The third-wave feminist is a curious creature. Her comrades are a strange sub-strata of Millennial and Generation X women with a peculiar inferiority complex. They’re obsessed with picking at the scab of women’s lib, trying to draw fresh blood, and are often seen prowling (or lumbering) around, attempting to sniff out sexism in every nook and cranny. Theirs is an ideology based not on equality, but misplaced victimhood.
According to your standard third-waver, the most insidious issues facing women today are not genital mutilation, or underage marriages, or sexual slavery. They are ‘manspreading’, ‘mansplaining’, and ‘micro-aggressions’. Terms cooked up to keep feminists in business as they steadily ran out of things to complain about. In short, third-wavers are perpetually miserable, and seek to make other women as brutally unhappy as they are.
Third-wave feminists are a contradiction in terms. They insist women should enter the workforce yet won’t shut up about how horrible the workforce is because of the wholly inconvenient presence of men. They say it’s a woman’s choice to have children. However, they ruthlessly condescend stay-at-home mothers; insisting they are capitulating to ‘traditional gender roles’. They plead with women to come out about sexual assault, yet simultaneously discourage them by insisting they won’t be believed. They valiantly exclaim physical appearance doesn’t matter, and are usually proud advocates of the ‘fat positivity’ movement, yet, regardless of their insistence that ‘fat’ is not an insult, for some bemusing reason they become grossly offended if you dare comment on their weight.
It is evident, then, the third-waver revels in convenient double-standards. However, the very worst of these is, ironically, a strange form of misogyny, and is starkly revealed in their treatment of right-wing women. In other words, third-wave feminists insist they want more female voices in the mainstream… as long as they agree with them.
As a woman on the right, I have observed with amusement the rampant tanty-throwing when a feminist is confronted by a conservative compatriot. If you have the audacity to stray from the feminist tribe, the ‘sisterhood’ will hurl insults the likes of which, if uttered by a man to one of their own, they would howl down as the worst kind of sexism. They will denigrate the way you look, dress, and talk, and attempt to discredit you with gossip and fabrication. They will slut-shame you in a way they would vehemently condemn (with much wailing and gnashing of teeth) if they were on the receiving end. The third-waver will even find a way to attack your age. Especially if she is older than you.
Take Kellyanne Conway. As the first woman ever to run a successful election campaign, she should be a feminist icon. And she would be, if she were on the left. If the wayward third-waver applied their own standards to all women, Conway would be lauded for this quite extraordinary achievement, regardless of her politics. Instead, feminists have labelled her ‘anti-woman’, mocked her for her hair and clothes, and dismissed her as an attention-seeker. The very ‘gendered’ insults third-wavers are allegedly rallying against.
Sometimes-funny comedienne Chelsea Handler infamously tweeted, ‘I wish someone would put Kellyanne Conway in a microwave’, a comment that would have a man crucified if directed at a leftist woman. Speaking of men; where were the hordes of feminists defending Conway when Democratic representative Cedric Richmond joked she looked very ‘familiar’ kneeling on the Oval Office couch? Well, apart from one tokenistic tweet from Chelsea Clinton, they were nowhere to be seen; silently condoning the behaviour they allegedly loathe, at least when it comes to their own.
But the champion of collective bullying of right-wing women is the demonstrably-easy-to-trigger Clementine Ford. Who, post-election, attributed the decision of women who voted for Donald Trump not to a simple difference of opinion, but to their apparent racism, and their capitulation to white supremacy (along with the men it allegedly benefits). She accused them of voting against their own ‘gendered interests’; interests prescribed by the Gospel according to Clemmie, of course. As such, to this particular third-waver, conservative women are deficient. Their opinions are nothing more than a by-product of their submission to the must-be-misogynistic men in their lives. A woman can only be conservative if she is an opportunist, unduly influenced, or has something morally wrong with her. Such a loophole in Clementine’s feminist mantra (along with her apparent unwillingness to understand her opposition) is at best, hypocritical, and at worst, malicious.
Third-wave feminists attempt to justify such bad behaviour by blathering, ‘So, does the fact we’re feminists mean we have to support all women?’ Well, no. However, a key feminist whining-point is the push to give all women a voice. Therefore, one would have thought the instinctive reaction of the third-wave conformist to the right-wing renegade would be to encourage civil debate. But oddly enough, feminist engagements with conservative women never seem to move beyond personal attacks. Why? Because character assassination is the last bastion of the desperate when they’re out of intellectual ammunition. Asserting Western women are still an oppressed class is patently absurd. In the harsh light of reality, third-wavers actually have no argument.
The idea women in our society are still somehow under the thumb of men is a fallacy; every opportunity available to men is also available to us. We have laws designed to protect us from rape, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, wage disparity, domestic violence, and other atrocities our sisters in the third world face unfettered. While not perfect, the playing field has never been more level. As such, the petty attempts of miserable third-wavers to intimidate right-wing women into silence are simply evidence of their terror at being exposed for the frauds they are. So here’s the tricky truth. Any Western woman who screams of her own ‘oppression’, yet has the means to view the world solely through the prism of gender, needs to take off the pussy-hat, put on a bra, and check her proverbial privilege. Ordinary women are sick to the back teeth of being told how terrible they should think their lives are by a hand-flapping mob of middle-class attention-mongers. Perhaps, if third-wavers realise this, they can resurrect what was once a noble, necessary movement. However, given the Left’s extraordinary capacity to eschew self-reflection, I’d say this is the longest of shots.