Antifeminism is opposition to feminism in some or all of its forms.
In the narrow sense the term antifeminism connotates individuals, organisations or ideologies which criticise or reject feminism of the modern industrial countries of the West, claiming that the use of the feminist ideology in its praxis did more damage than good. These critics primarly refer to radical feminism which antifeminists accuse of encouraging misandry and female sexism.
For these reasons the term antifeminism has started to signify feminists who criticise feminism for straying into extremism.
Many antifeminist proponents say the feminist movement has achieved its aims and now seeks higher status for women than for men.
Others consider feminism a destructive force that endangers the family. For example, Paul Gottfried describes this antifeminist position:
Serious conservative scholars like Allan Carlson and F. Carolyn Graglia have maintained that the change of women’s role, from being primarily mothers to self-defined professionals, has been a social disaster that continues to take its toll on the family. Rather than being the culminating point of Western Christian gentility, the movement of women into commerce and politics may be seen as exactly the opposite, the descent by increasingly disconnected individuals into social chaos.
Antifeminist writer Jim Kalb describes the stance thus:
To be antifeminist is simply to accept that men and women differ and rely on each other to be different, and to view the differences as among the things constituting human life that should be reflected where appropriate in social attitudes and institutions. By feminist standards all societies have been thoroughly sexist. It follows that to be antifeminist is only to abandon the bigotry of a present-day ideology that sees traditional relations between the sexes as simply a matter of domination and submission, and to accept the validity of the ways in which human beings have actually dealt with sex, children, family life and so on. Antifeminism is thus nothing more than the rejection of one of the narrow and destructive fantasies of an age in which such things have been responsible for destruction and murder on an unprecedented scale.
Antifeminists often criticise the misandric policies of Western governments, including anti-male discrimination in the areas of reproductive rights, child custody, alimony, and property division in divorce, pointing to statistical figures. They also object to affirmative action/ positive discrimination, against men in the form of quotas in the areas of employment, education, politics, and healthcare
Antifeminists sometimes point to an increase in divorce and family breakdown and attribute as its cause the influence of feminism. They also cite that crime, teenage pregnancy, and drug abuse are higher among children of fatherless homes, considering that 66-80% (depending on the source) of divorces are initiated by women and that single mothers are accountable for 49% of all child abuse cases.
Furthermore, antifeminists argue that feminist organizations and researchers frequently use fake statistical data and research, pointing out a number of cases where such incidents have occurred.
Antifeminists say that feminists impose tremendous pressure on traditional women by denigrating the role of a traditional housewife, instead promoting the business woman, woman leader models, as well encouraging women into competitive environments, where they may not be able to perform as well as males, if only for purely physical reasons.
Antifeminists point out cases when feminist policies and regulations are detrimental to female self-esteem. For example, women sometimes receive "special treatment" in the form of gender norming, which is lowering physical fitness requirements for women in some professions such as military and rescue services. Women who are hired are expected to handle less physically demanding tasks, which may reduce effectiveness of a unit. These policies make it impossible to refuse hiring women.
Those who have been called Anti-feminists, but eschew the label themselves
Feminists such as Camille Paglia, Christina Hoff Sommers, Jean Bethke Elshtain and Elizabeth Fox-Genovese have been labeled "antifeminists", or holders of antifeminist views, by other feminists because of their positions regarding oppression and lines of thought within feminism (which Sommers has controversially defined as gender feminism). Authors Patai and Koertge argue that by labeling these women "anti-feminists", the intention is to silence them and prevent any debate on the state of feminism. It represents "an enormous extension of women's power, allowing any sort of criticism of either women or feminist ideas to fall under the watchful eye of their ideological guardians.".
Other feminists such as media critic Jennifer Pozner claim that Paglia, Sommers, Elshtain and Fox-Genovese use the feminist label as a ruse. In describing what she believes is a method of "so-called rebel feminists" who use "Leftist lingo to gain rebellious credibility in a supposedly politically correct culture," she identifies what she argues is a contradiction: "[they] [b]ecome vocally indignant at [other feminists] refusal to tolerate [their] 'dissenting feminist voice'" and then "[g]o directly to the media. Do not pass up the college lecture circuit. Do not turn down close to $200K in Right Wing grants" and wait "for the money to come rolling in." She goes on to further counter claims of silencing debate or criticism: "Use your role as 'rebel feminist' to denounce every feminist concern other than women's economic advancement." and "(...) substantiate your claims by using faulty research methods and superficial interviews. Rarely contact the authors, activists and psychologists you libel."
As of 2008[update] the most successful antifeminist organization in the US is STOP ERA, now known as Eagle Forum, founded by Phyllis Schlafly in October 1972. Schlafly successfully mobilised thousands of people to block the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in the USA It was Schlafly too who forged links between STOP ERA and other conservative organizations, as well as single-issue groups against abortion, pornography, gun control, and unions. By integrating STOP ERA with the so-called New Right she was able to leverage a wider range of technological, organisational and political resources, successfully targeting pro-feminist candidates for defeat.
Outside the United States, organised antifeminist groups have been conspicuously less successful. In Australia, Babette Francis has led Endeavour Forum (formerly "Women Who Want to be Women") for over twenty-five years, but has failed to halt ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), as well as the eventual introduction of medical abortion in Australia, and the successive liberalisation of laws related to abortion in Australia within every state and territory . REAL Women of Canada has similarly failed to halt same sex marriage and decriminalisation of abortion in Canada, while Britain has never had an organised antifeminist group of its own, and New Zealand's "Women for Life" (1983-2004) ceased to exist several years ago.