Note: Please bear in mind that whilst this topic does canvass opinions, it is not a fight club. You may disagree with other posters but we do ask you please to stick to our Talk Guidelines and to be civil. We don't allow personal attacks or troll-hunting. Do please report any. Thanks, MNHQ.

To get annoyed when other women say "I'm not a feminist"

(1000 Posts)
Nickabilla Sun 30-Jun-13 21:14:14

As if it's a dirty word and a shameful thing to be? I hear it every now and then and always question it. Someone said it today and I'm annoyed again.

Do some women not realise that women didn't used to be allowed to go to university, get divorced, own property or vote?

Rant over.

SigmundFraude Thu 04-Jul-13 16:48:39

What the hell is a vaganus? Actually, if I haven't heard of it, I probably don't need to know.

It's also known as a bumgina, Sigmund grin

Sorry to lower the tone of the discussion, but I've realised that none of the posters who see class / educational disadvantage have answered my question (that I've noticed?) about whether you think it is comparable to say that those disadvantaged people just aren't owning their shit and / or that we are weakening them by pointing out the disadvantages we believe they face...?

Spero Thu 04-Jul-13 16:55:37

Buffy, I honestly don't think my beef with feminism is because it detracts from my achievements. It honestly never occurred to me that being a woman was a problem - probably because during teens and twenties I was much more focused on my disability, given that so many people made it clear they thought this was so horrible and worthy of comment and abuse.

I will fully admit to now finding this Woman as Delicate Flower trope very irritating as I don't want my daughter buying into it in ANY way.

But the woman as [flower] trope isn't coming from feminism spero

It is coming from those that are making assumptions about feminism, assumptions that I do not believe to be founded in the reality of feminist thought and work, based on my own reading of books and blogs and chats online.

Spero Thu 04-Jul-13 17:07:34

Not from YOUR feminism Buffy, I will concede.

But when I have tried to engage and learn on other feminist threads I have very quickly been accused of such awful things I have backed away and thus my possible misconceptions remain unchallenged - in fact they have been mostly cemented.

Can I ask again whether you think seeking to remove class barriers weakens people who are currently disadvantaged by them?

Spero Thu 04-Jul-13 17:10:07

Buffy, sorry wasn't avoiding your question re class/education.

No, you can't tell someone disadvantaged by class/education just to suck it up and own their shit because this disadvantage starts before birth and it is very difficult to make up the ground later on, no matter how ballsy or smart you are.

One small but chilling example from my personal sphere - did interviews for work last week. I interviewed 12 people. Only ONE came from a state school.

SigmundFraude Thu 04-Jul-13 17:11:55

That's truly depressing Spero.

...you can't tell someone disadvantaged by class/education just to suck it up and own their shit because this disadvantage starts before birth and it is very difficult to make up the ground later on, no matter how ballsy or smart you are.

So is the problem with the barriers that I think disadvantage women before birth (and you do not) either a) I'm wrong and they are illusory, or b) they exist but are different in some way than the barriers that face people disadvantaged by class?

FasterStronger Thu 04-Jul-13 17:13:59

the worst sexual discrimination I have experienced was in my first job where my boss thought it was funny to touch me up and go though my gym bag and handle/discuss my bra and pants with my male co workers.

when I complained, on one spoke to me for the 3 months (well about 2-3 conversations in total in 3 months, yes so 1 per month). then I left, taking them to court.

lots of women have told me of their experiences which amounted to sexual assault at work e.g. boss pulling someones top down to see their boobs.

if you have not experienced this, good for you.

but please stop making out like everything is 100% fine for middle class women.

IT IS NOT. you are confusing your experience with all the other women's different experiences.

...'cause actually, it is possible to educate one's self out of a disadvantaged background. I know individuals who have, though of course the majority don't. One is a professor now. Another is my FIL. Both are men, actually, though I don't think that's relevant.

But no matter how ballsy and smart a woman is, she is still a woman.

rubyanddiamond Thu 04-Jul-13 17:16:09

I think there's a fine line between pointing out the disadvantages that someone faces so that they can be better placed to overcome them, and pointing them out in such a way that it'll put them off even trying. And that line varies from person to person - what one person sees as a challenge will scare another away.

Spero Thu 04-Jul-13 17:16:40

My point is that the barriers for the white middle class woman have gone. Half the interviewees were women. Again, only ONE (female) was to white.

I raised this with interview panel, they agreed it was concerning but this was what had come through the first sifting process. Which I think is done without knowing persons gender or race BUT of course you see their educational establishments and count their A starred GCSEs.

My daughter is bright. But if she had stayed at her Brixton state school I doubt she would have left with the grades or the accent to apply for some jobs.

...and as faster's experiences show, being a women brings with it some shit that working class men don't have to put up with.

SigmundFraude Thu 04-Jul-13 17:18:09

Are all women disadvantaged? I think class disadvantage is a much bigger deal.

Spero Thu 04-Jul-13 17:18:19

I can only speak for the law, so sorry if I overstep. But in 10 years I have seen no barriers to women in law, other than problems in taking time off to have children.

FasterStronger Thu 04-Jul-13 17:20:53

I think lots of MC women don't talk about their experiences. its not what you do to get on.

so if its not you, you probably don't know about it.

I don't think that it is helpful to try and establish whether gender or class barriers are worse. Because the problem is so complex and anyway, those categories overlap.

The class thing was brought into the discussion as a reason why some women reject feminism: because they see the class problem as more serious. That's fine, I won't dispute their experience, analysis and interest in this issue, it is one that I share.

I just don't see why it means that people are allowed to be scornful of feminists because they think there are worse problems. Usually, there are worse problems full stop. There are worse problems than those faced by working class people trying to get a job in a law firm. Girls being sent out of the UK for FGM, for one. A feminist issue. There are worse problems than that: genocide, some might argue global warning will kill us all anyway...

But I do not think that fighting about who has more of a right to worry about things that are important to them is helpful to either confused

I brought the class question into the discussion again because I wanted to explore whether those people so violently offended by the idea that women needed special help would see pointing out class barriers and seeking to ameliorate as being the same thing or not. And if not, I wanted to find out more about why not.

skylerwhite Thu 04-Jul-13 17:30:03

That was my point earlier, Buffy on whataboutery. But you expressed it rather more eloquently than my one-handed typing in an airport blush

I loved the term whataboutery grin

Ahem. Not that I do think that women need special help, this is my understanding of why spero and others have an issue with feminism: because this is what they conclude that feminists are working for.

SigmundFraude Thu 04-Jul-13 17:43:54

Be interesting to have a discussion with you another time Buffy.

It's ending, quick, group hug! wink

SigmundFraude Thu 04-Jul-13 17:58:19

<squeeze> grin

Lastone'sminesoner!

This thread is not accepting new messages.