When feminism was conceptualized during the 19th century, it was the battle of equality. Women rose together to demand equality in quality of life, profession and to present their opinions in public spaces. It started when women demanded the right to vote and to pursue a profession. However, in today’s world, feminism is sort of a claim that many venture after to embark on a journey that shows power or exhibits a status. Women and men have lost out on the true essence of what can be regarded as feminism and exhibit toxic traits that are bad for personal development, interpersonal relationships and the society at large. These are what one calls as ‘Faux Feminists’.

Spotting The Faux Feminist

Before we jump into the concept of a faux feminist, let us take a look at the traits of a true feminist. However, one thing should be kept in mind that a feminist is not a perfect person and should be allowed a breathing space to commit errors like everyone else. Unfortunately, being politically correct is more important than being human in today’s world.

A feminist is someone who believes in equal chances to be provided to those who deserve and not solely on the basis of their gender. If implored, this can branch out to men as well as women. For instance, in case of office promotions, the aspect of may the best person should win must be mandatory. A true feminist will look up the credibility of the employees in focus and nothing else.

A faux feminist will incline towards the lady even though the gentleman was more deserving. Many don’t realize it but faux feminism leads to misogyny, eventually ending up as a vicious cycle with no openings to speak of.

Relationships too bear the brunt of faux feminism as lies and unfairness loom at the surface, overshadowing the basic affection for the partner.

Such behaviour rises from the way a child is raised. If he/she was raised in a strict matriarchal household, chances are he/she will grow up unaware of the concept of balance and embrace the idea of controlling or being controlled. Patriarchal household will turn away from the concept of women empowerment and therefore children of such houses do not believe in the concept of feminism at all. A balanced household builds the foundation for  children who see things based on fairness and capability, rather than feministic attributes or machismo.

So, how do you spot a faux feminist? Some of the clear traits are:

Traits to control: Control is very important to a faux feminist. Consider it as a baton of power which yields command and superiority above the others. A faux feminist is unable to step down on a situation even though it is required and will fight tooth and nail, to prove a point and righteousness. This is the first step to creating negativity.

Have internal dialogue of should or must: It is said that a person who thinks is right, is the easiest to fool. Faux feminist undertakes an internal rant where they convince themselves that they are right. Instead of being in the moment, they are caught up with the concepts of ‘musts and shoulds’. Moreover, it is very easy to fool such people by simply agreeing with their definitions and takes on life.

Blaming game or blemish: This can be considered the next step after the need to control. On losing ‘the control’, faux feminist will usually resort to a blame game where they will be quick to point out that “if in my control, things would have been better”. A highly unhealthy trait, this blame game is known to break personal as well as professional relationships, rendering the person incompetent and inflexible.

Too much ownership or lack of accountability when things go out of control: The most common trait of all, too much ownership of a situation but without the backing of accountability. In order to prove a point, faux feminists cross the lines of what they can do and they can’t, ending up with a load that they can’t carry. However, the need to blame is super strong which eventually leads to lack of accountability which labels them as irresponsible. This trait is especially toxic when it comes to relationships with their partner, family or friends.

Overcoming The Impact Of Faux Feminism

Nothing beats pseudo-feminism than open communication. Open communication can follow a trail of disagreement, quarrels, fights and finally, a calm heart-to-heart conversation. It is not always easy to build a resonance with someone who is so fixed in their ideas and just don’t budge.

A professional intervention in form of life coaching or counselling can help the matter and untangle the web that was weaved due to a false sense of righteousness and complex analogy of what is wrong and what is right.

Today, social media is full of feminists and people calling out on faux feminists who are tarnishing not only the definition of empowerment but basic courtesy. Things need to be dealt with an open mind where people can be made aware about the concept of individual freedom and empowerment. However, the lesson should extend to those who are hell-bent on exploiting its virtue for their personal gain.

Feminism is simply a concept of levelled perception and equal growth. It is best, if we leave it at that.

(Dr Paras, Life-leadership coach and Founder of the Mattrix)