A man wants a confident, independent woman to stand with him and support him, right? And what better indication of a confident woman than one who’s a feminist? Hence, “are men turned off by feminists” seems like a pointless and even infuriating question. How can someone be turned off by someone who stands for equality and growth?
In reality, however, this question doesn’t elicit such an open and shut response. You’d be surprised to see that there are people who actively avoid the topic of feminism and the fact that a woman might pride herself on being a feminist is even viewed as an instant turn-off for some.
Why might this be happening? Is it because of what the world now instantly presumes feminism to be, or is it because of external factors, stemming from each individual’s personal experiences? Or is it just because men are intimidated? Let’s find out with the help of psychologist Adya Poojari (M.A. Clinical Psychology, RCI registered), who specializes in relationships and adolescent therapy.
Do People Really Get Turned-Off By Feminists?
Reddit user RealKishin puts forth his views on the subject: “It’s not necessarily a turn-off, but if I’m swiping through Tinder and one of the only things their profile mentions is them being a feminist, then I swipe left.” Left, here, indicates rejection.
Reddit user eighty2angelfan tells us how he perceives the whole thing. “It depends on the attitude. Do they advocate for women’s rights and equality or are they an angry, bitter, confrontational man-hater that still seeks love and tolerates the presence of a man in her life?”
Greaterresetthegov says “Well, that word is complicated. Modern feminist then yes, absolutely, it’s a turn-off. Classic feminist, I’m sure just about everyone can agree is good. Yes, women deserve equal rights and equal pay and everything a man is able to do, so should a woman. Modern feminists come across honestly more often as just “all men are bad and women are superior”. Optics, in general, is what I am referring to.”
Related Reading: Leftist Swipe Right: Politics-Based Hatred On Dating Apps
As you can probably tell by now, a pattern has risen, one that already might have left you annoyed at the common perception. It seems as though the definition of feminism over time has been morphed into something that immediately now makes people assume it has something to do with man-hating.
As another Reddit user puts it “Being a feminist is fine. Being one of, what I refer to as ‘THOSE’ feminists, however, is a dealbreaker.”
Speaking on the subject, Adya shares her views “When we talk about feminism, there is a notion in people’s minds that feminism means women are better, I believe the first thing we need to address is the definition of feminism.
“I think the essence of what feminism is, is lost in the word. Just because it has the ‘female’ term in the word, people are quick to assume it’s anti-men, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I personally believe that feminism is only about equality,” she says.
How can it be a turn-off?
Speaking from both a practical and a psychological perspective, Adya tells us how a woman being a feminist can be a turn-off for some guys. “Let’s say a man asks out a woman for a date, he might be dissuaded by thinking something like ‘She’ll report me’ and that can often stem from a flawed sense of feminism.”
Keeping the flawed sense of feminism aside, Adya tells us how the male psyche can often subconsciously play a role as well. “A somewhat controversial psychological perspective on the whole situation is that if you go by the hypnotherapy school of thought, they say that a lot of women fantasize about BDSM and being submissive, even if they don’t practice it in real life.
“Similarly, it claims men like being the dominant personality in the relationship. So when they think about a woman supporting feminism or ideas related to politics, they might subconsciously feel they’re no longer the dominant one in the relationship,” explains Adya.
Related Reading: Being sexually submissive does not mean you are a bad feminist
The turn-off stems from mistaking misandry for feminism
Perhaps the biggest and most problematic reason why feminists might be an instant turn-off for men is that they’re often confused with misandrists. The common consensus amongst the masses is that feminism and misandry are now interchangeable, which, unfortunately, might end up making a lot of people immediately disregard feminists and feminism as a whole, while completely overlooking how feminism benefits men as well.
“No, it’s not a turnoff. ‘Those feminists’ as everyone seems to be referring to them are not feminists, they are extremists,” a Reddit user points out, in the same thread where many comments claim misandrist “feminists” are a turn-off. Those two things were never meant to go hand in hand, and they never will be.
“I know a lot of women who don’t understand the basic idea of what feminism is. Not even the definition. They don’t even bother looking it up on Google to know what feminism is, what the core idea of feminism is,” says Adya, about how misinformation harms the movement and tarnishes the name of every self-respecting feminist.
“They just think feminists are anti-men, which is what ends up harming the movement,” she adds.
What can be done?
The problem here isn’t men being turned off by feminists, it’s one of misinformation. When people don’t know what feminism is, they might, unfortunately, assume it has something to do with man-hating and calling them feminists in the first place is what’s defeating the whole purpose. When mislabeling like this continues, it might make the uninitiated truly believe that misandry is all feminism stands for.
Adya shares a few thoughts on what can be done to curb misinformation. “The best way to curb it is through education. If someone is against the ideas of feminism, educate them about what feminism truly is, and what it’s trying to solve.”
“There need to be healthy conversations instead of bashful ones, even if someone doesn’t share your views on feminism. You need to explain to them why you believe in what you do, instead of belittling them,” she says.
Just because someone says “feminist” in their bio isn’t a red flag. In fact, it’d be a red flag if they didn’t believe in the values and morals feminism stands for. Hopefully, next time, you’ll try and get a grasp of the values the person in front of you believes in, instead of instantly rejecting someone.