I "need" feminism because...

“Feminism is a collection of movements and ideologies aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights for women”
-Wikipedia

“[Feminism is] the doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men”
-Dictionary.com

“[Feminism is] the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes”
-Merriam-Webster

Eh?

The ARU Feminist Society and CUSU Women's Campaign recently asked students of Cambridge University to say why they felt they needed feminism, using the time-honoured and intellectually rigorous means of scribbling on whiteboards too small to adequately express anything.

The result was an orgy of misplaced indignation, gratuitous victimhood and thinly-veiled fascism - and a surprising lack of concern for (and sometimes shocking ignorance of) actual feminist issues. Here's the original article; that's where all the pictures below come from.

Here's a thing: hardly anyone knows what feminism is. Hence the helpful definitions at the top of the page. It's called "feminism" and is generally expressed in terms of women's rights because, historically, it has been women who got the crappy end of the stick. But feminism is about equality of the sexes and not about pushing either gender's rights at the expense of the other. This makes the term "feminism" grossly misleading; "gender equality" is what it's really about.

Here are some things that feminism is not:

  • The viewpoint that men and women are identical. We have different bodies, different sex organs, different psychology and different evolutionary history. Denying this is (a) stupid and (b) pointless. Monty Python said it best: "I'm not oppressing you, Stan, you haven't got a womb! Where's the foetus gonna gestate, you gonna keep it in a box?"
  • The viewpoint that all differences between the sexes should be erased. Asserting that men and women should (all other things being equal) be paid the same is legitimate feminism. Whinging that your mates make fun of you because you're a guy who enjoys knitting is just wussy. You don't need a social movement, you need new friends and/or a new hobby and/or a sense of humour.
  • Misandry. Never heard the term "misandry"? It's the male-facing counterpart of misogyny, and not only is it common, it's widely celebrated. Feminism is not about hating men because (a) it's not about hating anyone and (b) it's not specific to either gender.
  • Just for women. Anyone who believes in gender equality (I count myself among this group) is a feminist.
  • Anything to do with other forms of inequality. If you're against racism and homophobia and transphobia and so on, great. It's nothing to do with feminism, though.
  • Capable of making criminals equal-opprotunity. Criminals, pretty much by definition, don't follow the rules. Feminism can't get rid of inherently sexist crimes because it can't get rid of any crime.
  • Puritanism. You can be a feminist and still appreciate a magnificent rack. You can even tell your friends (who are quite possibly also feminists) that you would like to bury your face in said rack and make this noise: "num-num-num-num-num-num-num-num". If the rack is attached (presumably via a torso, but why be fussy?) to a slamming, tight arse, it's perfectly OK to want to slap, grab, bite, grasp, knead, munch, grind, nuzzle, suck, grip, dry-hump and wet-hump that arse. Go for it, use your imagination. This is fine even if this rack and arse are attached to a Nobel Prize-winning astrophysicist, because nothing in feminism says that you have to consider a person's brain more important than their tits and buttocks. Not to mention that protesting the objectification of a woman because she is intelligent is tantamount to admitting that it's OK to objectify stupid women.

    This also means that it is perfectly acceptable for women to hustle over to the window and drool like a bunch of colossal whores at 11:30 every day for Diet Coke break.

So why do Cambridge students need feminism?

  • I need feminism because this [points at hairy armpit] should really not perturb anyone

    No, society doesn't owe you the right to decide everyone else's aesthetic standards. Your rights are about what you are and are not allowed to do, not about whether or not people like it. What next, are you going to demand that people not be perturbed by moustaches and beards on women? Hey, I demand that you find me attractive even though I'm a fat fuck. No? Didn't think so.

  • I need feminism because my mum still thinks it's more important that I get a good husband than a good degree

    What does this have to do with feminism? Sounds like your problem is that your mum's priorities are different from your own. Perhaps your mum thinks a solid, lasting marriage will bring you more happiness than a university education. Perhaps she's right.

  • We need feminism because there are still no famous female economists!

    There aren't exactly a lot of famous male economists either. Anyway, why are there no famous female economists? Is it because of unequal opportunities in society or male oppression or something? We aren't told. So either we're left with a logical non-sequitur or we have to beg the question. If only the whiteboard were bigger.

  • I need feminism because I ♥ baking and so does my dad

    You and your dad have as much right to bake things as anyone else. You don't need feminism, you need to get over the fact that you've managed to locate the half-dozen people left in the UK who still give a shit about the gender of baking enthusiasts.

  • I need feminism because one in four women will be survivors of rape

    Jesus Christ, where to begin with this? Firstly it's written in the future tense, making this guy either a clairvoyant or a bullshitter (note that there's no such thing as clairvoyance). Secondly, what about males who are raped? Yes, it does happen, much more commonly than people realise. Thirdly, and most importantly, feminism doesn't prescribe equal victimhood of crimes, it's about equality of rights - and rape of a male wasn't even recognised as an offence in English law until 1994, for fuck's sake! It is still not legally possible for a woman to rape a man, because apparently rape is about penetration with a penis and not about being forced to have sex against your will. How about "I need feminism because society takes rape of females much more seriously than rape of males"?

  • I need feminism because people think it's okay to label women as 'oppressed' or 'liberated' or 'sluts' according to how they choose to dress!!

    Yes, people deduce things about other people based on the way they dress. So? Get the hell over it. This is another one that not only has nothing to do with feminism but is also not even worth complaining about. If I see a woman in a burkha then yes, I will assume she is oppressed, because I am not a moron.

  • I need feminism because 1/3 of 10 year old girls biggest worry is their body

    Is this supposed to be a bad thing? Aren't we in the middle of a childhood obesity epidemic? And I know it's cheap to attack someone's linguistic skills, but bloody hell. "Their body" - do all 10-year-old girls share a common body or something? The sentence appears to have at least one possessive but nary an apostrophe.

  • I need feminism because when I told a friend about this campaign he asked if everyone would be naked?

    So what? So fucking what? Your friend didn't take away your right to vote or beat you or force you to have an abortion or pay you less than equivalent male employees, he asked you a facetious question. Your friend has a sense of humour and an appreciation for the human form, two things you have apparently decided are the harbinger of oppression and misogyny. You could really learn from that guy, assuming he still feels like being your friend.

  • I need feminism because I am tired of feeling safe in the street at night ONLY coz I get mis-gendered

    Feminism is about equal rights and opportunities. It does not and cannot mandate equality among criminal behaviours. If muggers, rapists and the like tend to target women it is because women tend to be easier targets. Because they're smaller, weaker and less adapted for fighting than men. Sorry, that's the way we're all born. It means women feel less safe in the street and men...oh, that's right, men get killed by the fucking squillion when a world war happens.

  • I need feminism because people still ask what the victim was wearing

    Yes, they ask what the victim was wearing because it's relevant. In contrast, when a man is raped, no-one asks anything because the man doesn't report it because he will be nigh-universally scorned and ridiculed by both men and women. Seriously, the number one feminist concern about rape ought to be "society doesn't take male rape as seriously as female rape and doesn't support male rape victims anything like as well as it supports female rape victims".

    On the topic of women being raped and whether or not they "ask for it": this is very, very simple. Does any woman deserve to be raped? No. Can a woman engage in behaviour which dramatically increases her chance of being raped? Yes. Is it stupid of her to do so? Yes. Dressing like a tart and getting blind drunk and hopping into an illegal taxi is like going on holiday and leaving the front door wide open. If you come home to find all your shit got stolen, well, you were asking for it. Note that this obvious statement does not in any way condone burglary.

  • I need feminism because the white cis female idea of beauty is not the only/true form of beauty

    Again, what has this to do with feminism? And who thinks the white cis female idea of beauty (whatever that is - is that even a thing? Do all white cis females have the same idea of beauty? What?) is the only one? What about male standards of beauty? Sounds like you're simply one of the vast majority of people who do not qualify for the rarefied adjective "beautiful". Join the fucking club. (Hint: the rest of us got over it ages ago).

  • I need feminism because I used to think calling my brother a GIRL was a legit INSULT

    It is a legitimate insult. In general, calling anyone something they aren't and wouldn't want to be is an insult. Go on, say it's a problem that boys don't want to be girls, I dare you.

  • I need feminism because my school sex ed taught us about the penis but NEVER mentioned the CLITORIS!

    Well, schools are principally concerned with teaching kids about how sex works and how to do it safely, not about the procurement of orgasms. The penis has a direct reproductive role and the clitoris doesn't, which is why they taught you about the one and not the other. Do you actually want schools to teach kids about how to get each other off too? I'm just trying to think back to the first time I had sex, what it would have been like if I had gone for the clitoris whilst remembering my old headmaster's instructions on where to find it and what to do with it. As it happened, sir did not teach me where the clitoris is and I will always be glad to have learned about it in a vastly healthier and more natural way: from pornography.

  • I need feminism because I'm bored of being told to 'MAN UP' :-(

    Since feminism is about equality, I assume you'd be happy if people simply started telling women to man up as well? No? In that case your problem isn't about gender inequality, it's that people are shitting on you for being a weakling. So stop being one. There's an expression for this: MAN UP.

  • I need feminism because I want the surname of the brilliant woman who raised me alone, not the name of the person who was violent to her

    So go and change your name. This isn't a feminist issue, it's a sometimes-parents-are-shitty issue. There may be a tradition that women take their husbands' names, but it's only a tradition and your rights are the same as any man's in this regard. Better, in fact: when you have a child, your name is required on the birth certificate and the father's name is not. As a feminist, I am deeply bothered by this injustice.

  • I need feminism because "bad bitch" is not a compliment!

    Anything anyone says about you with the intention of describing you in a positive light is a compliment. Language is defined by the meaning people give it; a person's meaning is not defined by the words they use. This is why "sup, nigger" can be either a friendly greeting or a vicious racial slur, depending on context. In Scotland, "cunt" is a term of endearment. You don't need feminism, you need a vague notion about how human communication works in real life.

  • I need feminism because today in the UK there are 4000 girls in forced prostitution

    And how many boys? Whether it's more or less than 4,000, this is not something feminism can solve. Feminism can't make crime disappear and it certainly can't make both genders equally affected by crime.

  • I need feminism because some people STILL would rather their daughters were pretty than clever

    So what? Some people value looks over intelligence. Both are largely accidents of birth and both are highly valued in society. Who are you to say what people should and shouldn't prefer? And why is this a gender-specific issue? Why, most importantly, does your statement contain an implicit mutual exclusion between prettiness and cleverness?

  • I need feminism because I haven't had a female lecturer in three years

    How many lecturers have you had in those three years? Is there some good reason why women don't lecture on your course? Why not discuss an actual issue to which feminism is relevant, instead of supplying useless out-of-context facts and hoping the reader will assume the thing you're trying to prove?

  • I need feminism because when I say I was raised in a single parent family, people assume my mum brought me up, because women raise the kids, right?

    Your problem is that people assume things about you, which apparently bothers you (and that's fair enough). But assuming you were raised by your mother is simply going with the odds - most single-parent families in the UK have a mother, not a father. Possibly because UK law is grossly biased towards the mother's rights when it comes to things like custody and divorce settlements. If you're serious about feminism, why not set about fixing that?

  • I need feminism because I really like sex! And I would like to have as much or as little as I like with as many or as few people as I like without being branded a whore when I do and a frigid bitch when I don't. And my sexual history should never be brought up in a court of law!

    For the nth time, feminism is about equal rights and opportunities and, with regard to whom you can sleep with, you already have all of that. If people want to look more favourably on promiscuous men than on promiscuous women, that's up to them. As for that last thing, wtf? Your sexual history can never be evidence in a trial? What if you're a serial rapist? Oops, silly me - a woman can't be charged with rape in the UK, because the law doesn't recognise such a thing.

  • I need feminism because I don't want to choose between having a family or a career

    Well don't choose then, loads of people (male and female) have both. Or are you saying you want to have neither? You can do that too.

  • I need feminism because sex trafficking is the 2nd biggest industry worldwide

    Bullshit. Sex trafficking is bigger than energy? Than food? Than transport? Than tourism? And even if sex trafficking were the 2nd biggest (or even the biggest) industry what has this got to do with feminism? Nothing, because feminism doesn't cover crime. You may as well start your sentence with "I need a credit card because..."

  • I need feminism because I fucking love science, and that shouldn't be shocking!

    Christ almighty, so what? Go ahead and be a scientist, no-one can (legally) stop you. You won the battle for equal rights ages ago and are now complaining that some people's perceptions are still catching up. They're irrelevant to you and will all be gone in a generation or two anyway. Since when did a reasonable demand for equal rights get perverted into this fascistic sense of entitlement that makes you think you can dictate the way other people respond to your life choices? I'm delighted that you love science, because it means you're unlikely to go into politics, which reduces the chances of my being sent for "re-education" one day.

  • I need feminism because some of my friends will laugh at me for doing this

    Feminism can't mould your friends' senses of humour as you see fit. What you need is new friends.

  • I need feminism because in 45% of homicides against women, the main suspect is a partner or ex-partner

    What is the point here? Is 45% too high or too low? Is it "better" to be murdered by a partner or by someone else? Exactly what gender inequality are you pointing out? And how can feminism help this - by making murderers discriminate less? Just what on Earth has this to do with feminism??

  • I need feminism because masculinity is not a measure of worth (and if it were, I'd be screwed)

    Would you also say femininity is not a measure of worth? Anyway, bad news: masculinity is a measure of worth. A measure of worth is any characteristic which people value. To value masculinity and femininity is simply to celebrate an aspect of the diversity of humanity, same as celebrating different cultures and communities, and what right-thinking person would object to that? The good news is that you are not screwed (figuratively, i.e. you still have the possibility of being screwed literally) because not all women (or men, whatever you're into) value masculinity. See how nice it is when everyone is allowed to have their own preferences? Avoid all those types who feel entitled to say what people "should" and "shouldn't" like.

  • I need feminism because I got 99 problems, being labelled a bitch is one

    Are you referring to the song? You seriously think feminism can stop rappers using offensive terms? If so, congratulations on making feminism antithetical to free speech. In any case, is this actually offensive? Either "bitch" refers to all women, in which case you're looking at reclamation of a dysphemism, or it refers only to actual bitches, in which case your statement that it targets you is an admission that you are one. In that case, the solution to your problem is to stop being a bitch (and you may find that this helps with some of your other 98 problems).

  • I need feminism because men are afraid of women laughing at them, wome [sic] are afraid of men killing them

    Yeaaahhhh...and I need racial equality because black men are afraid of white men not hiring them, and white men are afraid of black men killing them. Oh, what's that you say - I've just horribly abused logic and statistics to make a hateful and stupid comment for the purpose of seeking attention? Hum, good point.

  • I need feminism because GOD loves me, but my CHURCH DOESN'T!

    No, god doesn't love you. There is no such thing as god, except in the sense that god is the imaginary friend in your mind. But if god did exist and loved you, what more could you possibly need? "The designer, creator and master of the universe loves me, but I'm still not happy"? That is fucking needy. And how could feminism make your church love you? Feminism can create love now? It's a social and political principle, not a path to freaking omnipotence.

  • I need feminism because only 2 women have EVER won the Nobel Prize for Physics (the last one in 1963...)

    Assuming this is because of some kind of unfair discrimination, fair enough. Women shouldn't be unfairly discriminated against.

  • I need feminism because people shouldn't be surprised that I'm an architect

    Yeah yeah, see above. People can be surprised at whatever they like. Feminism is already here and it's why you're allowed to be an architect just as much as any guy. I reserve the right to be surprised that you are one. OK with you?

  • I need feminism because I don't want to be arrested for getting my boobs out

    Men and women are equally debarred from waving their sex organs around in public. (Going to argue that your boobs aren't sex organs? Good, then presumably it's not sexual assault if I bury my beard in them and make like a hungry baby. Oh, I see, now they're sex organs. Fine.) Yes, the organs in question are different, that's just how we are. But you can't get your boobs out in the street and I can't get my dick out and that's gender equality and hence feminism.

  • I need feminism because I considered not getting this photo taken because I'm not wearing make up

    Feminism is not a cure for your insecurity. You think women have a monopoly on feeling the pressure of living up to social expectations and norms? If so, you're an idiot. If not, your statement has no content. I'm good with either.

  • I need feminism because I get cat-called for wearing a skirt too...

    What? You, a guy, get cat-called, and so do women. Where's the inequality?

  • I need feminism because less than 1% of the world's property is owned by women

    Bullshit.

  • I need feminism because some people think "you don't look like a physicist" is a compliment

    Mmm, we've had "...is/is not a compliment" before. Whether or not a statement is a compliment is defined by what the person uttering it means, and nothing else. If you choose to be offended by it, that is your prerogative - this is known as "being unable to take a compliment". Don't feel bad, it affects a lot of people. Although why this would bother you is a mystery to me. Physicists, as a bunch, are not exactly a beauty parade (go on, do a Google image search for "physicist"), so telling you you don't look like one is equivalent to telling you you're good-looking. And this, apparently, bothers you. I have a friend who tactfully describes such issues as "first world problems". What he means is "don't be such an ungrateful prick".

  • I need feminism because society teaches us "don't get raped" not "don't rape"

    No, society teaches both, unless you honestly wish to assert that there is literally no message against or condemnation of rape in society, in which case congratulations on being the first human being to be born and raised somewhere other than Earth. And yeah, women are given advice on how to lower the chances of their being raped, because people don't want them to get raped. Would you rather the advice be stopped on the grounds that it "shouldn't be necessary", even though this would result in more rapes? Personally I would rather reduce the number of rapes as much as possible, but that's just me. I'm crazy.

    On the subject of what society teaches people about rape, we men are not taught how to avoid being raped (why aren't you complaining about that?) but we are taught how to avoid situations where we are vulnerable to being falsely accused of rape. So, men rape women, and women use false rape accusations to destroy innocent men's lives. Aren't we all lovely?

  • I need feminism because Sexual Assault is not permissable [sic] just because it happens on the DANCEFLOOR

    Just FYI, I don't think "sexual assault" is a proper noun. Now, what exactly are you talking about? If people are being raped on dancefloors, that's criminal behaviour and therefore outside the scope of feminism. So I can only imagine that you are referring to the fact that if a woman calls sexual assault because a man gropes her on a dance floor, there's a good chance the bouncers will kick him out, and if a man objects to a woman groping him, he gets raucously laughed at and branded a giant pussy. Yes, I agree, that's unfair. Good point.

  • I need feminism because I find something else I'm supposed to be insecure about EVERY DAY

    So go and be miserable with what's-her-face up there who can't leave her bedroom without make-up. Everyone is insecure and everyone is under pressure to live up to ideals. If you think this affects women more than it does men, you're some linear combination of an idiot, a hermit and a chauvinist.

  • I need feminism because I'm sexist and I know it!!

    Points for originality! And points for cleverness - as a handsome guy with an impish smile and (based on your appearance) ethnic roots someplace with an appalling record on gender equality (i.e. a convenient excuse for whatever bigoted views you hold), you admitting you're sexist is self-depracating and charmingly vulnerable. Young ladies might even see that photo and think "awww, I can fix him" or "how laudably honest", possibly combined with an unjustified assumption that your sexism takes some harmless and forgivable form, like well-meaning but slightly stifling chivalry, or a mild aversion to doing your share of the hoovering. But what manner of sexist are you, exactly? Do you think women are all stupid? Do you abuse them? For all anyone can tell, you have three daughters and you've FGMmed all of them. Am I interpreting your statement uncharitably? Well, how charitably would you interpret a picture of a white guy holding up a board with "I'm a racist" on it?

  • I need feminism because so many people in my generation think "feminism" is a dirty word

    Right - you're not saying why feminism is objectively a good thing, you're saying you need feminism because people misunderstand the term. What you actually need is for people to have a better grasp of English. Even better, why not stop calling it feminism, because that's a stupid misnomer, and start using terms like "gender equality"?

  • I need feminism because 140 million women and girls are victims of female genital mutilation (WHO, 2013)

    This is gross female chauvinism. You have called for gender equality by pointing out only the female half of a problem that massively affects both genders, which would be hilariously ironic were it not so tragically contemptible. It's as if you said "I need racial equality because white people sometimes can't get a job". The number of men and boys who have been subjected to male genital mutilation is bigger by a factor of somewhere between three and six, according to the WHO. "Male genital mutilation"? Yes, I'm talking about circumcision. Want to run down the list of stupid misconceptions?

    • "Circumcision isn't as bad as FGM". Wrong. FGM varies from trimming of the labia, which may be less harmful than circumcision, to full removal of loads of important shit followed by sewing up, which is undoubtedly far worse. Although in general FGM is far more traumatic than circumcision, it is important to remember that circumcision is by no means risk-free.
    • "Circumcision is safe". Wrong. Potential adverse consequences include infection, deformity, loss of sexual function and death. And I don't mean infection by friendly hospital bugs which can be zapped with antibiotics, I mean infection with herpes or other STDs, an occasional consequence of certain absolutely disgusting religious practices.
    • "Circumcision doesn't make a difference to sex". Wrong. Unless you have had sex using an uncut penis and a cut penis and can directly compare, or you are informed by such an individual, (a) you have no idea what you're talking about and (b) you're as much a stupid arsehole as men who claim FGM isn't traumatic.
    • "Circumcision is more hygenic". Wrong. A properly washed penis is clean, cut or not. Also, amputating bits of a child's body on the grounds that they might not wash them properly in future is preposterous. If you think this, you're exactly as shitty as men who say FGM is a good thing because it preserves virtue.
    • "Circumcision reduces STD transmission". This one may be true, although, again, will you advocate cutting bits off someone's cock on the grounds that they might not have safe sex in later life?
    And while we're discussing feminism, which is about the genders' legal and social statuses with respect to each other, let's observe that UK law forbids FGM but not infant male circumcision. The society you live in considers you to be sovereign over your genitals, because you're female, but does not consider me to be sovereign over mine, because I'm male. There's a gender inequality worth complaining about.

  • I need feminism because "women aren't funny" but rape jokes are (?)

    Well, yeah, men tend to be funnier than women. Women are prettier then men. Men are stronger than women. Women live longer than men. Men are more violent than women. Women are better at driving than men. Get over it.

    As for the bit about rape jokes, would that be a tacit implication that rape only affects women? Both genders get raped, but only one of them gets taken seriously. Until 1994, UK law didn't even recognise such a thing as rape of a man. It still does not recognise such a thing as rape of a man by a woman. If you want to be a feminist, why not try to get men the protection from rape that you, as a woman, already enjoy?

  • I need feminism because men don't feel obliged to use hot wax on their pubic hair

    I need feminism because women don't feel obliged to get wet regardless of how incompetent their partner is.

  • I need feminism because my psychiatrist dismisses my manic depression as female sensitivity

    You need a new psychiatrist. The days of legitimate mental illnesses being dismissed as some kind of nigglesome female foible are long gone - in this part of the world, anyway. The fact that you are complaining about this instead of (a) finding a good psychiatrist and (b) writing an actual feminist issue on the whiteboard is proof that your sense of victimhood is more important to you than your own mental health and the important social cause you allegedly support.

  • I need feminism because I won't have to justify not taking my wife's name

    This isn't a feminism thing, it's a there-exists-a-tradition-in-society-that-you-don't-like thing. Women and men already have equal rights with regard to who takes whose name. Couldn't you think of an actual, serious gender inequality?

  • I need feminism because patriarchy oppresses me, not my religion. I choose how to dress

    Which religion would that be? I'm going to take a wild guess at Islam, which is, in fact, a disgustingly oppressive religion. It oppresses women, it oppresses free thought, it oppresses human dignity and it oppresses progress. You "choose" this for yourself because you have Stockholm syndrome. You can't have both feminism and Islam. They're mutually exclusive.

  • I need feminism because a woman's IQ is way more important than her bra size!

    More important by what measure? Is there an ISO standard for the relative importance of the various characteristics of a human being? Or is it a matter of personal judgement and freedom of opinion, two things you apparently feel entitled to prescribe for everyone else? And why is your comment only about women? Is a man's IQ more or less important that the size of his dick, for example? Why have you nothing to say about that?

  • I need feminism because of New Delhi, 16th Dec 2012

    Presumably this refers to the gang rape. For the umpteenth time, feminism doesn't cover crime. It's a social movement with the aim of giving women and men equal rights and status in society. It can't stop gender-specific violence any more than racial equality can stop the Klan wanting to lynch black guys. Anyway, the alleged perpetrators (those who are still alive, that is) are all on trial for rape and murder, and will be eligible for execution if found guilty. What inequality exactly are you trying to point out?

  • I need feminism because there are still men and women who believe that the number of sexual partners you have reduces your worth

    In other words, you need feminism because you don't like what other people believe. Your statement isn't even gender-specific - it sounds like men and women are equally judgemental and equally judged, so I don't know how gender equality would fix it. Why don't you just be happy that men and women can screw whoever they like, and let others believe what they want to? And if you're so bothered by what people believe, go after the ones who believe you're going to be tortured forever after you die. Regardless of which religion you subscribe to, rest assured there are a good billion such people in a different one.

  • I need feminism because LAD culture needs to end

    You know that lad culture is a reaction to overly aggressive "feminists" busting men's balls, right? And that our culture is still in many ways massively preoccupied with women's rights at the expense of men's? Have you noticed that when a woman slaps a man, it's just one of those things that happens (and he probably deserved it!) and when a man slaps a woman, he's a brutal awful domestic abuser? Get some fricking perspective.

  • I need feminism because none of the hair on my body should define me

    Firstly, does any of the hair on your body define you? Do people think of you only as "the girl with the afro"? If so, what you need is a personality. Secondly, what on Earth has your bizarre hair-centric identity crisis to do with gender equality? Is not being defined by hair a luxury that only one gender currently enjoys? If so, it isn't men - we can totally be defined by our hair, or lack of it. What has this got to do with feminism?

  • I need feminism because my school decided that a lesson on BREASTFEEDING was 'too inappropriate' for a year group that included teen mums!

    Let's see, rabidly frigid attitude and teen mums among the students, was this a Catholic school perchance? Regardless, this is nothing to do with feminism, this is simply a school being puritanical. Odds are they didn't show you how to put condoms on bananas either (if they had, maybe there would have been fewer teen mums). Feminism is, alas, not a cure for stupidity.

  • I need feminism because God made us different but EQUAL. Galatians 3:28

    Oh FFS, really? Galatians is a letter written by Paul. Just some dude putting thoughts on paper. Let's consult God himself. Genesis 3:16: 'To the woman he [God] said, "I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."' That's right, your husband shall rule over you. Quoting the bible in support of feminism is like quoting Adolf Hitler in support of Israel.

  • I need feminism because they told her Harry Potter wouldn't sell if it was by "Joanne Rowling"

    Here's what they actually told her. Part of a publisher's job is helping an author sell books, and this one pointed out that, yes, boys can have a bit of a macho thing going on. We're not talking oppression or lack of social mobility or servitude, we're talking about hormone-soaked teenagers being irrational. That's not going to go away, ever, and even if you thought you could eradicate it, feminism wouldn't be the means of doing so. Feminism is why J. K. Rowling has exactly the same right as any man to write and publish books, and she did awesomely out of it. Good for her. Feminism is actually needed in those parts of the world where women who try to speak their minds get killed for it.

  • I need feminism because I'd rather be the knight in shining armour than the damsel in distress

    What's this about, reversal of "traditional" gender roles? If you want to be strong and come to the rescue and you want men to be capable of being vulnerable and stuff, great. You've got it. You've had it for some time. Otherwise, I have no idea what you're talking about.

  • I need feminism because our basic human rights shouldn't be dictated by dicks

    Awesome, a double entendre! So, what are the two meanings being conveyed here? (1) Basic human rights shouldn't be dictated by objectionable people and (2) whether or not one has a penis shouldn't affect one's fundamental rights. Well done, you've issued a blindingly obvious statement and a tautology.

  • I need feminism because 1/65 of maths professors at Cambridge are women, and that's less than OK

    Assuming this is due to unfair discrimination, fine. But why make us assume? How about "I need feminism because sexism is reducing the quality of the maths department"?

  • I need feminism because wearing pink doesn't make me a sissy!

    Correct, wearing pink doesn't make you a sissy. Appealing to feminism to defend you because you can't take teasing about your apparel, on the other hand, makes you a massive sissy. You're not complaining about gender inequality, you're complaining that you can't handle being the butt of a mild joke.

So what DO we need feminism for?

Several things:

  • I need feminism because religion exists.

    Christianity and Islam (that's well over two billion people) are both riddled with disgustingly sexist ideas which lead to the oppression of women all over the world. The Republic of Ireland considers its Catholicism-driven anti-abortion stance more important than a woman's right to determine what is best for her own health. Corinthians: "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church". The list of indignities and affronts to womankind in Islam is so vast as to make an attempt to do it justice prohibitive (but here's a quick sample: men can have multiple wives but not vice-versa; women inherit less than men; women are considered less reliable witnesses than men; men purify themselves by rubbing dirt on themselves after contact with women). The world's two biggest and most powerful religions, one of which is the official state religion of the UK, are oppressive and sexist towards women. That's a genuinely good reason to need feminism.

  • I need feminism because I think little boys' penises deserve the same protection as little girls' vulvas.

    UK law says you can't modify a girl's genitals without medical reason. It does not say the same about boys' genitals. There is literally no good reason for this (Judaism, you say? I said no good reason. If you think "because my imaginary friend says so" is a good reason to mess with someone else's junk, you need a prison cell and a psychiatrist, in that order). Imagine if it were legal to cut white girls but not legal to cut black girls - would any right-thinking person stand for that? The law on child genital mutilation as it stands is an utter disgrace.

  • I need feminism because equal work should earn equal pay.

    There's still a pay gap between men and women who do the same job. This is obviously not OK.

  • I need feminism because fathers are parents too.

    Although the situation in the UK is improving, the system is still biased against fathers when it comes to issues like custody and child support. The assumption that the mother is in some way the "default" parent belongs in the past, along with the idea that a woman should give up her career to have kids. Feminism means giving men and women equal status not only as individuals in society but as parents.