Cecily Strong weighs in on the fauxminist epidemic


I think this is the case with many broad terms - any ideology. WTF does being a Christian mean? Or a Muslim? Or a Democrat/Republican - liberal/conservative - etc etc. Heck even “gun rights”.

You can get each of these groups to agree on a few things things, but within any large sample you will get a myriad array of conflicting opinions and meanings.

So in a broad sense, feminism is “the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.” But what that means or entails or even looks like can vary greatly.

But it is one reason why I am not playing “-ists” anymore. People like to point out certain people who promote a cause as a way to discredit the entire shabang. One can support the overall ideal (equal rights) with not agreeing with every single person who is a feminist. One can agree with say 80 or 90% of someone’s message they don’t have to be fully for or against something as well.


What’s most aggravating about allegations like these (to me, anyway) is that they are invariably seized upon by opponents of progressive views.

This kind of thing bothers me, partially because it happens, but also because I find that progressives see it as a one-way street. Knowing that either side can say anything, but that somehow the conservative narrative is the one that matters, that sticks somehow. That they can appropriate and/or fabricate anything and it becomes the new reality, and that progressives are somehow impotent to have their own narrative. It is hard to look for allies in a community that has so little confidence.


Exactly this. I also largely avoid using other mutable categorizations, even one’s where I do have a personal definition, unless the specifics are established beforehand. Otherwise I risk communicating a position which I don’t in fact support, which is, IMO, the opposite of integrity between words, beliefs and actions. I understand the desire for solidarity in standing with someone, but I don’t see how being an ally or a supporter of someone requires adopting the same labels.


Because everyone NEEDS labels. They NEED to figure out who and what you are an label you so they can proceed with their lives.


Well, I think labels can be helpful in serving as starting points for deeper discussions or shorthand for informal discussions. But labels are also subject to devaluation when they become more important than their underlying substance, and that, as far as I can tell, is a problem endemic to all corners of human society, where rituals and words acquire an independent existence that can be confusing and can also be misused by opportunists and predators such as those satired in the SNL skit who think (not always incorrectly) that if they talk a certain way they can manipulate people into letting their guard down.


I keep seeing stuff like this that makes dating look like a no-win scenario. I’d like to see a video sometime about the DOs, all I ever see is the DON’Ts.

Constructive Dating Advice

Labels are a convenient and necessary fiction. The problem is that it is easy then to mistake the label for the reality. This is why semantics are so important; but unfortunately, contemporary discourse often dismisses attempts any attempts to clarify communications as representing another layer of obfuscation. Not unlike how argumentation and rhetoric connote to some people the same sort of misunderstanding which they exist to alleviate.

The semantic approach is to treat every “is” as a label for a process, rather than attribute it identity as a thing. So we mutually put out our terms and define them first to avoid misunderstandings - IF we have the patience.


The behavior in this skit isn’t dating, it’s creeping.


I’m trying very hard these days to use plain language and to avoid terms if I don’t know if/how they will be understood. I also think it’s good to avoid talks about “-ists” when you are talking about “-isms”. Because of that I can’t imagine myself saying, “I am a feminist.”

But it seems like this has veered off talking about good ways to communicate and into rigtheous misanthropy?

I’m kind of form righteous misanthropy myself, since I can’t stand you goddamned apes. But I think that really it’s a very small group of people who care more about the labels than what the labels represent (and we could argue that one advantage of avoiding labels is identifying these people so we can spend less time talking to them).


I never said that they are.

For the most part, they do. There are some areas where it definitely affects men, but I would not talk over women who discuss issues that they have and I don’t.


I don’t see many videos of non-creepy ways to approach women. Someone needs to do a TED talk or something for guys like me.
I don’t want to be too dramatic but I’m scared shitless of talking to women for fear of being seen as a predator.


Aleister Crowley said that the key of success in life is to constantly work to refine one’s technique - without desiring any specific result. I think that applies here. It can be great to be outgoing, but the difference is that it is problematic to assume that it matters whether you hook up or not. It does not matter. If you are not under any pressure, you won’t pressure others.


I’m not sure if you are an engineer or a politician. :slight_smile:


While I’m not completely unsympathetic, their concern of being stalked or assaulted outweighs men’s fear of being profiled. Let me put it this way, women don’t assume every stranger is a predator, they assume they don’t know but they know many are and the cost of not acting as though all strange men are potential predators is to greatly increase their chances of being stalked and assaulted, which is a much more serious concern than who can and can’t get someone to go out with them. In other words, it isn’t you, it’s the world you and they and everyone inhabit which makes it more difficult for strange men and women to engage. Also bear in mind that it’s difficult for them too. It’s not like no women want to meet potential dates. But the way of the world makes it difficult for everyone involved, and they have more to loose.


A scientist, but I’d take engineer as a compliment. There are very few things I’d want to ever be less than I’d want to be a politician. My goal is clarity. If I’m obfuscating, then I’m failing in my goal.


Good video.


This gets back, though, to definitions of feminism. To some feminists, we will never be welcome, because we’re not women.

And I’m not sure how to feel about that. Do I have any say in whether or not I have a voice in a movement that claims to be working toward my betterment? I’d hope so. And yet, the notion that it’s a movement for women is sort of baked in, isn’t it? As an example, this piece at Everyday Feminism insists that, no, a man may not label himself a feminist. And while they have an inclusive definition, the TERFs believe every bit as strongly that they’re the real feminists.

To me, then, this is where I have a hangup: if a movement claims that it represents not just women but all marginalized people, who the hell are they to say that, yes, while we’re fighting for you, Mr. Young Black Gay Teenager, you can’t be part of our club unless we say? Someone please tell me how it’s not gatekeeping to say, well, we represent you, but we decide if you belong. Especially when mainstream feminism has, in recent years, chosen to get involved in issues like gay men’s behavior toward one another.

Not to mention that when dudebros go after feminism, they hold up the TERFiest of the radfems as “OMG look at how horrible feminists are”.

I guess that’s a long winded way of saying, hey, I don’t want to identify as a feminist because I’m a man and I know it’s a sticky issue. But because it is a sticky issue, I also don’t really want feminism to be the movement championing my right to be who I want to be outside the constraints of gender norms. And so on. Sadly, the guys who claim to fight for things like being a stay-at-home-dad without judgment tend to be hyper-douchey anti-feminist morons.

And boy howdy, the handwringing over fauxmanism is going to be fun, since it could be anything from a straight cishet woman reading Cosmo for sex tips, to Lena Dunham not casting enough nonwhite and/or noncis actors, to whatever.


I’m a humanist. And so I suppose I am a feminist and an andrist, but promoting the latter doesn’t take up my time, because of the rather imbalanced status quo out there!

If civilization were a boat, I know which side I should row on if I don’t want us to go in the same tired circles anymore.


Ah, you mean straw feminists.


I believe that women (and trans people, especially if perceived as women or presenting as women) are discriminated against; but this is like believing that water is wet. Their salaries are lower, they are underrepresented in government, unequally represented in media, face harsher social expectations about behavior and appearance, are given fewer opportunities and less respect, their health issues are not treated as seriously, they have less physical safety and autonomy over their own bodies, and until recent history (and still in some places in the world) they weren’t granted the full rights of male citizens. And I’ve probably forgotten some things.

I also believe that everyone deserves the same rights, opportunities, compensation for labor, etc. regardless of gender; that preserving male/masculine privelege is not beneficial to anyone (including men).

I invite anyone who says that’s not “feminist” because I don’t happen to be a woman to come up with a damn good reason why not, as well as a more appropriate term for it.