Why I’m not a Feminist

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger There’s quite a social stigma to confessing one isn’t a feminist, especially when all strong women are seen as feminists.. So why am I not a feminist?

I always thought that the headlines with women burning their bras were crazy. As an adolescent in sunny South Africa in the 60s, I have to confess that it never occurred to me that there was any area in which I wasn’t equal to a male. Certainly, nobody told me that. My late mother was a director in a family owned business. In addition, she raced stock cars, went fishing, bred dogs, was on various associations (the only woman, at the time), and was active with an anti-apartheid political party. The leader of the official opposition was a sometime visitor in our home. Honestly? It never occurred to me that women had a lesser deal than men.

Boys and Girls Growing Up

Gender Equality

It was also quite clear to me that women and men were different.

Sure I raced bicycles with the neighborhood kids (boys and girls), and for whatever reason, I always won, We played cowboys and Indians, jumped from roofs for fun, and climbed trees to grab the fruit. In all of this, nobody ever treated the girls any differently to the boys.

On a Tuesday evening, it was Observatory night. My late father was president or chairman (he seemed to take it in turns) of the astronomical society, so off we would go to help set up the giant telescope and look through it to see the red planet and the white moon. If my late father ever thought that because I was a girl, then science should be of no interest to me, he certainly never acted that way.

We all had classes every afternoon after school. Ballet, speech and drama, piano, whatever. If you think it was only my sister and I who went to ballet classes, not so. My late brother was in the ballet class as well.  Yes, he played cricket for his school, and the record he set was only broken a decade after he left.

We all did pretty much the same thing, but we were different. I think the first thing that came to me was that I preferred the way that men interacted. I can’t put my finger on it exactly, but I just preferred the straight forward communication style of men. 

Myself, my mother, my brother, and my sister for a show put on by the ballet school we attended.
Myself, my mother, my brother, and my sister for a show put on by the ballet school we attended.

Men are More Violent

Male on Male Violence

Men are infinitely more violent than women. Call it testosterone or evolution. They were bred by Mother Nature to be the soldiers, the hunters, the protectors. In the US, 63% of murders are committed by men killing men while 22.7% of men killing women. That means that less than 15% of homicides were committed by women.

When it comes to rape, men don’t only rape women. They rape men as well. These acts take place in war, in prison, and is one of those hidden little horrors that hasn’t quite seen the light of day yet.

In other words, I think the issue is the wrong one. I don’t think it’s so much about men needing to be taught not to rape or murder women. I think it’s that men need to be taught not to use force and violence on others. How is that to be done in view of millions of years of evolution? I have no idea, but I do think that’s the real issue.

Wages – A Living Wage Will Do

Equal Pay for Equal Work

I’m sure you’ve heard that women earn a lot less than men. Well, sadly to say, statistics aren’t quite what they appear to be. In fact, both the Hallmark report and a Labor Department study, after thorough research, came to the same conclusion, and I quote, “The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.” Simply put: women don’t seem to care about money as much as men do and generally self-select into lower paying careers by their own volition – not because of prejudice.’ According to the Hallmark report commissioned by the White House, women simply don’t push as hard as men to get a higher wage.

That said, I’m not concerned that at the top of the hierarchy, some women are earning  twenty percent (or however many percent) less than men are. My view is simply that neither male or female CEOs should be earning 728 times the salary that the guy at the bottom is earning.

I’m happy to earn a living wage. I don’t really care if someone earns more than me. I’m not greedy, I’m not ambitious, and if some woman is earning $1 million a year and she’s upset because a male in a similar position is earning $2 million a year, forgive me, but I’m not going to be crying for her. I definitely think she has her priorities wrong. In her place, I would be more concerned with what the bottom tier workers were earning than with the ‘limitations’ of my salary.

Getting the same pay

Women earn less than men...

I'm going to quote from an article published at Genders across Borders entitled, "To speak softly or to roar loudly," Here because it says it well...

"women employees tend to be concentrated in entry- or middle-level positions and remain scarce in senior management or board positions in most countries and industries … barriers to women in top jobs included a ‘lack of role models.’ Others included the ‘general norms and cultural practices’ and ‘masculine or patriarchal corporate culture."

Note that the barriers aren't men stopping them from running their own businesses or being paid whopping salaries, etc. (Check out Meg Whitman ex Ebay CEO). The barriers are a 'lack of role models.' In other words, women don't see other women in those positions so they don't particularly try to be in those positions themselves. Well, I guess that could tell you exactly how much initiative women have. Or maybe not. Maybe it's that when all is said and done, there is a vocal minority who would have liked to be in those positions but they lacked what it took and they can't see that.  If Meg Whitman, Martha Stewart, and other women can get to the top of the cherry tree, it's not about discrimination. It's just that some women  play hardball.

Why is it so difficult to accept that money just isn't that important to women and nor is a career, etc. And even when there a career is important to women, they won't kill, lie, cheat, and do whatever it takes the way men will. Men do not play the same game that women do, and that is one of the reasons that they are mostly at the top! 

Female Firsts

The first woman who...

Give me a break. I think I was the only ten year old girl in South Africa in 1961 who read Sci Fi. In those days, very few men read sci fi, never mind a girl in South Africa. It was so not-done. In fact, my late father had a permanent subscription with Analog Science Fiction and Amazing Science Fiction because the stuff could simply not be bought in my home country in those days. So what?

Oh, yes. My late mother was the first woman in South Africa to get her Advanced Driver’s Licence. So what. Who cares?

So someone is going to be the first female president and the first women on Mars and the first woman to have a baby.  Oh, sorry, someone will be the first man to have a baby. Boring. Forgive me, but boring.

Does it mean that if someone becomes the first female president that, thereafter, there will be an equal number of male and female presidents? No, it doesn’t. Does it mean that because some woman somewhere became a doctor that there are now an equal number of male and female doctors? No, it doesn’t.

I think the focus is wrong. To me, the fact that something hasn’t been done before doesn’t necessarily mean that it couldn't be done because there was a barrier, and being the first women to get there, doesn’t necessarily mean that a barrier was broken. I truly think the concept is stupid, but then, I think running after a ball and trying to get it into a goal post is stupid. As for paying ball players millions to do this, and then, even worse, people dish out hundreds for tickets to watch this…

What can I say?

My mother, a director in the family company standing alongside some of the business trucks
My mother, a director in the family company standing alongside some of the business trucks

Sometimes people just want ordinary lives...

Not Everyone is Ambitious

It was my late father’s dream to have me become a scientist, and it was my late mother’s dream that I should be a doctor or a lawyer. I had not one bit of interest in academia, a profession, or anything else. I was interested in beautiful clothing (I still am), writing, acting, dancing, decorating, etc. I also had absolutely no interest in being an entrepreneur (despite the fact that both my parents were).

So it wasn’t a matter that I was ‘conditioned’ not to want those things. I had the requisite private schooling, extra lessons, a daughter of privilege, and more. I just wasn’t interested. I wanted to get married, have a family, and be a housewife.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of women who have no interest in a career. They also are quite content to earn a salary sufficient to pay their bills, and if someone wants to give them more, they’ll be happy. Will they fight for it or negotiate for it? No.

My sister gave up ballet dancing professionally just as she was about to be given lead parts at the age of 21. She just wanted an ordinary life. When an international car rental company offered her a management position, she declined on the basis that she had no interest in leading other people. She liked ‘just having a job’ as a car rental agent.

And so it goes.

Of course, if you mention this to a feminist, they will hotly contend it. They don’t want to know that women like this exist, or even that they may well number the majority.


Feminism indoctrinated

Indoctrination of Feminism

Indoctrination takes place slowly over a period of years through numerous repeated messages form the media, one's peer group, parenting, and 'education.' The way one can immediately tell whether a person has been indoctrinated is whether they can come up with a logical response that counters the factual information presented. For instance, I'm willing to bet that any number of women who call themselves feminists will not come up with a feasible reason for why it's that women don't push as hard for more money and/or why men on men violence is greater than men on women violence. In fact, they won't come up with why men are more violent.

All feminists, whether men or women, tend to have an emotional response to this. They can't tell you why they're feminists, but not to be a feminist is considered horribly incorrect and uncivilized. 

The attitude is not limited to feminism. It comes up in any area where one has been indoctrinated - religion, politics, whatever.


My sister while she was dancing for PACT (Professional ballet company)
My sister while she was dancing for PACT (Professional ballet company)

I’m a Strong Woman, but not a Feminist

There have been more than one man who has told me that I am ‘overwhelmingly strong.’ Yes, I am. And from time to time, I meet men who want to show how capable, protective, strong, and intelligent they are. Spare me but I don’t need a man to be my superior.

Does that make me a feminist?

Not at all.

If there was something I couldn’t do, I would be only too willing to have a man (or a woman) help me with it. But the kind of thing that men so frequently want to do for me are things I am quite capable of doing myself. Open my car door? Thank you, but I’m perfectly capable, and it’s a lot faster if I just get out without having to wait for the man to walk around to open my door. Would I accept a man carrying my groceries for me? Absolutely. I’m not that physically strong, and if a man offered, why, certainly, I’d be delighted. I’d be just as delighted if a woman asked if she could help. I’m not gender specific.

So, when all is said and done, as a 21st century woman, I can vote, go to school, dress the way I like, talk to whoever I want to, live my life in a way that is suitable for me. Sure there are things I can’t do. To the degree that we live in a civilized society, to that degree we need to make room for others, and that means, we can’t have it our own way sometimes. And that’s perfectly okay with me.


Updated: 10/22/2013, TessaSchlesinger
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TessaSchlesinger on 07/29/2015

Blackspaneilgallery. I think it's important for all of us to be accepting of self. :)

blackspanielgallery on 07/29/2015

You seem quite content with yourself, and that is worth so much,

TessaSchlesinger on 05/27/2013

Brenda. :)

BrendaReeves on 05/27/2013

Well, I'm not a horse, but I sure stressed myself out trying to be what would be impossible. I'm off to read that article.

TessaSchlesinger on 05/27/2013

Yup, you got it Brenda. We are what we are. I see that in animals. My mom was a breeder and the dogs very definitely had their own characters. So do horses. Hans Selye, the Nobel prize winner for the fight and flight mechanism said that if you take a race horse and force it to be a farm horse, it will be very stresed, and if you take a farm horse and make it a race horse, it will be very stressed.

Also about 50% of people are extroverts and 50% introverts. It is introverts who make the better leaders because they rae the thinkers and the doers. This obsession with being socially popular has done a grave disservice to humanity. Likewise the insistance that everyone must be ambitious.

I wrote this this morning on one of my blogs. Don't know if you'll agree...


BrendaReeves on 05/27/2013

I agree with you on that. We are what we are and research is beginning to confirm it. I tried to turn myself into a go-getter until the age of 50, because American culture and the women's movement told us that's what we should aspire too. I'm a very laid-back, easy going introvert. Like you, I just wanted to be a mother, and it was really frowned upon by my peers when I came of age. I was raised by all women. My mother was crazy, but my grandmothers were tough old farm women that I admired.

TessaSchlesinger on 05/27/2013

Brenda, I think it's more than that. I had a strong mother. Women who grow up with strong mothers do not see themselves as victims of men. Also, I went to all girls' schools and never had a male teacher in my life. They were all women. So I never came into any sort of discrimination because I was a woman. That said, it's also my gene pool. I am a strong woman. One is what one is born. Environment can't change your character; it can only reveal what your character is.

BrendaReeves on 05/27/2013

Tess, you were lucky to have a father that treat you with the respect and value he would with a son. It would be wonderful if all girls could have a father like that. The world would be a better place. A healthy father/daughter relationship is very important for a girls psychological development.

katiem2 on 05/21/2013

I sometimes think I would love to have lived in another time, a simpler time when women were not, well.... what ever and all it is we are today.

KathleenDuffy on 05/19/2013

I know what you're saying Tess. Of course you have the advantage of first hand knowledge. I was looking back to my days as a youngster when I was a member of The Movement for Colonial Freedom. We supported activists from South Africa with money and a roof over their heads whilst they campaigned in the UK. Not much, I know, but I think we did help in our small way to raise the profile of those men and women. But of course, I know very little about the reality of their situation, unlike yourself. xx

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