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If you call a tail a leg

Feminists frequently use the NAFALT argument (Not All Feminists are Like That) as a counter to criticism of the overt, measurable actions of the feminist movement. This is expected by many who use it to eliminate such criticism, to distance feminism from the actions of mainstream feminist organizations, and to legitimize the use of "feminist" as a label for anything the individual wishes to associate with women as a group.
As I've pointed out recently to some feminist debaters on reddit, the NAFALT argument has been soundly debunked and really, destroyed, and I've presented sources addressing it.

Hunting For Archtypes has a very concise counter.

Girlwriteswhat's video addressing NAFALT explains in greater detail.

Girlwriteswhat's rant "To the nice feminists" further explains why fringe feminism does not characterize or define the movement.

Typhonblue very concisely and clearly explained why the basis for feminist theory precludes a cooperative relationship with the men's rights movement.

I've explained why, given the history and attitudes of feminism, one cannot honestly argue that the movement itself has strictly benevolent intent.

All of these arguments continue to be ignored by feminists who insist that NAFALT is a legitimate argument. Quite frequently, this insistence is made in the context of discussions in which NAFALT is followed by the insinuated (never spoken) assertion that the individual's brand of feminism legitimizes all feminism, and the insinuated conclusion "therefore, Feminism Is Benevolent."

To address that argument, one must look back at a riddle which has been used as an explanatory example in various discussions in my family for generations.

This begins with a simple question.

If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a healthy dog have?

Most people will answer that question the same way. "Five, of course, because before you made the tail a leg, there were four. Four plus one is five."

That most common answer is the wrong answer to the riddle, but allowing the answer to be given is the right way to get across the message that needs to be conveyed.

The point of the riddle is that if you call a tail a leg, a dog still only has 4 legs.

Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg.

The same thing is true with feminism. Associating one's own particular brand of politics with women, and calling it "feminism" does not change what feminism is. It doesn't change the basic nature of core feminist theory. It doesn't go back and erase all of the movement's activism, and it doesn't negate the movement's current initiatives, nor does it change anything about how feminist advocates have responded to men's issues, and to men talking about those issues.

Combining the belief that one's own political point of view is "nice" with calling oneself a feminist does not make feminism nice. Instead of associating the movement with the individual, the individual is associating him-or-herself with the movement and all of its overt, measurable characteristics - not just the ones he or she likes.

This is an important concept to communicate when addressing attempts to use the obfuscating NAFALT argument to rehabilitate the ugly image feminism has developed in the public view, and especially in the view of those who have been damaged or witnessed harm done by the practical application of feminist ideology and advocacy in law and policy. It's necessary to get across to "feminists" using that argument as a cushion between the public and awareness of malicious feminist activism that instead of softening the image of feminism, they're telling people "what you have seen of feminism is true about me."

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