“Antifeminism opposes changes in women’s roles, status, rights, or opportunities.” (Wood, 2011, p. 90)
First wave Feminism Counter Movements:
· Antisuffrage movement (1870-1920): men and women both believed that if women were allowed to vote and have higher education that it would ruin their “natural” roles as wives and mothers. Many wives of men in positions of high power spoke out against suffrage. An organization was started called the National Association Opposed to Women’s Suffrage that had over 350,000 members.
Second Wave Feminism Counter Movements:
· Antifeminist movement (1970’s): Marabel Morgan started the Total Women movement and Helen Andelin started the Fascinating Womanhood movement (Wood, 2011, p. 91). Both groups fought for women to return to traditional attitudes, values, and roles. The Total Woman movement taught women that they should be sex objects and should be submissive to their husbands. It urged women to focus their time on becoming sexually irresistible to men. Many women took classes on how to become more “sexually attractive and submissive to their husbands.” (Wood, 2011, p. 91) This was during a time when women were economically dependent on their husbands and didn’t want that to change.
· STOP ERA campaign (1970’s): ERA was a campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and STOP ERA was a direct response to this. Phyllis Schlafly, a large spokeswoman for STOP ERA, traveled to warm women and men that feminism was turning women into men. She encouraged the traditional roles of women staying in the home and men being the head of the house. The ironic part was that she defied everything that she taught because she took on masculine roles by being a political activist. The members of this campaign also taught that passing ERA would “undercut men’s willingness to support children, allow women to be drafted, threaten the family, and permit women and men to use the same restroom. “ (Wood, 2011, p. 91) These claims were not based in fact. The upper economic class, whom it benefited, funded this campaign.
Third Wave Feminism Counter Movements:
· Antifemimism of the new millennium (2000’s): A book titled The Surrendered Wife: A Practical Guide for Finding Intimacy, Passion, and Peace with A Man written by L. Doyle in 2001 “counsels women to abandon the quest for equality if they want happy marriages.” (Wood, 2011, p. 92) Other authors are coming out and claiming that women’s rights movements have come too far and that men are suffering. Christina Sommers published a book titled The War Against Boys in 2000 detailing the struggles of boys being disadvantaged in schools because of the women’s rights movements. Another author Hise wrote a book called The War Against Men in 2004, which discusses how women have taken power from men and that this is “contrary to God’s commandments, which define the proper relationship between women and men.” (Wood, 2011, p. 92)
The two major antifeminism claims:
1. With women becoming more independent, they are failing to keep up at home thus causing marital problems, delinquent children, and broken homes. Feminism hasn’t helped women, it has only created more problems for them and therefore feminism should be renounced.
2. Women have gained all the rights that they can and therefore there is no longer a need for feminism.
Wood, J. T. (2005). Gendered lives: Communication, gender and culture. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thompson Learning.
Author: Erin H.