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2013 Fall Issue 4 (October 18, 2013)

Fourth Wave Feminism: Turns Out Confidence Isn't Sexy

October 18, 2013
By Anna Schmiel

Well, the Internet never fails to surprise me. At this point, nothing should, but I’m just really stubborn. There is a blogger, Matt Forney, who I can’t believe is real.  His blog, “Matt Forney: The man who shouted love at the heart of the world,” is the nightmare of any self-respecting individual. Although most of his posts frighten me, the one that made me question his sanity was his ideological rant titled, “The Case Against Female Self-Esteem.”

He begins his rant by saying, “whenever a girl I’m talking to brags about how she’s ‘confident’ and ‘strong,’ I can feel my dick deflating like a punctured tire. I’d still bag her, of course; a repellant personality doesn’t negate the fact that she has a slammin’ body.” This is when I knew that I would have fun writing this article. Although poetic, his rhetoric is easier to spot than my feminist tendencies. His rhetoric is reasoned by three ridiculous arguments. These arguments are: most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem, insecurity is integral to femininity, and women don’t want to have high self-esteem.  As you’ve probably guessed, he doesn’t “shout love at the heart of the world.” He masks his incredible sexism in blunt rhetoric that he pretends is insightful. Well, “insight” can be refuted, especially when a Carl is arguing against you.

His first idea, “most girls have done nothing to deserve self-esteem,” is supported by the notion that women don’t hold any important jobs. He argues this is because, “women claim they want equal rights as men, but they don’t want equal responsibilities.” He supports this argument by saying that women only have “fluff jobs,” which gives them the, “illusion of independence.” He believes that women are slacking off, and letting men handle the important jobs of being farmers, policemen, tradesmen, and army men. Well, I wonder why that is? Maybe it’s because it’s hard for women to be taken seriously when they say they want to join the army, start their own business, or heaven forbid, become a self-respecting member of the government. Having to fight in order to work is not easy, which subsequently destroys the resolve of many women. This does not make them weak, lazy, or selfish; it simply makes them human.

This leads me to Mr. Forney’s other supporting argument: that women are “bombarded by propaganda that artificially boosts their self-esteem.” I don’t know about you, but being told by Maybelline, “maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s Maybelline,” doesn’t make me feel great about myself. Mr. Forney’s point is that the women in these ads are overly sexual, which he misconstrues as confidence. What he doesn’t understand is that true confidence only comes from women being in control of both their sexuality and brains. Advertisements pretend to give women sexual confidence, when in reality they make women obsessively question their appearances, leaving little room to cultivate their minds.

I don’t have much to say about his second and third arguments.  They make no sense, but do synthesize many misconceptions that society has concerning feminism. Mr. Forney’s assertion that “confidence doesn’t give men erections, vulnerability does,” shows exactly why being a modern woman is so hard. Women want to be confident, but are afraid of coming off as “bitchy.” Whenever a woman wants to be in a position of power, she has to develop a thick skin and embrace her new title. Mr. Forney finds vulnerability sexy because he finds tradition sexy. He finds the security and power that it gives him reassuring, because society has told him that men and women have defined roles that cannot be challenged.

Although Mr. Forney’s ideas are antiquated, I don’t blame him. I really don’t. What I do blame are people who decide to call him names instead of discussing and refuting his ideas. In order for women to truly gain confidence, women need to dissect his arguments, instead of posting angry comments about the size of his dick. I had many qualms writing this article because I was afraid of giving him publicity. However, I think it’s important to actually discuss his ideas and give him the same courtesy that he should, in turn, give his opposition. Listening to others is the first step towards breaking out of the kitchen, spitting on the sandwich, and marching confidently into a more tolerant future.

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