding to A.Roddy’s comment: There are plenty of countries in the world today where girls are forced to marry their rapists. So sad.

    How about we all stop fighting about whether it is men or women who are worse off and instead, concentrate our efforts on dealing with the problems in the world? Domestic abuse needs to be stopped, whether against a man or a woman. Men & woman both use sex as a way to gain power although they do this differently. It doesn’t matter whether it is men or woman who do this more often. It only matters that it is stopped. War is unacceptable no matter what the situation. Instead of blaming politicans for starting it or the voters who gave them power, we should all be out working towards peace in every situation. People living in poverty often turn to crime or prostitution out of desperation to survive. What about helping these communities out of poverty instead of criticising the behaviour? (Microloans are proving very successful.) Let us stop behaving like children squabbling in the school yard over who suffers more and behave like the adults we are.

  16. Submariner Says:

    @A.Roddy

    The fact that you laugh at a war on men is part of the problem we face. In the media( movies, tv, and advertisements) men can be killed, beaten, hit in the genitals for comic effect, disparaged as bumbling oafs, and in other ways vilified.

    The next time you watch a commercial or tv show where something bad happens to a man and it’s supposed to be funny, mentally reverse the genders and see if you’re still laughing.

  17. Pelle Billing Says:

    “mentally reverse the genders and see if you’re still laughing.”

    This is a very good practice.


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