How I Went From Feminist To Feminine

I became a feminist as a young teen. I believed that it was my moral duty to call myself a feminist and to support the fight for women’s equality. In my most radical state, I believed that anyone who wasn’t a feminist was anti-woman. 

By Diana Clarke4 min read
How I Went From Feminist To Feminine

I was college-aged when I realized the error of my beliefs. I learned the lies of feminism and came to terms with my feminine identity which I had rejected in the process of becoming a feminist.

My Introduction to Feminism

In high school, I joined a women’s forum that discussed gender-based discrimination. In the women’s forum, I learned the core feminist belief that women are systemically oppressed on the basis of their gender. We discussed sexual liberation, rape culture, and phenomena such as “the glass ceiling.” Another topic included intersectional feminism, the feminist theory that expands beyond biological sex to include race, sexual orientation, and gender identity among other classifying groups in a hierarchy of oppression. Among my feminist beliefs were the ideas that patriarchy is oppressive, gender roles are sexist, and that women are paid less for equal work. I believed that a just society would have equal outcomes and representation between the sexes in all areas of life. 

I believed that a just society would have equal outcomes and equal representation between the sexes in all areas of life.

I became a feminist because I believed that it was the right thing to do. Women’s oppression was the problem, feminism was the solution. I attribute some of my attraction to feminism to the discomfort I felt in my body when I went from a girl to a young woman. You see, feminism rejects the natural law of polarity between the sexes in favor of sameness between the sexes. Believing that women were oppressed also allowed me to point the finger at something outside of myself. Embracing feminism allowed me to reject my femininity in favor of the “sameness” between girls and boys that I was familiar with as a young girl. 

A Feminist Mentality Is a Victim Mentality

The feminist mentality is a victim mentality. A person with a victim mentality believes that everything that happens to them is the fault of others. As a feminist, when I found success, it was because I was a strong and smart young woman. When I failed, it was because I was oppressed on the basis of my gender. Feminism was the perfect coping mechanism for dealing with my insecurities and inadequacies.

Why I Left Feminism

I found myself slowly straying from the beliefs that I once held so dearly. I realized that the hierarchy of oppression between men and women that I had previously believed, was false. I began to feel differently about abortion. I realized the wisdom behind traditional gender roles. I learned why women earn less money than men. I explored various perspectives from critics of feminism. Jordan Peterson opened my mind to the possibility that women have different wants and needs than men, which leads to unequal outcomes. The Factual Feminist (Christina Hoff-Sommers) unpacked the most common feminist lies. Suzanne Venker taught me how the feminist life script hurts women in life and love

Following my research and introspection, it seemed as though my beliefs no longer aligned with feminism. Not only that, but I didn’t even feel welcome in the movement that was supposedly designed to support women like myself. It’s interesting how a movement that champions women’s freedom and individuality requires its members to follow a rigid set of ideological beliefs. 

Feminism claims to champion women’s freedom and individuality, but requires its members to follow a rigid set of ideological beliefs.

I began to acknowledge the beautiful polarity between the sexes. I concluded that if men and women possess different strengths and abilities, in a healthy society we wouldn't see equal outcomes between the sexes. I could now examine women’s issues from a perspective that acknowledged the difference between the sexes and acknowledged the unique challenges facing boys and men. 

A common rebuttal to my anti-feminist status is: “Don’t you believe in the equality of the sexes? If you do, that means you are a feminist!”. That might be feminism by definition, but that’s not what modern feminism is about. Today, it’s more about providing unequal opportunities for women and perverting the truth in the attempt to achieve equal outcomes between men and women. If modern feminism were simply about gender equality for both men and women, then it wouldn’t be called feminism. It would be called egalitarianism. 

What about Men and Boys?

I also could no longer ignore feminism's disregard for the struggles of men and boys. Feminists are concerned with equal outcomes for women in government, corporations, and the division of labor in the home. However, they're not interested in equal outcomes where men are failing and discriminated against like in education, or with the epidemics of fatherlessness and suicide.

How can we honestly discuss men’s issues under the assumption that the patriarchy is responsible for gender-based discrimination and that men can't be systemically oppressed on the basis of gender? Many feminists will argue that a patriarchal society hurts everyone and that we would all be better off with a more egalitarian society. But if that’s the case, why is it that as our society becomes more egalitarian and less patriarchal, the issues facing boys and men become even more prominent?

Discovering My Femininity

Despite coming to terms with my identity away from feminism, I was still confused about my identity within my gender. A lifetime of “girls can do anything boys can do” and “men and women are the same” left me unsure about what it actually meant to be female and what it meant to be a woman. Sameness between the sexes suggests that there's nothing unique or unifying about being a man or being a woman. “Gender is a social construct” works for those who don’t fit neatly into the binary of biological sex. But for the rest of us, gender theory has left an entire generation of people confused about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. 

I realized what I wanted most: to find love, get married, and have a family.

I realized what I wanted most: to find love, get married, and have a family. I began to acknowledge how the life script being sold to me had the potential to ruin my chances of achieving these goals. The feminist idolatry of the working life does a disservice to women because it encourages women to pursue a career over family and to be completely independent from men. Not to mention that a “boss babe” career that meets at the intersection of passion, fulfillment, and compensation is not a right but a privilege that few people, male or female, actually get to experience.

Women’s liberation may have provided women with the choice between a life as a career woman or a life as a homemaker, but the economic impacts of having this choice have made it impossible for many women to even choose the traditional path. For women who can choose to stay home, they're met with shame from modern culture for choosing the more traditional path.

The Truth behind Traditional Gender Roles

Traditional gender roles are taboo in our modern culture. Regardless, I explored the purpose of traditional gender roles and I couldn’t help but be attracted to the order that they provided. 

Traditionally masculine traits include:

  • Strength

  • Courage

  • Leadership

  • Assertiveness

  • Industriousness 

Traditionally feminine traits include:

  • Gentleness

  • Empathy

  • Sensitivity

  • Intuition

  • Resourcefulness 

Many see these classifications as misogynistic because our society views traditionally feminine characteristics as inferior to those of the traditionally masculine. Why are masculine traits such as assertiveness, strength, and leadership labeled as “empowerment” for women yet labeled as “toxic masculinity” for men? I would argue that the downplaying of the importance of the traditionally feminine role in favor of women embracing a more traditionally masculine role is where the actual misogyny lies. And although the traditionally masculine man is shunned in society, it's precisely these traits that allowed men to win wars, build civilizations, and protect and provide for women and children.

Trading Feminism for Femininity

I decided to apply traditional femininity to my gender expression. This included the way I dressed and the way I spoke. It involved a shift in attitude and a shift in mentality. I explored the qualities of a virtuous character and applied them to my life. I noticed a trend in traditionally minded women: these women were intelligent, well-spoken, healthy, and beautiful. The women who were labeled “oppressed” by the feminists were in fact the women who seemed the happiest and the most fulfilled. I couldn’t help but look at these women in admiration. 

The women who were labeled “oppressed” by the feminists were in fact the women who seemed the happiest and the most fulfilled.

I wrote a Twitter thread about my journey to femininity, which included this tweet that summarized my transformation:

Closing Thoughts

My departure from feminism provided me with the gift of seeking truth, nurturing beauty, and cultivating purpose. I'm responsible for my successes, and I'm responsible for my failures. I feel like I can be my best self because I know that there's no oppressive force holding me back. I see men and women as complementary, not in competition. I feel confident in embracing traditional femininity and staying true to myself. I will forever be grateful for the awakening I experienced that allowed me to leave feminism and find femininity.

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