Bullying labelled as feminism is still bullying

I am a feminist. I have spent years fighting to be treated the same as my male counterparts in business. A career I loved was tainted by the insufferable old boys’ network attitude. I have seen first hand the devastating effect of abusive relationships, belittling attitudes and discriminatory behaviours.

And yet in recent weeks I have noticed women cruelly and mercilessly bullying men. Throwing allegations at them, calling them names and relentlessly hounding them for holding a different point of view. That is not feminism, it’s bullying and it’s not acceptable. I am a female, I am a feminist. I am not a bully. Not in my name.

What is feminism?

Feminism is very simply defined as the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. It is not misandry (man-hating) or female superiority. Feminism does not mean questioning the ethics and honesty of men who disagree with your opinion. It is certainly not finding one man who is vulnerable due to physical disabilities and mental health issues and publicly and relentlessly victimising them.

Feminism is the fight against unfair treatment. It is about empowering women to stick up for themselves. Making a stand when a female is treated unfairly. Raising awareness of the plight of women around the world who are not treated with the respect they deserve. Men can be feminists and many are. It is about bridging the gender pay gap and working towards a time when feminism no longer needs to exist because we are all treated equally.

What is bullying?

Bullying is using strength or influence to harm or intimidate someone who is weaker than you. That strength could be physical or psychological. The strength could be in numbers with a group of people ganging up on an individual. The weakness could equally be physical or psychological – it may be a weakness caused by the upset of an ongoing, relentless stream of abuse that has worn you down.

These days, bullying takes place online as well as in person. It is often referred to as trolling. The perpetrators have no regard for the feelings of their victims. They sit behind the relative anonymity of their keyboards, destroying people’s lives without a second thought. They don’t see the upset they’re causing or the importance of the reputation that is left in tatters.

bullying labelled as feminism is still bullying

Why do I care?

I care because I am a feminist. And people who are bullying others in the name of feminism are purporting to behave like this in my name. I am a female, I am a feminist. I am not a bully. Not in my name.

I care because I have to, we all have to. The only way to stop bullies is to remove their position of strength, their power and their ability to victimise and belittle people. There will always be bullying unless we all rebel against it. Unless we all stand up for the victims – regardless of their gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, shoe size and whether or not they like marmite.

But most of all I care because it destroys lives. Something that starts as a disagreement can have devastating consequences when more and more people jump on the bandwagon. It becomes trolling, it becomes bullying and it has to stop somewhere.

Suicide awareness

A local mother tragically lost her son to online bullies. Felix was just 17 when he killed himself as a direct result of online bullying. His mum wrote an open letter to the bullies who eroded his self-confidence and self esteem. Felix ended his life because he couldn’t see any way to be happy.

The behaviour I have been seeing online frightens me. The perpetrators are adult females who appear to be incapable of acknowledging that males also have feelings. They are willing to persist with derogatory comments, allegations and defamations with no regard to the damage they cause.

Perhaps these ‘feminists’ regard males as the stronger sex. Perhaps they think that men should maintain a stiff upper lip and be unaffected by emotions. But they are wrong. That is not feminism. We should all be treated equally and that means having due regard to each other’s feelings and vulnerabilities.

According to the Office for National Statistics, suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34. I would be interested to know what percentage of those suicides are related to bullying. The reason I’m expressing my views on this awful tendency to label bullying as feminism is because I am a feminist. I am not a bully. Not in my name.

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22 Comments

  1. April 22, 2017 / 8:18 am

    An amazing post. One that is perfectly clear. I have always respected you and all that you campaign and support. It is sad that a worthy and brilliant cause is tainted by extremists who misrepresent people who truly do good. Bullying will never be acceptable under any cloak that is disguising it.
    Posts like this need to be read, shared and then read some more. Which is exactly what I will be doing.
    Martyn recently posted…Innocent UK #SowandGrowUK – An Update – Part 2My Profile

  2. April 22, 2017 / 8:45 am

    This is a brilliantly written post an perfectly reflects my views on the subject.
    I saw the other day online someone call this particular breed of feminist ‘the ISIS of feminism and I totally get what they mean. Spreading hate in the name of a cause hurts both the people you are attacking and the cause you are supposedly representing.
    Tracey Abrahams recently posted…Doctor Who – TheoriesMy Profile

  3. April 22, 2017 / 8:55 am

    I don’t know the incident(s) you’re mentioning, but any woman who uses feminism as an excuse for misandry or to demand superiority is damaging the movement…which I often think is their objective. A scary amount of women have fallen for the anti-feminism rhetoric and are undermining the movement, with or without realising that they’re playing right into the hands of those who benefit from keeping inequalities in existence.
    Sadie recently posted…little loves [ chocolate, jake gyllenhaal + hypnobirthing ]My Profile

  4. April 22, 2017 / 9:15 am

    I don’t know the incident you are referring to either. But I am a feminist too, and I am heartily against bullying in any form. Feminism does not give you a right to bully, it just means to believe you should get equal rights. Great post.
    Laura’s Lovely Blog recently posted…6 Books Every Baby or Toddler Should OwnMy Profile

  5. April 22, 2017 / 9:36 am

    Well said. These woman give feminism a bad name. It is about making us all equal by giving more voice, more rights and more equality to women not bashing men with lies and trying to make them less equal. Bullying is never right, not for any cause. Not in my name.
    Sally Kent recently posted…Hip Replacement Surgery – One Man’s Journey. Week OneMy Profile

  6. April 22, 2017 / 10:38 am

    A perfect and eloquent response to what’s been going on recently but also a good lesson to us all in general.

  7. April 22, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    This is a brilliantly written post. Feminism is not bullying, it is a shame that some think that is the way to get their message across.

  8. April 22, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    Excellent post Natalie and one that needed to be written. Bullying is never acceptable x

  9. April 22, 2017 / 5:26 pm

    Such a true post. Labelling bullying ‘feminism’ doesn’t mean it’s not bullying. I saw the incident I think you are referring to on Twitter and I thought it was awful, bringing out the very worst in people. Just because it’s online doesn’t it make it any less bullying than a kid pushing another kid over in the playground and nicking their pocket money, in fact it’s often worse as there’s nowhere to escape online bullying.
    Sarah MumofThree World recently posted…Project 365 2017 Week 16My Profile

  10. April 22, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Ages 10 to 34… That is frightening! I loved reading this, such a real and refreshing look at what Feminism stands for and should remain to be!

  11. April 23, 2017 / 2:09 am

    Brilliant post. You hit the nail on the head – and their power definitely came in numbers. The hatred displayed by those idiots was repulsive.

    I worry for the people that experience this and don’t have a support network of any kind.

  12. April 24, 2017 / 10:13 am

    “Feminists” like the woman you refer to make me angry. I’m a feminist. I support equal rights. For me that means fighting toxic masculinity which degrades women and any man seen as not “butch” enough and… perhaps we ought to call them toxic feminists, because toxic is exactly what they are.

  13. April 24, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Well said Nat! People who claim to be feminists, but are in fact just bullies, need to be named and shamed, just like any other bully. Bullying is one thing that really makes my blood boil. Who gives anyone the right to make someone’s life a misery? Bullies come in all shapes and social standing but are essentially cowards. Bullies who claim to be feminists are doing no favours for the cause, but are too arrogant to see that. Hopefully one day the world will be a place where gender is not an issue when it comes to doing anything. Male or female, black or white, whatever our beliefs we should all be treated as equal (except for the bullies, they should be treated like the scum they are).

    xx
    Debbie recently posted…Monday Morning Blog Club 24/04/17My Profile

  14. April 24, 2017 / 9:46 pm

    Perfectly put Nat! Bullying makes me feel sick to my stomach, I don’t know how anyone can justify that it is ok. It is never ok and seeing those stats makes me sad. How have we allowed this to the world that we live in! x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Living Arrows 17/52 {2017}My Profile

  15. April 26, 2017 / 2:16 pm

    This is spot on. Belittling others, whatever their gender, is utterly unacceptable. I love social media but the dark side of it is awful. Being able to hide behind a computer keyboard seems to bring out the worst in some people. For some people, it’s all too easy to forget that there is a real person on the other end, a person with feelings. I hate the fact that people will say things on social media that they wouldn’t say in real life to someone’s face and that it’s harder to escape from the bullying online and easier for others to join in with it too. Social media can be utterly vile at times and bullying is still bullying however it is done. Being a feminist does not give you the right to be a bully. It’s good to see the support that can come across on social media too with situations like this as well although the support doesn’t take away from how devastating and hurtful online bullying can be.

  16. April 28, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    Such a brilliant post! Thank you! I believe I know the incident you were speaking (if not I saw one that certainly fit this description) It is horrible to watch Anyone be cruel to another person, male or female but to watch a woman attack a man, and then claim any male viewpoint invalid in the name of feminism give the entire feminist movement a bad name. Sadly many people confuse feminism and misandry. This is a great post highlighting the difference!
    Thank you

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