It didn’t take a wooden stake, or a silver bullet, or a fire at the Designer Shoe Warehouse, but the hashtag proved mightier than the hags, and feminism is now mortally wounded and dying, one exposed lie at a time.
Shaken by their mauling in a Tumblr by thousands of attractive women who call themselves “Women Against Feminism” (WAF),
feminists worldwide are gulping in fear and hanging their heads in disbelief and shame. Sometimes, it seems, the good guys and gals win after all. But some questions linger, and we’ve been mulling it here in the back-channel discussions at AVfM: what happens next, and where do we go from here?
The Stages of Grief
In 1969, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, in her book On Death and Dying, posited that there were a series of stages to the process of grieving. The stage concept perhaps oversimplifies the grieving process—in reality, people may cycle through the stages in varying orders and reiterate the series of stages many times, but the stage concept can serve as a useful guide to understanding the reactions of feminists and where those reactions will inevitably lead them.
Despite their narcissism and boundary issues, feminists are still human enough that they can be expected to grieve in universal human patterns.
Stage 1. Denial/Disbelief
The first and most common response by feminists to WAF has been shock, surprise, disbelief, and denial that their beloved ideology is being savaged by the very same women it was supposedly designed to “liberate” (control).
For the past few weeks, the Internet has been collectively rolling its eyes at the “Women Against Feminism” Tumblr, in which (mostly young, mostly white) women hold up signs describing exactly how much they don’t understand what the word feminism means.
McCombs is so stunned by WAF and their death knell to feminism that she cannot rationally fathom that a feminist calling women stupid is not helping the feminist idea that women are NOT stupid—she is lashing out in denial, not reason—although it could be that her new diet just might be making her cranky.
Here is one of those supposedly ignorant WAF women—so dumb that she has THREE science degrees:
Charlotte Alter, writing in the formerly great TIME magazine, is also wrestling with her own feelings of surprise and denial:
It’s no surprise that the 89 year-old [Phyllis] Schlafly feels this way. But it is somewhat surprising that a small, yet vocal group of young women has started to echo her rallying cry, first on a Tumblr, then on Facebook (with over 11,000 likes) and now with the adorable #womenagainstfeminism hashtag. Most of the posts include some reiteration of the central misunderstanding about feminism, that a core belief of feminism involves hating men.
Of course, Alter’s denial is such that she can’t quite connect the dots that all feminism is based on the loopy Patriarchy Theory—that all men have oppressed women throughout history and that the inevitable conclusion is that feminists hate men—feminism’s core beliefs inevitably lead to misandry. WAF are smart enough to see that clearly; Charlotte, hmmm, not so much.
Stage 2. Anger
Hot on the high heels of denial comes the open anger when the feminists see The End staring them right in their unshaven pits.
When I’m dating someone, I’ll sometimes make two sandwhiches and go to hand my dude one of them, but then, right as he’s about to take it, I’ll throw the sandwhich out the window and make him watch as a stray dog eats it instead. I don’t even want to do it and both of us feel bad while it’s happening because I have a sandwhich, the dog has a sandwhich and the man I’m with doesn’t have a sandwhich. But I do it anyway. For feminism.
(Also, am I spelling “sandwhich” right? I can’t tell.)
Now, anger can be a good thing, particularly anger at an injustice, but Davies’ rage is a blind assault on the universe for daring to disobey her.
But actually, I support these ladies who are against ladies who support ladies. If they would like to opt out of all the equality handouts they don’t need in the first place, good. Who even wants to share all of our awesome misandrist powers and privileges with them anyway? We are thiiiiiiiis close to killing the patriarchy forever with our overabundance of “rights” and “equality,” and once we do, I don’t think any of the ladies who are for ladies will want to take governing advice from ladies against ladies who are ladies. Let them stay home and make sammiches. When we eradicate men forever, we ladies who are for ladies will probably be hungry.
Good luck with that, Kaili.
Stage 3. Bargaining
Emily McCombs uses her rationalization hamster to deflect her own bargaining and project it onto WAF. McCombs argues that maybe the stupid WAF women with multiple degrees will grow up to hate men like she does:
Looking back, I can see that my subconscious strategy for coping in a sexist society was to align myself with men, to avail myself of their considerable powers of protection, to get what I could from them using the only weapons readily available to me — my body, my charm, my femininity and my compliance. By gaining the approval of those in charge, I hoped to gain access to the perks and opportunities of masculinity.
Unlike McCombs, who had no modesty nor intelligence to add to her body-charm-femininity-compliance, WAF are not bargaining for acceptance—they already have it; they do not find whatever sexism there might be in society to be onerous, and they do not blame men for their choices in life. They have chosen the pursuit of happiness over the lust for the perpetual outrage that is the only real and bitter fruit of feminism.
Charlotte Alter has a bargaining style that is somewhat different; she prays to the wealthy Goddess Beyoncé to save her:
But there will always be some women who don’t understand feminism, just like there will always be some people who deny global warming. There’s no use getting all worked up over a few stragglers who haven’t gotten on the bandwagon. So let’s just try to nip this in the bud. Sorry, Phyllis Schlafly, but feminism is here to stay: [photo of Beyoncé mimicking the pose of “Rosie the Riveter”].
Alter, of course, neglects to mention that Rosie the Riveter gave up and quit being a riveter after just two weeks on the job because she was scared the machinery might nip her delicate lady hands in their buds.
This stage of feminist mourning, bargaining, as well as the stages of denial and anger, are the three stages that most of the mourners find themselves cycling through right now, bouncing through denial-anger-bargaining over and over again. Their efforts will become magnified—increasingly febrile, hostile, angry, violent, and weaselly until their worldviews shatter completely and they go from hysterics into depression.
Stages 4. Depression & 5. Acceptance
Once the feminists start burning out on their useless rage and bargaining, inevitably, they will progress through depression and on to acceptance of their new lives as former feminists. I cited a feminist named Caitlin Elam in my previous article who has already done just that—on July 17 she wrote that she was still a feminist, but by July 22 she was done with feminism, just as Rosie the Riveter jumped ship when she realized the damage she was risking by engaging with a violent partner assigned to her by feminism.
Stage 6. Revenge
Although Elisabeth Kübler-Ross didn’t mention it in her book, there is a final stage of grief—revenge—the spreading of grief in reply to those who caused you grief. Once freed from the violence of feminism, the newly hatched anti-feminists will turn on their former tormentors with the glee that comes from real freedom—and most of all, revenge is a sammich best served icy cold.
All photos used in this article are from the Tumblr Women Against Feminism.