Are you a feminist and don’t know it? (The short answer: probably.)

In her excellent book, What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, Danielle Crittenden writes this about feminism’s effect on American women: “It had seeped into their minds like intravenous saline into the arm of an unconscious patient. They were feminists without knowing it.”

I first read those words almost twenty years ago, and I’ve thought of them often over the years while observing the ongoing conversation about who’s a feminist and who’s not. Or about what feminism is and what feminism isn’t.

The short of it is, despite the fact that most women today do not use the feminist label to describe themselves, they are feminist thinkers nonetheless. They have, in fact, absorbed its tenets like intravenous saline into the arm of an unconscious patient.

So how do you know if you’ve drunk the feminist Kool-Aid? Here are 7 questions to ask yourself:

    1. Do you believe sex for women is the same as sex for men? That, sans social expectations, women are just as capable as men of divorcing sex from emotion?
    2. Are you quick to assume that men are to blame when things go wrong between the sexes, whether in a marriage or in a flimsy sexual encounter?
    3. Do you believe in the concept of a glass ceiling, that there’s only so high society will “allow” women to climb in the workforce?
    4. Have you mapped out your life with a career as the focal point, believing marriage and babies can always come later?
    5. Did you fall for the idea that you can “have it all”: a great marriage, a bombastic career, and physically and emotionally healthy kids?
    6. Do you believe marriage, or even taking your husband’s name, amounts to giving up your identity?
    7. Do you believe daycare, or “early childhood education” (the euphemism now used for putting children under 5 in “school”), is good for kids? Or necessary?
    8. Do you think slogans about girl power are good?
    9. Do you support the hashtag #Believeallwomen?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you have definitely absorbed the bogus narratives feminists have sold women for decades.

Women who answer “no” to most, if not all, of these questions were no doubt raised by parents whose values were in stark contrast to feminist values. Or they simply had good relationships with the men in their lives and know there’s a healthier way in which to view the world than the one feminists sell. As the late Kate O’Beirne once said, “I learned more about self-worth, ambition and opportunity from my conservative parents and Catholic nuns than I ever did from Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem.”

Whatever the reason, women who reject feminism are the women who win with men in life and in love. These are the women who tend to be happily married and who build strong families. These are the women who are truly empowered and successful in life.

The feminist movement was supposed to liberate women and make them happier, but it has done just the opposite. A 2009 study by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that, despite all the progress women have made, they’re decidedly less happy than men.

“We look across age groups, across marital patterns, across labor force participation rates, across whether or not you have children,” notes Betsey Stevenson, one of the study’s authors, “and we find that there’s not a particular group of women that are less unhappy, but rather all women across all these categories have become less happy relative to men.”

At the core of this unhappiness lies a message women have been sold about sex, love, work, marriage and motherhood. This message—that American women are oppressed; that women are just as sexual as men and thus need to ‘sow their wild oats’ before settling down; that marriage and motherhood stifle a woman’s identity and hold women back from being all they can be; that women can’t get ahead in the marketplace due to rampant discrimination; that men and employers are to blame for why women can’t ‘have it all’; that men have it better in every area of life—did not empower women in the least.

It disempowered them.

If your marriage or love life is a complete disaster, or if you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off trying to ‘do it all’ and having no time for yourself or your marriage, I guarantee it’s because you either knowingly or unknowingly fell for the message feminists sold.

You may not think of yourself as a feminist or even use that label, but you’ve absorbed its tenets just the same. You subconsciously went along with what those around you were doing and mapped out your life accordingly.

But you have the power to change all that. You can hit the rewind button anytime you want and undo what you’ve absorbed that has kept you down rather than lifted you up.

It’s a tall order, and it won’t be easy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

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Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, speaker and cultural critic known as “The Feminist Fixer.” She has authored several books to help women win with men in life and in love. Her most recent, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage, was published in February 2017.

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Comments

  1. “It’s a tall order, and it won’t be easy. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”

    It has taken me almost 12 years to peel off the “wetsuit” of feminism that so deftly stuck to my mind ever since I was a little girl. And it requires constant diligence – because it’s in everything we intake; the movies we (and our kids) watch, the cable networks streaming into our homes, all the books our kids read in school, the news and music we hear through the radio … it is literally everywhere, all the time, everytime we step outside our door.

  2. Thank You Suzanne for another outstanding article on a very destructive subject!

    Much wrongheaded thinking can, and has been passed on through subliminal trickery over the past 50 years.

    Women need to hear how destructive this narrative has become, and that yes, there is a way out through the articulate writing of your articles.

    Thanks again,
    Steve

  3. I’m less than 12 months into the ‘unplugging’ and it is painful. But I’m just so relieved to at least know about it. Many of my girlfriends don’t. Thanks Suzanne for a great article.

  4. I have rejected feminism at 19 years old, in the first year of University (which I never finished). I knew way before then that I wanted to be a housewife and a mom and I have frankly zero interest in a “career”. But I encountered extremely negative attitudes about my wish to be a traditional women. This somewhat baffled me because I knew just a few decades ago it was the most normal and respectable thing for a woman to be a housewife and a mother. So I began searching for the reasons that have led to this change. There it was, feminism. I also found you, Suzanne Venker, and you were and still are such a breath of fresh, healthy air. I only bought into the lie of feminism for maybe mostly year before that after being sucked in by them on their blogs dealing with rape victims (which I am). But I have rejected it ever since. I am 26 now, married & happy, with the same man I’ve been together for 8 years now. I am lucky that my natural instincts were so strong and I didn’t spent all my 20s wasting my life in the feminist lie. I graduated turning 20 by seeing feminism for the lie that it is and I am proud of it.

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