William Shatner is under fire for offering some mild criticism of contemporary feminism.
"Feminism is great," he tweeted on Monday, "but terms like toxic masculinity are degrading. It borders on that imaginary concept to feminists: misandry."
"When Shatner brings up misandry as if it's in any way the same as misogyny and deserves the same level of scrutiny," The Mary Sue writer declared, "it's hugely ignorant, irresponsible, and sexist."
When one social media user argued feminists have never spoken positively of masculinity, Shatner pushed back by praising the movement's earliest incarnation, replying, "I disagree. The original feminist movement was about equality. Somewhere along the line a few decided differently. They are the exceptions."
Rather than reconsidering the wisdom of terms like "toxic masculinity" or their own reflexive dismissal of the possibility that misandry might exist, feminists lash out at anyone who dares to question their doctrine — even when they're sympathetic to the cause.
When people such as Shatner (who endorsed Hillary Clinton as early as 2014) offer reasonable perspectives that push back against radical tenets of feminism, they're called sexist and treated as enemies of women.
That's no way to convince skeptical Americans that the real definition of a feminist is someone who believes in the fundamental equality of men and women. The definition of a feminist that the movement itself actually endorses necessitates a person embrace concepts like toxic masculinity and intersectionality.
To build a broader movement, feminists should start by accepting the criticism of sympathetic observers instead of slamming them as sexist.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.