Don't let issues like feminism end your friendships

Opposing political and social ideologies shouldn't break up friendships

Dealing with friends that don’t agree with your viewpoints or shame you for them can be difficult and nerve-racking.

When I told my friends and family that I participated in the Women’s March in January, I received backlash. As a result, I decided to minor in women and gender studies. To my surprise, one of the same friends who criticized my actions reacted with disgust.

ASU is such a diverse campus so it is no surprise that there are varying opinions among the students. People say that you meet your “forever friends” in college. So, why should these differing opinions get in the way of these friendships?

I have met men and women that refuse to label themselves as feminists, some of which refuse to associate themselves with feminists at all. 

The disapproving views from these people is fueling the feminist movement and the questions that drive it. Feminists will overcome and push forward with or without these people.

“My biggest concern is, how is it that women are found in all of aspects of public life, yet are still restricted in terms of who they are and being defined by those in control?” Mirna Lattouf Ph.D, a women and gender studies professor at ASU, said.

Lattouf has dealt with judgment her whole life. In particular, her mother criticized her actions growing up. 

“My mom’s purpose was to make us marriageable,” Lattouf said. “I was a tomboy … so that freaked them out.” 

This caused a rift in their relationship because she did not want to get married. She admits that she acted this way to be rebellious, but eventually truly felt this way.

As Lattouf got older, she started to question the world she grew up in. 

She started developing the mindset of “if he doesn’t have to do it, then I don’t have to do it” in reference to her brother.

Eventually, she started to act out of self interest and stopped trying to please her family. 

“Even with the fear and insecurity, I kind of did it anyway,” Lattouf said.

This idea holds true with any relationship. If it makes you happy, just do it. If you are dealing with friends that don’t agree with labeling yourself as a feminist, don’t change your ideals because it will satisfy them.

Find a happy medium or a compromise with your friends. For example, agree not to talk about certain subjects because you know it will affect the friendship. 

I have a friend that believes that all liberals are the same — whiny people that don’t have jobs and aren’t educated, but that doesn't affect our level of care for one another. 

When we talk about “touchy” subjects, such as feminism, we get into heated arguments that lead to us not talking. We have both agreed to not talk about feminism because we acknowledge that it is detrimental to our relationship and know that it’s okay to have differing opinions from your closest friends and family

My friend is not a feminist, but should discontinue our friendship based on this? No.

Unfriending him would not stop him from believing what he does about feminism, liberals, etc.

Practicing humility can be difficult, but sometimes it is the best thing to do when you care about someone.

Dr. Lattouf gave me the same advice that she said a mentor gave her: “There is the need to be right and there is the need to do the right thing, you may know you're right, but what is more important, to be right or to do the right thing?”

Reach the columnist at or follow @serena_mart on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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