I can still remember a bit of the social atmosphere of the early days when feminism was ascendant – the 1980s – and how anyone who was “with it” called themselves feminists. Even men did. If you weren’t pro-feminist, you were an old fuddy-duddy — a primitive dinosaur. Only out-of-touch, dorky squares weren’t feminists.
That’s changing. Just last week, Carla Bruni Sarkozy rejected feminism, saying “We don’t need to be feminists in my generation. There are pioneers who paved the way. I am not at all a feminist activist.” An angry feminist online mob then forced her to apologize, but I doubt it made her like feminists any more than she did before.
But it wasn’t only Carla Bruni who rejected the label; Katy Perry also rejected feminism when she accepted the Billboard Woman of the Year award (you can watch the speech here), saying “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the power of women.”
So what’s going on here? I think the resistance to feminism has started to have a real impact. These people are celebrities, and they are very much aware of public perception. They don’t want to be pigeonholed along with the likes of Sandra Fluke into the angry, radfem warrior category.
A real, palpable popular resentment toward the self-righteous feminist ideologues has started to emerge, and those who rely on fans who are for the most part ordinary people are beginning to distance themselves from them. This is how the strategy I outlined the other day – fighting back against feminists without pulling punches – has worked. If enough people – and it doesn’t take a whole lot – escalate the intensity of the rhetoric against feminism, people in general start to feel that there must really be something wrong with the ideology (which there is). Generally, it takes some years of sustained noise for it to start working, but it does happen eventually.