My husband is more to me than a living jar-opener

If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past week, you’ve probably already seen the Women Against Feminism tumblr going around, or at the very least read about it.

I didn’t think too much of it when I saw it, for two reasons. For one, most of the women had a tenuous grasp (at best) on the definition of feminism, one that seemed like it was informed in its entirety by Rush Limbaugh and Jessi Spano, and also the belief that “misandry” jokes are actually serious.

The other reason was that most of the “women” actually looked like teenage girls. Considering that I was super into Ayn Rand when I was a teenage girl, I can’t get too far up on my high horse with regards to the contributors. Let’s just say that if Tumblr was around in the late 1990s, I’m sure there’d be a photo of teenage me holding up a sign reading “A is A.”

*shudder*

Anyway, I was content to let the WAF Tumblr have its moment of ignominy before fizzling out like so many of the internet’s flash points of controversy, but then this post from Vice crossed my Facebook feed, which included the following image:

The part that jumped out at me is toward the bottom:

“Also how the f*@k am I supposed to open jars and lift heavy things without my husband? I am grateful for our differences!”

Uhhhhh, I have an idea as to how you might be able to accomplish those things without the help of your husband.  I kind of write a whole fucking blog about it.

Allegra Ringo, who wrote the Vice post, points out that a lot of the submissions on the Tumblr have to do with opening jars:

A disquieting number of them simply need help opening jars. One woman does not need feminism for unstated reasons (but I think we can safely assume it’s related to jars). The jar problem is rampant enough that I’m a little worried these women have severe, undiagnosed muscular problems. Guys, please see a doctor. It can be a male doctor!

This must pose some real difficulties for the Women Against Feminism who do not live with men. Do they just avoid pickles and other jarred foods altogether?  If a recipe calls for something in a jar, do they call a male friend to come over and open it?  Or if said male friend is not available, do they go outside and ask the first man to open it for them?  So many questions!

But seriously though, aside from the fact that jar-opening is such a pressing concern for the Women Against Feminism, one of the first things that struck me about this is how sad this is.  I don’t mean that it’s sad that they can’t open their own jars; hell, I had to have Brian help me open a jar of artichoke hearts the other day.  My grip strength isn’t quite where I’d like it to be, and that’s okay.

Rather, what makes me sad about it is that the Women Against Feminism purport to be against feminism because they love men so much, and yet like so many avowed anti-feminists, they seem to appreciate men for the functional roles they fulfill for the WAFs – as providers of paychecks, openers of jars, lifters of heavy shit – and not for the actual human beings they are.

A big part of the reason why I am a feminist is because I don’t want to relate to Brian simply as a provider of paychecks, an opener of jars, a lifter of heavy shit. I want to be able to help provide the paychecks.  I want to be able to open my own jars, and open them for him too.  I want to be able to help move the heavy sofa instead of sitting around watching him struggle on his own. I want to be his partner in our relationship, and for me that means pitching in and helping with everything, not just the tasks that don’t require a lot of muscle.

If you asked me to list the top million things I like about Brian, his ability to open jars and lift heavy things might show up somewhere in the 990,000s. Here are things that would show up long before: because he makes me laugh, because we have the best conversations over Sunday morning coffee, because I like the way he smells and the way the skin around his eyes crinkles when he smiles at me and the hair on the back of his hands, because he decided to read War and Peace this summer, because he picked out “The Punk Singer” for us to watch one night, because he does funny dances just to make me smile, because he has a way about him that makes people want to open up to him within hours of meeting him. There are so many things I love about my husband, and almost none of them have to do with his grip strength.

I think that if you talk to any of us straight-lady feminists, that’s all we want from our romantic relationships with men – to regard each others as equals, from a place of mutual respect and support, so that we can then like and love each other.  Not just as a collection of stereotypes striving fruitlessly to meet impossible gender roles, but as human beings.

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276 responses to “My husband is more to me than a living jar-opener

  1. Obviously you’re going after the bottom part of the photo for this particular entry, but I just CANNOT get over the rest of her sign. Like you said, lots of people are very unclear on the concept.

    • Oh yeah, she’s really showing her ass with her whole sign. It’s like, lady, just what do you think we feminists are all about?!

      • I think that largely WAF comes from the astonishingly large amount of bad press feminists have gotten, of a specific type. Extremism is ugly in every form, and feminists are no exception. Screenshots of posts and tweets and pictures of signs upheld by women with such gems as “I feel that ‘man-hating’ is an honorable and viable political act, that the oppressed have a right to class-hatred against the class that is oppressing them.” — Robin Morgan, Ms. Magazine Editor or “To call a man an animal is to flatter him; he’s a machine, a walking dildo.” — Valerie Solanas, Authoress of the SCUM Manifesto, or changing the spelling of ‘women’ to remove any connection to the word men, or ridiculing women who love their father, brother, husband, son, or male companion – these things are everywhere. They are real. And wrong

        Young women today cannot be blamed overmuch if they are not able to distinguish extremism from its root form as a movement for equality. Any more than most people can distinguish the average Muslim from the extremists that killed two of my brothers in arms this week.

        Is it right? No. But it is unfair to insinuate that these young ladies are less intelligent or their feelings are wholly unjustified.

      • I think it’s telling that you had to go back four and five decades to find examples of prominent feminists – although I really wouldn’t consider Solanas to be a feminist as much as she was a mentally disturbed person, and the SCUM Manifest is hardly held up as a feminist tract, although more favorable readings of it do typically tend to look at it as satire (sort of like how A Modest Proposal isn’t actually saying rich people should eat babies) – saying things that can be construed as supporting man-hating. Does the list of “sayings that prove feminists hate men” that you pulled those quotes from have anything from the current millennium by chance?

        And for what it’s worth I don’t know anyone who seriously does the “womyn” thing anymore, and I have never encountered a self-identified feminist who has mocked another woman for loving her husband or father. That you say “these things are everywhere” is strange to me because if they were everywhere, you’d think that I as an actual feminist would be seeing them too, and I’m not. You might as well bring up Mary Daly and political lesbianism next, for all the relevance those things have to modern feminism.

        “Young women today cannot be blamed overmuch if they are not able to distinguish extremism from its root form as a movement for equality. Any more than most people can distinguish the average Muslim from the extremists that killed two of my brothers in arms this week.”

        Actually I can and I do blame people for their inability to separate extremists from everyone else. (And by the way, I am sorry for your loss.) I will absolutely hold someone responsible for the intellectual laziness that allows them to believe all Muslims are violent terrorists. I doubt you would be nearly so indulgent if I, for instance, said that all men’s rights activists are mass murderers in the making because of Elliott Rodger and Marc Lepine. I feel like you are being really disingenuous with this argument, and I wish you would reconsider it.

      • You haven’t seen the #killallmen and #killmostmen hashtags?

        I am not a WAF. I would like to put that forward right off. But I am keenly aware as a 23 year old with a 15 year old stepson and a 17 year old sister the environment that these teenage girls are immersed in. They are not, regardless of anyone’s wishes, encouraged to research issues before forming opinions. They are not encouraged to use their minds before their hearts. They are not encouraged to develop socio-political awareness of both historical and present trends. Perhaps in a classroom setting these things might be the norm, but they go out the window once the real world is involved.

        They see Facebook. They see hashtags. They see mainstream media. And they form opinions – emotional opinions – based on their knee-jerk reaction to this input.

        There is no excuse for ignorance. But we are steeped in it. And you can tell yourself that you know plenty of exceptions. But large demographics of people are NOT capable of making that distinction. Is it right? No, and I never said it was. But simply pointing it out while a chorus of likeminded people say “YEAH” is not going to change it. You have to start with understanding of an issue or viewpoint before it can be fixed. And if you aren’t going to act to contribute to the solution, why say anything?

        I am 23 years old, a soldier, a wife, a stepmom of 5, a sister, a daughter. I don’t need my husband to open jars for me. Frankly I agreed with just about everything you wrote in this post. I just don’t subscribe to the label; not because I have an inherent objection, but because I am too busy thinking about a young woman who was raped to death on a bus, or had her head beaten in by her father, or the group of girls who were kidnapped for going to school to think about the label that comes with wanting to prevent such things. I respect 100% those who can say firmly and with pride that they are feminists, who understand the historical implications and the driving force of the movement.

        However, I also stop and consider that hundreds, and thousands of young men and women, and young girls are opposed to that label. And I am taking the time to find out exactly why. Without ridiculing them or their opinions, because that is exactly how you DON’T get teenagers to listen to you. The fact is that the quotes I used are still being used to tell young people that feminism is about hate and about women subduing men. I have heard it in my personal life. I have talked to my young relatives about it.

        Whether fair or not, wrong or right, there are people who will use the words of hateful extremists to categorize a whole group. And there are people who will swallow it up. Good people, and even otherwise relatively well-educated people. If you want to change it, you need to put the message out there. Louder than the hashtags and louder than the media and louder than Facebook and tumblr.

        I’m an advocate for the idea that you should either take direct action on correcting your complaints, or else not make them.

      • Nope, I don’t spend a ton of time on twitter, and I deleted my tumblr account. I find that much of what happens in certain pockets of social media bears limited resemblance to the world around me. People are much angrier and much more aggressive on the internet than they ever are in real life. Anyone who looks at a hashtag on social media or looks at tumblr and goes, “This is how the world is!” is going to end up with an extremely limited and myopic view of things.

        “If you want to change it, you need to put the message out there. Louder than the hashtags and louder than the media and louder than Facebook and tumblr.”

        Well yeah, what do you think I’m trying to do?

      • Your sentence “Anyone who looks at a hashtag on social media or tumblr and goes, ‘This is how the world is!’ is going to end up with an extremely limited and myopic view of things” is absolutely true. Welcome to the next generation. I literally live in fear of this affecting my children.

        As I said before, I agree with your post 100%. I’m too busy being a soldier and a wife to be anything else – and this is not a condescending remark at all, the Army has taken over nearly every corner of my life – and I am not “against feminism”. I suppose the primary point of my comment is to explain that, whether you have personally experienced it – they have. As outdated and ridiculous as those quotes are, I heard the second one first spoken in a classroom. Ridiculing young girls for believing what they do, is exactly how to get them to NOT listen. People in general have a tendency to close themselves off once they feel they are being attacked.

        I believe that the numbers of girls expressing their helplessness in opening a pickle jar are trying to be cute. This is what passes for clever and funny in that generation.

      • I appreciate that. I didn’t take what you were saying as bitchy, just that you disagree with certain perspectives in this thread. I appreciate that you are willing to share them, and I think I understand what you are saying, even though my opinions are different.

        And for what it’s worth, I can’t even imagine what you are experiencing now. Please take care of yourself the best you can.

      • Thank you. I appreciate the support more than you know.

        I am trying to take the time to absorb different perspectives on the issue. I had a friend recently guest-post his views on feminism and I am trying to learn more from the opposing viewpoint. I think you have posed an intelligent argument, whether or not we agree on every point.

    • Yeah I couldn’t believe that either! I was very confused for a moment. All you need to do for the top part of the sign to make perfect sense is scratch out ‘don’t.’
      I also get really annoyed at people who think that feminist want to make us ‘all the same.’ Well, men can’t breastfeed yet. All of can do different things, and that’s cool. Feminism means giving everyone the same opportunities so they can pick what they like best.

  2. Christ, I lived on my own for six and a half years (not through choice, things just turned out that way). Do some women think that women like me just, I dunno, wither & die when we live on our own, because we can’t carry heavy shopping or open jars or mow the lawn or fix a plug or walk home after dark or or or?

      • I have lived alone for many years, and I have managed to open every single jar on my own. Sometimes, it takes a few minutes of banging a spoon on it and running hot water over it, but it works.

  3. I think a lot of women are quick to jump on the anti-feminism train because they see how “feminism” has been given such a bad reputation recently. They think that by being against feminism they will be respected more by the male gender. I do think, however, all these decisions lie within how you define feminism itself. I like her message regarding love and respect for all, but portraying yourself as not needing feminism for the sake of appreciating your husband seems a little close-minded. Great post!

    • Thank you!

      The unfortunate thing about spitting on feminism in an attempt to become more appealing to men is that the kind of man that would ultimately attract is not likely to ever fully accept her as an equal, simply because she’s a woman. (Besides, who really wants to be in a relationship with someone like that? I’ve already been there once, and I would rather spend the rest of my life alone then do that again!)

  4. With so much knowledge available to us today, It boggles my mind that these young women can be so ignorant about feminism and how it has helped both men and women. It’s as if the digital aged has dumbed as down so much, that we take the information we receive online and on TV as absolute truth. So, if a yelling man on TV says feminists are man hating maniacs, it must be true. But what do I know, I’m just a small woman. I can’t even open jars without my boyfriend around. *insert eye roll here*

    • Well, to be fair, this kind of thing has been happening since before the internet. But yeah, I do find it remarkable that with so much information so readily available, many people are using all that access to actually become LESS informed about things (i.e. vaccines, Obama’s birth certificate, etc.) Like, so many of us carry tiny supercomputers around in our pockets these days, and yet…*sigh*

  5. A startling number also seemed to think that we’re all fine now with regards to things like equal pay, etc. so it’s not necessary to be a feminist–or at least that’s what I’m inferring. Here’s hoping they fizzle out soon.

    • I imagine it’s easy to believe equal pay is not an issue when you’re still in high school and you haven’t yet worked more than 20 hours a week. ;)

  6. Thank you for putting into words what has been grumbling around inside of me these past few days. Also, I’m really glad someone else had a shameful past – I don’t even want to talk about my time as a high school and college libertarian. *shudders*

    • Thanks! I imagine that there are lots of us reformed teenage libertarians running around out there. There’s just something about being smart and privileged and knowing everything in that specific way teenagers know everything that lends itself perfectly to libertarianism. :)

  7. Hahahaha! Yes I love this post! And I agree. WAF is something I haven’t even had the energy to touch. And I like your point about not getting on a high horse. As a teen, I was an anti-feminist victim blamed. It makes me a little sad to admit it, but I realize how society and our culture work REALLY HARD to make sure that we are all like that. We can just hope that most of the women posting on WAF will soon go through a similar process.

    In the meantime, I have posts like yours to make me laugh!

    • I feel the same way when I read horrible things written in college and high school papers. I wrote my share of embarrassing, ridiculous stuff, but I just had the good fortune to do so before the internet was a thing.

  8. Perhaps if feminists in aggregate had demonstrated that level of respect to men, instead of demonizing them and castigating them as an oppressive class for the last 40 years, #WomenAgainstFeminism wouldn’t need to exist. But the sad fact is that feminism has been anti-male, anti-masculinity, and anti-male-sexuality for two generations in practice, regardless of what feminists say the ideals of the movement are. When feminism made misandry a cornerstone of the movement, your simple appreciation of one man was overtaken by the mass demonization of all men . . . including your husband.

    • You mean the legislators trying to ram transvaginal probes up our vaginas in order for us to access abortion? Maybe we need to re-define “oppressive.” Fits the bill in my dictionary.

    • Weird, I haven’t seen this. I and all the feminists I know show more respect for men and their intelligence than any sexist, because by nature sexism has to go both ways, or it falls apart. Cite?

    • Perhaps if men had demonstrated any level of respect for women for 10,000 years (of honor killings, genital mutilation, rapes, beatings, burning at the stakes, forced pregnancy and childbearing unto death, involuntary commitment, murder, abandonment, cheating, sodomizing, lying, stealing, trafficking in women and children, prohibiting women from voting, working, writing, reading, researching, owning land, divorce and 990,000 other VERY BAD THINGS men have done.) women could have seen their way to not being so very angry at them and men would not perceive their own vilification as arrogant, oppressive, selfish, vicious, violent creatures that they’ve been for 10,000 years.

      The point being that if you are whining about men facing a backlash 10,000 years in the making, you aren’t paying attention to the real issues.

      Misandry was never a cornerstone of feminism, the cornerstone of feminism has always been equality, agency and personhood equal to a man’s. It’s just that the puir wee manses (feeling threatened by not having complete and tyrannical male privilege) have waged a huge campaign to discredit the radical idea that women are people too.

      So ask yourself this: If women hate men so much, why aren’t there more men being killed in their sleep? So until men have spent 40 years being raped, beaten, burned at the stake, immolated, castrated, involuntary commitment, sodomized (o wait, women can’t do that one), murdered, trafficked and prohibited from engaging in the academic, legal and governmental processes as part of a concerted effort to control their thoughts, movements, economic agency and legal status, suck it up, sit down and listen for a spell. You might just learn something.

      And don’t whine about how I hate men. I don’t hate men. I like men very much. I do hate bigots, misogynists and bullies though. There’s an inordinate number of men in those ranks.

    • Wow – you’re packing some hate here dude! Your statement about “feminists in aggregate” is completely unsupportable by facts. In my life, Feminism had faith in my ability to parent, and led me to the most fulfilling and wonder-inducing times of my life. Those two kids are now 19 and 24.

      Oh surprise, another man telling women “who they are”. I’d like to ask, who are you to pretend to define Feminism as anti-male? You sound like you want to be a victim, but you’re looking in all the wrong places for an oppressor. Try a mirror, for one.

    • The feminists you’re talking about aren’t really feminists… Those are idiots who happen to think they are feminists. Real feminism isn’t anti-anyone.

    • With all due respect, what are you talking about? I was raised by a self-described ‘radical feminist’, and the lessons I absorbed mostly revolved around equality and love for all rather than hate for anyone. There were even, gasp, a number of men involved in these organizations – meetings, marches, etc. If misandry is a cornerstone of the movement, it must be a different movement than the one I’m familiar with.

    • Maybe you are right; but I would assume that back then women WERE oppressed, and men WERE castigating women! So, sure, feminism was as a result of bitterness of social inequality on the part of women, and such radical and aggressive movements (back then) were, I believe necessary. But just like anything revolutionary, feminism was just starting out, and it had some wrong ideals tied to it even with the right intenions. Thus, “modern feminism” where those ideals have been improved, and things out in the right perspective now. Feminism has grown and will continue to do so.

      • “But just like anything revolutionary, feminism was just starting out, and it had some wrong ideals tied to it even with the right intentions. Thus, “modern feminism” where those ideals have been improved, and things out in the right perspective now. Feminism has grown and will continue to do so.”

        This is an excellent point. You can see similar things happen in any kind of ideology. Look at democracy, for instance. When it started out, it was limited only to white male property owners, and over time that has been corrected and changed.

        If we are going to disregard all political ideology and philosophy because of problematic beliefs held by adherents at some point in time, we might as well do away with the entire fields of thought all together.

  9. Well said.

    Every single one of these morons needs to hand back her bank card, driver’s license, birth control and passport or voter registration card. Because every single one of those PRIVILEGES (now rights) were hard won along the way by brave women — many of them lost to ancient, male-written history. They have no fucking clue what feminism means or how even more screwed we would all be without it.

    I love my husband because we laugh in bed all the time (much to the amusement of our overnight guests on the sofa) and he makes me blueberry pancakes with bacon and loves the hell out of me more than anyone in my life ever has, for which I am very grateful indeed.

    • One of the excellent things about having a second-waver as a grandma is she was crystal-clear with me from a very young age about the way things used to be. I suspect a large number of these women and girls have no clue that marital rape used to be legal and that domestic violence wasn’t always a crime and that you used to have to get your husband’s permission to do anything related to your finances and so on and so forth. Seriously, so many battles were fought so that we could have the privileges we have today, and I don’t take any of that for granted.

      • Not to mention that, even today, there are still so many ways that women are treated second class still. When my father was still alive he would deposit at least one retirement cheque per month into my mother’s bank account so she had funds to buy groceries etc. He supported my mother being able to make her own decisions about spending etc. The bank kept harassing them, pushing them to have his name on the account. Finally, they gave in and made it so. When my father died in 2009, the account was frozen. My mother, who had been the first name on that account, suddenly had to prove she was the widow of my father, who had ‘owned’ the account and the funds therein. She said fine, in our security box in your bank is a copy of our marriage certificate, and here is my ID to prove who I am. Said box was lost in paperwork that had been misfiled and they tried to tell my mother she did not have and had never had a security box in that bank. For twenty years they had dealt with that bank and had that box, and suddenly my mother did not know what she was talking about. It took two months to sort it out, during which my mother had to live off her credit cards. Good news, by then my father’s retirement moneys were direct depositted, so the mortgage was still being paid on their house from ‘his’ account.

    • Preach!

      I think young women nowadays think modern feminism is attacking femininity to some extent (like wearing pink, getting married, etc.) However, I think rejecting feminism purely because of radicals is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Something big third wave feminism achieved was its support for LGBT rights and making the definitions of gender more fluid (even in the ’90s, any girls who liked sports was a “tomboy”. I like to think that word is slowly dying…you can just be a girl who likes sports.)

      I just can’t reject a movement that won me the rights I have today. Nope, just can’t.

  10. I am a feminist because I’m a whole person, on my own. I do happen to be married to a fantastic guy…but he does not complete me. I complete me. This anti-feminist gals have no idea what feminism is. I think back to my fantastic grandma -who did everything on her own (including opening jars and lifting very heavy objects). Feminism enables all of us capable women (i.e. human beings) to reach our own potentials and live as we please.

    • Well said. And I would go so far as to say my ideal version of feminism encourages all of us – regardless of gender – to strive to reach our fullest potential, not as men or as women but first and foremost, as human beings.

  11. Run it under some hot water.

    I’ve been with my husband for nine years. Once he traveled for work for a month, which was my first time living alone since I was 24. The first time I went to the grocery store, I’ll admit, I was sad about having to get things off high shelves and haul the kitty litter home alone. But if you’d asked me before that day, or since, why my husband is amazing, “because he can carry the kitty litter like it ain’t no thang” would have never cracked the top 100.

    • I will try the hot water trick next time I can’t open a jar. (The comments here and on Facebook have given me a plethora of tricks to try! <3 it!)

  12. I would just like to say that of all the things about Whine Rand one could choose to criticise, I find it interesting that you chose the basic axiom “A is A”. While Rand committed an astounding error of ethics, her metaphysics is entirely sound, and deceptively simple, such that people often overlook the inherent profundity of the implications of identity.

    Where Rand went wrong was that her metaphysics in no way support her choice of “rational self-interest” as an ethic, and I have often found it amusing that another prominent author of her times, Robert Heinlein, came to essentially the opposite conclusion about ethics—that “rational self-interest” is not at all a moral goal in and of itself, but merely the basest building block of morality. Read Heinlein’s conception of “duty”, and compare that with Rand’s disdain for “altruism”. Although Heinlein was also famous for disdaining altruism, he also clearly felt a sense of duty towards others was the defining characteristic of morality.

    But, here is a question for you: At what point does compiling a list of the features we like about other people descend into objectification? You say, “because I like the way he smells and the way the skin around his eyes crinkles when he smiles at me and the hair on the back of his hands”, but what if I said, “because of the size of her breasts”? In what material way does the one statement differ from the other? My ex had a habit of frequently asking me, “Why do you love me?” The only answer I have ever had to that question that would be honest is, “Because I do.”

    • I picked “A is A” because it was the only quote of hers that I could quickly recall on the fly. Also it tends to be the most identifiable as one of hers. I suppose I could have done a search and found something particularly odious but I was not trying to write a thesis paper as to why I no longer consider myself a follower of her philosophy. I was just trying to write a quick, goofy blog post. *shrug*

      Regarding your last paragraph: I don’t particularly consider appreciating the physical attributes of another human being to be objectification. Objectifying someone means to regard them in ways that denies their agency, subjectivity and essential humanity. Saying that I find my husband attractive and being able to enumerate a couple of the things I particularly appreciate is hardly the same as objectifying him. The flip side is that you can objectify someone without appreciating any of their physical attributes. For instance, people who are involved in human trafficking objectify their victims all the time, and it’s not necessarily a matter of finding them attractive.

      I find the tendency to equate appreciating the way someone looks with objectification to be really troubling, to be honest. I think it’s natural and normal to find people attractive, provided you still treat the person with respect and understand that they are, in fact, a person with their own agency. I’ve experienced being objectified by a romantic partner before, and it was not a loving and pleasant experience.

      • Thanks for that reply. As a lesbian woman most of whose friends are decidedly straight, I often feel a little awkward about telling any of my friends they are “beautiful” or “attractive”. With other lesbian women, it’s ironically much easier to say, “you’re hot”, even if I have absolutely no intention of pursuing them romantically.

        Attraction for me is not something that I can be reductive about. It’s a holistic experience. I don’t have “a type”; I’m about the whole package. Of course, there are *some* attributes I look for, but none of them are physical, they are all personality traits. That doesn’t mean I don’t still have a visceral response to physicality.

        But, I think we’d all agree that “what a person is” is not “what a person looks like”, so it’s hard to separate attraction to physical features from attraction to something that is not inherent to “who they are”, and attraction to something that is not “who they are” seems an awful lot like objectification. I’m not accusing, I’m asking, because I’m honestly not sure of the answer to the question, “At what point does compiling a list of the features we like about other people descend into objectification?”

      • Hmmm…I guess my first question would be “is it a list of features we’d find attractive generically, or is it the things we find attractive about a specific person?” Because I don’t really do the whole categorical “I like my partners to be x, y and z,” you know, where you will only have any sort of romantic/sexual interest in a person that fits those specific categories. So I guess if you are looking at people first and foremost as to how well they fit a type, then that can be a problem.

        That was what I ran into with a previous relationship, because I fit that person’s specific type: thin, blonde hair, white. The rest of me – my personality, my ideas, my hobbies – were considered incidental to the fact that I fit that physical type. Like, who I was as a person was an annoying thing to be dealt with in order to own the part that my former partner considered most important, which was my exterior/body/appearance.

        I don’t feel as though I do that with my present partner, because it’s not like I set out to find a man with hair on the backs of his hands or crinkly eyes or whatever. I fell in love with him, and they are some of the physical parts of him that particularly resonate with me. I would have fallen in love with him even if he DIDN’T have those things.

        I don’t know if I’m making a lot of sense, but I’m trying to feel this out as I write, because your asking a good question and I want to see if I can figure out what my personal line is.

      • Hi Caitlin – I just wanted to support your description, and also reject the “objectification” tag. When I first read it, I thought it was wonderfully poetic, observant, and loving. You should leave that on a little slip of paper on the sofa some day…

  13. I noticed the women in the WAF blog were mostly young women. If you had asked me if I was feminist when I was a teenager, I would have said, NO in a horrified voice. It is embarrassing and here are my list of excuses: a) I didn’t understand feminism b) I didn’t appreciate historical feminism, c) I hadn’t yet had the education to know what intersectional feminism is, d) I hadn’t yet been discriminated against for my gender (or, rather, I hadn’t picked up on it yet), e) I was young and cocky and thought I had it all figured out, and that I was better than the feminists. (Oy. I think I also read The Fountainhead too- this is turning into an embarrassing confession!).

    As a feminist now, like Caitlin pointed out, I feel stronger. Yes, I go through moments/days where I do feel angry (key stereotype), but overall, I am happier, more well-rounded, educated, and stronger, both physically and emotionally. I also have more fulfilling romantic relationships with men. A big part of my feminist education is the internet- so thank you to all my feminist role models out there, including Caitlin, for writing thoughtful, insightful discourse.

    • I very much agree with this. When I was at high school I was one of those girls who said “I’m not a feminist, I’m a humanist” (cringe).Now I realise that I just didn’t understand feminism.
      When you say you hadn’t been discriminated against due to your gender, or hadn’t picked up on it yet, can I say I think this is one of the biggest hurdles modern feminism faces? So often I find men and women against feminism go straight to the old fashioned objectives, saying that women can vote, stand for government, do any job they want etc, so therefore feminism is no longer an issue.
      Trying to explain the subtleties of sexism (like how we assume a president/prime minister/CEO/doctor is a man, how cleaning products are still marketed to mums, how we talk about childcare as a woman’s issue, how we still note whether a rape victim was drunk or what she was wearing) is difficult. Many of these DO apply to men, (just not as much as they apply to women) so the issues are either written off as minor and no big deal, or as something that applies to both therefore feminists are being unfair only looking at how it affects women.

      • I consider myself to be an extremely privileged human being, and so I can see how someone who occupies a similar place in society can think that sexism is no longer a problem in need of attention, at least for a certain class of woman.

        However, despite all of my privileges in this world, I still have found myself running face first into patriarchal thought and misogyny over and over again. I was raised in a deeply patriarchal religion in a part of the country where there is virtually no separation between religion and state, I was sexually abused multiple times when I was a young girl, and then I was in an intimate relationship with a partner who was controlling and abusive. To me these are not isolated incidents but rather part of a same pattern of socially reinforced thinking and behavior that spans millennia and continents.

        As a result, I think anyone who goes “well, women have the vote!” as a sign that the work of feminism to be finished is being willfully obtuse.

    • Thanks for the comment, Melanie! There’s much in your experience that I can relate to (and not just the early Randian appreciation either). Your entire last paragraph particularly resonates with me. It’s not that my life is perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than it was before I developed a belief in my own strength and my self-worth.

  14. I don’t need feminism for my relationship with my husband to work. I *do* need it for everything else on this planet to work, however. Getting pretty tired of these lazy little snowflakes thinking just because *they* think they don’t need something, that no one else does. Little narcissistic twits.

  15. Reblogged this on The Monster's Ink and commented:
    I can open my own jars, haul furniture, mow the lawn, and get things off high shelves.

    If I were unable to do any of those things, what would patriarchy have to offer?

    Men don’t owe me their physical strength or time for help with activities that are beyond my muscular capacities. At the same time, I don’t owe them my gratitude for their existing with greater upper-body strength.
    Patriarchy isn’t really interested in making women’s lives easier by persuading men to be available to help women when stronger arms are needed. Patriarchy is interested in making women dependent so that our assistance is constantly available to men. Differences are not written in stone.

    • “Patriarchy isn’t really interested in making women’s lives easier by persuading men to be available to help women when stronger arms are needed. Patriarchy is interested in making women dependent so that our assistance is constantly available to men.”

      Exactly! Such a good point.

  16. Yes, this! You’re right on – it is funny how the WAF talk about respecting men and then it boils down to applauding stereotypical gender traits and not appreciating people as, well, PEOPLE. As a feminist, I want people to appreciate me for my personal qualities, and I do the same for others (yes, including men!). I value my boyfriend for being a GOOD person, not for how he measures up on some masculinity scale.

    Also, props to Brian for reading War and Peace! That is on my list of books to read this year, but we’ll see if I get to it…

    • When he told me he was going to read “War and Peace,” no lie, I totally laughed and thought he was joking. It’s not exactly what you think of when you think of a summer read, you know? But so far he seems to be really into it. He particularly seems taken with how people seem to be essentially the same, no matter if they are alive in the modern United States or imperial Russia. He’s making me think that maybe I should take a crack at it sometime too…

  17. I love the fact that in my marriage, I don’t need to compete with my husband about who has what job. We are a unit, and compliment each other. I have a “Brian” too, and he isn’t afraid to cry during a love story, sweep me off my feet, and let ME open jars for HIM if needed. Great post.

  18. The main attack on WAF has been “these girls don’t seem to know what the definition of feminism is”. I would address that, but TIME magazine has done a better job, so I’m just going to post this link: http://time.com/3028827/women-against-feminism-gets-it-right/

    With regards to this particular post: how exactly is liking your husband for being able to make you laugh, or having hair on the backs of his hands any more of a “better” or “deeper” reason than liking him for being able to open a pickle jar? Making you laugh is an entirely material commodity. There are people (comedians) who make a living off delivering that commodity. So really, that is just as much of a service your husband is offering you as the husband who is opening pickle jars.

    You like the hair on the backs of his hands? That’s cool. How would you feel if I said “I love my wife for her large breasts”? I have a strong suspicion that you would say I was shallow and that my love for my wife comes down to the functional benefits I can derive from her (same thing you’re accusing the girl in the above picture of). I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with liking your significant other for a physical feature, but since we’re discussing what constitutes “really liking someone for what they are” and “shallowly liking someone for shallow things they can provide us”, physical beauty is widely regarded as belonging to the latter category.

    As a side note, I’m mostly sure that the quips about the jars are humor.

    Sorry if this post came off sounding a little hostile. My intention was to rebut without hostility.

    • “Making you laugh is an entirely material commodity”

      What a sad conception of human relationships. Much pity toward this man.

      - a fellow man

      • I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who found that sad as well. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt but…IDK I’m glad that’s not my value system.

    • Except that Time gets it wrong. Everything modern women have the ability to do, from vote to own property to serve in the military to accessing birth control pills, is owned to feminist activists. Those women are essentially shitting on what gave them the things they have and ignoring that there are still large gaps in equality by using stereotypical tropes of what they think feminism is (same thing the Time article does.)

    • The rest of your comment has already been addressed by others but I wanted to talk about your attempt at drawing an analogy between the hair on the backs of my husband’s hands and a guy who likes his girlfriend’s large breasts.

      1. People are free to find whatever and whoever they want to be attractive. Sincerely, I mean this. If a guy is really into his lady partner’s huge rack, and it makes her feel good, then more power to both of them. I am all about people finding each other sexy and attractive and expressing it in fun, mutually satisfying ways. That said…

      2. It’s not a perfect analogy. Not by a long shot. I will maybe be more likely to take the argument more seriously when we live in a culture that has glorified hair on the backs of men’s hands to such an extend that tens of thousands of men undergo painful surgical processes each year so they can have fake hair implanted on their hands. Until that happens, though, I’m going to have to say that your analogy doesn’t work at all here.

    • Hi Matt – if you said you liked the way her breasts look in the dawn’s light, I’d say “wonderful, write her some poetry”. As soon as you bring “large” into it, you are admitting your mind has been colonized by the fashion industry, who like to prey on the traits created by your reproductive DNA, to get you to buy stuff.

      If you were trying to rebut without hostility, you failed. I’m kinda wondering, why are you trying to rebut these things women are saying? What’s in it for you? What are you afraid of?

      • He doesn’t really have to say poetry or really anything special. He just happens to be a socialized human being. It’s been done since the beginning of human existence. The doesn’t equal hostility and neither does giving his opinion. He saw the article and felt the need and inspiration to comment the same as you. That doesn’t mean he’s in it for anything other than his own enjoyment. The fact that he didn’t want to offend anyone means he was probably afraid of upsetting anyone but apparently he did and he is preemptively sorry for it.

  19. It makes me so sad that so many young girls don’t understand what feminism is, and it frustrates me that in the 21st century society still has this stigma against feminists as being anti-man. (Which is an idea that is outdated by at least 30 years and I’m not sure was ever really correct so much as it was created by men who felt threatened.) As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says in her “We Should All Be Feminists” speech – Feminists believe in the equality of the sexes. We need to teach people (and especially our young women) that feminism is not taboo. Excellent post!

    • I’m sure there are some women who identify as feminists out there who hate men, but can I just say that some of the most virulently anti-man statements I have ever heard have come from the mouths of so-called traditional values women? They don’t trust their husbands not to screw around, they talk about how dumb and oafish their husbands are…it’s appalling, really. It’s like, if that’s what it means to value and love the men in your life, then I guess I’m fine with being considered a man-hater. Sheesh.

      • This is SO TRUE. I learned far more respect for men and women alike among feminists than I would have following mainstream culture’s depiction of both sexes. The way women ar depicted is awful, but the stereotypical male depiction is little better many times – slovenly, drunken, potbellied, stupid, incapable of a variety of minor day to day tasks or even feeding or caring for themselves without devoted female attention and aid except for some Male Activites… it’s not a pretty picture or much of a role model to look up to. All the positive male images aside, that one really sticks out more. At least it did to me. Maybe because it contradicted the other images, popped them, like balloons. How could both be true at once after all? Woof. Glad that wasn’t my only reference growing up and that my parents’ better work ‘took’.

  20. I think this is the most glaring reason why WAF needs to STFU:

    http://iwantedwings.wordpress.com/2014/07/21/a-response-to-women-against-feminism/

    “If you feel that you have so far lived your life unaffected by even the mildest form of sexism [...] and are treated with love and respect by every man in your life, then to you I say: I’m glad for you. If you don’t think you need feminism, then that is a victory for the movement. You have fulfilled all those dreams that every suffragette being force-fed in prison and every ‘witch’ burnt at the stake dreamed you would one day.

    But perhaps take a second to consider the life of the Pakistani woman who was beaten to death by her own family for marrying a man of her choosing. Or the life of the Indian woman who was raped, beaten, and murdered on a bus by a gang of men. Or the life of the little girl in Niger who was sold to a man more than twice her own age and forced to carry a baby that may kill her to deliver. Do they still need feminism?”

    Also, regarding jars, get one of those grippy things, or a leather glove.

    • Ugh, that post hit me in my hurt-y spots.

      The day that feminism becomes obsolete will be a great one indeed, but as your excerpt indicates, we have quite a ways to go before that will be happening.

  21. There is a group of women I socialize with who literally fear for their lives when their male partner is out of the house at night. Like they’re sleeping with a tennis racket in one hand and a baseball bat in the other, leaving all the lights in the house on, etc. Pretty much all of them lived alone prior to marriage and didn’t appear to have these fears at that time. I love my husband a lot, but I don’t actually think his presence is the One Thing Protecting Me From Certain Death.

    So I guess what I’m saying is that my husband hasn’t made me feel like a helpless person. And I just use a Jar Key for jars.

  22. The lifting heavy things and jar part are ridiculous. What also stands out to me though is listing “favorite color” along with gender, sexual orientation, religion, social status, and race. Which is common for folks to do of course, throw in some flippant thing when talking about oppression. But still bugs me. My favorite color affects how I am treated in society in no where near the same way as my gender or sexual orientation. I’ve never had to be afraid I would be killed over my favorite color, but that certainly is a real fear when it comes to my gender and sexual orientation. Which is of course part of why I do need feminism.

    • Oh yeah, that was definitely a part of the sign that made me think that she doesn’t really understand the gravity of what she’s saying. One’s race, sexual orientation or gender are not at all on the same level as one’s favorite color. It reminds me of people who say they don’t see color, and that everyone – “black, white, red, purple, blue, whatever” – looks the same to them. I usually cut some major side-eye whenever that gets whipped out.

  23. I’m getting really tired of being told what my feminist movement is “really” about. Especially by some Time magazine contributor who writes for Reason Magazine, of all things.

    • Feminism (like all other things) is going to get judged on 1) definition, 2) actions.

      Yes, the definition of feminism is about the equality of sexes.

      The actions of feminism… Really, the TIME article does a better job, but OK: here’s the condensed version. While a lot of feminists (the majority, I’m sure) are actually about equality of sexes, there is a large and vocal minority that is using feminism to veil their misandry. Those feminists have inspired ridicule and dislike, including this WAF thing.

      Are you going to deny that this vocal minority exists? Or say that this minority aren’t true feminists (“No true Scotsman…”)? I bet they would say: “I’m getting tired of being told what my feminist movement is “really” about. Especially by some commenter on some blog somewhere.”

      Incidentally, the Time magazine / Reason writer never said “feminism is really about…” You’re putting words in her mouth (straw man argument). She says what I just said: There is a large and vocal minority of feminists who have given the movement a bad name. Is that deserved? No, of course not. But has it happened? Yes, it has, and WAF is the proof.

      • “the definition of feminism is about the equality of sexes.”

        aaaand I stop reading here. learn about the different feminisms that are out there before trying to mansplain the wide variety of women’s activism and theory with such simplistic generalizations on a blog written by a woman for other women

        - a fellow man

  24. If you need a husband or boyfriend to open jars, then what did you do prior to meeting him? Have you never lived alone at any time in your life?

    What about the idea of going to the gym and working on those arms and hands? How about a really, big wrench? What about asking a stronger woman?

    If you’re so weak that you can’t open a jar, or not smart enough to find a way to get it opened, then why should you be trusted either holding a child, or figuring out how to deal with a child-related problem?

    • Your comment reminds me of the Tracy Anderson ‘nothing heavier than a three-pound weight’ mandate, and how absurdly impractical that is. Why, why, why must we go out of our way to cultivate physical weakness? What’s so bad about trying to become even a tiny bit stronger? *headdesk*

  25. Great post Caitlin, I echo your views on the kind of partnership you want with your husband. Valuing a man as more than “a provider of paychecks, an opener of jars, a lifter of heavy shit.” That shit’s going on a valentine’s day card. Love it. Great blog too.

  26. I’m just glad to have married a feminist. I don’t think—in fact I know—that I’d never have married a man who wasn’t a feminist. He might open jars for me, but he also fights for equality, and that’s way the fuck more important. :)

    • I was married to a guy who wasn’t a feminist – and who in fact was one of those closeted “nice guy” misogynists” – and so I can attest first hand that being with a guy who is a feminist (or I suppose he would describe himself as an ally) is waaaaaayyyy better. OMG like no contest at all.

      Mamas, don’t let your kids grow up to marry (or become) misogynists.*

      *Dads, too.

      • *shudder*

        My ex-husband was far less of a feminist than my current husband. He was still very much caught up in traditional gender roles, and that often created a lot of tension.

  27. Reblogged this on Part Time Monster and commented:
    Yes. This. A thousand times, this. I haven’t been able to figure out how to write about this situation yet, because it perplexes me. I don’t understand the backlash against a movement that has, without a major war, helped to level the playing field in everything from voting rights to education to what jobs are open to me. I’m confused by the suggestion that the work of feminism is “done,” too, when there are still massive gender and sex inequalities that get even more complex when a person’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, or geographical location marks them as different from the status quo.

  28. This post should be renamed “How to Respond Calmly and Rationally to Ignorance” I agree with this post whole heartedly, but would like to commend you on your rational demeanor. People are so quick to attack others on the internet, its refreshing to see someone agree to disagree and give young and foolish teenage girls the benefit of the doubt.

    • Thanks for that. I definitely strive to be compassionate, fair and empathetic in all my dealings with people – especially the ones who really vex me – and while I’m not always successful, I do make an effort. So thanks again. :)

  29. That tumblr is irritating. And yeah, if you can’t open a jar you should probably see a doctor. I can open a difficult jar if I have to. Can we all move on from the jar thing and also stop with the misconception of what feminism is? Please??

    • Hey, maybe next we can endlessly rehash the politics of door-holding! I love to talk about handing over all my freedoms as a human being in exchange for not having to do small things like open my own door or unscrew a jar of pickles. Seems like a fair trade, huh?

      • One of my college classes decided that holding the door open for someone was the ultimate act of kindness…

  30. I open my own cans. I cannot even begin to comment on these and sit back sadly and read wondering what the future will hold for these women. The hastily scrawled writing on spiral bound paper, their “product” and symbol of their message says it all to me. I chalk it up to their need to please men by showing their eagerness to decry inferiority in the differences they cherish. I didn’t need feminism either until I left the man who beat me in front of my child and I had to be the sole breadwinner. Opening my own cans is worth it, and quite frankly not that difficult. Then again comedy is hard and I think that is what she was going for . . . put it with the cans would be my advice and let him take care of that as well.

    • You are my hero. It was hard enough for me to leave my abuser without any kids at all, and so knowing you did it with a young one in tow…I am in awe.

      • A hero? Thank you. I am a survivor and you know from your experience it is not easy to leave an abusive relationship and I am glad you found the courage and strength to stand up for yourself. I needed feminism, I needed to have value and worth and it served me well. I see women who do not like themselves due to being female, that is all I see when they wave these signs and it convinces me of nothing except how wrong I was in the past and how far I have come. I wish for everyone to find their way on the journey of self-aceeptance, love and empowerment. I suspect that female in that photo can in fact open her own cans independently so we are dealing with multi-leveled deception of self and others. Again, sad. But I am also happy to see you have found a partner you show equal respect to and who is not a “tool” to do your bidding. Thank you for your supportive comments, I enjoyed and related to your post all too well.

  31. This is fantastic! I lived all alone for two years, and I was very pleased that working on my upper body strength paid off! I see a lot of this heteronormative BS from folks who assume that I’m straight since I’m married to a man (hello, invisible lgBQ, my old friend), and I’m like, “Independent woman ain’t need no jar-opener.” Or, as one of your other commenters put it, my relationship isn’t invalidated by an automatic jar-opener. Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you! And thanks for your excellent blog – I’ve been reading it ever since I came across it a few months ago and it is so. good. I love what you are doing.

  32. Apparently the WAF thing was started by MRAs, which, no surprise there.

    I open the jars in my house. My husband is awesome about it. If someone else hands him a jar to open, he passes it straight to me. The weird part is that he’s generally stronger than me, and my grip strength in particular is pretty bad (joint hypermobility and associated osteoarthritis and tendinitis). I guess I just have killer technique.

    • I guess you do! Maybe I should take lessons from you. :)

      And also, not at all surprised to hear that there’s a connection between WAF and MRAs. Not surprised to learn that at all.

  33. Thanks for this post. I am an opener of jars, but that is certainly not all I am. I’m also a standup comedian and a confidant and a decent cook.

    This Tumblr thing is so perplexing I haven’t acknowedged that it exists except in private conversations. I’m a feminist and I don’t trust myself to respond in a productive way. I just want to go off on it. So, I appreciate having me something to reblog in a few hours, because reblogging is so much better than just saying nothing. :-)

    Seriously, this bugs me. I have a feminist friday discussion project that’s been running since March. We’ve produced 18 posts so far, and a blogger who’s never hosted it before is doing the post this week. I’m happy to share the details, links, etc. if you like, and of course you’re welcome to join in :-)

    • I would definitely like to learn more about it, thanks! I can’t promise I will be able to contribute – work has me overwhelmed right now, plus I’ve got some other stuff going on in my life that I’ll blog about later – but I’d definitely like to read what you all have done.

  34. Wow – this has been a very heavy topic to read first thing on a sunny Friday morning. So many directions I could take this in … so I’m going to pick the Ayn Rand route.
    I was a HUGE Ayn Rand fan in my youth, particularly Atlas Shrugged – not necessarily for Rand’s political leanings (which are seriously flawed), but because of her powerful female character. Dagny Taggart was a significant role model for me at a time when there weren’t many strong female role models in the business world. Dagny reflected independence, self-reliance, striving for excellence – all things I wanted to be. These are powerful lessons for anyone – man or woman.
    I admit that I too have long been confused about feminism and if anyone had asked me, I would have said I wasn’t a feminist. It took this post to realize that in fact I’ve been one for a very long time.

    • I hear you on Dagny Taggart. I admired her as a character when I was younger.

      I think for me that the appeal in Ayn Rand’s writings was that I came across her when I was in the process of leaving the LDS church, which had put a really strong emphasis prioritizing the collective at the expense of the individual, and which also had promoted a lot of what I considered to be magical – and often downright irrational – thinking. Rand’s writings about logic and the individual really spoke to the part of me that had chafed against the constraints of the LDS church, and I embraced those ideals like a lifesaver. They definitely played a role in making me who I am today, even though I would never consider myself a fan of Rand’s these days.

      “It took this post to realize that in fact I’ve been one for a very long time.”

      This is a huge compliment. Thank you so much for saying this. :)

  35. Pingback: A Message from the Feminist Jar-Openers Association | I'll Make It Myself!·

  36. I think I have too many thoughts to respond well to this — and I am Loving this comment section already!! Great post, I honestly think that a lot of these girls will look back on this years from now and do a total face palm. I hope so at least. My husband has to open a jar for me every once in a while, but if that is what you* have to appreciate your husband for, well, you probably married the wrong guy :) (*you, as in the collective, generalized you, not as in YOU)

    • The comments on this are so good, aren’t they? <3

      And I'm with you – I foresee many facepalms in the future. It's okay, though. Most of us have been there in one way or another.

  37. Reblogged this on Victim to Charm and commented:
    On a recent plane ride from Portland to California,. I was traveling alone and had a moderately heavy carry-on suitcase with me.
    I boarded the plane and lifted the suitcase into the overhead compartment right behind where I was sitting. I won’t lie and say I looked effortless. I definitely showed in my body language that it was heavy and awkward.
    As I closed the compartment with my suitcase situated inside, the woman sitting on the aisle seat of that row smiled and said, “Where are those men when you need them?”
    I turned to her, said “I’m self-sufficient, thank you,” and took my seat in the row in front of her.
    Firstly, you just saw me successfully lift my suitcase above my head. Okay, it was difficult, but I did it.
    Secondly, there were multiple men around, and none of them offered to help me. You know why? BECAUSE I WAS CLEARLY LIFTING MY SUITCASE MYSELF. Furthermore, those men, who were already seated, were not obligated to come to my aid when I appeared to be struggling a bit. I likely would’ve turned them down if they’d offered me help.
    Just like I am more than my reproductive system, men are more than strong shoulder muscles, thank you very much.

  38. I have no idea how long this Tumblr has been going, as I have been living in the Middle East, but yesterday I saw a disturbing segment on The Today Show about this and was horrified. After two years of living in a Muslim country with Sharia’a Law I returned to the USA to find out that it is a zillion times easier and cheaper for me to get contraception in the UAE than in the USA. And, on top of that companies (closely held corporations) are trying to make this even harder. I was feeling very sad until I came across your (always amazing) blog. I wish I could like so many of the comments, but I’ll settle by just saying thank you all for restoring my hope in feminism!

  39. Pingback: The Feminist Conspiracy | Feminist Figure Girl's Blog·

  40. I’ve never encountered a jar I couldn’t open somehow.
    I agree that a lot of young women have a very poor understanding of feminism – I teach writing at university level and often encounter students who make dismissive or negative comments about feminism. When I ask them what feminism is, though, they struggle to answer apart from the predictable negative cliches.

  41. Pingback: Friday Sex Links! | Sex with Timaree·

  42. Great post. I’m always amazed at how feminism has been mocked and destroyed over the years. And how many young women don’t realize how important it is. Feminism is not about favoring one gender over another. It is about equality.

  43. Step One: Purchase rubber jar lid gripper for $2.

    Step Two: Remove head from ass.

    I’m with Morgan Freeman about the whole this-group-versus-that-group thing. Just stop assigning groups, people. Keyword: people.

  44. I’m sure the jar thing was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. I think most of these women actually love their husbands as humans as well.

  45. Reblogged this on Adventures In Austin and commented:
    What a fantastic blog post! Hilarious and sweet. But really y’all, there’s just really no reason to be against feminism. Like, at all.

  46. As you said and were very much correct, these women don’t understand the concept or just definition of what feminism is. I would think to do that before talking about something that women before me tried so hard to fight for

  47. xxxxxxxxxxs! I was so glad to read this! And I love Brian too now – he does dances just to make you smile (not to mention that he recently read War & Peace). It’s not really them against us but there is a fucking war against women going on here and it does make me sad and mad to see these silly girls who are so clueless. You are more generous than me.
    And I’m very impressed with the fitness part and my old bones need all the inspiration they can get so I’m following you for mine.
    Well done!

  48. I am not a teen age girl, nor do I have a tenuous grip on the definition of a feminist. Actually I have great deal of experience with feminism which is why I reject the entire ideology. As to opening jars, that is a rather sweet metaphor for the symbiotic relationship men and women often have, not a two dimensional stereotype of men.

    The problem with equality is that it is a fool’s errand, because equality erases diversity and starts to demand sameness. Our differences are something that should be celebrated, not recalibrated to meet some imaginary definition of what we perceive equality should be.

    In the feminist gender equation, ultimately it is women who wind up getting erased, as we are forced to compete with men, just as smaller, weaker versions of them.

    So yes, I love my husband because he can open jars, he provides, and he brings invaluable things to the family equation simply because he is a man with all the skills and talents that men have.

    • You reject the entire ideology? So you are okay with not being able to own property or vote or go to college? You think it’s fine to be considered the legal property of your father and your husband? You don’t think marital rape should be a crime? Okay then.

      “equality erases diversity and starts to demand sameness.”

      You are making a huge leap here. Political, legal and social equality does not necessarily erase diversity. If anything it fosters it by allowing all people of all backgrounds to have equal voice and standing in society, instead of limiting those who have voice and standing in society to members of a single class (in the case of the U.S. that has historically been property-owning white men). So really, I have no idea where you are getting this from, because it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

      • “So you are okay with not being able to own property or vote or go to college? You think it’s fine to be considered the legal property of your father and your husband? You don’t think marital rape should be a crime?”

        We now have a horrendous number of women no longer living as “property of their husbands,” but as property of the state, forced to rely on the government for food stamps, housing, child support collections, school loans, even birth control. When a crime is committed against us, it is no longer a crime against us or our families, it is now a crime against the state. We have simply exchanged one form of ownership for another.

        We have a huge number of women attempting to do it all, raising kids as single parents, working full time, trying to survive in crime ridden neighborhoods and praying their kids don’t get shot in a drive by shooting. We have a record breaking number of women graduating from college, with staggering student loan debt, few job prospects, and constantly declining wages.

        Marital rape is not quite the black and white issue people believe it to be. If you really take the time to analyze the implications, why would we even suggest charging an abusive husband as if you can teach him not to rape, while suggesting a wife remain in that situation? Women should not be marrying abusive men in the first place and if they find themselves with one, they should get out of there. Also, marital rape laws have the potential to be abused, not just by women, but by men too, especially as we get into the grayer areas, like 3rd degree marital rape, in which no force used, no consent given. So in theory, a wife waking up a husband in an intimate way, can now be prosecuted as marital rape.

  49. I am arriving at complete acquiescence to women, because I am usually gobsmacked with awe at what women do; usually better than us chaps. I joke to many of my female students and wife: ” remember when you are the dominant gender that I was always on your side.” This goes well with me in Korea, still very much a male dominated society, where women of intelligence must roll their eyes often.

    • Oh man, there’s no need for that. I don’t know about other women but I don’t want anyone to feel acquiescence to me! I just want us all to try to be the best people we can be, and to try to bring out the best in other people. I don’t want to turn the hierarchy upside down; I want to get rid of it all together.

  50. A WOMAN’S PLACE

    Barbara Walters, of 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

    She returned to Kabul some time later and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. Despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seemed happy to maintain the old custom.

    Ms. Walters approached one of the Afghani women and asked, ‘Why do you now seem happy with an old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?’

    The woman looked Ms. Walters straight in the eyes, and without hesitation said, “Land mines.”

  51. Very good. However, I am now one of those poor woman who need help with jars, and I hate it. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and it just sucks.

    • Lots of people have been telling me about machines/tools that will open jars for you! I’ve used those rubber grip things but evidently these tools make it even easier. Maybe one of those will work for you?

  52. Awesome post. I appreciate that you provided a perspective that was logical, entertaining, and well thought out, unlike plenty of things that are being said from both the feminist and anti-feminist camps! :)

  53. It seems as if the lady in the picture is just trying to add some humor about the whole jar thing, maybe because she was being so serious in the beganing she just wanted to lighten it up with a joke. There are things men can do that we can’t and vice versa but why can’t we just be grateful to have different people with different abilities and just treat other people with respect . Women are great Men are great end of story

  54. I couldn’t agree more. So many young women misunderstand feminism, it’s sad! I used to lecture in women’s studies at uni and it was always such a struggle with most of the young women in my classes for the first few lectures, just getting past their preconceptions. After they started to actually read Mary Wollstonecraft and Adrienne Rich everything started to change though, which was always so exciting.

    • Funny how that happens, how once a person gets actual exposure to the ideas and not just the ideas as filtered through the lens of someone else, they are free to make up their own minds about things.

  55. I love your post because you wrote exactly how I feel about feminism! I don’t think my fiancé has ever opened a jar for me… I have a machine that will open them. In fact, I couldn’t open a jar and he couldn’t open it either, so I got my machine down and opened that jar and two others.

    • I need one of these machines! Some of these jars are on so tight that even my husband has some difficulty with them. A machine that can do away with that altogether would be a godsend.

  56. Not only is the jar opening bit just sad, but the fact that they have no concept of feminism. We are not man haters in general. Yes I, along with I imagine most women, gave had the occasional bout of OMG what were they thinking!!! In general though if we have negative things to say about men, it’s those who truly deserve it i.e. rapists, pedophiles, murderers, corrupt politicians and/or businessmen, the list goes on. Most of these men, men themselves also share our views. The feminists I socialize with and have had the pleasure of knowing fight for ALL people’s rights, not just women. The idea is equality among all people. My friends are the first to jump up and fight for someone who’s rights and freedoms are being jeopardized, men included!!!
    So a message to anti-feminists out there, educate yourself, and learn how to think and speak for yourselves! Oh and also please learn how to open your own jars!

  57. Simply put, women who are against feminism are the ones who don’t get it. Perhaps it’s even more sad that they do not understand that they have equal rights and equal opportunities because of the feminists who existed before them. Yet, we are still defined by our gender, and more modern feminism is needed. We DON’T HATE MEN! It’s sad that many people think feminists do.

    https://jonjaproductionsblog.wordpress.com/

  58. Wow – Yes ! Yes! Yes !!! You are Spot On. If people would just attempt to know what they are afraid of our world would such a better place. Am I a fully sold out Feminists? I really don’t know. But I do know that what you said about the value of my spouse has nothing to do with the social expectations our society places on us. And just for the record… my husband usually come to little ole me (5’1″) to open the tough jars! I know a few tricks that will get them opened every time. My Mom who was a single parent of three most of her life taught me these tricks. Trick 1- tap the edge of the lid about four times in diverse places with a butter knife which breaks the seal. Trick 2 if trick 1 did not work run hot water over the lid. Trick 3- if the first two did not work use butter knife to pry the sides of the lid slightly and then run hot water over the lid.

  59. Having been single for most of my 41 years, I managed out of necessity to do most things myself, including opening jars,, taking out the trash and mowing the yard, as well as buying a house and adopting a child.

    That being said, considering some of the ridiculous drivel I have recently read by so-called feminists (this post excepted), I can understand how these girls might want to distance themselves from modern feminism.

    • “…considering some of the ridiculous drivel I have recently read by so-called feminists (this post excepted), ..”

      Yes indeed, some of us very much want to distance ourselves from feminism because feminism has left the realm of reason and plunged into some very dark places.

  60. Feminism exists partly to strip away sexism, not just against women but against men as well. Those stereotypes that she wants her husband to live up to–provider of paychecks, heavy-lifter and jar opener–are just reinforcing sexist stereotypes against men and make them believe they need to live by a certain standard, which will force the men to live by them to feel threatened when women seek to take on those roles. leading to them making the women in their lives believe that women need men to do all those things. It’s a never-ending cycle.
    Feminism can help break that cycle. Thanks for your post.

  61. Sometimes I am sickened by the modern day political drama. That separates us, instead of “uniting” us. It’s like America is one size fits all, but it still doesn’t fit me.

  62. i cannot open the jar vs. i do not want to open the jar; preserving the status quo. it’s typical that the least privileged and the oppressed and all those who the status quo isn’t in their best interest develop a system justification bias. it’s ok if you don’t want to open the jar and you’d rather your man does it for you but just be conscious that it’s your choice and not that the jar is “unoppanable” by women including yourself. because if it was, then you could try and sue the manufacturing for sexism and harassment.

  63. If she truly believes in unconditional love and respect for all human beings then she better join the feminist movement. What does she think it is? I am so glad you wrote this post because just as you could not, I could not believe that she actually wrote “how the f&*^ am I supposed to open jars and lift heavy things without my husband”! She is implying that these are feats she is physically incapable of accomplishing, that she NEEDs a man because she and maybe all women are too feeble to do anything in the physical realm of life. Like you pointed out, men are more than jar openers and lifters of heavy shit. They are our sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, etc. They are people. There is more to a man than what he can offer physically, just as there is more to women than what they can offer physically (i.e. sexually). Great post! Very well written! I write a wordpress blog about the challenges my daughters face simply because they are girls at http://deardaughters.ca. I am going to link to your blog post on my Facebook page too.

  64. Now this is an unbiased blog i can follow. I’m glad that there are women who appreciates their husbands. God bless you girl.

  65. Well since there are women who can lift twice (I have even heard of up to TRIPLE) their own body weight there is no excuse to be unable to open jars. Unless they have an undiagnosed muscular or neurological condition.

  66. I am very happy you got Freshly Pressed, so I can read your wonderful post. As someone who was/is feminist whole my life, I am dumbstruck by young girls and women these days. Loosing my dad early on and growing up with struggling single mom, life experiences formed my take on the world from the start. It is shocking that feminism is in a far worse place today then it was 30 or 40 years ago, and much of the blame lies on ever incresing power of social media and society based on consumerism, where everything is labeled “Here!Now!”

  67. That sign was funny. You can love someone without being dependent on them – it’s sad these WAFs think they have to be helpless creatures.

  68. Reblogged this on Thought Potato and commented:
    I think it’s interesting that they are saying “unconditional” in a conversation where they are specifically calling out genders. True unconditional love sees not the categories, but the individual, and accepts every part of them. Saying that you love someone “regardless” anything is a condition– saying that you will turn a blind eye to the differences between you… but love is not blind. You love your wife not because she is a woman, but because she is a person.

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  70. This is all very sad to me. Cutting people down. Making fun of them. This sounds more like a mean girls blog to me. Cutting other women down for their views is always distressing to me. That’s the reason feminists have such a bad reputation. Lack of respect for an opposing opinion.

  71. The fact that women still get acid thrown in their faces (by other women!) and are gang raped against their will in sex-slavery/illegal brothel situations nearly 24-hours a day is reason enough to say, hey, I support women’s rights, which is all feminism is. It’s not an “opinion,” it’s a misinformed foot in the mouth. Shameful. WAF=WTF

  72. Reblogged this on Uniquely Abstract and commented:
    Self-empowerment and appreciation of others changes the faces titular we meet. Now, it’s how “we” as a people chose to implement these actions in our lives.

  73. Almost like 10 things I like about you. But seriously: You pinpoint what we women never must forget: To care about the PERSON, not what and how they do things

  74. I have only just discovered this post today, but I cannot tell you how glad it makes me feel to read somebody write so reasonably about the subject! I had been thinking for a while that it might be interesting to write from my own (male) perspective on the matter, and reading this finally prompted me to do so. It would mean a lot if you could have a look and share your thoughts!

  75. Well said!
    I have to remind myself that those ‘anti-feminism’ women have no clue what the movement (or definition) of feminism really means…Or at least it doesn’t seem like they know.

    thnx for sharing! <3

  76. Thank you, thank you so much for being so brilliant, so polite, so perfect with the piece you wrote. All this WAF story for a girl like me, trying to struggle against who thinks we are just crazy girls even a little ugly that hates man, to make them understand we fight for being able to go outside with a skirt without fear and live our life fully, it’s like fresh water in the desert. Humanity needs more women like you.

  77. Excellent post. Call out the female celebrities who don’t want to identify themselves as feminists because it “raises too much of a problem” too!

  78. Wow, if i cant open my jar then by damn there better be a butter knife near by to hit around the lid to losing it up. And if i want something heavy move it wil get moved without the help of a man. I love my fiance for who he is not what he can do. I would like to ask a really good question, if something terrible happen to their man and he no longer was able to do these things would they leave them because of it? Love and respect should be an unconditional love and respect is something human. Apparently these woman are either very young or have not been taught anything in life.

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  80. Your blog is great and powerful! I was hoping if you could kindly visit my blog and like or comment on anything you found interesting?

  81. I like your post. And no, I didn’t hear about this Women Against Feminism stuff, though it doesn’t surprise me – it’s alarming how misunderstood feminism is. I’ve never studied it myself (though I am a feminist based on what I believe are the ideology’s fundamentals), but perhaps it’s misunderstood because there are so many definitions out there of what feminism even means, or simply because of who is defining it.

  82. Thank you so much for this post. I felt the exact same way when I read that sign! Yes, I had to ask my husband to open a jar this morning, but if I were to list all of my favorite things about him, I wouldn’t even think to put opening jars and lifting heavy things on the list! My husband and I are happy to call ourselves equal partners.

  83. Yeah I see a lot of this on YouTube as well. My thing is why can’t we agree to disagree? No one is going to be with you 100% if they have their own views and opinions.

  84. It’s really kind of sad to see these signs. Reminds me of when I was a little kid and started worrying about growing up and living all by myself, because who would zip up my dresses in the back for me?

  85. Excellent post!

    “they seem to appreciate men for the functional roles they fulfill for the WAFs – as providers of paychecks, openers of jars, lifters of heavy shit – and not for the actual human beings they are.”

    This part really resonated with me. I am a feminist, and definitely call out my friends (both male and female) who make negative comments that degrade women, even unintentionally (like, “What, are you on your period?”). I also do the same thing when I hear people generalize things about men (most recently, “Men are pigs.”).

    I do think women have to deal with a lot more of the brunt of that kind of behavior, but it doesn’t change the fact that we won’t get anywhere by packaging people together and stereotyping them. I like to treat people who identify as men and appreciate them as the actual human beings they are, and I’d like the same for myself and for anyone else, regardless of how they identify.

  86. A lot of Millennials (or Gen Xers) who grew up in apolitical or conservative households are going to be clueless about what feminism is unless they actually go out their way to seek out alternative information. If their info is only from the so-called “mainstream” media than it will have a rightward bias that feminists all want to castrate men, outlaw makeup etc. If these ladies are actually organizing something (even something stupid) then I can’t really call them apolitical, but they still are very uninformed. I also find it telling that sign mentions being “cool” with sexual orientation but assumes male/female relationships and complementarianism, (complementary gender roles) which is a idea some conservative Christians use both to justify trad hetero marriage and exclude same-sex relationships. Maybe it’s “gay people are fine so long as they’re celibate”. Thank you, how generous. Now, I don’t mind people who don’t call themselves feminists, (perhaps based on issues with some feminists not being intersectional enough) but act on feminist principles, I’ll take that over people who call themselves feminist but act like bad ones.

  87. Reblogged this on The Lefthander's Path and commented:
    A lot of Millennials (or Gen Xers) who grew up in apolitical or conservative households are going to be clueless about what feminism is unless they actually go out their way to seek out alternative information. If their info is only from the so-called “mainstream” media than it will have a rightward bias that feminists all want to castrate men, outlaw makeup etc. If these ladies are actually organizing something (even something stupid) then I can’t really call them apolitical, but they still are very uninformed. I also find it telling that sign mentions being “cool” with sexual orientation but assumes male/female relationships and complementarianism, (complementary gender roles) which is a idea some conservative Christians use both to justify trad hetero marriage and exclude same-sex relationships. Maybe it’s “gay people are fine so long as they’re celibate”. Thank you, how generous. Now, I don’t mind people who don’t call themselves feminists, (perhaps based on issues with some feminists not being intersectional enough) but act on feminist principles, I’ll take that over people who call themselves feminist but act like bad ones.

  88. Brilliant post. Totally understand your very positive viewpoint on this. Respect and understanding go a long way to dispel the negativity surrounding ‘feminism’. We just need relax, to be natural and stop judging so much. None of us are perfect.

  89. How do women not know how to open their jars by now? I grew up with two very strong brothers and guess what… still opened my own jars. If they are stuck good just slip the tip of a butter knife under the lid and lever to break the seal… solved.
    Most men are worth so much more than their alleged bottle opening service – I say alleged because I know many men for whom I have had to open bottles. I adore my Husby for many reasons, not least of which is that I am an abominable person in the mornings, just don’t talk to me before I have my caffeine and somehow plaster my hair down a bit and he still loves me. I kind of this this fact is evened out by his turbo snoring that meant I only got 3 hours sleep last night hahaha.
    Here’s my point… if you can’t think of a better reason for being with your man than: he opens jars, he opens doors, he lifts the heavy sh*t etc. well then your man should dump you. DUMP YOU! He is not your personal slave, he is your partner!

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  91. I agree so much with this post! To me, I think it’s sad that even in 2014, when we have progressed so far in other ways, we still have to debate the idea of equality. Men and women are different, but I long for the day that the stereotypes and stigmas are stripped away and everyone is treated equally.

  92. Pingback: On “women against feminism” | The Activist Classroom·

  93. This post not only made me laugh, but it really hit the nail on the head with regard to my position in the feminist debate. I’ll definitely be reading, so keep up the great work!

  94. Fantastic post! I know I am a man, and I hope it’s ok for me to post, but I do worry about the situation not on only in countries such as Pakistan, or Iraq or Afghanistan. I worry about THIS country. My wife is part of a mummy’s group on Facebook and regularly every other night she screams at the ludicrous comments on there, about how basically all these women are happy to be in the kitchen because that’s their place (and most of them are under 30!)…It frightens me. What has happened to this country? I am a ‘guest’ here I guess being from Italy originally, but I am stunned at the way this is going. I want my daughter to have all she ever dreams of and I will fight for her rights to have a chance at obtaining them. Maybe she will, maybe she won’t, but I hope she will have a chance to at least be a doctor, a business person, a lawyer (like her mom), anything. Too much ignorance these days, too much superficiality. Too much #ing and not enough research before speaking. I know people still ask me (in 2014) why did I allow my wife to keep her name!!! It must be because I am from Italy and that’s the way it’s done there, but who the hell cares what her name is? She is my wife. I am her husband. Period. Thank you for letting me post, and I hope I was not out of line. I really enjoy your blog!

  95. Oh for heaven’s sake. The only trick to opening a jar that you ever need to know is to break the vacuum seal first. Pry the lid away from the rim ever so slightly with the tip of a butter knife blade or a “church key” can opener until the lid pops. This requires almost no physical strength at all. ;-)

  96. I really like this post, I was talking about this earlier today actually..

    Men and Women are different and we as humans should embrace that fact. Differences does not mean incompetency, and i think that is what people should be educating on or raising awareness for. Yes – equal rights in the light of receiving equal pay etc. But men and women in many situations are needed for things that they are emotionally or physically more designed to do.

  97. Pingback: A “Typical” Day as a Fulbright ETA | theadventuresofbeka·

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