The different kinds of non-feminists there are

***This is a somewhat late response to a piece I saw on Thought Catalog. But hey, better late than never.***

The misogynists:These are the people who actually hate women. Because they’re so terrible! Every time they open their mouths it’s just yak yak yak. Why don’t they just shut up and sit down and get out of my way? These people cannot accept a woman in a leadership or authoritative position. They may or may not have deep psychological issues stemming from past rejection by women.

Celebrity example: Mel Gibson when he’s drunk. (So, Mel Gibson).

The sexist pigs: These are the people that believe women exist to be pleasing to men. Because women are objects, you see, created from the rib of Adam to make his life more pleasant. They don’t see anything wrong with using women’s naked bodies on all manner of advertisements, cuz like, hot chicks, man! AWESOME.

How to identify: Look for subscriptions to Maxim, use of the word “grenade” in conversations unrelated to weaponry or war.

The men’s rights advocates: These people believe that men are the ones suffering the true gender injustice. That’s right; feminism is just a huge conspiracy to make men look bad so women can walk all over them. Rape victim? But what about the millions of men who are falsely accused? Where’s their justice?

Do not confuse with: male feminists, who believe in dismantling the patriarchy because it’s bad for women AND men.

The Devil’s advocates: These are non-feminists who will never admit they’re non-feminist; they’re just “playing Devil’s advocate.” They like to engage with feminists, but instead of admitting that they disagree, they say, “Well, this is what someone who disagrees with you would say.” It’s a bit like asking the doctor what your “friend” should do about your “friend’s” embarrassing rash.

What to do if you encounter one: Don’t date them. They’ll offer to buy you dinner, then say, “Gotcha!” and tell you that you’re not really a feminist because you accepted their offer.

The “regular person” non-feminists: These are people who aren’t feminist but don’t talk about their non-feminism ad nauseum. They aren’t easily offended by feminist jokes or statements. Honestly, the topic just doesn’t interest them. When they do discuss non-feminism, they do so with an open mind and without proselytizing.

Explanation for why someone might end up so apathetic: Privilege.

The “I believe in women’s rights but I wouldn’t call myself a feminist” non-feminists: These folks inherently understand that everyone has the right to feel safe on the street, are troubled by blatant sexism in the media, and feel that both men and women are hurt by gender essentialism. They may have even listened to Marlo Thomas as a child. Yet, they have also bought into stereotypes about the different kinds of feminists there are, including angry feminists, douchey dude feminists, slutty feminists, and joyless pseudo-intellectual feminists, and they don’t want to be any of those things.

What to do when you encounter one: Introduce them to all your super great feminist friends and Buy them a “This is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. Hug generously.


  1. “The “I believe in women’s rights but I wouldn’t call myself a feminist” non-feminists”

    I guess this is me, and I have to say your ‘cure’ is completely ass-backwards.

    I used to buy into the reductionist ‘feminism = equality’ definition, and consider myself kind of a feminist by default. The reason I stopped is because I did exactly what you say I should – I read feminist websites like Jezebel and talked to feminist peers on campus. I soon learned that they are bigots who think of males as dangerous, uncivilizable animals, so really, why should I give their ideology the benefit of the doubt?


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