What makes one a feminist, or proves the depths of one’s commitment to feminism? Let’s take a look.
Does one’s knowledge of feminism make one a feminist? I know several anti-feminists like Karen Straughan and Janet Bloomfield who are anti-feminist in large part because of their deep understanding of feminism. Even a neutral non-feminist might have a lot of information about feminism and not adhere to that philosophy, just as one can cite scripture and not be Christian.
So how about one’s feelings of sympathy for and about women – do feelings make one a feminist? Again, the answer is no: many traditional gynocentrists care deeply about the welfare of women and reject feminism out of skepticism over feminists’ treatment of women as a sort of deficient mini-man who just needs to develop a more manly lifestyle to be as valued as a man is valued.
By what standard of action or belief does one become a feminist? Most feminists point to the dictionary definition of feminism and relentlessly insult and otherwise shame women and men who reject the label “feminist.” Yet, many people who say they favor women’s legal and social equality still reject the feminist label. One can know a lot about cancer without being afflicted with it, and one can covet immortality without making the connection that cancer cells are immortal.
Feminists almost universally deviate from the dictionary definition to support women-only privileges like protection from genital mutilation, protection from hostile speech, abortion rights for women only, infant surrender rights for women only, child custody defaulting to the mother, women-only safe spaces, and so on. Identification with these non-equality issues is a better marker of feminism than anything other than perhaps self-identification as a feminist.
How Much Of A Feminist Are You? is the title of a recent post on Buzzfeed, a test/listicle survey that purports to test one’s knowledge of, and adherence to, feminism and common feminist beliefs. If, of course, feminism had any well-defined beliefs beyond their nebulous dictionary abortion. The Honeybadgers, with help from TL;DR, ripped it here, but they only seemed to cover a few of the 50 questions over the course of their two and a half hour video. Shoe0nHead tackled the test here. Margaret MacLennan engaged the test here, but the sound drops out in parts of her video.
The author of the test makes some mistakes that derail the test from measuring one’s level of feminism. Several of the questions push not feminism but rather paternalism or benevolent sexism – the idea that women are innately weak and need to be guided or pushed into men’s roles in ways that men find naturally. Some questions are clearly classist rather than dictionary feminist – they either expose the Marxist roots of feminism or, conversely and bizarrely, they emphasize the implicitly privileged nature of feminists, something that is apostasy to core feminist values. Some of the questions appeal to virtue-signaling, a public relations ploy in response to social pressure to appear noble or chivalrous or feministic, rather than address a feminist principle or goal. A virtue signal item is not a test of feminism so much as it is a fly-by advert and apology for feminism.
Let’s go through all 50 of the questions to evaluate them regarding their accuracy in delineating the extent of one’s feminism. And, of course, have a spot of fun along the way. In the end, I will also suggest some further questions that would have improved the accuracy of the test.
- I would be willing to give up some of my salary if I had to so that equal pay in my workplace could be a reality. This question addresses classism and virtue signaling but not feminism – generally, it is employers who set salaries, not employees. One could be a feminist and still not wish to subsidize slacker employees, particularly if one thought the underpaid men were the ones slacking.
- I believe that men and women should be equal. Sort of the dictionary feminist ideal, I suppose, but one can recognize fundamental differences in the sexes and still favor, say, the dictionary feminist goal of legal gender equality. In this way, the question gives a false negative to bona fide feminists and a false positive to non-feminists who support gender equality despite feminism.
- I can’t help but be bothered when a song includes misogynistic lyrics, even when I otherwise like the song. This question would give a false positive (count as feminist) to traditional gynocentrists who use benevolent sexism to want to protect delicate women from harsh lyrics. It would give a false negative to intersectional feminists who tolerate misogyny from minority-produced music as a rejection of, say, haughty white women with higher privilege.
- I know who Bell Hooks is. I know enough to know that intersectional radical feminist “bell hooks” spells her name without capital letters, so this question gives me a false positive as being feminist when I am not. One can pick criminals out of a mug book without supporting their crime sprees. A feminist, like the author of this test, would get a false negative for failure to get hooks’ name right.
- I can define intersectional feminism. Anyone can define intersectional feminism as “butterflies and rainbows.” Whether this is an accurate definition shared by feminists is another matter.
- I don’t use the phrase “hey guys” when referring to a group of people that includes men and women. In the South, “hey ya’ll” is common and “hey guys” is comparatively rare. This does not mean that the South is festooned with feminists.
- I have taken a women’s and/or gender studies class. This question screams that feminists are a privileged class fortunate enough to study dilettante courses in college. Many people who take these classes become so disillusioned with feminism they swear off of it forever (false positive). Self-radicalized feminists are also eliminated by this question (false negatives).
- I think it’s important to encourage girls to pursue science and math as a career. My God, how paternalistic can one get? Yes, the test implies women are so pathetic we must help them along in life in ways that are unnecessary for boys, and this misogynistic opinion of women is a test of one’s feminism?
- Women should be allowed to apply for a job if they fulfill 60% of the job requirements. More gynocentrism and paternalism – and since when are women forbidden from applying for any job they fancy, regardless of their level of qualifications? Applying for a job and getting a job are different things. Jeez.
- I think we should change women’s bathroom symbols to not include traditionally “feminine” clothing (skirts, dresses, etc.). If women are so fragile that conventional signage makes them wet their dungarees, then, by all means, let’s pamper them. With Pampers. Real diapers. Just don’t try to pass off this trivialization as a real feminist issue. Wow.
- I believe trans people should be able to use whichever bathroom they identify with. In addition to this question being ableist, there are plenty of feminists around who are TERFs (trans-exclusive radical feminists) who either don’t care or are hostile to any “born male” incursion in women’s spaces like restrooms.
- I believe it’s important to encourage women to negotiate. Right, because women are fragile and stupid compared to men, and we need to take care of them like the idiots they are. Such benevolent sexism has obvious problems.
- I believe Jennifer Lawrence should earn as much as her male costars. But what if she makes more? One could be feminist, I think, and not want to penalize Lawrence for her career success.
- I do not think a movie should be released unless it passes the Bechdel test. The Bechdel test started as a feminist joke, and one could well be a serious feminist and realize how silly it is: to pass, a movie must have two named female characters who talk about something besides men. Like maybe shoes.
- I believe all genders are entitled to the same social and political rights. Given that both egalitarians and MRAs agree with this, it is hardly a unique marker of feminism. So, lots of false positions. Also, many radical feminists reject equal rights for men or trans folks, so lots of false negatives as well.
- I can explain why “78 cents to the dollar” is not a fully accurate description of the gender wage gap. While intersectional feminists reject that statement of the wage gap for racial reasons, non-feminists reject it because it is a distortion of the reality where life choices and hours worked affect earnings, making those with non-feminist objections count as false positives. Many commonplace feminists know little beyond parroting the basic wage gap line, making them false negatives.
- I believe that women who possess certain types of privilege are responsible for advocating for women who don’t have their level of privilege. So much wrong! Making women responsible for anything is anathema to the victim narrative of feminism. Treating some women as guardians for entire classes of weaker women is about as paternalistic, racist and classist as one can get. This point of feminist internal conflict is lethal to the item as a meaningful test of one’s feminism.
- If I had a daughter, I would encourage her to be anything she wanted to be. Virtue signaling and quite literally paternalistic – but Dad, I’m 32 now!. Note that other items on this test encourage caregivers to channel women into traditional male disciplines rather than tolerating women who choose, free from coercion, their paths in life.
- I would make it clear to my daughter from an early age that her identity should never be defined by her relationship status. Finally, an actual feminist statement: stomping on the dreams of women who want marriage and family, and teaching young girls that they should abandon their dreams of family harmony to fuck around all they want on their husbands, and show no hint of loyalty to their commitments. This is as pure a statement of feminism as I can imagine. You go, girl, and kiss your domestic bliss goodbye.
- I believe it’s important to compliment a woman’s intelligence over her looks. So much idiocy! Wow – your smarts makes up for your butterface. Feminists have always been hostile to compliments on the street (catcalling) and at work (sexual harassment, hostile environment). The social ineptness of this item becomes clear when one remembers that “she has a great personality” is code for a woman who is overweight or otherwise deficient in the looks department. The classist, elitist nature of compliments about one’s intelligence is a minefield. So, no, such compliments are not important whether feminist or not.
- I believe that a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body. Badly phrased – a feminist might well feel that a woman should have such rights but is denied them because, say, tampons are not free, and government issued (except in New York City). Such a feminist would say instead that “a woman should have” such rights, not that she “has” them.
- In an instance of sexual assault against a female, I am inclined to believe the assaulted person is telling the truth until proven otherwise. In other words, one must overturn due process of law when the victim is a woman but not a man – another women-only privilege supported by feminists in open defiance of legal gender equality. I would like to think that one can support both gender equality and legal integrity, but perhaps we need the benevolent sexism instead? The gender bias of this item is staggering.
- I can explain Marlene Dietrich’s influence on women’s fashion. She dressed like a dude. While fashion trivia does influence the lives of billions of women, does this make it a distinct, substantive feminist issue, or does it indicate feminism in someone who knows about Dietrich? Again, knowing historical points is not a reliable indicator of feminism.
- I know what a “Bad Feminist” is. Roxanne Gay’s book “Bad Feminist” argued that women who imperfectly follow feminism’s edicts on, say, rejecting femininity and family choices can still be worthy feminists. This is in direct contradiction to collectivist feminists like Anita Sarkeesian, who argue that compliance with feminist orthodoxy is critical to feminism’s success in destroying patriarchy and then, civilization. Very few feminists are aware of the nuances of these issues but would falsely check this item “yes” out of their ignorance.
- I believe that women should be able to dress however they want without it dictating how they are treated by society. Another woman-only privilege claimed by feminism that has nothing to do with gender equality – men are judged on their clothing, or lack thereof, all the time by society.
- I have never said that a woman “asked for it.” But what if she did actually ask for it? Does recognizing women’s agency in making requests mean that one is not a feminist? Wow.
- I am offended by catcalling. Is feminism reducible to one’s emotional response to social interactions? There are many non-feminist women who are discomfited by catcalls. On the other hand, uber-feminist writer Jessica Valenti feigned offense at catcalling but now she is discomfited that she has grown so unattractive that she no longer catches men’s attention at all. Feigning offense at getting attention might well be a marker for feminist virtue signaling, but that is not the same as actually being a feminist.
- I don’t think women should get VIP treatment at nightclubs and bars, just for being women. Finally, a question that takes on benevolent sexism head-on. The problem is that many nominal and even serious feminists have a deeply hypocritical doublethink when it comes to cases where sexism works in their favor.
- I think police brutality and its correlation with race is a feminist issue. While fighting racial discrimination is an excellent virtue-signal, does that make it a marker of feminism? Even the terrorist organization ISIS discourages terror attacks on non-white people because such attacks are bad publicity for Islam and their terror groups. ISIS is not well known for their ties to feminism, although perhaps they should be.
- I think we should stop promoting models as the ideal female body type. While I agree that plus-size models are terrible, unhealthy role models for girls to aspire to, one’s taste in female body type is naturally defined by some sort of theoretical model reified by actual living human models. In other words, attacking attractive women for finding employment as attractive women has nothing to do with gender equality. This makes the question nonsensical and not probative.
- I think we should stop photoshopping women’s bodies in the media. The thing is, “we” don’t photoshop for “the media”. The media does that to satisfy their estimation of market demand for their product. A feminist might well think this is a benign practice, and a nonfeminist might find “natural” bodies sexier via their seeming more attainable. Making things sexier, or not, is not exactly a feminist value.
- I have never called a woman bossy. Feminist writer, comic and actress Tina Fey entitled her autobiography Bossypants. This illustrates the principle that one may call a woman “bossy” as a figure of ironic speech and still be feminist. A nonfeminist might well avoid the term “bossy: to avoid gratuitous or even job-threatening repercussions from feminist hostiles.
- I think companies should offer more child-friendly time and programs to women who are having children. More special women-only privileges. This is not feminism, but it might well be seen as gynocentric, especially since men are implicitly excluded.
- I believe that a woman should be offered the same opportunities for promotion as her male co-workers. Feminists are well-known for advocating for “affirmative action” and “rigging elections” in ways that discriminate in women’s favor over men. This item is a virtue signal that distorts feminism’s actual practices when it comes to “equal” job opportunity.
- I believe that if a woman wants to pay on a date, her date should let her. Although no-strings hookups have replaced the buggy whip practice of “dating,” as it was known, note the implicit privilege of this question – women can pay, or not, as they wish. This privilege alone would justify legalizing the wage gap so that men could afford the company of skinflint women.
- I believe that women should have easy access to birth control. More special privileges for women but not for men. That equality idea got flushed faster than a fetus in the toilet. Gynocentrism has taken its place.
- I believe that in a relationship the domestic duties should be shared. Well, I suppose that after a hookup a man should redon his clothing before he departs, but expecting him to toss her clothing into the hamper seems sort of creepy to me. Consent to sex is not consenting to yard work – men should be able to say no to all domestic duties if they so please.
- I think that a couple should have equal responsibility over the aesthetic and cleanliness of their home. Not really impressed with the grammar of this item – I might have written it as “people in a committed domestic relationship” rather than “couple” – but there is a deeper issue of feminism generally resisting placing any responsibilities on women at all for things like women’s personal safety, clothing choices, salary negotiation, career choices, fidelity, tipsy sexual exploits – but now women have to share responsibility for housework? I guess that is a start when, and if, feminism decides that women are adult enough to make binding commitments.
- I believe that men should be encouraged to be involved and make choices in the wedding planning process. And prisoners should be allowed to pick their method of execution. Now, feminists have been fighting against marriage since forever, so why not put a stop to marriage by stopping that precursor to marriage known as the wedding? I guess even a feminist girl needs to have “her special day” and purport to get her fiancé to pretend like he is getting a loyal wife instead of a man-hating fraud who is baiting him into child support, asset division, and alimony. For a feminist, the chief benefit of marriage is the divorce.
- I believe that men and women have the same emotional strength. If so, why do we need to guide and encourage women more so than men? Since when has inborn emotional equality been a feminist issue? And what is “emotional strength,” anyway? It could be (1) the ability to feel emotions, (2) the willingness to express emotions openly, (3) resistance or resilience to the debilitating effects of strong emotions, (4) suppression and control over one’s emotions, or (5-50) something else entirely.
- I do not think that it is the responsibility of a man to protect a woman physically. This is just ludicrous – countless feminists complain how they feel threatened around men and rely on men to protect them in every conceivable or contraceptive way.
- I believe that men and women should be equally encouraged to express their emotions. Those of us who identify as MRAs know that the chief shaming tactic feminists use against our advocacy is that we are whiners – we express our feelings about our human rights openly and without apology. While feminists might SAY they want men to be able to express feelings, it is a trap so they can then flip and blast the men for having feelings and expressing them.
- I have never asked a woman why she does not have children. This is a virtue signal – implying that feminists are never rude nor pry into one’s personal business – even when they encourage women to “Shout your abortion” or go on slutwalks. As it happens, “couth” is not a feminist virtue – indeed, they often say “Well-behaved women seldom make history.”
I would be equally excited to have a son or a daughter. More virtue signaling – in 2015 feminists were stung by the story of “Lana”, a feminist who supposedly aborted her son because he was a boy. Of course, feminists favor killing their children for all sorts of reasons – just not gender, it seems.
I think American workplace culture is often not structured in a way that is helpful or encouraging to women succeeding. Lots of recent stories have suggested that feminism has retarded or ruined the opportunity for women to find experienced male mentors – men have learned that helping women is an open invitation to be charged with sexual harassment or some other imaginary misdeed. Still, special workplace coddling of women is not equality.
I think women have a responsibility to help and encourage other women to pursue their goals. Virtue signal. Feminism always seeks to strip women of responsibility even to each other. Indeed, feminists trashing each other is one blood sport they seem to relish over all others.
- I think women are equally capable to men to be the President of the United States. Virtue signal. In any case, U.S. Presidents are hardly paragons of virtue or effectiveness.
- I believe that women have no responsibility to make a conscious effort always to be friendly and polite. Given feminists’ universal status as Mean Girls even to each other, this is one of the few questions in this test that is right on the money. Of course, feminists always demand that men be accommodating to women’s feelings in social situations, creating yet another unequal standard backed by feminism.
- I have never criticized a woman for not wearing makeup or wearing too much makeup. Virtue signaling. Feminists criticize women for their makeup choices all the time – women who care about their appearance are said to suffer from “internalized misogyny” – they even make wildly popular videos of parody feminist makeup.
- I believe a woman is a woman if that is what she calls herself, regardless of her physical attributes and makeup. Virtue signaling. There is a whole branch of feminism known as trans-exclusive radical feminism or TERFs dedicated to the rejection of trans women as women. Those feminists would be shocked to learn that they are not feminists.
After the bare handful of questions in the original test that were even halfway effective at identifying feminists, one might well ask, what questions can one ask about the amorphous mass that is both feminist orthodoxy and practice to do a better job of weeding them out? Here are some of my suggestions based on my experiences with feminists:
- It is okay to pull fire alarms spuriously and make fake sexual harassment claims at gatherings of men’s rights activists.
- I believe MRAs should be publicly shamed as whiners who need to man up.
- I believe MRAs should become feminist allies instead of advocating for men.
- I believe in “patriarchy theory” – the idea that men as a class oppress women as a class throughout history.
- I believe it is acceptable to say “kill all men” because that is just ironic humor but saying “kill all women” would be horrible misogyny.
- I believe a woman hitting a man is not a big issue because men are stronger than women, whereas a man hitting back in self-defense is misogyny.
- I believe a woman hitting a man is not a big issue because such women are “punching up” against oppression, whereas a man hitting back in self-defense is enforcing patriarchy.
- I believe it is more important to stop female genital mutilation than male genital mutilation.
- I react with glee when I hear a man sustained a genital injury, especially if a woman did it deliberately.
- I rock a side-shave, problem glasses, and/or neon hair.
- I am under 32 and think that slutwalks are an awesome way to fight rape culture and the patriarchy, OR I am over 32 and feel strongly that slutwalks send the wrong message and damage the feminist brand.
- It is not my job to educate you on feminism even though that is the job description of feminism advocates. Educate yourself.
THAT is what a test for feminism looks like.