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A few days ago I posted Reclaiming “Feminism” I Haven’t seen any one follow the advice.  No one has made a post rejecting someone’s claim to be a feminist.  One post in twenty isn’t a huge burden to fight for something.  I think that an example is in order.  A good template and foundation for how to reject a claim to be “feminist”

awkardI have an example.  JenniferP Posting on Captain Awkward, I reject your claim to being a feminist.  In #477 you are not arguing for equality, but for special women’s privileges.

In brief, a person with a diagnosed illness that was in therapy wrote a letter to her advice column asking

It’s possible to be an anti-sexist, pro-feminist, actually nice person without constantly worrying about accidentally oppressing women, right?

Her answer was a clear and resounding NO.  Men must constantly worry about accidentally oppressing women.  I don’t care that it’s part of a real, diagnosed mental illness that your getting treatment for.  You should be constantly and forever nervous anxious and worrying about oppressing women.  The entire reply boiled down to “You are an evil oppressive villain that subjugates women.  Women need special treatment because that may have actually been true at some point in the past”

There was a sorta apology, but no retraction.  She very clearly and directly states

The content of my advice remains basically the same

The tone was more moderated, but the message was the same.  Women deserve special treatment.  I do believe that she is actually sorry that she used such harsh language responding to someone with a mental illness.  She is explicitly not apologizing for asserting that women deserve special treatment.

This is female superiority, not equality.  Feminism is about gender equality.  JenniferP You are not a feminist.

Now, “XY” deserves a real reply.  One that actually supports gender equality.

Dear XY,

There is a bewildering array of stuff out there.  Just because someone wrote it down doesn’t make it true.  Most of the literature is written by bigoted “Gender Feminists” that want female superiority, not gender equality.  You can safely ignore Schrodinger’s Rapist, and anything like it.  This includes the reply from Captain Awkward.

When interacting with women there is ONE think you need to remember.  Women are people, just like you.

Do approach women in public.  Do strike up conversations.  Do be a real and social person.  You will make people uncomfortable at times.  This is more likely their hang up, not you.  There are some things that you should avoid when making contact with a stranger.  Don’t stare, and defiantly don’t stare at the body.  Look them in the eye, look at their face, and do look at other things, like the art on the wall.  Staring at a woman’s breasts will make her uncomfortable, even looking at her face to long will make her uncomfortable.  2nd, don’t talk about sex.  The person you are talking to is a person.  Talking about sex with strangers makes people uncomfortable.  3rd let them leave.  If you really are making them to uncomfortable, they will leave or make it clear they want you to leave.  Not every social interaction goes well.  Letting one end is much better than floundering.

There is a “Golden Rule” I use when talking to women.  It is very simple and works well.  For everything you say and do ask yourself “If this was a dude, would I do that”.  I’ve never walked up to a man and said “Nice Rack”  I would get slapped.  It would be silly to think that women would react much differently.  I don’t walk up to strange men and put my hands on their hips.  I would get punched.  It would be silly to think that women would react much differently.  Asking a random man out for coffee isn’t going to lead to an assault, but it will make a very awkward moment.  You don’t do that to men, so don’t do it to women.

When approaching strange women remember they are not “strange”, you just don’t know them yet.  They are not some weird other.  They are people, just people.  Treat them like people and all will be well.  The real problems come when you stop treating women like people.  The real problems come when you follow JenniferP’s advice.