TESTIMONY; confessions of a feminist freak

Shrill, man-hating, angry, banner-waving victims? That's me, says Monique Roffey

i am a freak. Why? Because I'm a feminist. Or rather being a feminist makes me feel like a freak. That's how unpopular feminism is. How unhip, how boring, how passe. Mention the ''F'' word at a dinner party and suddenly you know what it must feel like to have a turd on your head. Or leprosy. But the leper treatment I don't mind too much. It's the dimwitted, unsympathetic cliches that people (men in particular) come out with on the occasions when mentioning the ''F'' word does cause a stir - that really get up my nose.

Young, well-educated professionals (I'll be specific; documentary film makers, television directors, lawyers, high-flying business whizkids, all white and all male) have come back at me with the most appallingly simplistic and negative views on feminism. Men who should know better. Here are some typical examples: "Feminists all hate men," (yes, truly, I get that old stinker a lot). "Feminists are all victims." "The trouble with feminism is that it makes men feel guilty." "Isn't feminism a dead subject?" "What do women want now?"

These are some of the typical comebacks I get from educated men. Here is what I never get the chance to say back.

"Feminists all hate men." I can't speak for all feminists, but, yes, in my case the bonehead who said this is right. I hate men. There, I've said it. It's about time someone did. And before some stupid person jumps down my throat and calls me sexist, I'd also like to say that saying "I hate men" isn't the same as saying "I hate women." Hardly. I hate men for their explicit and deliberate actions. Because for centuries they systematically wrote us out of the picture. Everything. Politics, economics, education, oh, and that's just the factual, historically documented active sexism. Psycho-sexual sexism, the stuff that you can't see, but women can just feel, there's all that stuff as well. And then there's the huge amount of domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse and general menace. Mmmmmm. Yeah, well, I feel that's enough for me to quite happily say "I hate men" and not really care too much about men's feelings about the matter. When I say "I hate men", I have good reason. Men hated us first; although we were weaker, more stupid, less human, less intelligent, less "rational", less capable and acted on it. So I kinda hate men back.

Oh, and I also hope men reading this can read between the lines too. My man hatred is a group thing. I like Rod who's painting my house, and my flatmate and my male friends and I fancy men (though after writing this I'm sure never to get laid again). It's just that you've treated us all so badly in the past and many of you still do. The least you deserve is a bit of hatred.

"Feminists are all victims". Actually, feminism was invented because many women were and still are victims of a sexist society. Can we not forget this? It's a simple fact and truth. Thinking that feminists are all victims is a malicious rumour, a transparent ploy, scaremongering backlash tactics to put women off wanting to be feminists. Of course, no woman of today wants to go out and shout about being downtrodden and constantly thwarted, especially if (thanks to feminism) today's young women don't feel weak or at a disadvantage. But all this is a decoy and a smokescreen, and has little to do with existing problems like glass ceilings and poor childcare. It's great if women feel equal these days, but the sad fact is, in the big scheme of things, we're still not.

"Feminism makes men feel guilty" So? Who cares? Not we feminists. The least you can do is feel a little guilt. Be cool, be gracious and sympathetic, and try to change things along with feminists. The trouble with feminism is that we're in the right; there's no "debate" as to whether or not women have been discriminated against for centuries. We have legs to stand on, men don't. What really irks me, and what is sinister and hateful, is how somehow men have made women feel guilty for being feminists. And the guilt trip we have has been called the Backlash. Susan Faludi first identified it, and we are still living in the backlash tide. Faludi smelt a rat, did some intense and thorough research, found she was right, and then nailed her findings to a rock.

Sorry, men, but you, not feminism, are the bad guys.

"Isn't feminism a dead subject?" Who am I - a corpse? Try telling that to my fellow women's studies students who are very much young, fit, alive and well. What men mean by this is "Haven't you won/ got what you want?" Well yes and no, mainly no. Older feminists fought for what they thought was needed to redress the imbalance in society - equal pay, sex discrimination legislation etc. But a generation on, why don't I, born in the 1960s, a seedling of feminism, feel equal? Something still isn't quite right. I know this. Which is why feminism isn't a dead subject. Right now, feminism and bright, enthusiastic feminists couldn't be more needed to push for even greater change.

Finally, "What do women want now?" The only good question. Again, I can't speak for other feminists, but I know what I want and I think it's coming, except I'll either be very old or dead when the plates have shifted enough for my liking. But I'd like to see the day when my daughters say to me: "God, Mum, is it true that feminism was so unpopular? Were men really that bad when you brought the subject up?" And my sons? My sons will ask themselves how they are going to manage. How they are going to cope with having children ... and a career.

News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Boris Johnson may be manoeuvring to succeed David Cameron
i100
News
His band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionPart of 'best-selling' Demeter scent range
News
i100
Sport
Tom Cleverley
footballLoan move comes 17 hours after close of transfer window
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Art & Design Teacher

    £120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Group: We are looking for an outstandi...

    Assistant Management Accountant -S/West London - £30k - £35k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: We are working with an exciting orga...

    Deputy Education Manager

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Sheffield: Deputy Education Manager required, S...

    Bookkeeper -South West London - £25k - £30k

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: We are working with an exciting orga...

    Day In a Page

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

    'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

    US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
    Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

    Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
    Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    James Frey's literary treasure hunt

    Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

    What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

    Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering