An Open Letter To The Guy Who Wrote “Why Men Hate Feminism And Don’t Respect Women”

The Hunger Games / Amazon.com
The Hunger Games / Amazon.com
Not too long ago, Colton Ashbury authored an article posted on Thought Catalog titled Why Men Hate Feminism and Don’t Respect Women. A friend of mine who knows that I love to dig into pieces like these sent it my way and, upon finishing it, I felt compelled to write a response. It’s a little late to be considered a sharp comeback, but I have to put this out there anyway — an open letter to Mr. Colton Ashbury.

Hello, Mr. Ashbury. Contrary to what you may believe, this response is not going to tear apart every little word you wrote and throw it to the FemiNazi sharks circling my vagina. In fact, I’ll start by saying that I thought your opening idea was rather strong. We should indeed live in a society where “real opinions” are valued, where the masses are not conforming to one way of thinking. That sounds like a utopia I’d love to participate in. We could debate, eat, drink, and be merry all day long under the Tuscan sun. We could all gladly learn and grow from one another, and advance as intelligent beings. Hurrah!

On that note, it’s my personal, “real opinion” that, when you’re writing an article bashing feminism, the first real statement you make is not allowed to be “ladies, I love and respect you.”

Mr. Ashbury, based on everything you wrote after that opening statement, I am sorry to inform you that you neither love nor respect women. You love the idea of women, and you love the female body in the way that every heterosexual man does. You respect a woman who knows how far the confines of femininity extend and can fit inside of them. But you, like many people out there, hate feminism and do not love women because you are missing the basic point of it all.

“What is feminism really?” you ask in your article. That’s a good question, and one that everyone probably has different answers to nowadays. But I think, overall, the best and truest one can be summed up into a phrase I saw on a T-shirt recently: feminism is the concept that women are people.

I get why people don’t like the idea of feminism — they think it’s something completely different from and much more extreme than the “definition” I’ve provided. I’ve heard about the radfems out there who publicize the dismantling of patriarchy and propose installing a matriarchy in its place. That idea is as full of bullshit as the current system we have. That “flippant hypocrisy,” as you call it, is also not feminism. I repeat: Not. Feminism.

Now that I’ve answered the slightly rhetorical question you asked in your article, I have a question for you: Where is the line between an outfit in which a woman is “asking to get raped” and one in which she can be treated like a human being worthy of respect?

Because this may surprise you, Mr. Ashbury, but a woman doesn’t have to dress a certain way to “prove” that she’s a sexual object. A woman can and will be sexualized by others no matter what she wears. This is something men do not experience. At least not on the scale that women do. Not even close. So while you may be thinking that you have found the Holy Grail, that the solution is clear for all us women and feminists, it’s not quite that simple. We get harassed on the street based on our appearance no matter what we wear. I’ve been hit on while wearing a short skirt and heels, and I’ve been hit on while wearing sweatpants and a baggy shirt.

And thus I ask again: What can I wear that will make you and every other man out there treat me like a human with the same thoughts, feelings, and rights as you?

Gee…it’s almost as if it’s not about what I wear, but rather, what I am. Female.

But here’s where I’m most confused, Mr. Ashbury – in the middle of your article you say the following:

Ladies, if you want feminism to be taken seriously, but more importantly, if you want yourself to be taken seriously, FUCK conventions; FUCK what I think you should look like; FUCK that your grandmother would roll over in her grave for what you’re thinking or doing; FUCK everyone and everything except what you think and believe. And you know what, maybe you like wearing high heels and looking prettier than is realistic, and if that’s your thing, kudos to you.

Upon reading that, for a second I thought, Wait, what is this? He’s actually alighted upon some truth! He sees that modern feminism is about the individual’s wants and desires, and not about conforming to what men want women to do! This is a total curveball! A revelation!

But then you immediately follow with this:

But don’t sit around and wonder why men continue to treat you like shit and not take you seriously.

Sigh.

Mr. Ashbury, you are indeed still the asshole you claim you used to be.

So, sure. Let’s start saying what we really think about things. Conflicting opinions are fine. Let’s be the people that we want to be, not who we’re told to be. But, Mr. Ashbury, I suggest you reevaluate your logic on this particular subject. Because it starts with you.

I’m dressing for myself, sir. I’ve been dressing for myself — and nobody else — since long before I stumbled across your oh-so-helpful advice. It doesn’t seem fair to me that I’m being blamed for your false interpretation of my intentions — of any and every woman’s intentions.

And before you bash feminism, Mr. Ashbury, I suggest you look into all of the ways it benefits you and all other men. Without feminists, women wouldn’t have gained reproductive rights.

…Because you’re so smart and perceptive, I’ll leave it to you to figure out what that means in regards to how you love and respect women and their bodies. TC mark

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