Bozell & Graham Column: Feminism, Still Considered Man-Hating

Shailene Woodley is fast-rising movie star, and at age 22, she’s already thrown the country’s most uptight feminists into a tizzy.  

Time magazine asked Woodley: “Do you consider yourself a feminist?” To say she didn't give the Hollywood answer would be an understatement.

“No, because I love men, and I think the idea of ‘raise women to power, take the men away from the power’ is never going to work out because you need balance.”

Many women continue to reject “feminism” because it evokes an ideological rigidity grounded in the hostility toward men. That, in turn,drives feminists around a bend.


The New York Times took up the outrage over the Time interview with Woodley. Novelist Jennifer Weiner, 44, went to Twitter to deliver her lecture, “Dear Young Actresses: Before you sound off on feminists and how you’re not one, please figure out what feminism is.” MSNBC contributor Zerlina Maxwell complained, “Here’s another actress rejecting a feminist label she can’t define properly.”

This sputtering is a bit amusing. Feminists insist you support their entire agenda or you’re guilty of waging a “war on women.” Apparently a woman who isn't a feminist is anti-woman.

Feminists insist they care only for equality between the sexes, but if that were so, why would so many women balk? Because they hate themselves? Or because after 40 years of screaming, it is pretty apparent that activist feminists in academia, the media, and politics will never stop complaining. Forty years from now they will still be waging a war on intolerable “patriarchy.”

It's becoming faddish again to mentally bra-burn. The Times found twentysomething feminist actresses who are perpetually outraged at people’s failure to bow to feminism. HBO star Lena Dunham said her “greatest pet peeve” is women spurning the term feminist. Last summer in The Guardian newspaper, openly lesbian Ellen Page lamented, “I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”

Actress Martha Plimpton closed out the Times article by insisting the stigma of the F-word simply must be removed, and that failing to support the word was a form of bigotry.

“I take a lot of pride in calling myself a feminist and always have,” she wrote the newspaper in an e-mail. “We’re going to have to insist on correcting bigotry as it happens, in real time. And fear of women’s equality, or the diminishment of it, is a kind of bigotry. I think it’s important to remove the stigma associated with women’s equality, and as such, yes, normalizing the word ‘feminist’ and making sure people know what it means is incredibly important, whether we’re talking to celebrities or anyone.”

But Plimpton knows just how batty it can get inside the progressive funhouse when it comes to defining terms. In January, Plimpton tweeted about a benefit for Texas abortion funds called “A Night of a Thousand Vaginas,” and was promptly attacked by radical transgender activists who felt using the word “vaginas” in the event title brought pain to “trans men” who don’t want the reproductive organs they still have “coded as female.”

Biological reality is such a pain.

Many people don’t accept the term “feminist” because it sounds like a very serious kind of pagan religion, with its own dogma and doctrinal enforcers. Others find feminists to be boors, pure and simple. Still others see the hypocrisy of it all.  If feminists really believed women should be liberated to make their own path, wouldn't they embrace a debate over feminism? Such is the world of the "tolerant" left.