about the feminism/WR area?

(344 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 05:26:35

I don't like dogs, and I think most television is irredeemably stupid drivel and that there's no excuse for anyone with an actual life of their own to watch 'Made in Chelsea', and although I like knitting I don't really get the point of scrap-booking. Those are my opinions, and I'm entitled to hold them, and I would construct arguments to support them if pushed, but I don't go onto the TV thread and find people who like 'Made in Chelsea' and then go on about how wrong they are and when they get angry keep saying 'you just can't take it that other people don't share your opinions' until they get bored and give up on the thread altogether.

And I've got all the kids I want, thank you very much, so I'm not TTC, and I was lucky to conceive my kids in a very straightforward manner, so I don't actually know anything about how it feels not to, and I don't have any useful advice or insights for those who are TTC, and I don't have any medical expertise about TTC, so I've set my MN preferences not to display those threads.

So why is it that people who clearly have no interest in feminism or women's rights, and no knowledge of the often complex political, social and personal ideas being explored, and don't actually hope to learn anything or contribute anything of any value, hang around that area spoiling for a fight? Because there's a whole section of MN dedicated to expressing your opinions. It's this one. There's a question mark in the title and everything.


Vivacia Sat 05-Oct-13 05:36:55

I thin YABU. Just because their opinion differs, doesn't mean they're not interested. If they're just trolling, or just if you think they are, ignoring them is easy.

Greythorne Sat 05-Oct-13 05:37:45


I like to think people who have no interest in feminism gravitate to the WR boards because they know deep down feminists are far from the Po- faced harridans of popular imagination and instead intellectual funsters and they want to get in with us.

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 05:41:45

But there's a difference between their opinion differing on the specifics of an issue, and their different opinion being that feminism itself as a concept and a movement is fundamentally problematic. In the same way, if my opinion is that domestic dogs are actually a blight on decent society, even though there are some individual dogs I'm reasonably tolerant of and despite the fact that several of my close friends and family members own and love dogs, then I don't really have anything to contribute to individual threads about the ins and outs of dog ownership. So I stay away.

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 05:44:53

But, I want to get in with you because I know you to be intellectual funsters and I'm a dyed in the wool lifetime feminist, and yet I rarely engage with that area of MN because the frequent derailment and trivialising is so successful, and because I'm not a great online arguer.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 06:04:05

Vivacia, you obviously have no idea of how often the FWR threads are derailed by people there just to tell posters that they shouldn't be trying to say anything about feminism.

It's close to 100% of threads have someone come on and stand up for men or tel regular posters they have no sense of humor etc.

meditrina Sat 05-Oct-13 06:13:10

Because there are no thread police.

Your choices on which topics to use are just that - yours. Other people may make different ones.

There is nothing special at all about FWR (as thrashed out exhaustively, many, many times). It's just another MN forum. And, like all the others, a variety of people post a variety of things there.

People can post what they like, where they like. The only 'rules' are the talk guidelines - and potential breaches should be reported.

meditrina Sat 05-Oct-13 06:15:21

Oh, and I do know what it's like in FWR.

I was accused of being an MRA.

And I've seen loads and loads of threads in all sorts of forums being derailed. FWR is, I suppose, unique in the number of threads about it as a forum, and attempts to have a unique level of thread policing. Pity.

GrandstandingBlueTit Sat 05-Oct-13 07:46:46

Because some people are deeply, deeply threatened by feminism. Deeply threatened by it.

There is, literally, no other explanation for it.

I don't go in there anywhere as much as I used to, purely because of the trolls. It's unfortunate, as they appear to be 'winning'.

Tee2072 Sat 05-Oct-13 07:57:41

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 08:04:44

I'm sorry if I sound smug, Tee2072; I'm not suggesting that I'm unusual in not posting on the threads where my thoughts are irrelevant. I think most of us don't, because it would be weird and pointless and a waste of everybody's time, including our own. What I'm wondering about is why the FWR boards seem to be an exception to that? Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the Furry Friends threads are in fact full of people posting recipes for guinea pig delicacies or banging on about the immorality of using exploiting as household pets.

Can I have a gold star though? Can I?

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 08:05:40

Should say 'of exploiting animals as household pets'.

Tee2072 Sat 05-Oct-13 08:19:00

No. I've changed my mind. No gold star for you! grin

I think the reason that people go to FWR and do that is because they know it winds you up. You give them the exact reaction they expect.

So here's an idea...stop reacting. Ignore the naysayers, the non-debaters and the derailers and just have your conversations around them.

DontPanicMrMannering Sat 05-Oct-13 08:22:05

You would not have been unreasonable had you merely presented this thread as "aibu to be annoyed every fwr thread gets derailed by general haters of feminism?"

However by intimating that the rest of mn is about tv and flipping knitting and puppies, and that people should not have opinions if they are not as educated in the complex background of fwm you became unreasonable and frankly the po faced harriden they seem to be accusing you of being.

I am not an"active" researcher of feminism but actually as someone with a high level career, a business and being the main breadwinner I fight for equality by living my life instead, therefore reserve the right to comment.

Vivacia Sat 05-Oct-13 08:23:05

kickassangel you may think I must be unfamiliar because I don't share your view. You are wrong; I am familiar.

I agree there is a problem. I disagree over the solution.

DontPanicMrMannering Sat 05-Oct-13 08:25:03

Oh and as tee said they can only derail if you let them. Ignore them like a toddler until they go away.

Bit worried that you can get beaten down so easily, Emily Pankhurst would be horrified wink

larrygrylls Sat 05-Oct-13 08:26:04

The problem is that it is part of a parenting site and pops up on "active", "thread of the day" etc. some of the views expressed in that area are pretty objectionable to many. A Jewish person, for example, may not be politically interested, for instance, but if he saw a thread posted in politics concerning Jewish " privilege" and making all sorts of racist assumptions as if they were facts, I suspect he may want to post on that thread and, IMO, he would have every right to.

People troll everywhere. There was even a sick fucker a few weeks ago in Bereavement. They do it to get a rise.

(I mean the ones who do it persistently, not people who pop in for a quick chat or see the thread on Active. Nice not-quite-Godwin-but-darn-you're-trying there, larry, btw. Feminists, totally the same thing as people being racist. Yup. Unless perhaps you intended to imply MRAs are like racists and you and other non-feminists nobly dash in to defend the maidenly honour of the regulars?)

Tee2072 Sat 05-Oct-13 08:43:29

"It's close to 100% of threads have someone come on and stand up for men or tel regular posters they have no sense of humor etc."

Is there a reason they shouldn't stand up for men? Or are you implying you can't be a feminist if you think men are people too, with rights and everything?

You're actually not helping here. You're making it worse.

Bohemond Sat 05-Oct-13 08:54:04

Great post don't panic

catgirl1976 Sat 05-Oct-13 08:54:57

I think you need to draw the line between trolls and people who disagree with you.

Trolls pop up everywhere. They need to be ignored. They do it to get a reaction.

People who disagree with you probably also pop up everywhere and there is room for lots of different opinions on lots of different things, within feminism or on the "furry friends" threads. I am sure there are some heated debates on there about whether gerbils thrive best on "Organic Gerbil YumYum" or "Dr Bob's Gerbil Stew" (or something).

Aside from that, if there was a (for example) Socialism forum, I would expect lots of people who thought Socialism was wrong to go on there and make their views heard. Not "spoiling for a fight" but wanting to engage on a subject you have a strong view about. And that again, is different from trolling IMO.

You can't have a feminist section where people are not allowed to go on unless they agree with a) feminism and b) whatever you think on a certain topic. As long as the stay within talk guidelines, people are entitled to post any opinion or view they wish. I have no doubt people who think dogs should not exist / be kept as pets pop up on the dog threads, and, as long as they stay within talk guidelines, why should they not be free to air their views? There would be little point them posting about their views on the Recipes forums.

Finally, implying that the FWR forums are really intellectual, require a special level of knowledge, are superior to the other forums, contributions must be full of value and learning comes across as rather pious and exclusive.

So for those reasons, YABU.

larrygrylls Sat 05-Oct-13 08:57:59


Feminists are not racists. However some feminists use the concept of male privilege to espouse some pretty vile anti male views in exactly the same way as some anti Semites use Jewish "conspiracy" or "privilege" to excuse some pretty vile racism.

HoneyDragon Sat 05-Oct-13 09:00:23

People do exactly what you describe in other forums.

Plenty of people come The Doghouse, in to say dogs are a blight in society and should all be put down. And frankly, I lost count of the amount of timed I've been called a shot mother mother because I own a dog.

I've also been flamed for being passionate about animal welfare.

A lot of people, myself includes use active convs and post according to the thread, not the topic.

If you suspect a poster is purposefully posting in the FWR boards only to wind up because its in that topic, report them.

If that posters opinion would remain the same on such a thread regardless if which board it was posted in, than accept that poster I'd is a twat.

Also there are some posters who are goady for the sake of it. Keep reporting them and HQ will sort it.

However. UABU as the tone of your thread gives a very different impression of the FWR boards than what they are. And not in in a good way.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 09:01:41

YABU. A better analogy is a few dogs (like you) thinking that they own the dog thread, and that other dogs shouldn't be allowed to post on it if they don't have the exact same ideas on all subjects discussed.

Women wanting to post on threads about women's rights is perfectly normal.

HoneyDragon Sat 05-Oct-13 09:01:52

I really need to sort my keyboard out blush

fleacircus Sat 05-Oct-13 09:18:59

Yeah, I can see that my final paragraph reads as if I think the FWR threads should be purist intellectual debate - which I really don't, the other reason I don't contribute much in there is because the threads that are like that make me feel like a dullard. I can't think of a better analogy; I'm sorry people are haranguing dog owners in The Doghouse, I wish they'd leave you alone too. And I haven't in any of my posts said I think there should be more rules, or that FWR should be singled out for protection - I'm just saying, why the blazes does anybody bother? And it's a PITA. But I have my answer - it's easy entertainment because the posters care a lot about the issues and will rise to the argument.

DontpanicMrMannering, I certainly don't mean the rest of the site is inane, I just picked three examples of my own prejudices at random. I've posted on knitting threads, and pet threads, and pointless gossip threads, and enjoyed them very much. And I owe huge amounts to MN for getting me through my early parenting times. Please don't think I'm trying to belittle the site or its users!

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 09:26:15

You have soul sisters over at Spirituality topic who wonder why oh why atheists come to debate with them. "Atheists don't even believe in God, so why oh why do they bother us?" they cry.

The answer is the same: I don't believe in their deity but I am interested in this topic and I will debate it when I want to.

Does that answer your question?

FrightRider Sat 05-Oct-13 09:26:58

This was ALL hashed out, at length a while back.. it took lots of threads, several flounces and a Queenbee dethroned to make the FWR feminist posters realise that they aren't anything special, its isnt 'their' area and that anyone and everyone has the right to post over there when and how they like.

You're not special, its not special. Get over yourself.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 09:29:07

Yes, I remember that war debate. And the dethroned Queen Bee. It was much fun.

Tee2072 Sat 05-Oct-13 09:29:22

Thank you FrightRider. I was 'biting my tongue' so to speak to not mention that very thing as I avoided it at the time and didn't feel competent to speak to it.

But I watched it with much interest.

FWR is just like the rest of MN. A fact that many many people who post over there don't accept.

Lazyjaney Sat 05-Oct-13 09:48:17

The Feminists on MN don't handle debate or disagreement well and react virulently to it when it occurs, which of course means they check all the stereotype boxes, and become a windup merchants dream.

HoneyDragon Sat 05-Oct-13 09:53:54

That's a better question

why does anyone bother?

I would LOVE to know the answer to that one.

SilverApples Sat 05-Oct-13 09:54:13

Really, Lazyjaney?
I've found in the last year or so that the debates are much more open and diverse than in previous years, perhaps a little less heavy on academic references and theory, but certainly not as defensive and one-track as in the past.
May I recommend Buffy's posts on the boards? Feminist, intelligent argument without the vitriol. I find them an enlightening delight to read.

kotinka Sat 05-Oct-13 09:54:18

fleacircus, yabu.

fluffyraggies Sat 05-Oct-13 10:13:02

I'm increasingly aware, these last few years, of the reality of Feminist issues and have found my teenage daughters are taking notice of the things i have been saying re:inequality and casual sexism in our everyday lives. (It warmed my heart recently to hear my 15 year old in a thoughtful convo. with a couple of mates about how it's crap that women in comp. games always seem to have their tits hanging out grin Go DD! It's just a little step - but the seed of thought is planted)

Anyway ... i just wanted to say that I would love to engage with the WR forums here on MN, but i perceive the attitude to often be too 'highbrow' for me. Which seems a shame. I know i'm not an idiot, and yet i find the boards intimidating confusedsad

BoulevardOfBrokenSleep Sat 05-Oct-13 10:30:30

I agree with fluffyraggies - I read the FWR threads but don't feel I have anything to contribute because the standard of debate is quite high and my thoughts on the matter are half-baked at best.
I wouldn't say it was intimidating, it's just I am aware it's not my area of expertise. But reading the threads is a good shortcut to knowledge without all that dull study and thinking and stuff grin

OP- YANBU, it is irritating when some knucklehead comes in and craps all over an interesting thread, but there's not much we can do. As you have acknowledged.

Theodorakiss Sat 05-Oct-13 10:46:56

I quite agree but most goaders are mincemeated by the generally sensible, intelligent and difficult to goad hardcore regulars. I think it is the friendliest and most tolerant part of this site.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 05-Oct-13 12:00:04

I post on FWR on and off. I don't mind the sort of comments O.P mentions. I think FWR should be accessible and diverse, it makes discussions more interesting too.

The grim ones are the trollish types who only ever post on FWR and have vested interest in minimising abuse against women. MN are very good at deleting these now though, as so many of them are previously banned posters.

I would also say that the fall out people are referring to was less about FWR being a "special" board and more about diversity of opinion on the board.

Suelford Sat 05-Oct-13 13:20:48

The FWR is a pretty vicious board, I think it wouldn't get trolled nearly as much if they didn't react so dramatically to everything (i.e. maybe a dissenting poster isn't necessarily a rape apologist or MRA).

There is also a sense that this is 'their' pro-feminism board, whereas MNHQ have made it clear over and over that it is a board about feminism, open to anyone who can post within the Talk guidelines.

JollySleepyGiant Sat 05-Oct-13 13:22:43

I have the feminism board hidden. It makes everyone happier if I'm not contributing to those discussions. Particularly me. There is always that option.

bigkidsdidit Sat 05-Oct-13 13:30:39

I think the idea that fwr is a vicious board where dissent is not tolerated must be a hangover from years ago. I've been here 3 years and it's not been like that in my time at all.

Suelford Sat 05-Oct-13 13:33:42

It's certainly calmer than in the past, the big ruckus and exodus of some of the more... strident posters saw to that. But it's still a board where dissenting opinions/posters will be attacked, rather than considered.

bigkidsdidit Sat 05-Oct-13 13:38:55

I respectfully disagree grin

caramelwaffle Sat 05-Oct-13 13:49:03

I agree with Grandstanding

BeCool Sat 05-Oct-13 13:54:48


I love the Feminism/WRB's on here. I have learnt so much from them and the posters. BUt the constant derailing and dragging threads into stupidity is frustrating. I don't consistently experience it elsewhere on MN.

It's a real shame - I am a feminist, and a SP and a FT working Mum. I don't have a specific outlet for my feminist, other than how I conduct my life. So the Fem/WR boards on MN are often a beautiful place and a gift for me especially as they are easily accessible in my busy life.

But I rarely post on them. And I often won't visit them for a while because of all the twattage the OP mentions is off putting. So many posters (I think) see jumping into a fem/WR thread as sport, or amusement. It's really sad. And I don't have the energy to deal with them - ultimately I find them a depressive intrusion into what I would like to have as a safe space.

I'm full of admiration for the Fem/WR posters who do engage so eloquently and intelligently and persistantly with the goaders. I'm very grateful for links to certain blogs and online feminist resources which I can enjoy and read without the goaders jumping in and stirring things up.

FavoriteThings Sat 05-Oct-13 14:21:33

Agree with Suelford. There are many many "you are MRA" or "you are a rape apologist" comments bandied about, if you disagree with some thinking. I dont know if they genuinely believe it. I think they do. MNHQ say the board is open to everyone. It isnt a closed board. If you have a little knowledge, or no knowledge at all you are still allowed to post.
To go back to your dog analogy, you can still watch a dog show cant you? And even speak even if you are only mildly interested. Everyone is different. A MN poster can pop in everywhere.

quesadilla Sat 05-Oct-13 14:30:54

I don't see why one must be a feminist or even sympathetic to feminism to have a well thought out view on a topic within that section, to be honest.

If you are talking about blatant trolling then you can ignore it. But surely if feminism is an intellectually robust state of mind (and by the way I am a feminist and think it is), it should be able to engage with people who for polite and coherent reasons disagree with its constructs.

Also I don't see why not liking something means you have to refrain from getting into a discussion with others about it. On that basis it would be almost impossible to review anything...

SisterMonicaJoan Sat 05-Oct-13 14:53:56

I think BeCool has summed up perfectly how I feel about the Feminism boards.

I've found it a place where I can learn and think. The usual posters are passionate but I find they are patient and happy to answer or explain theories etc. to anyone genuinely interested.

It is a great resource for women which makes it all the more intimidating when posters come on intent on spewing such uncalled for vitrol. It's usually not in the name of debate but hatred, sadly.

Ledkr Sat 05-Oct-13 15:01:29

I think it's good practice for everyday life as a feminist.
I'm used to the rolled eyes when I chile be anything I see as sexist and am happy to fight my corner if I need to. Unfortunately a lot if people stil see feminists as extremists and weirdos but that won't put me off, not at all.

comingalongnicely Sat 05-Oct-13 15:06:08

I'm not a feminist but I like to read the feminist board as I'm married to a woman, work with women & have women work for me.

It gives me an idea of what issues women are facing and (importantly for me) how to avoid creating or adding to those issues.

But, if I think they're out of line or spouting crap I'll go on and point iout too - they're call forums because it's a place for debate, otherwise it'd be a read only broadcast from MNHQ.....

comingalongnicely Sat 05-Oct-13 15:06:52

"it out" rather than "iout"...

mayorquimby Sat 05-Oct-13 17:07:39

Got to agree with suelford.
I read the board a fair bit but don't contribute much as tbh I don't often have much to contribute. But I do think that there still is a noticeable attitude that those who disagree on certain issues only do so because they don't fully understand the issue/ are socially conditioned to think that way/ are being tricked by the patriarchy.

Now whether they're right or not I couldn't tell you but it certainly doesn't foster an atmosphere of progressive debate or discussion if people are saying "feminism/the feminist position is x" and the people who agree are enlightened etc but those that disagree only do so not because they have thought about the issue and arrived at a different conclusion logically but instead disagree for reasons which the enlightened will use as confirmation of their superior understanding.

Now it is nowhere near each and every thread or each and every poster. But to an outsider anyway it seems to be a recurring and influential trend on those boards.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 20:05:12

I think that there is some confusion about whether being concerned about things that affect women is the same as getting involved in a feminist discussion. The point about the spirituality boards is a good one.

As someone who went to a church school, I may well have a lot of experience and ideas, but I wouldn't join a discussion about spirituality as I have never really studied theology a whole load. I might ask some questions, or lurk, but I wouldn't regularly appear there saying that the church I went to did xxx, therefore those people (many of whom I assume have significantly more knowledge about the subject) should listen to my opinion, even though it is my own rambling thought.

There isn't a person on this planet who hasn't had some involvement with being/knowing at least one woman, so everyone has an opinion. But there's actually significantly fewer people who have done any real reading or studying on the topic. The section is meant to be a special interest topic, just like others such as super furry animals or spirituality or whatever. Anyone is welcome to join in, but at least have some awareness of whether or are offering opinions rather than some more studied response. Because personal experience and opinion are not the same level of understanding as years of study.

It would be crass and impolite to butt into a discussion in any area with nothing much than some opinions, when it is in a special interest group. Of course, there are no set rules against it, but people tend to do it more in some areas than others.

So, why do so many people think it IS OK to do this in the feminist area, but they wouldn't do it in another area?

HaHaHaHa Yep.. You've got it!! I totally agree.. It's entertainment..

happyon Sat 05-Oct-13 21:04:43

YANBU. We are not talking about polite disagreement; feminists are used to that because we disagree with each other all the time. We are talking about a seemingly irresistible urge to butt in, control, derail and shut down feminist discussion. It goes beyond anything one sees on other boards.

It's disappointing but hardly surprising: feminists have been subjected to this kind of treatment for centuries. Feminism is deeply threatening, it provokes strong reactions, utterly predictable, but tedious nonetheless.

Pan Sat 05-Oct-13 21:18:29

kick - I'd have to disagree, the section isn't meant to be a 'specialist interest topic', I don't think - it has a 'womens rights' part in the title as well, so not necessarily 'specialist' whether that's academic or activist based.
But yes you can envisage some posters being turned off by lots of treatise being quoted and the impression they are thus more 'worthy' than other posters' views, as if there is a linear progression in awareness and it's the same 'line' for everyone to produce the same conclusions.
Trolls and invaders who have nothing to say about WRs - I'm surprised a bit that they are given so much attention before the plug is pulled.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 21:32:32

"I wouldn't join a discussion about spirituality as I have never really studied theology a whole load"

You have completely misunderstood the point of MN topics and threads shock They are not only for professionals. You are allowed to post without a relevant diploma. You are allowed to talk about experiences and opinions.

People on Behaviour & Development at not all paediatricians and psychologists. Those on Spirituality are not all theologians. And MNers don't need to have studied the history of feminism to participate in Feminism & Women's Rights threads.

"Because personal experience and opinion are not the same level of understanding as years of study"

If you wish to converse at that level, find a professional website that requires credentials. MN is not such a place.

As Fright said before, all this was debated, fought over, and settled a while back.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 22:36:09

I'm not even meaning any formal academic study. I mean just knowing some of the basic tenets of feminist thought.

e.g. the concept of 'othering'. time without number, people have been on the boards saying, "well I don't feel like some kind of other person" (or similar) without having ever heard of the idea of 'othering' and what that means.

I'm not saying that you have to have years of formal academic training, but if you've never read a book about genderization in your life, bring an awareness of that to the forum. If you are going just on your opinion/experience, and there is someone else who appears to have more knowledge/experience, then at least accept that your opinion is that. It doesn't in any way mean that your voice has less agency - feminism is big on giving agency to the individual - but that you probably don't have as much background knowledge and should be open to all that that implies.

I would very much hope that people who were giving out advice on behavior/development (or anywhere, really) would either say 'ime/imo' or have at least read one book, been to a class or something before giving advice to someone asking for support!

I am, btw, seeing this as separate from the issue of out & out trolls, and responding more to the comments earlier about how some people on fwr seem to have set ideas about certain topics. Well, after reading lots of articles/campaigning and having had the same discussion many times, then maybe they do know more than someone who hasn't thought about it all that much before.

And Pan, I'm saying special interest, not qualified academic. Anyone is welcome to join in, but fwr isn't in general chat, it's in a section for people with an interest in that section, however passing their interest may be. I would say the same for any boards except chat & AIBU, really - you see what interests you, and have a look around. What you don't do (if you're polite) is trolling, or just saying, well my opinion counts for more than the years of reading, action, study etc that some (by no means all) posters have, so it shows how close minded they are.

catgirl1976 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:43:48

Surely, when it comes to women's rights, women's actual experiences have just as much, if not more, relevance than theory?

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 22:55:10

kickass - re "I would very much hope that people who were giving out advice on behavior/development (or anywhere, really) would either say 'ime/imo' or have at least read one book, been to a class or something before giving advice to someone asking for support!"

No, absolutely no need to have a qualification or even to have read a single book to give advice on the Behaviour & Development board, or anywhere else on MN. This includes the Feminism & Women's Rights board.

Again, you have completely misunderstood the purpose of MN and would likely better enjoy a professional/academic website where credentials are required.

"I'm saying special interest, not qualified academic. Anyone is welcome to join in, but fwr isn't in general chat, it's in a section for people with an interest in that section, however passing their interest may be"

Like the Adult Fiction board, for example. And yet you don't need to have a Literature degree to give opinions in it.

As someone said downthread, FWR board isn't special and it is not only for MNers you deem worthy of posting there.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Oct-13 22:57:43

My experience is so far that if you don't agree with them then your opinions aren't really welcome.

catgirl1976 Sat 05-Oct-13 22:59:45

If someone posted on the Spirituality boards as they were interested in religion, I wouldn't have expected them to have needed to read the Bible before they were allowed to post their view.

Nor would I feel someone who had read, or even studied the bible had a more valid point of view on the subject.

catgirl1976 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:04:07

Also, re your comment about people on the Behaviour and Development Board having read a book or been to a class........

If I posted a question on that board, and two people responded, one who had never read a book or been to a class in their entire life but had raised 5 children and been through the same situation I was experiencing, and one who had never raised a child but had a Phd in Child Development......I would be equally interested in both view points, but the one based on experience would have more resonance to me than the one based entirely on theory. But maybe that's just me.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Oct-13 23:08:18

A person who is an atheist can post on the spirituality boards and have a discussion. So I don't see why somebody who doesn't consider themselves a feminist can't post on these boards without getting shouted down for daring to disagree with the party line.

SeaSickSal Sat 05-Oct-13 23:08:28

I really don't get people who come on a discussion and debate forum and then expect people not to discuss and debate.

Personally I find it extremely interesting to discuss things with people who have a differing viewpoint and to hear their arguments and voice mine. If nothing else it demands that you question your own opinions rather than just doggedly holding them without ever considering an alternative.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:11:25

catgirl - depends what you're talking about. when talking about what it's like to walk down the street and have some guy yell 'nice tits' then the personal story counts for more. if talking about the % of women who suffer from verbal abuse, then not so much.

OK - one example - there's a quite well know graph called 'the saddest graph you'll see today' (or similar) that shows figures for rape, including false allegations. On the same page there's the explanation of how the figures were arrived at, and margin for errors etc. Yet I have seen numerous posters who didn't even read what was on the page, and started spouting about what if, I think, imo etc.

When I say someone who has read, I really do mean that they may have seen that one article, but bothered to read it. Saying that I'm demanding a diploma is a straw man fallacy.

And if I posted on behaviour/development or asked in rl for some help with an issue, and I later found that someone had only the experience of babysitting a kid for a while, never read so much as a magazine article, and still they tried to advice me as if their opinion was somehow truth, then I would be extremely pissed off. I don't think that means I've misunderstood mn, but that I have understood what is commonly part of dialogue - don't pretend your opinion is a fact or worth more than it is.

That is all that I am aiming for here, not some high fallootin' academic esoteric purely theoretical discussion. Just that people who are basing their comments purely on opinion at least say that, and perhaps listen/read what others say, rather than just repeating their opinion, then saying that other people are being stubborn, when that other person might have at least read a few pieces, or done some sociology somewhere along the line. And if someone pretends that they know more than they do, or that they are somehow better because they've read a few more books, then they're an arse. I'm only suggesting that other people at least stop to think,, 'hang on, xxx has read about this, maybe they do know something. I won't be dismissive and say that they didn't listen to me, even though they have just responded to me, I will perhaps think about this a bit, instead of going off in a huff.'

BobbyHepburn Sat 05-Oct-13 23:14:48

Feminists need to engage with non-feminists and borderline feminists if feminism is to continue, spread and develop. There's no point in a forum on which only "true feminists" can post without being picked on. It's the same attitude you get on Guardian CiF with the talk of "Tory Trolls" etc, what is the point of echo chambers where right minded people can hear their own opinions repeated back to them? Sooner or later those people have to go out into the real world (or the polling station) and they may be shocked at the opinions of the general public if they have been sequestered for a considerable amount of time.

DebrisSlide Sat 05-Oct-13 23:14:51

I am fairly disengaged with MN as a whole now after the whole FWR shakedown, but I do find it odd that the (what seemed like) hundreds of posters who claimed that they were feminists with lots to say but didn't want to post because of dittany have not been flooding the FWR boards since she left.

You won. It's all yours. Why aren't you posting?

CailinDana Sat 05-Oct-13 23:17:51

I agree catgirl but if for example there was a thread about the concept of the immaculate conception and someone posted "of course jesus wasn't immaculately conceived!" then 10 regulars from the feminist board piled in discussing the fallacy of virginity as purity would their contribution be valid? Or just a nonsensical and highly irritating derailment?

Buildingamystery Sat 05-Oct-13 23:19:00

Why aren't we posting? Me personally, I'm not a professional offence-taker like a few regular posters on the women's rights boards seem to be. I am a feminist but really some of the threads would leave your head spinning.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:22:25

See, I'm very interested in discussion.

So - yes, you can be an atheist and go on spirituality, but if someone is discussing monotheism then you don't just rock up and say 'hey, god doesn't exist' then the person gives a long account of why there is evidence from many times and places that there is a god, and just turn round and say, 'god doesn't exist, you didn't listen to me. you're just dismissive and rude.'

which is a very common scenario in fwr.

I've massively oversimplified it, but that is the kind of situation that I am saying shouldn't exist. not because there's something special about fwr, but because that's just a really opinionated and arrogant way to behave.

another example - the thread recently about the 'perfect' feminist pub. no where did women say they didn't like men, there were lots of different ideas about the perfect pub, including a complete clash on music/no music. the idea of cowboys serving drinks was banned as objectification. Then posters started coming on, saying feminists all hate men cos they like the idea of having a quiet drink without kids/men around for an hour or two. No-one had said anything anti-men, just that they would like a pub that it felt OK to go to as a woman by themselves. That is the kind of thing it would be nice not to have happen. IF women wanting a bit of imaginary downtime without men around is man hating, then how do we describe the rest of history, and the number of male only places in it?

CailinDana Sat 05-Oct-13 23:24:26

Oh and never to miss the opportunity for a plug there is a really excellent thread on consent running at the moment. It's long but totally worth reading. Then just join in with your own thoughts.

kim147 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:25:12

I liked the feminist pub.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Oct-13 23:26:00

Absolutely BobbyHepburn. What a shame those on the feminist board just do not realise this. In fact they are alienating people never mind getting them on side. IMHO.

roadwalker Sat 05-Oct-13 23:27:33

although I believe in equality and that I am equal in my relationship I would never go there
I am working class and the feminist board is IMO very, very middle class
full of high opinionated middle class women in a love fest praising each others intelligence
its enough to turn me to the daily mail
I think working class women need to find their own brand of feminism

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:27:42

and I'd like to point out that I live in the real world, pretty actively, but that when I'm in a space with the heading 'fwr' I just want to be able to refer to some feminist ideas without being called a man hater, professionally offended, no sense of humor etc etc.

The heading of the board does indicate that a certain topic is being discussed. There is the option to just not click on those threads, why actively go onto them then tell the people there that they aren't listening to you? It is easier to avoid them than to go on them, why do people bother to do it? Why not just shrug and pass on by?

And the broad range of feminists allows for plenty of discussion without having to get into the whole 'man haters' labelling etc.

DebrisSlide Sat 05-Oct-13 23:29:41

Building, did you mean that to sound like a cop out? Does your feminism mean that all is done and dusted and there is nothing left to discuss? Because you can just ignore those threads that don't appeal. Or even hide them if they irritate you that much. Or do what people have advised ^^ - ignore those that you don't agree with and post anyway.

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:29:59

roadwalker - very valid point. Since the 'start' of first wave feminism in the 1830s, there has been that complaint.

But then, it is the same for just about any political/social movement. MLK Jnr was hardly from skid row. It didn't make his thinking any less valid, or his movement any less effective.

CailinDana Sat 05-Oct-13 23:30:49

Roadwalker- you seem passionate why not start a thread on that topic?

roadwalker Sat 05-Oct-13 23:34:07

The only time I dared post on there, on what I thought was a very valid point and expected real discussion, I was told to FO
I would avoid posting on things I really care about now as it hurt me badly

DebrisSlide Sat 05-Oct-13 23:35:08

Roadwwalker, I'd love to see your idea as a thread.

I think you might be surprised at the reception for a pro-working class feminism thread.

roadwalker Sat 05-Oct-13 23:36:27

Feel free to run with the idea

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:36:43

actually, roadwalker, there are a lot of 'grass roots' feminists about, and a massive push for it to be about, by and for the women who are doubly (sometimes triply etc) disadvantaged.

Everything I read atm is American based, so I don't have any relevant stuff from the UK, but believe me, there are a LOT of women who are speaking up for (and from) the position of women of color, immigrants, economically disadvantaged etc. In fact, there are some pretty big national (US) conferences which are ONLY about such things, as the voice of white, mc women has been heard enough. Time to let some other people speak out.

DebrisSlide Sat 05-Oct-13 23:39:08

Who told you to fuck off? Do you remember what your post was about?

CailinDana Sat 05-Oct-13 23:39:18

I think the board has changed rw, do consider it.

roadwalker Sat 05-Oct-13 23:42:41

I am not going to discuss the thread, it was too personal, but I worded it badly
I have a profession and a degree, I worked hard doing OU whist working in a factory and used that to get into doing a professional degree
But, and this is a big but, I still know I have a lack of a good education and I worded my post badly and was completely shot down by clever talk as well as incredibly rude people

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 23:45:20

You see, I have absolutely no problem with someone saying, 'I think...' and then there being a discussion. I've done that many many times.

I have a problem with someone saying, 'I think ...' then someone pointing out some reading, or well know ideas etc, and the person who had a bit of a thought saying, 'oh you refuse to change you opinion to agree with me.'

Sometime a discussion does change minds, but often it's just a chance to air views & work out how to accept both views, rather than changing someone's mind.

And people shouldn't be so quick to say FO, but there are so many times when a discussion starts, and a poster 'innocently' asks why the exact opposite isn't true, then after a few posts it becomes clear that they only reason they are posting is to derail the thread, then accuse people of not listening to them. it has happened so often that a brusque FO tends to be dished out. Unfortunately that rather upsets the genuinely innocent and doesn't really stop the ones who are just shit stirring for the sake of it. Sadly, I can only remember one time that a poster appeared to genuinel not get the issue and want to know more. Every other example I think of was someone being a pita.

DebrisSlide Sat 05-Oct-13 23:48:44

I can't actually believe that the criticisms on this thread are still being raised. Apart from roadwalker - I do think that both some feminists and non-feminists miss giving a voice to non-MC women at times, the latter much more than the former, imo.

But, really, you can't all be complaining now, surely? The board is nothing like it was previously. To its detriment, imho, but surely that's what you all wanted. It's yours for the taking, even if you have to put up with the odd annoying old schooler.

Or do you think there's nothing left to talk about?

lisianthus Sat 05-Oct-13 23:48:51

YANBU i've found FWR a really interesting place and I have learned a lot. I've also found it funny and full of people who are supportive and patient if you are not just piling in to have a go or "teach the feminists the error of their ways".

Despite what some people have gleefully said, it is a special place and there are a lot of special people on there who are knowledgeable, interesting and make it a fascinating and inspiring place to be. Just like many other places on MN, where there are people who know a lot about their subjects. This is a good thing and should not be derided.

ArgyMargy Sun 06-Oct-13 00:00:48

I can understand people being put off by the level of discussion, which can be stretching (eg when people use words like dittany - no idea if that is a word or a typo). I really enjoyed a recent thread about defining rape, as it made me think about things in different ways. Ultimately you will always get derailers and small-minded people, but that's the price of such a fantastic and diverse site like MN.

zippey Sun 06-Oct-13 00:20:04

I visit the FWR board usually when it pops up in Active Conversations. I've learned a lot about various important feminist matters but there are occasions when the extreme feminists make statements which just need to be counteracted.

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 00:25:12

"Extreme Feminists" sounds like there are posts about killing baby boys and knifing husbands.

Dittany was a poster that many people didn't appreciate. And many others did. She was either a touchstone or the centre of all that is wrong with feminism in all the world. No half measures.

Darkesteyes Sun 06-Oct-13 00:37:27

I post on the feminist board quite a lot Im working class. Ive never been made to feel unwelcome there.

FraggleRock45 Sun 06-Oct-13 00:43:55

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

kickassangel Sun 06-Oct-13 01:11:53

ahh - but fraggle, no-one banned the men, we just said how we'd like a pub to be, which was not male-centric.

and comments like yours are exactly what people mean about feeling attacked, even when in the fwr section.

when people talk about 'extreme feminists' they often show that they really don't know what the full range of feminism includes.

'radical' or 'extreme' feminists would like to see a world where the balance of power was redressed by women being in power for the same length of time as men have been.

people who believe that we should all be treated with respect as equals often get called extreme/radical when they are really just being egalitarian.

e.g. someone complains about a sexist joke/comment, they get called professionally offended, lacking a sense of humor, extreme feminists, man hater. when all they want is to ba able to walk down the road without someone heckling them.

So - again WHY do some people go to the bother of going on a thread they don't agree with, just to do something like that? I don't bother to go out of my way to contradict everyone I ever hear saying something I disagree with. I may do sometimes, but generally I just don't bother with threads where I think something like that is happening. So why do so many threads on fwr get that kind of attention?

FrancescaBell Sun 06-Oct-13 01:18:04

I only post on 2-3 boards on MN, because I just don't have the time to do otherwise. But I'd be genuinely surprised if any board was trolled as systematically and as frequently as Feminism. It happens most days and it especially happens at night-time, when MNHQ are less likely to receive reports or deal quickly, with those received.

These aren't posters who want a genuine debate or conversation. They are posters who make one inflammatory comment on 20+ zombie threads therefore causing genuine active threads to drop off the page. Some of the comments made are so disgusting and so triggering to women who may have experienced sexual violence- and they remain there until someone reports them and MNHQ gets around to deal with them.

Or they persistently derail threads to talk about something that is nothing to do with the thread topic. Polite requests to start a thread of their own are ignored and unfortunately some posters rise to the bait and engage, even if it is to disagree and explain why.

I suspect the reason the regulars on that board don't always ignore after reporting is because they got attacked so much for being unfriendly and unwelcoming to people with a contrary view, they over-compensate now by aiming for polite engagement when actually, the best thing to do would be to report and ignore the obvious trolls and if someone is trying to derail or divert a thread to discuss his own agenda- to stop engaging with that person and go back to discussing the thread topic.

Sure, the anti-feminists on here will no doubt go back to criticising a whole board and even more illogically, a whole political movement because of the perceived 'unfriendliness' of posters on a chat forum, but so what?

To me, it's simply not good enough to say 'it happens on other boards too'. You might be right, but I'm still not convinced those of you saying that appreciate the real scale of the problem, or that you appreciate that feminist writers are currently getting the same sort of hate speech online as happens on this site so regularly. Hate speech towards women is IMO far more common than hate speech towards dog owners, or chicken keepers. Some of you might remember the abuse Mary Beard received online after a Question Time appearance. What happens on MNet is a reflection of what's happening to women and feminists outside of it.

We are all part of the solution and ironically, those of you who are defending the right to free speech appear to be ignoring how silencing these tactics can be. Whatever your views on feminism and the feminism board, I cannot think that many of you agree with the behaviour I'm describing or would seek to uphold it as defensible. This isn't about a genuine attempt at discussion. It's about trolling, derailing and hate speech.

I'd like to see a three-pronged approach.

1. For all posters to support everyone's right to use this talkboard and abide by the rules of engagement, reporting where you see infringements.

2. For MNHQ to deal with reports more quickly, especially at night-time.

3. For all posters to stop engaging with posters who are ignoring requests to start their own threads when they are persistently trying to derail a thread to discuss their own agenda. Ignoring is by far the best tactic after reporting. This way threads will stay on topic and posters who genuinely want to discuss the issue the thread raises, can do so, without wading through a tedious argument.

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 01:26:03

Actually, I think it's the other way around. Feminist-challengers are not willing to even try and consider the feminist viewpoint that is put forward. That is the biggest sticking point. Precious few of those put forward anything other than an "I choose to do x, I'm a feminist and therefore X is feminist" point of view. There are plenty here who would back that up, so I would queston why they don't and actually drown out those you are complaining about (they are few in number). All that is being said is that an individual's stance is not necessarily a feminist one just because they have a vagina. Or not even that, if we are being picky.

Feminism is a serious business. If you are just playing lip-service, then you will obviously find the FWR section uncomfortable if you can't argue your corner as a feminist. But if you can't do that or find at least one area where you can discuss alongside those you disagree in other areas, then I would question why you are a feminist.

There must be some common ground, no? Just one little bit? Isn't that bit important to you, as a feminist?

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 01:28:06

"'radical' or 'extreme' feminists would like to see a world where the balance of power was redressed by women being in power for the same length of time as men have been."

No, no, no. Radical does not mean extreme, nor does it mean women being in power.

NoComet Sun 06-Oct-13 01:36:19

Sometimes I get into a bun fight on feminism and sometimes I agree 100%

I'm perhaps more moderate and more right wing than many on the board. I'm also fairly old. I date from before girls did woodwork and when equal pay was still being fought for in principle (I know it's still not achieved in practice).

I find Pg. 3 and all this fuss about lads mags a total distraction from issues like real equal pay, truly flexible family friendly working hours for both sexes and genuinely useful childcare.

Also I hate the PC pussyfooting around international woman's issue. Religion does not excuse you treating woman appallingly and it's time we stopped allowing FGM, forced marriages etc in our own country and those we trade with.

FrancescaBell Sun 06-Oct-13 01:37:11

I agree. The word 'radical' in this context means 'root and branch' and therefore changing all systems, beliefs and practices that do not support equality. It is certainly not about imposing matriarchies and it is not an extreme viewpoint at all.

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 06-Oct-13 01:59:17

YABU OP. Unlike TTC, Telly Addicts and Crafting, Feminism effects us all. Sometimes the posters on this site have something to say about it, hardly surprising as MN is a predominantly female site.

Maybe some poster's views don't tally with the political and idealistic view of the regular posters on FWR. But as it is the thoughts and experiences of actual women who use this site, I think it's ok.

DebrisSlide Sun 06-Oct-13 02:02:07

StarBall has hit the nail slightly to the side of head on. I know you have an issue with school uniforms for girls, Starball. I find it baffling that you can't find any linkage with Page 3, but thats by the by. But surely you can find some common ground on the issues you do care about? That one cares about one thing does not preclude caring about another, surely? FWR isn't a hive mind unless you make it so by not posting. The more people post on there, the more like-minded people you will find posting on there.

The OP was, I believe, talking about the trolls, not anyone else. If you don't frequent FWR you won't see what they are talking about. If there was ever a place to trial the hide poster function...

DioneTheDiabolist Sun 06-Oct-13 02:11:34

Fuck me. This thread has found me in agreement with Cote.shockwink

happyon Sun 06-Oct-13 08:57:25

Yep, don't come to this site unless you're prepared to be disagreed with. Fair enough, but that counts for those of you who feel bullied there as much as it does for the regulars. You can't have it both ways, but you want to.

The FWR board is different from most of the others because the level of debate is intellectually higher than most. Some people find that difficult but that's how it is. Deal with it.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 09:10:05

That's nice and welcoming, and not at all aggressive and defensive happyon.hmm
I think the characteristic (rather than level) of debate can be intellectual as there are many academics posting there, more so that other boards. A comparitor could be the Fiction board, but ime there isn't the same self-conscious 'academia' on display.
<keen to not mix intellectual with academic, tho'>

meditrina Sun 06-Oct-13 09:11:50

"The FWR board is different from most of the others because the level of debate is intellectually higher than most. Some people find that difficult but that's how it is. Deal with it."

That has to take some sort of prize for the smuggest, most pompous, and also unfounded statement I've seen for ages!

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 09:17:52

it's also rather 'anti-intellectual' fwiw.
there was a bit of a shakedown after that ugly car crash, but if it's 'improved' is purely opinion, innit?

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:27:32

To answer your Q OP, I think it's because feminism challenges people more than practically anythign else - people find it deeply threatening to their world view, their relationships, their assumptions.

And they also think they know about it, because everywhere in the mainstream media we hear about what feminism is - and it's always wrong. grin

jasminerose Sun 06-Oct-13 09:32:14

A lot of the people on fwr talk about theory but dont put it in to practice. For instance thinking its sexist a woman doing all the work in the home, but then putting up with men who do just that. Its rather frustrating tbh.

DameFellatioNelson Sun 06-Oct-13 09:36:15

I think the difference with all the examples you cite is that unlike the Radical Feminist movement, dog loving and scrapbooking are not political/social ideologies, and us such the people who love dogs and enjoy scrapbooking don't constantly campaign to force everybody else to do as they say. Neither are they criticising all non-dog-loving, non-scrapbooking people like hell and over-analysing every little inconsequential thing to see if they can squeeze out some tenuous, imagined anti-dog, anti-scrapbooking angle.

That's the difference.

But they are not all that mad. Just some of them.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:45:09

But feminism doesn't do that either DameFellatioNelson and we also don't feel the need to imply that a large section of the scrapbookers and the dog lovers are a bunch of arseholes really.

Also, actually you could argue that the religious boards do that (if you were simplistic and rude). But on the whole, feminists don't troll those boards (at least if they do I'm not aware of it. Do the religious boards get trolled a bit/ a lot?)

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 09:46:41

It is rather a pompous love fest on there
A lot of high brow posting with others then saying how wonderful they are and how much they have to think about
I think they post to massage an ego rather than genuine debate

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 09:46:56

"To answer your Q OP, I think it's because feminism challenges people more than practically anythign else - people find it deeply threatening to their world view, their relationships, their assumptions."

see BBE, I don't think they do, and it's a bit of a marker about some feminists sense of their own importance and Moses-like qualities to assert this. Which then gets played out on the FWR boards and pisses people off it. People get 'challenged' and compromised by lots of things in life more important and difficult-to-deal-with than feminism.

ArmyOfPenguins Sun 06-Oct-13 09:47:46

I think the people who feel that their opinions are being 'dismissed' or 'shot down' by feminists are simply losing the argument.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 09:49:20

and yes the spititual/religous boards get 'trolled' a lot by non-believers and the bored who wish to pass some time in sneer mode.

kotinka Sun 06-Oct-13 09:50:11

When you say trolled, do you mean mn regulars or people who don't seem to have posted anywhere else?

I've seen quite a few reports lately of Twitter and other sites being aggressively trolled on feminist discussions. Seems an internet wide problem.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 09:51:04

I like the feminism board, I find it welcoming. It is AIBU that is scary.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:04

Tell me more about the RL challenges women face Pan.


Threalamandaclarke Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:25

I don't like dogs grin and I cannot knit.
I think some ppl find the idea of "feminism" frightening and threatening for many reasons. It's a bit of a hot potato. I would imagine some derailed are trolls/ men?
I often find it confusing. I would describe myself as a feminist if asked, and I am known in RL to have some "strong" views about things like dv, equality and objectification of girls and women.
But I stay away from the F/ WR boards because I have found that some of my views are not considered valid by what I might term the more "professional" feminists. And when I try to explain that for me, being respected "as a woman" might involve the acceptance and embracement of the fact that I am different from a man (a poor example?) I have felt berated for my ill informed position.
So rest assured.you'll not find me in the knitting section, pets corner or F/WR boards.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 09:52:30

On the feminism board there was a man who got banned - yesterday? He was obviously trolling. It wasnt about debating or having different ideas. It was about trying ti wind people up. The difference was obvious. And MN obviously agreed.

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 09:53:09


BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 09:56:39

The real AmandaClark, I agree with you that "being respected "as a woman" might involve the acceptance and embracement of the fact that I am different from a man" and I've never been berated for believing that on the FWR board.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 09:58:26

And I do think for most of us feminist ideas challenge the ideas we were brought up with - whether we agree with those ideas or not. For example, the current thread on the nature of consent.

Whether women should vote, or be paid the same as women, rarely challenge anyone likely to be on here. But many feminist ideas are challenging.

larrygrylls Sun 06-Oct-13 09:59:57


"As someone who went to a church school, I may well have a lot of experience and ideas, but I wouldn't join a discussion about spirituality as I have never really studied theology a whole load"

If you saw on active, for instance, a thread on the spirituality board which was basically saying that women should submit in marriage, would you feel it was outside your experience and authority to contribute? Or would you feel it was plain wrong, no matter how deep the theological discussion was or how many biblical texts were sited?

Suelford Sun 06-Oct-13 09:59:57

The current consent thread is maybe the first thread this year that has involved relatively complex theory and arguments. Most of the threads are "Have you seen this TV show" or "They have pink Kinder eggs now". There really isn't a high level of intellectual debate.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 10:00:12

Yep, and the notion that a man's attitude to housework is a direct reflection of his attitude to women.

That's a really tough one because it challenges people's cognitive dissonance about their relationships. They hate that. grin

Threalamandaclarke Sun 06-Oct-13 10:00:49

I think it depends on how that would manifest itself in a view basilbabyeater

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 10:00:59

Sorry, was responding to Grennie there

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 10:03:20

Sue I didn't know that. I occasionally read MN threads but wasn't a member. I joined to comment on the consent thread.

jasminerose Sun 06-Oct-13 10:03:28

Basil - I totally agree with that. Unfortunately a lot on the feminism board think that but then are with those exact type of men. Its crazy

Pan Sun 06-Oct-13 10:03:34

yes, many ideas are challenging regarding equal treatment and access to resources, tho' there's a large shared natural Venn Diagram intersection with other liberal/progressive movements.

larrygrylls Sun 06-Oct-13 10:06:29

"Yep, and the notion that a man's attitude to housework is a direct reflection of his attitude to women."

Now that is a great example of the "high level intellectual discussion" that takes place on FWR. Throw out a statement with no evidence behind it, throw in some words like "cognitive dissonance" which kind of sound like they apply and then make out that you are a great theoretician.

What about women who don't like housework? Is that a direct reflection of their attitude towards men, or indeed other women? Or is that merely them heroically making a stand against centuries of patriarchy? On the FWR boards, there would be one clear odds on favourite explanation and the others 100/1 shots.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:42

Why shouldn't Basil state her views? Just like everyone else here.

jasminerose Sun 06-Oct-13 10:07:57

How many women on fwr say I cant change it society has to change when it comes to their own men treating them like complete and utter doormats. It makes me cringe in cases like that.

Threalamandaclarke Sun 06-Oct-13 10:09:59

So YANBU. In a way.
Because it sometimes seems that anyone not armed with a bundle of peer reviewed, academic papers nd appropriate links on the topic they have a view on (me) can be made to skulk off with their tails between their legs.
I have a degree (only a Bsc) but not in the appropriate field and I find the forum a bit overwhelming <off to caffeinated my baby brain> blush

larrygrylls Sun 06-Oct-13 10:10:27


If you are addressing me, then she has absolutely every right to state her views, the same as everyone else, as long as she obeys the MN guidelines. However, other posters have a right to robustly challenge her views, as long as they are addressing the argument or the quality of the argument and not making personal attacks.

Threalamandaclarke Sun 06-Oct-13 10:11:46

And I can't spell grin

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 10:12:27

"Throw out a statement with no evidence behind it, throw in some words like "cognitive dissonance" which kind of sound like they apply and then make out that you are a great theoretician."

I think Larry you were challenging her right to state her views.

I dont care if you disagree with her views. But everyone has a right here to state their views.

larrygrylls Sun 06-Oct-13 10:14:54


Where in my post am I challenging her right to post? I am describing what I see in the post and critiquing the quality of it. If you were to say my post was rubbish because x, y and z, then you would in no way be challenging my right to post.

You are attacking a straw man.

catgirl1976 Sun 06-Oct-13 10:15:34

I've rarely seen anything being discussed at a level of complexity that should put people off. I also think the boards are a lot friendlier since the 'episode'.

There are some great posters on there. But there can be a lot of smuggery, cliques and I have seen people being shut down if they don't agree with the consensus view. That's not by everyone, just a few people. But it's sad that is still putting people off.

I think coming on AIBU and starting a thread basically saying you don't welcome people on FWR unless they have done some research into feminist theory and understand a few bits of basic terminology (which would generally take you a sentence to explain if they didn't) is pretty U and possibly will keep more women away than it will encourage to come on and post. Which is a shame.

CoteDAzur Sun 06-Oct-13 10:15:51

Am I missing something? Basil gave an example of what is said on FWR. Larry criticised what happens in FWR through that example.

I didn't read any of it as "Basil's views".

MarshaBrady Sun 06-Oct-13 10:19:55

Anyone should be able to post on fwr, not just those who have studied it. As long as it's in the guidelines etc.

BasilBabyEater Sun 06-Oct-13 10:20:03

"What about women who don't like housework?"

That's nearly everyone isn't it?

I don't know anyone who actively likes housework (though I accept that they exist. grin) Just people who do it. And people who think it's not their problem. And in general, the people who think it's not their problem are men, children and alcoholics. Just sayin'.

Anyway I'm off swimming now, so sorry if I don't come back to this.

And yes, I am being flippant. wink

Lazyjaney Sun 06-Oct-13 10:35:11

The FWR board is different from most of the others because the level of debate is intellectually higher than most

It's different alright, but the debate being more intellectual is not true. However that statement points to the real problem.

kelpeed Sun 06-Oct-13 11:55:12

Hey Debris, Starball did list a few things that she thought was important, and IMO, fairly central to feminism.

real equal pay, truly flexible family friendly working hours for both sexes and genuinely useful childcare.

Also I hate the PC pussyfooting around international woman's issue. Religion does not excuse you treating woman appallingly and it's time we stopped allowing FGM, forced marriages etc in our own country and those we trade with

notwithstanding you and her dont see eye to eye about page 3, i would like to think that the issues pasted are things that you could both find agreement on. cakecake

kelpeed Sun 06-Oct-13 12:07:31

oops, i forgot to up date the thread before posting blush

FrancescaBell Sun 06-Oct-13 12:21:39

It certainly isn't the high level of intellectual debate that's putting me off posting there. For me, if that were allowed to happen it would be a plus point.

It's the fact that those intelligent on-point discussions keep getting hijacked by posters who have no desire to debate constructively, persistently attempt to stop the current conversation to discuss their issue, or who simply want to troll or goad.

High level intellectual debate it is not. Several threads are a mass of deletions and tedious and pointless arguments so that it's a job sometimes finding posts that stick to a critique of the thread topic.

I admire the clever regulars who post there and especially appreciate their intellectual and academic input, just as much as I appreciate posters who want to talk about their lived experience of feminism and equal rights.

All I want is a talkboard that doesn't get invaded by trolls and goaders, where it is possible to have an on-track conversation about the issues raised in the thread.

kelpeed Sun 06-Oct-13 12:29:04

I dont think the FWR board requires people to have read all the theories as a prerequisite to posting. I certainly haven't.

I find the trolls a much bigger issue than the perceived smugery and cliques.

On asking questions, it's all about picking the moment to jump in. I mainly lurk, but when I am reading a discussion that is going in an interesting direction, it can be a little distracting to have take on board a simple question thrown in, The questioning is still valuable on the face of it but the answer might be elsewhere: Mumsnet is searchable. some of these questions have been asked time and again so it can get a little frustrating to stop the thoughts, change the gears, read the responses to the question, and get back to the issue being discussed. by which time the flow has been dispursed.

kotinka Sun 06-Oct-13 12:59:36

Good post catgirl, I agree.

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:01:26

I disagree catgirl
I ventured onto that board with a genuine issue
I think they probably thought I was a troll but I was insulted and shot down in flames
I am a working class woman and felt very unwelcome and alienated
And I dont have a clue what 'the issue' was so have no idea if I posted before or after the issue
I only know that I would stay away from that board and think I have no connection to anyone on that board

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:13:43

I don't think it's a class issue at all. I am working class through and through. I have not studied feminism academically at all. All my knowledge is from gut feelings, experience, reading links posted on places like the FWR board, learning from others there/elsewhere and on the relationships board and being involved in such as part of my job.

No more, no less. Some of the discussions I find I can really relate to (abusive relationships, fucked up family dynamics, eg). Some of them I feel further away from (transgender issues, eg) but I just skim over them as not of current interest to me. It doesn't mean I don't respect others viewpoints about them though.

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:15:41

[no comment]

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:16:16

Oh well, your choice.

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:16:24

Damn, that should have been my first biscuit

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:16:57

I like a chocolate digestive, cheers.

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:18:10

you are welcome hun

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:18:49

If this is how you respond to people giving their opinions politely, RW, I am not even faintly surprised you got a cool reception on any board, not just FWR.

roadwalker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:20:22


i cannot think how long it's been since i was on the fwr topic. guess it doesn't hit active much anymore.

wonder why.

That's funny, I keep on seeing it hit active. confused

Like, with the threads that run into hundreds of posts - those come up a lot.

Mind you, I miss them when I'm in my own little world which happens a fair bit.

Btw, I am knackered from a busy weekend but FWR is fantastic IMO, and has been immensely better this past year. It's full of wise, compassionate people who'll give a lot of time. And HQ have got a lot better at cracking down on the trolls, which is brilliant.

And for that, HQ, thanks.

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 17:55:25

I find FWR a comforting place, tbqh. Hard to take sometimes, but still comforting. I know I will get sympathy and understanding there, have always found it to be that way even when I made my very first ill- advised forays into feminism. I learned, I regrouped, I came back with better arguments and a rounder understanding. Everyone should try it.

I agree, AF.

I have found with the recent debates over the last year or so, I feel as if I have a better understanding (though necessarily limited) of how feminism and trans issues intersect. I could not possibly have discussed that fruitfully anywhere else, I think. I'd have been labelled transphobic or told I was not a proper feminist, and both sides would have shouted me down. But here we can talk about it and people are patient enough to educate instead of just yelling.

Portofino Sun 06-Oct-13 18:01:19

It is constantly in active. Many of the posters who I learnt so much from no longer post though which is really sad. There are still some great posters.

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 18:01:40

I can't get my head around trans issues, LRD. Some people can though, and Fair Play to them.

i'm so chuckling. subtle.as.a.brick.

Yes, I'm not being subtle, but I should perhaps be even more blunt.

SaF, I can understand you are disappointed that, for you, you feel FWR is not so much fun any more. But I think it is ungracious to the people who post there regularly to say that it is not very good now. I have really valued threads by current regulars.

I do think there is an issue here, that we all develop and change. It happens all over MN - people get invested and excited, or jaded and bored, in cycles. If you're not enjoying a section of the board, IMO, you can either get stuck in and help change it, or you can recognize that maybe you need a break.

AF - oh, god knows, I'm not saying I feel I know exactly what's what and it's all clear in my mind. But I feel much less of an ignorant arsehole, and that's something! :D

AnyFucker Sun 06-Oct-13 18:15:32

This thread is starting to look very unsafe though, so I shall take my presence elsewhere for a while. confused

TunipTheUnconquerable Sun 06-Oct-13 18:17:03

I don't think it's in Active any less. When I pop in there always seems to be a lot going on. I don't tend to post as much because it's often discussions I feel like I've already had several times. It is probably more liberal and less radfem in tone than it used to be but it also seems to be going strong and attracting a lot of new regulars, just like it always has.

I don't think that is true, tunip.

I actually think that is a big change in the whole site.

I have only been here since about 2009. But when I was first on here, the whole site was less feministy. There were lone voices in Relationships like AF and Dittany, who were saying, wait a minute, maybe it's actually not ok for your relationship to be this way. But the big campaigns about gendered toys for children, or 'I Believe You', were either very new or not there. And I think those campaigns had a big effect. I think now, posters are generally aware of a feminist viewpoint. They may disagree with it, but they do so with awareness that lots of people do agree. I think that is very positive.

I've noticed looking back at old threads, that if you'd posted about rape myths four years ago, only a few people would have known what was meant by that. Now most posters seem to know, in FWR or elsewhere, even if they disagree about the specifics of what constitutes a rape myth.

So I think that while there isn't such a striking difference between FWR and the rest of the site as there used to be, it isn't really because FWR as a whole is more liberal - it's because the rest of the site is more feminist.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sun 06-Oct-13 18:28:26

That's interesting LRD. You could well be right.
I do think though, there were certain really Overton-window-moving conversations (eg that massive thread about separatism back when Sakura was here) that I can't imagine happening now.
But definitely a lot of what Dittany used to be a lone voice saying in many threads is now MN standard.

impressive mind reading skills there - baffled by how you can see into my mind so well but i'll back out of the passive aggressive yukness as it makes my skin a bit crawly to be honest.

will hide this thread.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 06-Oct-13 18:34:51


We know tomorrow's Monday and all of that, but if you could remember our lovely talk guidelines before you hit 'post', that would be grand.


Well, I was only reading the words you wrote, but it's always good to know you're writing what you think (as opposed to what, making up stories for the sake of it? confused).

Anyway ... I didn't quite see why what I've said merits thread hiding. I just think it is actually quite rude to lament a section being boring, when there are many active threads there with interesting posters. And I'm not really a FWR regular any more, so this isn't me talking about me or taking offence on my own behalf.

tunip - yep, you're right. I miss sakura and she was amazing. I do also miss that effect Dittany had, of making people take on unpalatable truths and really work to assimilate them. But I still think the change in the site is the more important thing.

SHarri13 Sun 06-Oct-13 18:48:27

YABU, made is Chelsea is brilliant.

happyon Sun 06-Oct-13 18:57:25

I think it's really sad that a working class woman doesn't feel welcome in FWR. Why not? My background is about as working class as it gets, but I don't feel marginalized there.

I did not mean to be smug with the more intellectual comment, I really didn't. But I do believe it. Why should that be a problem? I dont post there often, partly because of the trolls, but I think the level of insight and debate can be very high. I happen to be an academic so have a particular context, but this doesn't mean I think intellectual and academic and intelligent mean the same thing.

MarshaBrady Sun 06-Oct-13 19:05:51

I'm glad it's there and I go on every so often. I mainly go on frivolous threads. Including the MiC ones, they are good.

But yes it should be free from trolls like any other section.

FavoriteThings Sun 06-Oct-13 19:24:12

ArmyOfPenguins 09.47am. It is posts like that on the feminism boards, that sometimes keep me away from there. The posts designed to shut down posters who deign to disagree. Hardly what you would call welcoming.

FrancescaBell Mon 07-Oct-13 00:36:05

But why does anyone expect posters on a particular board to be welcoming? Did you expect a red carpet rolled out when you first started posting on Relationships, or Chat or AIBU? Why are feminists or posters on that board, expected to welcome posters when you wouldn't reasonably expect it elsewhere?

I agree with Army. On debate type threads where there is a cross-flow of opinions, a reasoned argument supported by facts is likely to be more compelling and persuasive than one which is poorly thought through and based on nothing more than opinions. A wise head might try to find out more about the subject and learn something, whereas someone who always wants to be 'right' (and perhaps dislikes feminism and feminists) might complain about being 'dismissed and shot down'. Disagreement is fine, but if you're looking to get others to agree with your point of view and why you disagree with something or someone, be prepared to back it up with a persuasive argument.

Fishandjam Mon 07-Oct-13 00:51:30

I have to be honest here - I consider myself a feminist. But the FWR board has turned me off mostly. At one point every other thread seemed to be some anti-transgender nastiness, or a hyper-academic one that lamented the Latinised scientific nomenclature on the grounds it was developed by men, or used words like heteronormative. I'm just too tired and short of headspace to even understand most of it, never mind contribute, so I stay away sad.

GoshAnneGorilla Mon 07-Oct-13 02:05:35

Fishandjam - It's not like that anymore, so please feel free to come back.

zatyaballerina Mon 07-Oct-13 02:47:15

yabu. Feminism as I was raised to believe in it was about supporting equal rights, opportunities, freedom, education and respect for women and the idea that the state should support and protect that. Women should be recognised as moral, responsible adults and treated as such under the law. Not as children.

Some of what passes as feminism on these boards are quite bizarre. Apparently telling your daughters not to walk home vulnerable, drunk, alone, in heels they can't run in is victim blaming rather than common sense. (although you can tell her not to wave wads of cash around in public or to lock her doors, presumably because that's not 'sexist').

Abortion up to the last minute is fine because it's a 'woman's right' despite there being a fully formed, healthy, viable baby.

Women are always the innocent victims who if they do something wrong must either be mentally ill and in need of help or driven to it by a man and in need of help. Men are just evil.

There was a thread where someone was complaining about having to 'suffer' a man up at the bar telling a few mil and blonde jokes to his friends within earshot. And that wasn't laughed off the thread...no, it was a sign of neverending victimhood by the patriarchy, as bad as racism, homophobia, disablism.... Obviously by people who'd never experienced any of those things let alone genuine sexism or sexual harassment.

kickassangel Mon 07-Oct-13 03:38:33

"All my knowledge is from gut feelings, experience, reading links posted on places like the FWR board, learning from others there/elsewhere "
from AnyFucker - that pretty much sums up what I meant by saying that people would hopefully have some interest in the topic OR be open about promoting their own opinion without knowing much about the issue.

FavoriteThings Mon 07-Oct-13 07:33:41

Because the feminism board has simialities with religion as far as I am concerned. People need to be encouraged, welcomed etc. That isnt necessary with most other boards.

catgirl1976 Mon 07-Oct-13 07:53:45

Why would I expect the Feminism boards to be openly welcoming to other women?

Why would I expect the Feminism boards to be encouraging, especially to women who were just beginning to think about and explore Feminism?

Do you seriously have to ask that?

Because, if you do, I think people who have "no knowledge of the often complex political, social and personal ideas being explored" are the least of your problems.

I think the feminism boards should be welcoming, and I think they are. Periodically people start threads that are deliberately meant to be easy to jump into.

I don't think every single thread will be 'welcoming', or nice for everyone.

FWIW, I have virtually no academic knowledge of feminism and in the past I used to feel very stupid on there (which I know isn't necessarily a bad thing, so long as people are encouraging). What I don't appreciate is being told that in order to participate in a debate, I must read such-and-such a work of feminist theory.

I think it's better to say, look, you're not understanding this debate because you've not understood the terms - but in that situation, someone should be able to start a new thread asking for clarification, they shouldn't be shut out. And I really don't think that anyone should feel they have to read whole books to participate (unless the thread is actually 'Discuss the finer points of Dworkin's later writing').

My feminism is completely experience-based, but since I've been posting on here for a few years, all sorts of concepts and terminology have sunk in. It's inevitable.

happyon Mon 07-Oct-13 11:28:24

No catgirl, why should they be any more welcoming than any other board? Given that people there are generally chatting among themselves and not out to convert people, why should they make more of an effort than anyone else on mn?

MaddAddam Mon 07-Oct-13 11:36:40

I think the FWR board has turned off a lot of women over the years. I'm an academic feminist (perfectly used to robust debate, and used to the theoretical language) and I've found the FWR boards pretty vitriolic and unfriendly, so I tend to avoid them these days. My real life experiences of feminism (academic and practical feminist organisations and groups) have been characterised by women generally being supportive of each other, even when they disagree on aspects of feminism, but on the FWR boards it has often felt as though there's only one acceptable version of feminism, anyone who challenges that is at risk of being branded a non-feminist or rape-apologist.

I realise it might have changed lately, but I think quite a few of the long term mumsnet feminists avoid it for these reasons. It's a shame, but it's not just the trolls who have made it an unwelcoming place.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 07-Oct-13 11:39:09

I love the academicness and I've always found it supportive.
It's a pretty subjective thing, I guess.

motherinferior Mon 07-Oct-13 11:47:03

Yes, I agree with MaddAddam. I'm a bright, well-educated feminist who's worked her way through plenty of theory, plenty of activism and plenty of robust argument about feminism over the years. I love the company and support of other women. I've also retreated, savaged, from these boards for daring to, for instance, query the stereotype of matriarchal religion, or say I think Mary Daly's prose style is perhaps a little imperfect, or - gasp shock horror - have trans friends.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 07-Oct-13 11:47:18

Happyon, surely the whole point of feminism is to convert and change society?confused. I want all women to identify as feminist. I believe that our world will be a much better place when women are respected. It is precisely the notion that feminism is some sort of closed clique that is damaging the message of equality and emancipation for all women.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 07-Oct-13 11:55:00

I'd love to know who is doing the savaging.
I haven't been in here much lately but it looks pretty mild to me these days. I'm amazed these threads are still going.

FrancescaBell Mon 07-Oct-13 12:04:54

Yes I do seriously have to ask that, catgirl.

It's a reasonable question and your response to it reveals part of the problem that's being raised by the OP.

This is a chatboard. All that's required of posters is that they stick to the guidelines in order to participate.

Regulars and occasional posters on the Feminism board have no extra responsibilities to welcome people. As early posters seemed to be at pains to point out, anyone can post there- no-one or no group 'owns' the board and has a responsibility for it.

Neither do I think posters who use it have a responsibility to convert anyone, encourage people or feel that they have some sort of religious responsibility [shocked]

FWIW, I've seen lots of threads started by people who are curious about feminism and want to know more- and I've seen posters on that board respond to the honesty of that in kind, often going to enormous trouble to send book lists and links, or just giving up their time to help.

But I suspect the posters who expect feminists to be more welcoming and encouraging to posters have exactly the same expectations of women in real life, far more than they do of men on a chatboard or in social situations. Which is the sort of subtle but intensely frustrating issue that feminists like to discuss on a chatboard, without having a troll barge into the conversation with an insult or someone else trying to derail it to talk about how great it is to buy sex.

motherinferior Mon 07-Oct-13 12:06:26

I'm not going to call names, I'm afraid.

Suffice it to say, I'm a tough old feminist boot who's been around the block a lot since I first got involved in supporting the local shelter for battered women in Norwich, back in 1981. I've agonised over my inability to be a proper vegan separatist. The iron logo of the women's press has adorned my shelves for more than half my lifetime. I am ludicrously right-on.

And that, perhaps, is why at times I have felt a little de trop when being lectured by posters past about my views.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 07-Oct-13 12:10:39

I don't doubt your feminist credentials MI, and I wouldn't seriously expect anyone to post names. I just find it bizarre when I think about the people I know who post there now. Is this something that happened a few years back or recently?

motherinferior Mon 07-Oct-13 12:12:43

Maybe a year ago? I've not been back. Didn't sort of see why I would waste my time on it. Also I have trans friends, which was all making it a bit difficult.l

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 12:20:05

inferior - You have trans friends. So do I. Some trans people are critical of the dominant transgender theories too.

But as long as everyone is polite, I don't see the issue with disagreeing.

I comment on FWR and am not there to "convert" anyone. I just comment on posts that interest me - like the rest of the forum. I thought that was the same for everyone on FWR

Viviennemary Mon 07-Oct-13 12:24:56

I don't go on the feminist boards. It was a disagreement over it was wrong to warn your DD not to take lifts from men they didn't know, and not to walk alone in a dark street. They were saying you should be able to. Of course you should but that's not the point. It's all vey well to discuss academic theories and feel very smug. All women should identify as feminists in that they want equality for women. But these boards are enough to put anybody off.

SilverApples Mon 07-Oct-13 12:40:36

I'm in the same neighbourhood as motherinferior, as a feminist for over 30ish years. I too found the occasional harangue somewhat hmm and the narrowness of certain POV irritating. I used to walk away from threads like that.
But as Gosh and LRD point out, the general atmosphere of the boards has changed considerably since the shakeup a while back, and although it might not be to the liking of some, and many of the disappointed did leave, it enabled naive questions and those from the bewildered to be asked without getting squished quite so often and with quite so much relish as in the past.
The other point about being inclusive and welcoming, well I suppose it depends on who's posting at the time and how they see things as working.
The one thing that I do find odd is those that are feminist asking why so many strong, independent and intelligent women refuse the label, whilst defining it in a specific way. Then when others try and explain why they don't see themselves as one, it is reduced to 'Do you have a vagina? Do you want to be in charge of what happens to it? Then you are a feminist'
When in reality there are so many other add-on extras to the basics that alienate some who think of themselves as feminists.
I think how you live your life, and the expectations that you have of yourself and others are far more defining than any number of words and quotes.

FrancescaBell Mon 07-Oct-13 12:51:56

But these boards are enough to put anybody off.

No, not anybody. Wouldn't put me off in the slightest. It's just a chatboard. I've disagreed with a few people on Relationships from time to time- people who post there far more regularly than me. Doesn't put me off posting there.

I also expect there's a massive context to that story Vivienne that you're missing out. Also 'They' were a few posters on a chatboard, not the whole Feminism movement, not all the regulars on that board and not all feminist MNet posters.

I am slightly confused at the way the term 'academic' is being used here.

I know the thread you mean, viv, and (if we're thinking of the same discussion), it wasn't remotely academic. So far as I know there is no academic theory about walking your DD home at night.

People might just be disagreeing with you.

motherinferior Mon 07-Oct-13 13:04:28

If the squish-relishing is really not there any more, I may give it a go....it was all quite disconcertingly cliquey and ganging-up in the way that I fervently deny women-only spaces can be confused

I think it's better, MI. I doubt it's perfect, as MN as a whole isn't.

NicholasTeakozy Mon 07-Oct-13 13:18:29

I like the feminism boards here. They've been of great help to me as it's helped me explain to my daughters that their views are indeed feminist, and that labelling yourself as a feminist does not mean you hate men, nor should it be shameful. I'm happy to say they are now proud feminists. And yes, they both have boyfriends.

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 13:34:11

Sorry I don't have time to read the whole thing but MUST pick this item of twattishness up in case anyone else hasn't:

Larry "However some feminists use the concept of male privilege to espouse some pretty vile anti male views in exactly the same way as some anti Semites use Jewish "conspiracy" or "privilege" to excuse some pretty vile racism"

The difference is Larry, that "male privilege" differs from "jewish conspiracy" in the very important respect that IT EXISTS whereas only antisemitic arseholes think that "jewish conspiracy" exists. If you think that believing in male privilege = believing in jewish conspiracy then you have a very very low opinion of all feminists as quasi-racist nutters. I know you think that actually - it has often been apparent tho weasellingly expressed - I just thought I would call it out for general clarity

I agree totally, youre. I had the same issue with that phrase.

I think this gets trotted out quite a lot but, anyway - virtually all the feminists on MN have male partners or sons. I'm trying to think of anyone who doesn't have/speak of a close male relative they're fond of, and can't, though I expect there might be one or two people I'm forgetting. The vast majority of feminists have feministy blokes right there with them who're agreeing with what we see. It's just our posts would be twice as long and surreal in their stepfordishness if we finished each one with '... and DH says the same, and points out ...' or 'and my DS also suffers from this patriarchial bullshit, and ...'.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 13:39:42

I think you're twisting that comment. I read Larry's comment to mean that some people have used feminism not as a means of equality, but as a means of unfairly attacking men.

happyon Mon 07-Oct-13 13:44:49

Like francesca, I never thought these boards were about converting anyone. confused I thought they were about discussion and debate. If minds get changed along the way, that's well and good, but surely not the point.

It looks to me that, yet again, some people are looking desperately for ways to criticise the FWR board. Like some of the others, I don't think it's perfect and I think the tone has got out of hand at times, but there is no question in my mind that the nastiest and most insensitive commentary has been contributed by trolls or people who have it in for that board, rather than by the regulars who post there.

Maybe so, kot. I admit, for me it definitely made me think about the power structures he's talking about, though. I mean, he is comparing feminists to anti-semites. It might just be that is the first comparison that occurred to him, but I think it fails to acknowledge that, typically, Jewish people and women have been the subjects of prejudice, while anti-semites and misogynists have tended to have the power.

I think this matters because it's an emotive comparison, and lots of people will see it and subconsciously think, well, anti-seminism is horrible, so if feminists are like that, that's really disgusting.

Yet the difference is, feminists don't have an institutionalized power base, which anti-semites past and present have done.

(You can just give me the 'overthinker of the thread' prize now. blush)

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 13:46:14

kotinka, I'm not twisting it. I am cutting and pasting it. He said it. He drew a direct equivalence.

I know Larry, I know he thinks this, but he never admits it, so I thought it would be useful to hold that one up for a look

A lot of people think it, it's not just Larry.

A lot of people think of feminists as a group of very fortunate, powerful, emancipated women who spend their time trying to push the power balance to the other extreme, to oppress men. It's a really upsetting idea, but it is absolutely something people think.

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 13:48:43

Yup, LRD, exactly. It is an unsuitable comparison unless you think that feminists are associated with a global drive to disempower, dispossess, smear, humilate and ultimately KILL all men - and that it is potentially in their power to do so.

Yes, that's what I was trying to get at with the 'not quite Godwin but nearly' comment much earlier in the thread, youre.

But I do think it is quite common for people to feel that this is something feminists want (or, you know, a less extreme version!). I know I've chatted to people in RL who will say, well, I want to be an equalist because I don't want women to be more powerful than men, because they think that that is what feminism is about.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 13:53:00

you're, I apologize, twisting was a poor choice of word. I mean that I interpreted Larry's heavy handed comparison in a different way to you.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 07-Oct-13 13:54:36

I read a post the other day - not sure if it was this topic or another one - where someone said 'what is a radical feminist anyway?' and someone else helpfully explained that they're the ones who just want women to be in charge for the same length of time as men were, to redress the balance.
(Which we absolutely don't, just in case anyone was wondering.)

I'm going to explain this badly, so bear with me. Maybe someone else will pick it up and explain better.

But I think this is a persistent issue with feminism. Very often, someone will pick holes in something that seems to most people to be a side issue. Like here, you're and I both picked up on the precise comparison larry used, even though I do think we both understood that he was basically making a point about how he sees feminism, not about how similar to antisemitism he thinks feminism is.

I don't think feminists are usually talking about people consciously and deliberately being misogynistic. It's not that we read a post like that totally differently and don't see the same meaning everyone else does - but I read it and I start thinking about the power structures that are being mentioned there. Just because I've got into the habit of doing that from talking about feminism a lot.

It isn't me saying, 'oh, larry is deliberately calling feminists Nazis! Run and scream!'. But the fact that this is the comparison that occurred to him tells me something about the way he sees the power balance in the world.

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 14:00:54

I think it is common for people to have the misconception that feminists want women to be in charge. I think Larry has an extreme version of this if he believes that feminists want to start with ghettos and move on to a European and ultimately global holocaust of men - and they can

Interesting if he thinks that this is what women would do if they were in charge, but men being in charge of women is fine and dandy, because they are naturally fairer or something

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 14:02:12

I only dip in and out of the FWR board but it seems amazingly stimulating at the moment with lots of interesting and witty threads. After the Great Crisis last year it went through a bit of a quiet phase but has bounced back brilliantly and I have spotted much less jumping on posters for not being sufficiently rad fem. Yes there is robust debate but much less nastiness than there used to be.

I would urge all posters who have been put off by previous experiences to dip their toes in again.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 14:03:07

"Interesting if he thinks that this is what women would do if they were in charge, but men being in charge of women is fine and dandy, because they are naturally fairer or something" Mildred grin

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 14:04:28

x-posted - yy LRD. It just displays so much, and so much that he didn't intend to show us, but he still did

It is like - at work someone had a baby (biologically) the same week someone else adopted a child. The biological mother got sent the usual corporate gift, the adoptive mother got nothing. she was upset. The HR manager didn't mean to upset her, but her processes made her automatically send a gift to one and not the other. the fact that she didn't know she was being discriminatory doesn't make that ok and doesn't make it wrong to pull it out and look at it. We are being unfair to the adoptive mother if we don't.

IceBeing Mon 07-Oct-13 14:05:23

We need a new version of the internet where informed debate happens.

I have the same problem at work....I keep having to explain that I am interested in informed debate even from people with informed opinions that differ from my own informed opinions....I am not at all interested in uninformed debate or opinions.

That's really sad for your colleague, you're.

And that's exactly what I mean ... we all mean well but these things can still hurt someone.

ice - oh, shit. Well, I'm afraid I'm definitely in the uninformed debate camp and proud of it. Life for me is too short to become an expert in feminist theory. I'm getting there slowly and I'm interested in it but I don't think it is as important as experience.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:11:40

I agree with you LED but youre's post then went on to make pretty much the argument you are saying you both understand not to be Larry's main point.

I'm sorry, I can't get copy and paste to work on the app so I'm unable to copy the last bit of the post I'm referring to.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:12:21

gah LRD not LED!

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 14:13:59

Ice - but a lot of the interesting conversation on FWR comes from people asking ignorant questions or putting forward naive opinions. The variation in intellectual levels between/within threads adds depth rather than the opposite.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:16:24

ice, then you have to judge someone based on your own standards, whether or not they are what you consider informed.

I consider myself informed due to my life experience of coping with sexism and this society but I'm not academically informed. I would still like to be considered worth talking to.

Ooh, I quite like LED.

But yes, you're right, I don't think either of us think we're picking up on Larry's main point. To be fair, I wouldn't pick up on someone saying that out of the blue - but I know something of what Larry has explained elsewhere.

To me, it matters to look at the stuff that isn't quite the main point. It's not that different from Brave Babes, really. Other people might just say 'oh, no, you're fine if a glass of wine calms you down, it's nice!' And that's completely true, but from a certain perspective, it's a red flag and you start asking questions.

Cross posted, but ... I don't think the oppposite of 'informed' is 'naive'.

I think this goes back to what people mean when they talk about 'academic' opinions.

I am not remotely academic about feminism. I'm not very 'informed' about it in a theoretical sense (though I have picked up a lot from FWR). But - sorry - I really don't think I am naive. Because a lot of it is about experience, which we all have.

Of course sometimes in any context, not just feminism, people who are barking up the wrong tree will struggle. I find this with US politics - I just don't have the background to follow it very well. But that doesn't mean I should be labelled as 'naive' or shut out of any political discussions whatsoever. It just means I need to brush up on terminology if I want to discuss US politics - and I can carry on discussing UK politics absolutely fine.

Same with feminism - some of us are informed in some areas; some in others. We all have the experience to make some kind of opinion.

SconeRhymesWithGone Mon 07-Oct-13 14:27:33

One of the things that the FWR boards do best is to dispel the persistent perception that feminism, including radical feminism, is aimed at making women more powerful than men.

IceBeing Mon 07-Oct-13 14:27:56

hmmm see I have no problem at ALL with uninformed questions...that's how one becomes informed!

but 'experienced' as an alternative to 'informed' is just a terrible way to go.

So very often our common sense, experience, is completely at odds with reality....in fact people substituting their personal experience for actual informed opinion is the number one cause of shit debate on the internet.

'Well homeopathy worked for me'
'I slept on my tummy as a baby and I made it'
'All the feminists I ever spoke to were lesbians'

at work I mostly get 'well I find students work harder when summatively assessed'

to which my answer is rapidly becoming 'why should I care what you think when you haven't been bothered to take one step beyond anecdotal evidence?'

I don't think 'experienced' is an alternative to 'informed'.

I think 'experienced' also means something different from 'having had an experience'.

In common parlance, 'experienced' implies you're knowlegeable and capable. It's not the same thing as having had a common experience as someone else.

You're citing anecdata, which people naturally bring up. I do not think anyone would claim that someone who says 'homeopathy worked for me' is experienced as a medic. But they have had the experience of being ill, so we could have a discussion about that.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 14:34:06

"in fact people substituting their personal experience for actual informed opinion is the number one cause of shit debate on the internet."

And in real life!

But I don't mind people posting things like this as long as they don't then sneer at all reasoned arguments to the contrary. We all hold some opinions we've never properly interrogated.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:37:36

ice, my point is that the term "informed" is subjective.

we don't know what the people we're having a discussion with on the internet has read or studied, so surely everyone deserves a hearing. If they subsequently go on to talk shit, then fair enough, judge them in the comments made.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:38:25

apologies for typos, despotic texting.

IceBeing Mon 07-Oct-13 14:38:35

Oh gosh yes! I am full of utter shit on so many topics...and probably a lot that I 'think' I am reasonably informed on.

I know nothing of feminism for instance.....

I also accept experienced is different to 'had one experience'.

Do people actually know more about labour and giving birth two days after the event than two days before? Not by any significant amount I would say....

I agree, mooncup.

But I think to be honest, MN is full of pretty intelligent women. We're not idiots. Yes, some people do generalize from personal experience and say 'well, I am very well paid and a woman so I don't believe that there is any financial inequality'. And equally, some people who claim to be feminists will say 'all women who try hard to get equal pay will get it - I know because I did'. And neither of these is really the whole picture.

But I don't believe one has to read academic feminist theory to understand that, and I don't think that it is impossible to get into a debate and learn, because I do it all the time.

Cross post - oh, that's a good analogy!

I always feel such a total twit talking about children, because I don't have them. But then I was struggling to sit on my hands and keep my mouth shut when my brother soberly explained to me (after the birth of his DD), 'you know, LRD, this thing you mention, 'shoulder distocia', it doesn't exist ... the way women are, the baby cannot get stuck and it all just happens naturally'. shock hmm grin

We can all snigger at that a bit, but if someone posted that opinion in the Parenting topics here, I'm sure people would take the time to be nice and explain it's not quite like that every time.

FavoriteThings Mon 07-Oct-13 14:41:49

happyon 13.44pm "It looks me to that, yet again, some people are looking desperately for ways to critise the FWR board".
There's another shut down the conversation, try and block the discussion, defensive sentence. Cant be doing with it. Dont need to do with it, and confirms my decision not to go and look on the board for another 3 months.
The op only wants those in the know over there too. Fine. I'm out of here. I'm probably not much of a loss.

(Btw, that was me agreeing with kot that 'informed' - and indeed 'experienced' are subjective terms.)

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:42:56

nah, I think he'd get roasted, it was a dumb thing to say grin

IceBeing Mon 07-Oct-13 14:44:08

kontika I think I would apply a wikipedia test for informedness...

If you have bothered enough to look up even one unbiased information source on a topic then you are in! More because it suggests a willingness to be informed than actually being so....I think maybe willingness is more important than actual level...

God, it was!

I was sitting there, my eyebrows vanishing into my hair I'd raised them so high! And he had this wonderful 'I am teaching my childless sister about the Realities of Life' tone. grin

But you know what I mean ... there's always going to be people who have an experience and think they know everything, and also people who read a book and think they know everything. In reality, it all shakes down in the end. There are stupid things you can say (like that one!), but I think we cope and move on from the stupid things.

catgirl1976 Mon 07-Oct-13 14:48:01

My comment about the boards being welcoming was in response to someone saying

"But why does anyone expect posters on a particular board to be welcoming?"

I don't expect them to be more welcoming than any other board. I just expect them to be welcoming. No different to anywhere else.

And yes, FrancescaBell "All that's required of posters is that they stick to the guidelines in order to participate."

I totally agree with you. The OP on the other hand, does not.

I think it would be nice if FWR were slightly more welcoming than, say, AIBU, because I think they are different kinds of board.

kim147 Mon 07-Oct-13 14:53:23

I think people would be welcome in the feminist pub LRD

This is true. smile

The feminist pub is a great place to be.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 14:59:41

I like the fwr board, but I don't post much because there seem to be fairly low levels of tolerance for ideas that aren't quite according to party line.

That might be partly me. I do get arsey sometimes. I try not to, but sometimes it's that I've heard nine trolls say the same thing, and then I don't realize the tenth person is a regular who isn't using the question as a way to start a horrible thread that they'll rapidly turn into something nasty.

But I do think even that is getting better as trolls are deleted much faster than they used to be.

IceBeing Mon 07-Oct-13 15:08:36

any feminist credentials I have are about to evaporate...I am considering seeking funding from the p&g

What is P&G?

FrancescaBell Mon 07-Oct-13 15:13:23

I disagree that the OP doesn't believe that all that's required is for posters to stick to the guidelines. She specifically mentions in her OP that her beef is with posters who only post on Feminism when they are 'spoiling for a fight'. Goading is contrary to Talk Guidelines. The OP is talking about people who have no desire to have a constructive debate or a share of opinions- they are just looking for an argument. She has also gone on to say that the prevalence of these posters and the ensuing arguments is deterring her from contribution.

I feel the same, but I've added that I find the amount of obvious trolling that goes on additionally problematical, as well as the persistent derailing of threads by posters who don't want to stay on topic.

Goading and trolling are contrary to Talk Guidelines.

Pan Mon 07-Oct-13 16:11:23

P&G - Proctor and Gamble, purveyors of fine household cleaning products, the advertisements of which consistently awards 'mummy' the sole responsibility for fighting the good fight against dirt and slatternliness in the home.

SilverApples Mon 07-Oct-13 16:15:31

Really Pan?
Must be why I didn't get the reference, I have a filter for that sort of nonsense. Obviously didn't get through. smile
Or I don't watch the right sort of girlie TV?

happyon Mon 07-Oct-13 16:18:55

favoritethings Don't go because of what I said. I don't post in FWR much (but read it lots) and speak for no one except myself. I stand by what I said, though and think your post confirms my point.

FavoriteThings Mon 07-Oct-13 17:03:09

There is a lot of distrust on the board. Perhaps understandably so. Off putting though.

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 17:05:01

Have you been on there recently? The feminist pub and chat thread are very welcoming. I suspect lots of posters are thinking about 1 thread they saw.

FavoriteThings Mon 07-Oct-13 17:11:06

I probably went on there about 2 months ago. It was probably a rape thread? Not sure. Sometimes or often I start posting, and notice which board I am on at a later time. I actually thought this was the feminism board, until I scrolled back up and had a relook.

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 20:53:43

I think my post very carefully made the point that it was only some feminists (a small but aggressive minority) and only in one specific way. They try to define men as a powerful 'other' and, for that reason, have no sympathy for them as people. For instance, in rape threads, there is a strong minority voice basically saying women don't make false allegations ergo we need a different burden of proof for this crime. If you point out that it would be impossible for a man to defend himself under this, the point is overwhelmed by posters saying it does not really matter if a few innocent men go to jail. If you point out that women now outnumber men 5:4 in entry to university, this is considered an irrelevance.

And all antisemites do not want to kill all Jews or rule the world. As someone of Jewish blood but not obviously Jewish, I have my whole life observed slight prejudice from many (and plenty who, if challenged, tell of their Jewish friends. It can be the belief that the u.s always supports Israel because Hollywood is 'run by Jews' or someone using the expression 'he jewed me' instead of cheated me. Or talk of powerful 'Jewish' banks like goldmans. The concept of Jews being a secret power cabal allows people harsh views because they perceive it as addressing an injustice.

I am actually pro 80% of what I read on the fwr boards but think the other 20% is based on a perceived power dynamic which no longer functions in the west. And once you perceive people as 'other' especially when that 'other' includes secret self favour, then it is easy to take the next step to believing that they no longer deserve the same fair treatment as you do.

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 20:54:23

Sorry for essay... And on phone so prob reads horribly.

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 20:57:16

I am perplexed Larry that you are basically complaining that you disagree with a minority of posters?

I see others on other boards saying views that I think are really objectionable e.g. about people on benefits. But I know that people are entitled to have different opinions from me.

Um ... no, sorry, I am that more confusing that your original posts.

Please don't start defending anti-semites. Sure, they may not all explicitly want to kill Jewish people, but let's perhaps accent they're not ok, right?!

I seriously find it hard to believe you would say that 20% of anti-seminism was ok. So how is 20% of misogyny ok?

I am *finding that more confusing.

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 20:59:52


Seriously? If there was a board which was 20% racist or 20% homophobic, and the 20% were aggressive and regular, would you think that was right?

larry, do you think that pointing out prejudice against women is the same as pointing out Jewish conspiracies against Nazis? Or the same as white supremacist arguments?

Or is it that you think feminism is genuinely like white supremacy or antisemintism, in that women have historically had the power and now they're going OTT?

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 21:02:04


I might have missed the odd punctuation mark but you have completely misread my post. You need to re read it.

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 21:02:16

Often when feminists talk about men, they don't mean all individual men.They are engaging in a class analysis. This is not anti men.

I've re-read it, larry. I've read it many times.

Perhaps you need to answer the question?

Btw, I never noticed what your punctuation was doing but if you mean to imply that I've misread because I misunderstood punctuation, I think that is rather a low blow. You know perfectly well I'm dyslexic, and you could I'm sure explain yourself, and everyone else will understand if I've made a total idiot of myself misreading.

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 21:09:48


How on earth would I know you were dyslexic?! It is not in the least apparent. I meant that I might have been cleare had I not been writing on my phone but I thought my point was reasonably clear.

What was the question you wanted answering? Given that I am Jewish, I would hardly be defending anti Semites. And I never mentioned nazis or nazism. Just common or garden low level anti semitism.

larrygrylls Mon 07-Oct-13 21:12:27


I find what you term 'class analysis' to be a kind of excuse. Would it ever be acceptable to say 'gays do x' or 'blacks think y' and term it 'class analysis'?

Oh, fair enough larry. I remember the conversation we had about it quite well, but I do accept you've forgotten. To be honest I thought that was a pointed comment you made, but am glad to know you're now saying it isn't.

I suggested that you might answer why you compared feminists to anti semites. Why did you?

As you perhaps will understand (and this is now the third post I've made about it), there is a well-known internet phenomenon, where it is known that referring to anti-seminism in some contexts is done in order to be emotive. I thought that - even if you did it ignorantly - that was what your comparison did.

You must understand, this isn't me saying you are deliberately being rude or ignorant. It is just that, once you start to think about the comparisons, it is only possible to make them if you are ignorant or misogynistic, which is why we examine them.

So, the question is - do you really mean to imply that feminists have the same instititionalised power as anti-semites, or was it just a knee-jerk emotive comparison you made without thinking through it?

sinistersal Mon 07-Oct-13 21:15:30

And all antisemites do not want to kill all Jews or rule the world. As someone of Jewish blood but not obviously Jewish, I have my whole life observed slight prejudice from many (and plenty who, if challenged, tell of their Jewish friends. It can be the belief that the u.s always supports Israel because Hollywood is 'run by Jews' or someone using the expression 'he jewed me' instead of cheated me.

Not meaning to pull things out of context but this part struck me - As women, many of us see that dynamic played out all the time when it comes to misogyny.

Antisemitism manifests itself in relatively mild and subtle ways as well as in murderous hatred.

But I (not Jewish) wouldn't dream of telling Jewish people that antisemitism is gone, the world has changed in the last 50 years so stop going on about it, you are oversensitive, looking to be offended, and explain how to fight antisemitism the right way - and all the rest of it. But people do say that to feminists all the time.

if you are a feminist, you're a feminist. IMVHO. Just because you have online humdingers on just how relevant these mild and subtle forms of misogyny play out means sfa. If everyone is basically on the one side you can agree on one issue and disagree on another.

Well said, sal. I agree.

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 21:22:56

"They try to define men as a powerful 'other' and, for that reason, have no sympathy for them as people."

Which posters? AFAIK everyone on that board has men in their lives whom they know and value as people, be it their partners, lovers, fathers, sons, brothers, colleagues, friends etc. That's just a prejudiced assertion isn't it Larry, not based on anything except your own negative reading of people's postings.

And never once have I read anyone saying it doesn't matter if innocent men go to jail for rape they haven't committed. The charitable view is that you're so locked in your prejudice that this is your interpretation of what the regular posters whom you disagree with most, think about things, while the uncharitable view would be that you want other people to believe that regular posters think that so you're saying it knowing full well that it's not an accurate representation of anyone's opinion - not even the invented 20%.

FrancescaBell Mon 07-Oct-13 21:23:01

Well now there's a thing.

I've never seen a poster arguing for a different burden of proof in rape cases, nor have I ever seen anyone claiming there are no false allegations of rape. I've seen posters campaigning for a presumption of belief in a woman who reports rape and I've seen posters quoting accurate figures of the actual (miniscule) number of false allegations.

But y'know, I'm not on MNet all the time so just because I've never seen the posts you describe, counts for nothing. But if I'd seen posts like that, I'd have probably challenged them, just like I've challenged posters who argue for men's rights to use lapdancing clubs as corporate entertainment, or buy sex, or use gonzo porn. It's really easy to challenge posts that advance ridiculous arguments or which make false claims.

I just don't see where the difficulty lies?

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 21:25:32

Bloody good point SinisterSal.

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 21:26:14

Larry - we talk about white people being racist for example. Without the ability to make a class analysis, you can not have a political analysis. And feminism is political.

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 21:32:35

Yes can you imagine if every single discussion of racism was interrupted by "but not all white people are racist" or every single discussion of anti-Semitism had to have the platitude that "not all non-Jews are anti-Semitic."

It would be so bloody tiresome.

No-one intelligent assumes that when people use a group term like "men" "the middle classes" "the germans" they mean every single one everywhere, ever. Only with men does this assumption occur, only with men are we supposed to anxiously reassure everyone that we don't mean all of them always.

Who was it who said that when she remarks that "birds land in my garden" she doesn't mean every bird everywhere on the whole of Planet Earth? I always think of Tippi Hedren screaming with feathers blowing at her when someone says "but not all men... etc." nowadays grin

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 21:40:08

"The concept of Jews being a secret power cabal allows people harsh views because they perceive it as addressing an injustice."

right. Larry is actually standing by his comparison, he is explaining that (some) feminists, while posing as aiming to correct injustice, are actually comparable in being deluded and pernicious to those who think the main injustice in the world is a Jewish cabal.

By way of illustration he is then pointing out that antisemitic views can manifest in subtle ways. so .... similarly, all the less obviously dangerous feminists are presumably equivalent to people who are only a bit antisemitic?

Larry, do you think that men are an oppressed people who through the centuries have been hounded from their homeland and disallowed their names, their lands and their autonomy?

If so... I guess those feminists are a nasty bunch.

I have seen Larry argue hard in favour of the status quo on things like, for instance, the inevitability of sexual harrassment if you are a woman. He has argued hard that it would be unromantic and impractical to change this. It is clear that what he means is: denying men the right to feel up random women is like Pharaoh enslaving the Jews. I see what you mean now Larry.

FesterAddams Mon 07-Oct-13 21:42:51

No-one intelligent assumes that when people use a group term ... they mean every single one everywhere, ever

One of the things that feminism teaches us is that language is important; Of course no-one intelligent assumed that when people used the term "chairman" they meant that the chairman was male. But yet we now use the term "chair" or "chairperson" instead.

Another example. You OK with someone saying "women don't know how to park"? Why not? Surely no-one intelligent would assume that means every single woman everywhere, ever?

caramelwaffle Mon 07-Oct-13 21:43:51

Well said Sal

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 21:55:14

So do you never, ever use group terms Fester?

Do you always qualify every single time you ever use a group term, that you don't mean everyone in that group? (So you've never referred to babies, dogs, birds, Asians, women, men, doctors, teachers etc.?)

Why are you bothering to argue this? Is it really that important to you? If so, why?

Are you arguing that we can never, ever analyse anything in terms of power relations between different groups?

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 22:02:31

Basil, I love the "birds land in my garden" one.
Suppose the person said "birds land in my garden and eat the crumbs I put out for them" they neither mean ALL the birds, nor ONLY birds. Maybe once a cat came and nibbled the bread. but cats usually don't like bread. By and large the birds landed and ate the crumbs; or, by and large, the crumbs were eaten by birds. This is so unproblematic it is ridiculous. Perfect

garlicvampire Mon 07-Oct-13 22:07:12

Fester, you're conflating different uses of class nouns.

I can say 'birds fly' without having to explain that there are also some birds that do not fly. It is generally true, to the degree that I may speak as if it were always true. The fact that we all know there are exceptions doesn't prevent that.

When you say 'women don't know how to park', you appear to be making the same kind of assumption: that it's so normal for women to be unable to park, it may as well be 100% true. Such an assumption is, of course, wrong and insulting. Women are not lousy parkers in the same way that birds are flying animals.

If I say 'men earn more than women', I'm clearly aware that there are lots of individual women who earn more than individual men. But I can demonstrate, in numerous ways, that this is true as a generality. So it's a valid class statement.

Some feminists say 'men rape'. I don't like it, but I understand that the speaker means the vast majority of rapists are men. I also understand the speaker isn't implying that men rape like birds fly; she's merely saving 66% of the words needed to say 'the vast majority of rapists are men'.

The same speaker would also say 'women get raped', without having to explain that she knows men get raped, too, and women are not universally raped.

The two rape statements are examples of how English economy with words can sometimes cause misunderstanding: in some other languages, one would use the longer expression, or have an extra term to describe statements that appear to be class descriptors but are not. We are English, however, and are able to distinguish the correct meaning.

I'm killing off my urge to go on about this even more, because it's a linguistic point rather than a political one. I think it's worth repeating every so often, though, on threads about Unreasonable Feminists!

garlicvampire Mon 07-Oct-13 22:10:35

Are you arguing that we can never, ever analyse anything in terms of power relations between different groups?

It looks a little like it, Basil grin

"Misogynists are selectively pedantic" - class statement, could be more accurately expressed as "Misogynists like to attack feminists' language whenever feminists speak of men."

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 22:11:57

You know, going back to Larry's Jewish world conspiracy thing, the only people who think women/ feminists have some kind of organised power structure which oppresses men, are those demented Men's Rights Extremist groups - you know the ones.

Just sayin'.

You can't possibly mean this Larry? Even you? shock

FesterAddams Mon 07-Oct-13 22:13:38

Do you always qualify every single time you ever use a group term

Yes, I think that I do. I'll qualify with "some" or "often" or "tend to", depending on context.

Why are you bothering to argue this? Is it really that important to you? If so, why?

Because I agree with the mainstream 2nd/3rd wave feminist idea that language is important in that it shapes perception. So to say "X do <something bad>" has a cumulative effect of belittling and othering X - whether X is "blacks", "whites", "Jews", "Muslims", "women", or indeed "men".

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 22:28:24

I think Garlicvampire has covered that tbh.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 22:37:23

I have a problem with the massive oversimplification that class analysis involves. Generalisation by any other name.

I don't think class analysis has to involve generalisation or over simplification, though.

If I said (for example) that alcoholics as a group have issues with drinking, that's not an oversimplification, that's describing a group of people.

If I said that someone I knew personally had such-and-such a specific issue with drinking (eg., binging) and couldn't stop, and that therefore all alcholics must be like that, that'd be a generalisation.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 22:44:03

LRD that post is slightly disingenuous, alcoholics by definition have a problem with alcohol. Men, by definition, do not automatically have a problem with equality. SOME men do.

garlicvampire Mon 07-Oct-13 22:48:48

Kotinka, you've hit on the reason I prefer to talk of the patriarchy, if I can sensibly use it instead of 'men'.

But somebody usually comes along and wants to start an argument about what 'the patriarchy' is and whether it exists hmm

A point in hand: It's usually a feminist who comes along to a thread about "men are stupid" or "men can't be faithful", to highlight the sexist generalisation. If there's one thing feminists are acutely aware of, it's sexist generalisations!

Oh, yes, you're right. And I didn't mean it that way.

I was thinking more like this: alcohol is a poison, and it is addictive. Lots of people live in our society where we drink alcohol, and do fine. And lots of people don't really get why it would be a problem.

In the same way (IMO), the patriarchy is fundamentally bad, but also seems like a lot of fun to lots of us, and is addictive.

I don't think it's 'men' who have the problem with equality. Plenty of women do too. It's the patriarchy that is the problem. And some of us see the red flags with it more than others, because of our experiences with it.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 22:53:58

I don't see a problem with defining terms before a discussion, any researcher would do that.

you can't assume everyone has the same understanding of any term ( or "the patriarchy") when you try to discuss an issue.

I'm not assuming everyone has an understanding. But I'm also not coming at it from a researcher's background.

For me, the reason I compare to something like alcholism (and there'd be other comparisons) is simply that if you're on the 'outside' and have never had a problem, your natural humane response is to make light of the problem. But if you're on the inside, you pick up on tiny hints and sometimes, sure, you make too much of them. But you know why you're picking up on those hints.

ACrowRoad Mon 07-Oct-13 22:59:58

I stick my head in the FWR boards occasionally but frankly the level of debate would embarrass a sixth form common room. Indeed its telling that some of the so called 'MRAs' and 'handmaidens' that occasionally pop up usually make the better, more reasoned argument - even if I disagree with them.

The thing is, I'm a very senior woman in a very male profession. I work hard to nurture and coach women in my organisation. I work hard to ensure equality of opportunity and clamp down hard on the low level sexism that until recently was (and arguably still is) prevalent. I'm pretty certain I do more to improve the opportunities and lives of women than most - but call myself a "feminist" and associate myself with the kind of idiot who posts on the FWR boards? No thanks.

"complex political, social and personal ideas" <snort> You keep telling yourself that while you crack on with page 3 or whatever irrelevance is important to you today.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 23:01:53

Ooh, we have a successor to Xenia.

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 23:03:08

Where is Xenia?

Haven't seen her around for ages.

I sort of miss her.

Sort of.


I don't think that's true, that the debate would embarass a sixth form common room. Though I also think it's nothing to be ashamed of that a fair few threads aren't by people who have A Levels or university degrees, and I don't see why that would be a bad thing.

I do think a lot of the debate is properly complex, though. I accept there are lots of threads and we probably read different ones. But I've discussed issues in FWR that my academic supervisor, who is a feminist working in a university, thought were at a high level. In fact this is something I think is really valuable, that there are lots of posters who are posting their experiences and who are not posting about academic feminism, but who in their own lives are working in male-dominated areas and at high levels.

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 23:06:43

I dunno. Maybe she got banned, as scottishmummy allegedly was.

I had a soft spot for Xenia; it was good having a 1980s-style ball-breaking career woman around, narrow though her viewpoint was.

BasilBabyEater Mon 07-Oct-13 23:10:14

Oh was Scottishmummy bannned? Really? I didn't know that!
<Frets about missing out on all the gossip>

MooncupGoddess Mon 07-Oct-13 23:16:04

Such is the word on the street... I think she got carried away by her own persona.

The quality of debate in FWR is much higher than that in my sixth form or indeed undergraduate common room. There was certainly no dissection of Dworkin's Intercourse in my sixth form... conversation was more likely to go along the lines of 'Can you get pregnant without actually having sex?' grin

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:16:31

Well, we can't win can we

Make the discussions too academic/intellectual/middle class or they are too lowbrow/unintellligent/naive/6th form (insert whatever criticism best fits your beef)

Which is it ? confused

Yes, because it couldn't possibly be that there's a whole lot of individuals participating as they choose, and probably being more or less intellectual/practical/highbrow/lowbrow depending on the topic they're discussing.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:22:31

Hey, I have a novel idea

People get out of the FWR what they put in!

D'ya think it'll catch on ?

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:27:19

anyfucker, I think the level of discussion is fine, we need to be free to talk about whatever comes up.

But I disagree with the academically dodgy use of class analysis and the lazy avoidance of defining terms, assuming we all agree on them already.

And the board could be improved by people not jumping to repeat a criticism, but the ganging up behaviour happens mn-wide, not just fwr.

FloraFox Mon 07-Oct-13 23:30:30

I find it hard to understand why people seem to think there is some kind of homogenous group of feminists on FWR. There is no party line or general consensus. As LRD says, there are a lot of individuals. The board is obviously going to attract a lot of feminists but there is a lot of disagreement among the feminists there. A lot of other feminist discussion sites have a set of feminist principles you have to adhere to or you will get modded out. I like that FWR is open to anyone. I like it best when feminists are discussing feminist political issues (especially class analysis) from different feminist perspectives (e.g. the consent thread, which is excellent) and are not interrupted by MRAs crapping all over the thread or some tedious NAMALT comment. I find the anti-feminist posts very boring for the most part, it's stuff you hear everywhere all the time.

FesterAddams Mon 07-Oct-13 23:31:16


You wrote:
I can say 'birds fly' without having to explain that there are also some birds that do not fly. It is generally true, to the degree that I may speak as if it were always true.

Perhaps I am a pedant because I can't imagine ever saying "birds fly" without qualification, but for the sake of argument, OK, fine.

But then:
Some feminists say 'men rape'. I don't like it, but I understand that the speaker means the vast majority of rapists are men.

Following your birds example, the correct reading of the phrase "men rape" would instead be:
Some feminists say 'men rape' without having to explain that there are also some men that do not rape. It is generally true, to the degree that I may speak as if it were always true.

Probably that's not the interpretation that the speaker intended, but it's what some people would hear.

We as a society have come to avoid negative generalisations in our conversations for good reason. (Even to the extent that a completely factual statement like "black (as in afro-Caribbean, not BME) people commit a disproportionate amount of crime" is very awkward to hear, in either an academic or an informal context.)

I disagree that this is "a linguistic point rather than a political one". It is both.

How is class analysis academically dodgy? I mean, I get that it can be misapplied and that is annoying, but it's fundamentally sound, surely?

I get what you mean about not defining terms. I admit, when someone says 'what does patriarchy mean', I tend to assume it's not that they know several possible meanings and want to pin down the term, it's that don't know at all. And I will take on board the possibility this may be wrong.

I do think, though, you have to be fair and acknowledge that there are shitloads of threads defining terms already, so it's not 'lazy', whatever else it is.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:31:38

NAMALT ? confused

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:33:25

sorry flora, I may have missed the gust of your post as I don't understand the acronyms - definition of terms!

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:34:50

but it was me that hinted at an fwr party line downthread and I stand by this, having seen posters stamped all over.

FloraFox Mon 07-Oct-13 23:36:50

"not all men are like that" sorry, thought that was well known.

kotinka out of interest, what is the party line?

I dunno, kot.

I think for me, the party line thing is something I want to argue against, because I know for absolutely certain that I got stamped all over by some of the people who no longer post, and I'm very glad of the change. And I know some current posters with whom I will reliably disagree. But I do still know that there are other things that tie us together as feminists.

I don't think describing it as a 'party line' works for me, because it implies we all sit down and work out what we're going to argue, and I don't think we do.

Grennie Mon 07-Oct-13 23:37:44

All branches of feminism use a class analysis. If you don't agree with feminism, that is fine. But it is a key part of feminism.

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:38:02

ah, penny drops smile

I thought it might be along the lines of NMN (not my Nigel)

garlicvampire Mon 07-Oct-13 23:38:06

I'm a statistics bore, Fester. I know what you mean. But I'm not so wrapped up in my own obsessions that I can't hear what somebody properly means when they say 'average', for example. Likewise I understand what feminists properly mean when they use the terms above. If I don't, I ask.

Loads of other ideologies than feminism use class analysis, too.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:41:22

when I referred to "the party line" I mean the kind of "post inertia" that seems to happen say 20 plus posts in, where mainly posters are agreeing with regulars. It has from my experience been difficult for posters to have alternative views accepted. sorry I can't cite examples right now, I can't cut and paste on the phone app I'm using.

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 23:43:11

NAMALT - help?

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:43:58

Not all men are like that = NAMALT

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:44:12

what is MRA? thanks.

garlicvampire Mon 07-Oct-13 23:44:18

It would be interesting to know which alternative views you feel feminists should have accepted, Kotinka.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:45:37

garlic, what a ridiculous question, when you consider the range of topics on the board!

youretoastmildred Mon 07-Oct-13 23:46:54


AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:47:07

MRA = male rights activist

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:48:53

guys, I have to turn in, early start, but looking forward to catching up tomorrow, night everyone & thanks for an interesting chat.

kotinka Mon 07-Oct-13 23:49:39

thanks, any, wow, didn't know they existed! grin

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:51:01

They surely do, kotinka

AnyFucker Mon 07-Oct-13 23:52:01

All those men been oppressed for centuries on account of their gender needed an outlet, obvs

Me too.

Night all, and thanks.

NicholasTeakozy Tue 08-Oct-13 06:59:43

Or talk of powerful 'Jewish' banks like goldmans.

So Larry, is it anti-semitic to point out that Goldman Sachs are a bunch of criminals? Whilst I'm here, good try but hard lines. Your usual tactic is to attempt to derail, this time it hasn't been entirely successful.

Suelford Tue 08-Oct-13 10:13:15

This is a perfect example of why the FWR boards are viewed as hostile. Larry posts a pretty reasonable analogy about two different groups. It's not a perfect 1:1 similarity, but it gets the idea across.

But instead of addressing the content of his post, posters will attack the delivery of it in order to avoid thinking about his point. "OMG you're calling feminists racists!" Of course, if one were to do the same to a pro-feminist post, you'd be lambasted for trolling/derailing/missing the point, etc.

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 10:17:36

This is AIBU, not FWR. And we are allowed to disagree.

garlicvampire Tue 08-Oct-13 10:39:11

Well, yeah, but ... Larry was saying that the feminist view of patriarchy is like the anti-semitic theory of jewish conspiracy. That is, paranoid & inaccurate.

Anti-semitism is vindictive. It has led to mass exterminations of humans being excused on grounds of the victims' heritage.

Feminism isn't vindictive and has never led to a pogrom against men.

Through this analogy, Larry suggested that feminism's as unfounded and malicious as anti-semitism. It actually bears no comparison at all. Larry's accusation is a serious one and deserves to be shredded.

youretoastmildred Tue 08-Oct-13 10:40:01

I really can't see how you can consider it "pretty reasonable" to compare anti-semitic vile tosh about a Jewish conspiracy, to feminist discussion of the patriarchy and how it works. One is racist nonsense and the other is mainstream feminism. If you think it is "missing the point" to call this out, and to highlight this persons's very clear position vis a vis feminism as demonstrated by this, then you have a very different idea of what the point is.

Larry is saying "of course, though being so often in agreement, this is the sort of feminism I must object to - the sort which oppresses men in a a similar manner to the way in which traditional establishment anti-semitism oppresses Jews". If you can let that go without saying "wtf?" then you are being absolutely hoodwinked. as to the nature of feminism, and to the nature of Larry.

this, by the way, is the content of his post.

youretoastmildred Tue 08-Oct-13 10:40:20

x-posted with garlic

Pan Tue 08-Oct-13 10:45:12

Overall, if posters don't like the F/WR board, then don't go there? It isn't the first, last or only source of info./support/ideas exchange in the world regarding womens rights in this country or abroad - there's RL, as well as multiple on-line options. If it doesn't serve your need in one particular regard, then don't use it for that particular need. I have it hidden.

As posters, you aren't contractually obliged to respond to every post you disagree with, nor 'appreciate' other poster's posting style, be it 'academic or otherwise. I'm an 'interventionist' by nature ( who always thinks he's right in being so!), so used to be a bit impatient with reading the meandering debates, but I know that about me, so when I used to read there I'd sit on my hands a lot, and never 'debate' feminism.

If posters were clearer on their expectations and boundaries there'd prob be much less misunderstanding. ime.

Grennie Tue 08-Oct-13 10:49:28

Yes there are lots of other online feminism boards. From more "basic" ones like the facebook group Everyday Sexism to ones debating feminist theory.

And you know, the feel of a board is set by those who post there. So if you don't like the current threads, then start a new one.

IceBeing Tue 08-Oct-13 12:47:59

lrd p&g are proctor and gamble...they make amongst other things scented tampons.

I think it is safe to day that the majority of their empire is built on undermining women's self confidence. I don't know if that is as morally wrong as addicting people to tabacco but I have my suspicions.

IceBeing Tue 08-Oct-13 12:49:24

There are some people on MN who I am NEVER EVER on the same side of the argument as. Larry is one of those people.

IceBeing Tue 08-Oct-13 12:51:21

Although to qualify my previous post I think I only encounter larry on threads in about hitting children or feminism. Maybe we totally agree about Bfing, back sleeping, and whether or not Benedict Cumberbatch is hot....

Thanks for clarifying, ice.

BasilBabyEater Tue 08-Oct-13 13:39:17

I think everyone is absolutely entitled to be hostile to posters who are consistently hostile to them tbh

Threalamandaclarke Thu 10-Oct-13 08:46:17

<clears throat>
Well, I have popped back "over there" and it's great. I am learning a lot and so far it's a comfortable place to chat.

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