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Guest Blog: we can't end violence against women by kicking men out of feminism

(95 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 05-Dec-12 11:38:37

This week's guest blog is from Holly Baxter, who is co-editor of The Vagenda. Initially set up to call out women's magazines for limiting women's horizons, The Vagenda has helped to popularise feminism for a new generation of young women, and this week the team signed a book-deal.

In this guest blog, which is part of the #16days of activism to eliminate violence against women, Holly argues that the battle can't be won if we won't allow men to fight beside us. Her post is partly in response to recent events at the London Feminist Film Festival, where activist and panellist Julia Long asked all the men to leave a post-screening talk.

Read the blog, and do tell us what you think.

FYI, StewieGriffinsMom has set up a bloghop for #16days posts, so if you post about the 16 days of activism to eliminate violence against women, do add your URL on her blog, and tweet us @mumsnetbloggers too - we'll RT you if you do.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:15:08

Sorry to post and run, I had bedtimes/tea to deal with.

As I understand it Julia Long says that she did not ask all the men to leave. I hope something will appear at some point giving her side of things, either in CiF or elsewhere (and I'm sure when it does it will be well worth reading).

RadFems do tend to get misrepresented a lot so I think you need to be a bit careful when basing a blog post, as Baxter did, on something a prominent radical feminist is reported to have done or said, when the person saying they did this (ie the author of the original CiF piece) is clearly hostile to the person in the first place. It's a bit disappointing Mumsnet nailed its colours to their mast without checking the person being talked about agreed with that version of events.

I like Vagenda v much, and this is clearly a good discussion to be having, but by presenting Baxter's side of the story as if it is simple fact, it makes it look as if MNHQ is taking the anti-radfem line from the start, and I'm sure you don't mean to give this impression and want to continue to be open to all viewpoints.

WidowWadman Wed 05-Dec-12 20:28:23

"Frankly, this sounds like the sort of thing (to me) that demonstrates which women weren't feminists in the first place. "

You can be a feminist and not subscribe to separatism.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:30:38

I never suggested you couldn't.

I'm not a separatist (FWIW).

WidowWadman Wed 05-Dec-12 20:35:05

So why do you suggest then that those women who object to kicking men out aren't feminists?

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:36:01

No, that's not what I said. Don't put words in my mouth.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Wed 05-Dec-12 20:39:06

Then could you expand on what you meant by that LRD? Because I read it the same way WW does.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Dec-12 20:42:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Wed 05-Dec-12 20:45:35

Bravo Stewie.

HQ...seriously you need to think this one through more. You've done this very very badly.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:46:40

Sorry Tee.

I think it's annoying when people claim that someone else's actions 'are the sort of thing that puts women off feminism'. It may put them off feminism, if Long asked men to leave.

But given that we don't quite know what she said, and given there could, I would argue, be some very good reasons to make a request of the male members of the audience, I am slightly suspicious.

I'd say if someone considers they're 'put off feminism', and they're so sure this is a typical experience they're prepared to say 'this is the sort of thing that puts women off', I would expect the thing that happened to be huge.

I wouldn't expect that response to a couple of hostile media reports that allege something, which don't include response or explanation from the woman who allegedly said it. And I wouldn't expect that response to one small question from one feminist, even if she's a prominent feminist.

I'm sorry, but it sounds to me like the rhetoric the anti-feminists constantly come out with, which insist we should all speak just as they'd like in case we 'put women off feminism'.

The sort of women who'd be put off - were they that convinced before!?

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:48:06

Cross post. Well said SGM. If I may:

Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;
Hélène Colgan, 23;
Nathalie Croteau, 23;
Barbara Daigneault, 22;
Anne-Marie Edward, 21;
Maud Haviernick, 29;
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;
Maryse Leclair, 23;
Annie St.-Arneault, 23;
Michèle Richard, 21;
Maryse Laganière, 25;
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;
Sonia Pelletier, 28; and
Annie Turcotte, aged 21.

Je me souviens.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Wed 05-Dec-12 20:50:51

I follow now, LRD. And I agree with you.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:51:16

Thanks, and thanks for being understanding. Sorry I didn't put it better first off.

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Wed 05-Dec-12 20:52:06

I think your meaning got swallowed by cross posts.

I really would love to hear what Julia has to say about this.

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 20:54:30

Me too.

Tricky, I guess - it's not great she's been put into a position with blog posts like this one accusing her without quoting her or attempting to put across her reasons for what she did. It seems like another way of putting constraints on how she expresses herself, doesn't it, which isn't easy.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Dec-12 20:54:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PlainBellySneetch Wed 05-Dec-12 21:07:29

SGM: "I do not want to betray personal confidences of those who have messaged me to correct my original blog post but I can say that the men were not asked to leave before the movie."
Sorry, don't know how to do quotes, but I think, if you know what was said and it's tangibly different from the OP and the Guardian article, you should tell us. I can't see how that could break a confidence, it's a matter of public record.

AbigailAdams Wed 05-Dec-12 21:08:22

Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;
Hélène Colgan, 23;
Nathalie Croteau, 23;
Barbara Daigneault, 22;
Anne-Marie Edward, 21;
Maud Haviernick, 29;
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;
Maryse Leclair, 23;
Annie St.-Arneault, 23;
Michèle Richard, 21;
Maryse Laganière, 25;
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;
Sonia Pelletier, 28; and
Annie Turcotte, aged 21.

Je me souviens.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 05-Dec-12 21:09:55

Geneviève Bergeron, aged 21;
Hélène Colgan, 23;
Nathalie Croteau, 23;
Barbara Daigneault, 22;
Anne-Marie Edward, 21;
Maud Haviernick, 29;
Barbara Maria Klucznik, 31;
Maryse Leclair, 23;
Annie St.-Arneault, 23;
Michèle Richard, 21;
Maryse Laganière, 25;
Anne-Marie Lemay, 22;
Sonia Pelletier, 28; and
Annie Turcotte, aged 21.

Je me souviens.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 21:11:14

Plain, you are at liberty not to take SGM's word for what was said to her without further detail, of course. If she feels she'd be breaching a confidence by providing further detail, that is entirely up to her.

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 05-Dec-12 21:12:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PlainBellySneetch Wed 05-Dec-12 21:16:59

Abigail Adams: "The film was about female separatism. Why should men be involved in that discussion?"

Um, all voices are necessary for yer actual discussion, innit? Unless you're saying "MY discussion". Which would be just a broadcast/propaganda.

As an aside - because it's logically irrelevant - IME, feminist men are very able to imagine/justify/hope for the various female-onlyspaces that might be desirable or possible.

Before you all hate on me, I'm v aware of the MRA issues. I'm trying to point out, from a 'women we'd like to get onside perspective', how genuinely offensive this sounds (as reported).

Unless you only care about 'people's front of judea' stuff, you need to step back and consider whether you're pissing away an opportunity. TBH, by the time you're into Julia Long's message, you're plenty empowered, and you're just cock-slamming.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 05-Dec-12 21:17:03

PlainBellySneetch, we don't have an absolute right to discuss this tonight. Why not just wait until Julia is in a position to share her own version of events? Then once that's out in the public eye, anyone who wants to can come back and discuss it.
Makes more sense than second-guessing or playing Chinese Whispers IMO.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 05-Dec-12 21:19:59

Cock-slamming?

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 21:22:04

plain - you don't see why SGM shouldn't break a confidence?

Doesn't this go to the heart of the matter. Why do some people believe their right to hear or be part of a conversation must take precedence over the rights of others?

I am not certain all voices are necessary for 'yer actual discussion' (whatever you mean by that).

If you have a situation where women feel unable to speak, is that really a discussion, just because you've not excluded men from speaking?

I don't think so.

AbigailAdams Wed 05-Dec-12 21:23:31

I don't think I am the one being offensive here <shrugs>

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