What are the central tenets of Straw Feminism? (No, seriously, I’m asking.)


Ok, class project!

As regular readers of this blog know all too well, the manosphere has a rather distorted version of feminism. Indeed, MRAs, MGTOWers and other misogynists spend a lot of their timedoing battle against feminists of their own imagining, whose alleged beliefs only have a tangential relationship with anything you or I know as feminism. It’s not always clear if MRAs know they’re battling straw feminists or not, and I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to figure that out.

In the meantime, I’m trying to assemble a little guide to this straw feminism.

I’m wondering what you all think are its central tenets?

(Specific examples and links, to posts and/or discussion on this blog or elsewhere, would be great if you can provide them.)

Take a look at Kate Beaton’s amazing “Straw Feminist” cartoon if you need inspiration!

Ironically, the gang over on the Men’s Rights subreddit had a whack at the “straw feminist” question the other day. They didn’t do too well, with the OP basing his “refutation” of accusations that MRAs spend much of their time attacking straw feminists … on a list that incorporated some not-actually-real feminist quotes. (I factchecked a similar list of EVIL FEMINIST QUOTES here.)

About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon, Time.com, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on February 6, 2013, in antifeminism, MRA, reddit, straw feminists and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 257 Comments.

  1. Holy shit.

    Arriving back to the party quite a bit late, and here’s DL. How fucking lovely is that. (I’ll be rude and answer myself. Not lovely at all. More like stepping in something.)

    Viscaria, may I offer you an Internet? That was amazing. I join Howard in the applause.

    DL, in case you missed it, that was The Big Foam Cluebat making contact with your thick skull.

    Sorry I missed Phil. I always miss the really dumb trolls. 😦 Troll during working hours, you stupid trolls!

  2. I see DL has an advanced case of Not Getting It. DL, why do you think you can tell us to stay on topic and that we should accept your not-pology?

    In short, fuck off.

  3. @Dagrabbit, I’m sorry you had to endure that. Not your fault, and some people just are just flat-out evil.

  4. Some Gal Not Bored at All

    Yay, Viscaria!

    Also, from today’s post: Strawfeminists all have tattoos.

  5. Well done DL! You’re doing a stellar job at being a patronising shitwig. You should piss off and give yourself a well-earned rest.😀

    @ Viscaria – . wow. Yes.

  6. @hellkell

    why do you think you can tell us to stay on topic

    Plus, my topic was basically “this is why I am pissed the fuck off” so I stayed on that pretty well, imo.

  7. Argenti Aertheri

    Straw feminists never stay on topic and devolve into such mudane topics as cats and recipes and hair!

    (Pecunium, was right, braided is easier to deal with by enough of a margin to make the annoyance of braiding it worth it)

  8. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Viscaria: ::applause::

    This is one of the reasons I would like to see Dirtbag Leech Colvin banned.

  9. We appear to have a Code Red.

    (It’s funny because rubies are red and this is kinda similar.)

  10. 1: Straw feminists believe bad sex = rape.

    2: Straw feminists think all male/female sex is bad.

    3: Straw feminists think all men have easy lives, because of, “privilege”.

    4: Straw feminists think appreciating people is objectificaton.

    4b: Objectification can only be done by men.

    5: Straw Feminists believe feminists can do no wrong.

    6: Straw feminists want to outlaw “traditional” relationships.

    7: Straw Feminists want to outlaw marriage.

    8: Straw feminists love to change spellings, e.g. Womyn.

    9: Straw feminists don’t care about women in other countries.

    10: Straw feminists love abortions. Abortions turn them on.

    11: Straw feminists think the gov’t owes them something, so men need to be made to pay for it; just because they are men.

    And the most important tenet of Straw Feminism: It is diametrically opposed to whatever the anti-feminist believes.

  11. @pillow in hell: I love to point my dad out as a man who got custody of his kid. His first wife (my mother was his second) was a drug addict, so my dad got custody of their son. This was back around 1970. Any MRA or Strawfeminist would say that he’s the exception that proves the rule, I suppose

    @Kiwi girl: My cats are not ragdolls, but I seldom get to go to the bathroom by myself, too.

    @The Kittehs’ Unpaid Help: Kitties (ahem, kittehs) are indeed trying to take over the world, but nobody really minds since that just leads to more furry luvvins. My cats get very upset if I come home and don’t give them luvvins right away.

    They aren’t so keen on the corporal cuddling, though (I hope this embedding works, apologies if it doesn’t).

  12. I’m being the YouTube genie again:

  13. Aw, that’s a cute video Ellex. Just use the regular YouTube URL, and it should embed. Everyone can be a YouTube genie!

  14. I join in giving Viscaria mad props and applause.

    As for Colvin’s not-apology…

    You know, one of the upcoming Cracks of Sunshine strips is called “How to Apologize.” It had three requirements: Be sincere, show understanding of what you did wrong, and improve behavior so it doesn’t happen again.

    Earlier today, I was thinking, “I dunno, this strip seems so obvious, people might find it condescending.”

    Then I read DL Colvin’s attempt at a psuedopology and was like, “Oh yeah, never mind.”

    As for “Sorry for saying my honest opinion,” Dude. If you say a horrible thing, it doesn’t matter if you truly believe it or not. YOU SAID A HORRIBLE THING. If I say all kittens deserve to be drowned, then people get to call me out on it.

    It’s not that you have an opinion that pisses us off. It’s that it’s a HORRIBLE OPINION and deserves to be called out on.

  15. LBT: Those are great tips! I think it’s actually the first one that trips people up. They find themselves in a position where they need to apologize to regain people’s good graces, but they’re not actually sorry. So they make a not-pology and then are all like “Well, what was I supposed to do? I’m not actually sorry but I had to apologize or everyone would be mad at me!”

  16. Phil: This isn’t a gotcha. I’m just asking.

    Sure it ain’t. Tell you what, tell us what you think the tenets of “radical feminism” are. What makes it radical, and why the rest of feminism is responsible for it.

    For bonus points explain why, if “radical feminism” has to be owned by the rest of feminism, the people profiled here aren’t to be considered mainstream by those who look at the idea of mens’ rights.

  17. RE: katz

    Yeah. My general rule is, if you find yourself in that situation, do one of two things. Either (A) stop hanging around with those people, or (B) become a better liar. (There’s also sucking it up and dealing with the fallout in a non-defensive manner, but let’s face it, DL Colvin can’t even apologize properly. I have low hopes for non-violent communication.)

    I mean, I’ve worked customer service. I’ve been in that position of a customer demanding an apology for something totally unrelated to me, or for something I consider completely unreasonable. The thing is, an obviously fake apology is just likely to enrage them further. Either I apologize convincingly, and calm them down, or I accept that that customer is going to be pissy at me. (Which very well might happen even if I apologize beautifully.) Usually, just by trying to put myself in their shoes, I can summon the appropriate amount of empathy to apologize sincerely for their inconvenience.

    And that’s with angry customers, not Manboobzers explaining thoroughly what I did wrong.

  18. Oh! Also, relevant to the post originally, I have some straw feminism tenets!

    1. Straw feminists have no empathy for the rest of humanity except ‘The Sisterhood.’

    2. Ergo, straw feminists only reach out to other groups of people when they have an ulterior motive. Feminists were NEVER involved with Prohibition, child labor, or abolitionism. And if they were, it was only to unite people against men.

    3. Straw feminism never changes. Straw feminists are fighting the same things they fought in 1920. This is proof that they are out of touch.

  19. Hey thanks for all the props guys :-3 despite the fact that I spelled “Colvin” wrong. I blame autocorrect.

  20. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Ellex, I ADORE the Engineers’ Guide to Cats!🙂

    Viscaria – given that Calvin (as in John, not and Hobbes) was a creep, I think autocorrect got it right that time.

  21. DL : Just covering the same ground then, and I apologize for not reading through the entire comments before posting earlier. I must’ve missed that one. I do suffer from post lag. ( also sorry that you remain angry at me, too, but I can’t undo what’s been done. Please stay on topic, ok?) I can’t think of anything new for straw feminism at this point, as I finally was able to both load and read all the comments now.

    The fuck… you are being rude, AGAIN. You know you aren’t well received (to be mild… I’ve been hanging out here for a while, and you managed to stink up the place really fast). The combination of a foolish comment; doubled down, the passive aggressive shit you pulled at your blog (combined with comments in other fora, as if there was no reason anyone would associate you with yourself), and the drive-by comments; with lame excuses are enough to make pretty much anyone less than welcome.

    Oh For Fuck’s Sake

    Russian mafia? Really? You were the ones that jumped to conclusions, amusing as they were. it would be a mafia on the sense that those annoying Nigerian letters are mafia types, too. Hardly the case. People loose their heads when they get angry. In your case, you just got nasty in these forums. I had no way of knowing if it would escalate beyond that of not, and took steps to safeguard myself, that is all. And if was reasonable. Its escalated enough I think.

    No, you silly little twit, you didn’t do squat to protect yourself. In fact, if you were really worried that we were the sort of people to get hostile about the stupid things you said, you would never have made that post about us stealing your identity.

    Why? Because you would have been afraid of pissing us off, on a personal level. You would have been doing all you could to cover your tracks.

    But you didn’t. You pretended you were afraid, what with leaving the name of the forum out of the post (so no one could go and see what an idiot you have been). But you somehow didn’t think you’d left a marker pointing right to it.

    Then, when we commented on it, you came back. To (in the same misguided way you tried to clarify what you meant when you called women “damaged goods”) “explain yourself”.

    Here’s a piece of advice, relevant in all such situations: When you are in hole, stop digging.

    Ideally you will go someplace else, leaving the shovel behind.

    That you pretend there is no reason for anyone to remember they dislike you; make no effort to make amend (oh well… what’s said can’t be unsaid, right; just move on as if nothnig happened), and persist in 1: trying to fit in, while 2: telling us this is just way to kill time without any real engagement is, in a word, creepy.

    It’s insulting.

    And you don’t get it. You seem to think that telling us we aren’t worth any effort to actually engage, is offensive. At least the honest to goodness hostile trolls engage us sincerely (if not always honestly).

    You can’t even be arsed to do that.

    If you like Dave’s writing (there is more than one, he is not, “The David”, that would be a large piece of marble, in Florence), you can read it, and keep silent.

    Get lost. I mean it. Go the fuck away from here.

    Do it yesterday.

  22. BTW: Telling us to stay on topic… who the fuck do you think you are?

    You managed to make yourself a permanent topic (and others have done a better job than I ever could of explaining why, in words which ought to be plain to the meanest understanding).

    It’s a clever (if futile) bit of tone trolling. If we can’t change the topic, we have to pretend you aren’t a creepy shitheel who cares not the least about the feelings of others and can’t manage an honest apology (you know on that doesn’t blame the offended party for being all sensitive, and shit).

    Fuck that noise.

  23. Crap. And you don’t get it. You seem to think that telling us we aren’t worth any effort to actually engage, ISN’T offensive. At least the honest to goodness hostile trolls engage us sincerely (if not always honestly).

  24. Argenti Aertheri

    I don’t think I can really top this gem — “And the most important tenet of Straw Feminism: It is diametrically opposed to whatever the anti-feminist believes.” — but the other thread has at least one in it:

    Straw feminists are all sluts, who won’t sleep with PUAs.

    Relatedly —

    Straw feminists sleep with whomever they like because that’s “female empowerment”.
    Straw feminists are all women who have no trouble getting laid.
    Straw feminists all hate incels, to the point of refusing that incels exist, because feminists would never understand, seeing how they can sleep with anyone and do.

    Straw feminists are all porn hating prudes and virgins.

    Pecunium — “The David” *dies*

  25. Now that I’m caught up here, I am off to the PUA asshat thread.

  26. (Apologies if any of these are repeats)

    Straw Feminists, despite being man-haters, desperately desire male attention and affection.

    But Straw Feminists are so repulsive, no man will ever love them, and they’ll die alone/surrounded by cats.

    If a Straw Feminist does manage to get into a relationship with a man, he’ll be a feminized beta mangina.

    Straw Feminists hate “Game” because it allows ugly men to get laid.

    Straw Feminists are behind the Pussy Cartel.

  27. The Scum Manifesto is the primary source document for straw feminsim. Somehow, in addition to believing in the complete destruction of the male sex, straw feminists are also either voracious nymphomaniacs, or prevented from being voracious nymphomaniacs by their ugliness.

    Also, straw feminists hate the hell out of autistics for some reason.

  28. isabeleve in the PUA thread reminded me–straw feminists love Cosmopolitan magazine. They make up the magazine’s entire reading audience, as well as its writers and other staff.

  29. Cosmopolitan is straw feminism’s peer-reviewed journal.

  30. @Myoo

    That deserves all the internets!

  31. Thank you, that was terrifying.

  32. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Myoo, there are not enough internets for that.

    I snorted my tea.

    Good thing it was already tepid.

  33. I aim to please😀
    Anyway, I’m off to bed now, it’s getting late.

  34. Myoo… That was perfect. I gasped.

  35. @emilygoddess

    “they’ll die alone, surrounded by cats”

    *sigh* I can dream, can’t I? I’ve even put it in my living will.

  36. Argenti Aertheri

    Straw feminists don’t actually do anything, they just sit around and navel gaze. (This got said already huh?)

  37. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help

    Heheh if anyone thinks one can be alone while surrounded by cats, one has never known kitties.

    (That could explain a lot of MRAs’ deficiencies, actually.)

  38. @Kittehs’ you mean they’re angry, spiteful and ignorant because they’ve never known the love of a cat? Now I almost feel sorry for them.

  39. @Kittehs’

    I am a good StrawFeminist, insisting on holding two completely contradictory notions at once: I want to die both alone *and* surrounded by cats.

  40. Perhaps MRAs heard about the affections of free-roaming kitties, got it mixed up with vaginas by way of “pussy”, and have never recovered from that horrible mistake? Hence they expect vaginas to wander up to them and start purring?

  41. @Bagelsan

    There is a joke about petting in there somewhere, but I’m giggling too much to find it.

  42. Hence they expect vaginas to wander up to them and start purring?

    A simultaneously adorable and highly disturbing mental image, thank you.



    First thing to remember is that pussy are individuals and have varying temperaments. Some pussy can be attracted by food, especially meats. Other pussy like to play; these pussy are often outgoing and will come to you demanding fun times. There are also pussy who prefer those who dislike them; give them the cold shoulder and you will be surrounded by this type of pussy. One should vary one’s Game in order to attract certain pussy.

    As a general rule, one should not attempt to attract wild or feral pussy. Whilst they can be very cute, especially when young, these pussy may cause major injury or even death. One should avoid upsetting even domesticated pussy, however. This will impede future interactions with the pussy.

    When your pussy is happy, they will begin to purr, nuzzle, and become demanding of your affections. Pay attention to the positioning of the pussy, as they will move to where they like to be touched.

    Finally, if one is allergic to pussy, one should take antihistamines before attempting Game.

  44. @Creative Writing Student


  45. The Kittehs' Unpaid Help


    One could do an easy straw poll with MRAs. “You don’t like cats, do you?” (preferably asked in a tone of pitying wonder).

    There could be a discovery to put evo-psych out of business here.😉

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