Why College Girls Are Ditching Feminism

The word “feminism” often evokes images of suffragettes fighting for a woman’s right to vote. Recently, however, feminism has mutated into something entirely different. While it’s clear the movement still reigns supreme in Hollywood and the mainstream media, some college students seem to be having a change of heart.

By Abigail Hanley3 min read
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A woman’s college years are a time for personal development and discovery. During these years, students are exposed to a plethora of brand new ideas as they meet and mingle with people from all walks of life. As a result, many young women are learning that some feminist ideals sound appealing – until they are actually carried out, that is. College-age women are increasingly fed up: Hookup culture is destroying their relationships and self-image, femininity has become widely devalued, and gender-inclusive restrooms feel awkward and unsafe. But why are these things so important in the lives of young women? What happens if we try living according to feminism, and it makes us miserable?

Strike One: Relationship Blues

One look at #Homemaker on Instagram or TikTok will tell you exactly where many young women’s hearts and minds are today. There is a reason why influencers like Mrs. Midwest and Lex Delarosa have amassed such impressive followings. Many young women are captivated by the idea of becoming wives and mothers, with some even yearning to stay home during their child-rearing years. Unfortunately, the dating scene in most universities today is not conducive to intentional dating, and it’s certainly a hostile environment for aspiring homemakers. Feminism has altered the dynamics between men and women, devaluing marriage while encouraging young people to engage in hookup culture. It has confused both sexes about what their role should be in a relationship and transformed dating into a sort of aimless wandering with no clear destination.

Young women are becoming fed up with a culture that no longer seems to value things like chivalry, commitment, and intentional dating. Many long for the types of relationships and marriages that have become uncommon in society today. So, what’s a girl to do? Learning how to confidently say no when asked to compromise your morals is an excellent start. Being open and honest about what kind of relationship you’d like in the future is even better. It is possible to stand up against hookup culture rather than being complacent about it.

It’s not right that you should feel the need to compete with men or to try to emulate their traits.

Strike Two: Femininity Forgotten

Femininity has been devalued on college campuses for quite some time. Feminism originally sought to demand respect for women and for the ways that we differ from men, but unfortunately, its legacy has achieved just the opposite. Somewhere down the line, it was decided that the only way for women to gain respect was for them to adopt masculine personality traits and demeanors. Most college-age women remember growing up with the fear of being perceived as “girly.” Unfortunately, this fear often prevails throughout the college years as femininity is heavily associated with weakness. Because of this, women feel the need to fight against their biology rather than work with it. The pressure of having to compete with men, suppress their feminine traits, and live according to a 24 hour cycle rather than a 28 day cycle has women stressed out and searching for another option.

Countless young women have tried living according to the teachings of feminism, only to find that it made them miserable. Being treated like a corporate machine and forced to live by the 24 hour male cycle is burdensome. The idea of a softer, slower, more family-oriented lifestyle begins to look incredibly appealing once a young woman has experienced the other option. One solution to the devaluation of femininity is to simply stop fighting biology. A great way to start is by understanding and accepting (and embracing!) your feminine traits. Understand that women’s bodies and minds work according to an entirely different cycle than men’s. It’s not right that you should feel the need to compete with men or to try to emulate their traits. Celebrate being a woman!

Strike Three: Women’s Spaces – Men Welcome?

One issue faced by college women today is the implementation of gender-inclusive spaces, including restrooms and locker rooms with “all-gender” posted on the doors. Although most college girls will agree that we want all people to feel accepted, it’s not exclusionary to prefer separate restrooms from men. Multiple-stall “all gender” restrooms not only put young women at the risk of feeling incredibly awkward, but they are also a safety hazard. Considering this, it doesn’t make much sense that feminists around the country continuously push for these types of spaces while downplaying the risks they pose to women. Advocating for women should mean protecting our health and safety, rather than blindly inviting men into our spaces.

Many college girls are opting to avoid all-gender restrooms as a whole for fear of being assaulted. Women should not have to feel intimidated or unsafe for an act as simple as using the restroom. As college students, we must demand that our universities bring back women-only restrooms rather than “all-gender” ones. This issue is a matter of safety, not a pawn in the culture war.

Female empowerment doesn’t have to mean altering the meaning of what a woman is.

Can You Be Pro-Woman without Being a Feminist?

Despite the popular narrative, choosing not to be a feminist does not make a person “anti-woman.” Supporting women’s rights doesn’t have to mean joining the current iteration of the feminist movement. It’s possible to advocate for equal respect toward all people without believing that men and women are the same thing. Plenty of students realize during their college years that this type of black-and-white thinking just isn’t logical. There is much more nuance to this topic than the media would have us believe. To be pro-woman means to support the dignity of women, to advocate for our safety, and to have our best interests at heart. It’s becoming clear that many modern-day feminist teachings just don’t lead women down the path to safety or happiness. To point this out is common sense, not misogyny.

The idea that not being a feminist means hating women or that you’re a “bad woman” is simply incorrect. To disagree with a social movement is not to hate the people driving it, and female empowerment doesn’t have to mean altering the meaning of what a woman is. Female empowerment can look like encouraging women to take good care of themselves, to respect themselves, and to make smart choices. Power does not have to come in the form of masculinity. It’s important to remember that there is power in our feminine traits as well.

Closing Thoughts

It’s no wonder why so many college-age women are leaving feminism behind in favor of pursuing marriage, embracing their femininity, and longing to bring back women’s spaces. Although it isn’t always received well, an increasing number of young women are standing up for what they believe is right, rather than following the advice our culture tends to give us. The more young women speak out against the harmful values imposed on us, the faster change will take place.

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