Chelsea Gruenwald at The College Conservative offers up some potential reasons why young women are rapidly abandoning the feminist movement:

The Rise of Anti-Feminism: The New Era of Feminism?

While feminist movements across the globe are gaining media attention, another movement has also gained attention: anti-feminism. Just 1 in 7 women describe themselves as a “feminist,” one UK study found. This same study found that feminism is markedly less popular among younger women; only 9% of women aged 25-29 indentify as a feminist, while 25% of women aged 45-50 do. So why the sudden change in feminist attitudes? A look the history and evolution of the movement may provide insight.

To begin, Merriam-Webster defines feminism as “the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.” Feminism is often described as occurring in three separate waves. The first-wave refers to the period between the late 1800s and early 1900s when women focused on obtaining legal equality with men, which was highlighted in the women’s suffrage movement. Second-wave feminism was the period between the 1960s and 1980s, which focused on a wide-range of issues. Some of the second-wave’s accomplishments include female reproductive rights, drawing attention to domestic violence and marital rape, and the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment. The Equal Rights Amendment guaranteed equal rights for both sexes. Third-wave feminism began in the 1990s and sought to include more than just the white middle class women of the first two waves. This wave hoped to involve minority women in their movement to change the stereotypes and perceptions of women. If third-wave feminism was supposed to broaden their audience, why is it that only 9% of young women identify as feminist? A look into the feminist countermovement may provide insight.

During the summer of 2014, a movement called Women Against Feminism gained national attention. Here women describe why they feel that modern feminism does not speak for or to them. Many feminists have spoken out against this movement stating that these women do not fully understand the definition of feminism. However in Cathy Young’s piece for Time Magazine, she explains that the Women Against Feminism movement fully acknowledges the past accomplishments of feminism and the need for feminism in other parts of the world, but that they criticize Western modern feminists whose actions fail to meet the very definition they invoke. In fact she states that “modern Western feminism has become a divisive and sometimes hateful force, a movement that dramatically exaggerates female woes while ignoring men’s problems, stifles dissenting views, and dwells obsessively on men’s misbehavior and women’s personal wrongs.”