Please don't promote blogs that aren't in the Mumsnet Bloggers Network. Join the network

Hadley Freeman: 5 tips for being an awesome feminist

(118 Posts)
HannahMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Apr-13 15:40:29

Shakespeare once wrote that 'the path of true feminism never did run smooth' (or something similar). So to help us on our way, Guardian columnist (and author of 'Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies') is sharing her 5 top tips for the woman of 2013.

"Not all women are feminists, and not all feminists are women, but one generalisation you can make about feminists is that they all aspire to awesomeness. That is because feminism is the fight for that most awesome of things: equality. Yet sometimes even this seemingly most straightforward of aims can become a little confused with well-intended but ultimately self-defeating gestures or simple confusions. But that's OK, nobody gets it right all of the time. Heck, even Germaine Greer went on Celebrity Big Brother once.

So in order to help keep you on the path of awesome feminism, here is a quick little guide to the matter:

1. Stop being so hard on yourself.

If feminism is about the fight for women's rights, then the most important woman whose rights you need to fight for are your own. So stop being so self-deprecating; stop beating yourself up for being too fat / ugly / forgetful; don't go on any ridiculous diets that sap you of your energy; don't be scared to speak up or to try things that you've always wanted to do; only talk to yourself in kind and encouraging tones. Give yourself a break, OK?

2. Don't be so hard on other women, either.

This doesn't mean you should always support women simply because of their gender (that is faux feminism), but be careful of holding women to higher standards than men. So many women do this unthinkingly, it's up to awesome feminists to break the habit.

3. Fight for women around the world to have access to contraception, sex education and abortion.

Yes, abortion is a sensitive subject but this is really a non-negotiable belief when it comes to feminism. Contrary to what liberal blogger Mehdi Hassan wrote last year in a much discussed article, you don't need to be pro-choice in order to be a leftie, but you do need to be pro-choice in order to be a feminist. Feminism is about enabling women to live to the most of their abilities and the most important factor in this is giving them control over their fertility. Abortion is not a pleasant procedure but it is a necessary one in a world in which people have sex and aren't always as careful as they should be. Moreover, women will still have abortions if they're not legal, just using more dangerous methods. There is no wiggle room here: awesome feminists need to fight this fight.

4. Motherhood is not a game of one-upmanship.

Motherhood is wonderful. Motherhood is tough. One thing motherhood is not is a competition. There is no 'right' age to have a baby, no 'best' way to give birth: only ways to work for individual women and individual children. There is no one way to be a woman and there is definitely no one way to be a mother. So don't talk in a way that insinuates the contrary and, if you hear anyone else talking that way, calmly and gently correct them. It's hard enough being a mother without mothers being hard on one another.

5. Please don't ever go on a reality TV show predicated on humiliating its contestants, especially if you were once my idol. (NB: that instruction is perhaps less generally applicable than the others as it is really directed at one person. But it remains true, nonetheless.)"

What do you think - do Hadley's rules of thumb match your own? Let us have your thoughts - or alternatives - here on the thread. And if you blog, don't forget to post your URLs here on the thread.

'Be Awesome: Modern Life For Modern Ladies' by Hadley Freeman is published by 4th Estate price £12.99.

Corygal Thu 25-Apr-13 16:12:03

I ache for Hadley and require no further feminism input from her but a smile from those fairy lips. The rest of the world isn't so charming, so I'll be asking them for equal rights.

Flisspaps Thu 25-Apr-13 16:53:23

She's right, but I'd have liked her to have included that 'contraception fails sometimes' in her bit about abortion - even when contraception is being used correctly and carefully, it can still lead to an unwanted pregnancy. It's not just about people having sex and not being careful!

NumTumDeDum Thu 25-Apr-13 16:54:51

Agree points 1, 2 and 3. Point 4 is really an extension of 2 but I agree with it. As for Point 5 Germaine Greer that is really an illustration of her exercising Point 1 - doing things you want to.

NumTumDeDum Thu 25-Apr-13 17:04:10

Good point Flisspaps. It should also include reference to rape victims.

AudreyParker Thu 25-Apr-13 19:11:54

Yes, that sentence shoudl just read 'Abortion is not a pleasant procedure but it is a necessary one in a world in which people have sex'.

I do like 'Be awesome' as a motto, it's pretty much what I live by, along with 'be excellent to each other'.

V good, tick.

NumTumDeDum Thu 25-Apr-13 19:21:45

AudreyParker, is that a Bill and Ted 'be excellent to one another'? Awesome.

DameFanny Thu 25-Apr-13 19:26:05

Yes, pregnancy is something that can be inflicted on women against their will, so abortion is important.

YoniMatopoeia Thu 25-Apr-13 19:50:08

Is number 5 not going against numer 2?

Takver Thu 25-Apr-13 20:16:01

Not so long as she would have the same view of a man going on such a programme, Yoni, surely?

Southeastdweller Thu 25-Apr-13 20:35:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Southeastdweller Thu 25-Apr-13 20:36:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

letsgetreadytoramble Thu 25-Apr-13 21:34:19

I have an 8 month baby and work full time and am always late for everything, and always seem to be bundling my baby hither and thither, and I heard myself say out loud this morning, in front of baby, 'god, you're shit at this Lets.' That thought often runs through my head as I'm scrambling for the bus, for my shoes, for my files, for dinner etc. Hadley is right, I don't give myself a break and I don't really give anyone else one either. From now on, I'll try to rush around to a slightly more upbeat tune. wine

Earthymama Thu 25-Apr-13 22:04:58

I like this; it is positive and up-lifting.

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Thu 25-Apr-13 22:13:12

I love intelligent discussion from women, women in my family, the public eye, the women who post here.

Their experiences and views help me put my own reality of being a women in context, to see how important it is that women everywhere are treated equally and are able to make unilateral decision in regard to our reproduction,sexuality.

But honestly, I am fed the fuck up of somebody or other telling me how I should feel and what I should think.

If I didn,t know better I,d ask "iz it coz I is a woman".

WilsonFrickett Thu 25-Apr-13 23:09:22

Meh. it's a teensy bit Euro-central feminist-lite, isnt it? All very jolly and all that, but what with trafficking, abuse, fgm, young women being denied an education in many, many countries, shouldn't we be getting angry rather than awesome?

ThePathanKhansAmnesiac Thu 25-Apr-13 23:14:52

I think you just summed it up perfectly for me wilson.

WilsonFrickett Thu 25-Apr-13 23:19:54

And of course none of the points (apart perhaps from 3) would trouble the menz ThePathan confused

amazingface Thu 25-Apr-13 23:36:47

I like Hadley's journalism very much but I'm close to screaming at the word 'awesome'. I hate seeing this word (see also: kick-ass!) applied to how women should be or how they should be portrayed in the media. I can't explain this really, maybe it's just too jolly and unspecific and cutesy, but it's a personal pet peeve.

For me what's missing is a housework rule/topic. Fucking relentless housework and constant cleaning, which almost everyone (men & women) hates and is bored by, but which is almost always left, in the end, to fall on women. (can you tell what kind of evening I've had?)

Really liked Hadley's summation of motherhood at number 4, though smile The book sounds very interesting.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 00:08:03


SkaterGrrrrl Fri 26-Apr-13 02:34:32

Would like to read the book. Well put.

butterflyexperience Fri 26-Apr-13 06:30:16

I like smile

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 06:31:25

I'd like to see something along the lines of just because a woman chooses to do something it doesn't make it a feminist choice. Can't think of a wording - I'll come back later.

WidowWadman Fri 26-Apr-13 07:02:09

"Meh. it's a teensy bit Euro-central feminist-lite, isnt it? All very jolly and all that, but what with trafficking, abuse, fgm, young women being denied an education in many, many countries, shouldn't we be getting angry rather than awesome?"

Do you have to always include trafficking, abuse, fgm etc, to validate what you write about things affecting women?

Yes, it's white middle class euro-centric. But since no-one says that this book is the be all and end all of all feminist writing, I think it's forgivable. H

Also this book, like Moran's book attracts readers who would probably not touch the more serious things yet.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 07:09:53

"Do you have to always include trafficking, abuse, fgm etc, to validate what you write about things affecting women?"

I think you do at least need to nod in that direction if you are writing generalized "rules" of feminism. The problem with many "isms" is they become the preserve of comfortable first world professionals. A reminder that life is very different for much of the world is always salutary.

Takver Fri 26-Apr-13 08:20:02

The form of the message is pretty 'lite', I agree, and I think really it is aimed at teenagers / those with minimal or no experience of feminism (and nothing wrong with that).

However, when she was interviewed about the book on Women's hour she was talking about anorexia and domestic abuse, so not ignoring serious issues.

TBH my first reaction on seeing the title and some of the stuff in the media was 'trivial crap', but having read / listened to her a bit more I would be interested to read it.

senua Fri 26-Apr-13 08:21:54

Why is point 4 about 'motherhood'? Why isn't it about 'parenthood'?

Takver Fri 26-Apr-13 08:22:02

Actually, thinking about it, that WH is a bit of a blur in my mind as I was doing 3 other things while listening to it, they definitely were discussing domestic abuse, but maybe HF wasn't part of that section? I think she was, though.

Takver Fri 26-Apr-13 08:22:37

senua - because it is a book aimed at women?

senua Fri 26-Apr-13 08:28:46

True. The book is called "Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies". Will she bringing out a book for Modern Gentlemen, too?hmm

senua Fri 26-Apr-13 08:34:09

Sorry. It doesn't work. I've re-read it. The intro says that she is talking about "the path of awesome feminism". She talks about equality.

And then talks about motherhood, not parenthood.


seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 08:37:06

It is actually OK to talk about motherhood, you know............!

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 08:39:21

And I think the title is intended to be amusingly ironic........

senua Fri 26-Apr-13 08:39:27


Why is it OK to talk about motherhood and not mention fatherhood. Oh, that's right: it's because only women do parenting ...

LandOfCross Fri 26-Apr-13 08:52:35

Because I am not pro-choice and struggle with abortion, I am kicked out of feminism?


Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 09:06:57

I don't think that anyone can say to anyone else "you can't be a feminist if you XXX"

Unless it's "you don't think that people should be treated equally, valued equally, and given equal opportunities, regardless of their gender".

senua Fri 26-Apr-13 09:11:00

I do wonder if we ought to bin feminism. There is too much baggage, to many misunderstandings and preconceptions.
Is there such a thing as equalism that neatly covers gender, race, etc, etc? Can I be an equalist?

WilsonFrickett Fri 26-Apr-13 09:23:18

"Do you have to always include trafficking, abuse, fgm etc, to validate what you write about things affecting women?"

No, I don't suppose you do. But when you're attempting to paint a picture of modern feminism I think you have to at least signal that while we sit in our comfortable world, protected by all sorts of legislation (and yes, I know things are far from perfect) other women in other parts of the world don't have basic human rights because they are women. Without this context it's just talking about people like us and, for me, feminism has a broader context.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 09:34:50

"Can I be an equalist?"

Yes you can. Equalism is a thing.

But it's not the same as feminism.

Talking about motherhood in a book about feminism is not denying that men are parents too. Motherhood is a specific thing. So is fatherhood. Fine to talk about both or either.

WilsonFrickett Fri 26-Apr-13 09:35:39

Also note that none of the points above have anything to do with wider society. It's all about women correcting their own behaviour.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 10:04:00

What LandOfCross said.

YoniMatopoeia Fri 26-Apr-13 10:04:37

Y y Wilson

You have just articulated my unease for me. Thank you.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 10:09:46

"I don't think that anyone can say to anyone else "you can't be a feminist if you XXX"

Unless it's "you don't think that people should be treated equally, valued equally, and given equal opportunities, regardless of their gender".

Well, not telling a woman she has to carry and give birth to a baby when she doesn't want to comes under "treating equally" to me!

The important thing to remember about abortion is it's not about telling anyone she has to have an abortion. It's about not telling someone she can't.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 11:46:51

What Seeker said.

I don't suppose there are many situations in which one could say 'if you think x then you can't be a feminist' but in my opinion, if you are anti choice, I don't want you in the feminist club because you are a part of the problem.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 11:57:32

It's not really up to you though, msrisotto, is it? Nor is it a club.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 11:59:36

"If you don't think that people have the right to self determination you can't be a feminist"

Does that cover it?

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 12:01:41

Of course you can't be a feminist if you think certain things.

For example, if you believe that men have a built-in superiority, that they have a "masculine authority" which women should submit to and that that is the natural order, then you can call yourself a feminist of course - and lots of loons do - but of course you're not a feminist.

Feminism has become one of those words that is bandied around by anyone who wants to not be identified as a doormat, but isn't really a feminist either IMO. Call yourself a feminist if you want while embracing beliefs that are anti-feminist, but don't expect other feminists to believe you.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 12:06:59

But even with a subject so difficult as abortion, there are shades, aren't there?

I don't believe that every woman should have the right to abortion whenever she chooses - I think we have to take into account a great number of factors before we can say whether abortion is morally sound or not. I know it is rare, but abortion as contraception does happen, and in the case of later pregnancies, the right of the woman to autonomy has to be balanced with the right of the unborn child.

That, of course, brings into question a whole different issue - the stage at which a child has rights, or becomes a person.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 12:09:35

lol no it's not up to me nor is it a club...lets not take ourselves too seriously!

LandOfCross Fri 26-Apr-13 12:10:20

BasilBabyEater I am a feminist and I am opposed to abortion.
You don't have to like it, believe it or accept it because I respect your right to have your own beliefs smile.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 12:15:34

For me, there's no gradation.

Women have absolute rights over their body at all times. There's no compromise on that for me. As soon as you start saying that the women's rights must be balanced against that of the foetus, you start diminishing the woman's humanity. There is never any medical situation for men, in which they are required to sacrifice their welfare, health and / or human rights to complete autonomy over their own bodies for the sake of another human being - that their rights must be balanced against the rights of someone else. They have complete ownership over their own bodies, no matter what it does to someone else. They can't even be forced to give blood against their will, even when it will save the life of someone else. Because their blood is their's, they own it - rightly so IMO. Women must have the same rights, or they are less than men.

From a philosophical POV it's really simple and straightforward for me, but I accept that other people who I would accept are feminists, have a different view.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 12:16:16

LandofCross I'm opposed to abortion too, for myself.

I have no right to tell other women what to do with their bodies though. smile

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 12:17:07

But that's just biology. We can't compensate for biology, no matter how much we would like to.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 12:18:15

Basil, do you believe that abortion should be allowed for any reason, at any stage?

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 12:21:37

Yes it is just biology.

And biology should not deprive women of their basic human rights IMO.

If men had the same biology, there would not even be this discussion - it would be absolutely accepted that an adult has the right to do with their own body what they want and no-one would have the right to tell them not to and that they were not responsible for the health and welfare of another human being at the expense of their own human rights.

It simply wouldn't even be an issue.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 12:23:13

Yes WC I do.

I think any other position reduces women to a slightly less than full adult in the eyes of the law.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 12:34:18

OK I'll give you my reasons for being unsure. I've stated this before on MN (under a different name), and it's very personal, so I'd appreciate if no-one mocked me.

I was pregnant with twins. At 32 weeks, a scan showed that one twin had died. Both were born the following day - one alive, one dead.

Until that point I had been pro 'choice'. That changed my mind. Suddenly, one day I went from being pregnant with two babies to a mother of one live and one dead baby. Neither should have been born yet. I can't really express this eloquently, but the idea that I could have decided to kill the second twin at the stage she was developmentally (she was only in hospital for 3 weeks, at no point needed ventilation etc.) made me reassess. I came to the conclusion the grey area of date of acceptability is important. Personally I think it falls at around 8 weeks.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 12:36:13

And it concerns me a little that the (just and right) struggle for equality occasionally missed parts of the bigger picture.

LandOfCross Fri 26-Apr-13 12:46:15

So so sorry WadsCollop flowers

WilsonFrickett Fri 26-Apr-13 13:00:34

Wads so sorry for your loss.

Can I (I hope not clumsily) turn that on its head (in terms of this debate). Feminism also means that your own personal grey date of acceptability is absolutely fine. No-one can make you abort a baby against your will. That is the part of the pro-choice that does sometimes get missed - it is also a woman's choice to carry on with a pregnancy. So if you look at China and the one child policy and talk of forced abortions - that is equally a feminist issue and feminists would rightly be against that policy.

I'm not at all point scoring, and hope you don't mind me responding in this way.

garlicyoni Fri 26-Apr-13 13:28:23

Love the OP quotes! Well argued, Wilson, above.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:29:09

Not at all, and please don't think I threw that in there for the sympathy 'can't argue with this' card.

Great. No forcedcabortions. Wonderful. But it is sidestepping the issue.

At what stage does the physical autonomy of the woman override the right to life of a child?

How about in conjoined twins. Say, if separated, one would live but the other die. They rely on one set of organs. If not separated, they both live. Does the organ-owning twin have the right to separate?

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:30:02

It's fine to be anti abortion for yourself. When you start trying to tell others what to do that you're being a dick IMO.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:31:09

But you're telling others what to believe. Isn't that just as bad? (Or worse?)

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:32:03

No i'm telling people to mind their own business!

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:32:55

No, you're telling people they have to be pro choice or stop being a feminist

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:35:01

Oh right. Well it is fundamentally opposed IMO - feminism and dictating to women how much right they have to their own body.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:36:10

But it is more than their own body. It is another's.

seeker Fri 26-Apr-13 13:37:12

I'm saying that you have a perfect right to be anti abortion for yourself, and remain a feminist. I really don't think you can be a feminist and deny another woman self determination.

I do find this very difficult indeed, and I have struggled with it for nearly 40 years. But difficult or not, I believe it to be true.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:39:32

Could anyone give my conjoined twin scenario a go?

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:40:23

No it isn't another's because it is within a woman's own body. As has been said before - no one would be forced to donate a kidney or blood or anything at all even if it was to save the life of their own sibling. All humans should have the right to complete bodily autonomy, even if you or I do not agree.

This reminds me of religious debates - Why should what YOU believe, outrank or take precedent over what I believe? I repeat. Mind your own business.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:41:03

Why would we? It isn't relevant.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:41:52

But that's a silly thing to say. Other people decide laws that affect people all the time. Every day you have to live by someone else's moral construct

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 13:42:08

I'm not telling other people what to believe.

I'm saying what I believe.

I think you had the right not to abort your twins WC.

I don't believe anyone else (even the twin's father) had the right to make that decision for you.

If you had wanted to abort, I believe you would have had the right to do that. Whatever decision you made, I support the principle that it is your right to make it and no-one else's.

Because it's your body. Whether your pregnancy was at 6 weeks, 8 weeks or 38 weeks, it's your body and you have the right to decide what happens to it.

The state, doctors, the church, other women - everyone else can butt out, it's absolutely your business, your body and your "choice".

Sorry you went through that, it must have been horrific for you and I hope you've come to terms with it. flowers

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:42:15

Of course it's relevant. Why are you so rude?

Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 13:46:20

If you truly believe that a fetus is a person just as much as anyone else is a person, then you could be anti choice but still a feminist.

I don't agree with you, but I believe that it could be consistent.

The rights to your own body stop at the point when exercising those rights cause certain death to another person (even if it will cause massive inconvenience and upset to you, and even when there is a risk of injury or death to you, if it causes certain death to another person, you shouldn't do it).

I don't believe that a fetus is a person in that sense. But I can see that if someone did, it would not be inconsistent to be against all abortion, while still maintaining that you are a feminist.

However, if you claim to be against abortion for that reason, and you are not a rabid promoter of free contraception for everyone, and better education on contraception, then I call bullshit. If you believe that a fetus is a person then you should be doing your very best to make it so that no unwanted fetuses come into existence.

Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 13:47:57

Instead of saying "you have to be pro choice to be a feminist", can we say

if you are anti choice and say you are a feminist, you should have a good look at the reasons why you say this and check whether your reasons are actually anti-women, because there's a good chance that they are

Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 13:48:35

In the majority of cases, the wish to deny another person an abortion does not come from a place that is consistent with being a feminist.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 13:49:16

This is my point. My twin babies (I think the wrong end of stick was got there - no abortion in question, DTD2 is alive and well) and particularly the prematurity made me realise that a baby is a baby. If it is plucked from your uterus in horrible conditions at 32 weeks, born on due date or terminated at 32 weeks, it's still a baby - a real live person.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 13:50:34

I don't think I am being rude. By being anti choice, you're telling me what I should and shouldn't do with my own body in my own life which is nothing to do with you. That is rude.

It isn't relevant because you are talking about two free thinking adults who have lived in the world reliant on their own body. It's just not comparable. I'm sure it's an interesting debate though.

Who made up the laws which govern over women's bodies?

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 13:58:09

I don't for one moment question that a baby is a baby.

TBH I'm not interested in the semantics of whether a baby becomes a baby at 6 weeks, 24 weeks, 28 weeks, when it's born etc. - I don't think it matters. A baby is a baby. But a woman is a human being with rights over her own body just like men. I don't deny that a 32 week fetus is a baby, if it helps women to think they're fetuses, that's fine and if it helps to think they're babies, that's fine too. For me, it's not about how far developed the fetus / baby is, its about whether you believe that women should have their basic human rights to have full control over their bodies suspended at a certain point in their pregnancy or not. For me, I don't believe they should ever be forced to surrender that control, unless they are genuinely mentally unable to exercise that control because of whatever reason.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 14:09:07

Trill I find your post v. interesting and want to ask you about one point about this:

"The rights to your own body stop at the point when exercising those rights cause certain death to another person (even if it will cause massive inconvenience and upset to you, and even when there is a risk of injury or death to you, if it causes certain death to another person, you shouldn't do it)."

What if you're in a hospital, there's someone needs a blood transfusion and your blood is the only suitable stuff around (unlikely but bear with me).

If you walk out of that hospital without giving him a pint of blood, he'll die because the nearest alternative source won't arrive till after it's too late.

Do you have the legal and moral right to keep your own blood and walk out of that hospital without surrendering your blood? Should you have?

I don't know what the answer is tbh. I feel instinctively that you should have, but you'd be a pretty awful human being if you did. grin

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 14:11:51

What if donating your blood could kill you?

Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 14:24:36

We're getting into philosophy here - the difference between taking action to cause a death and letting a death happen by inaction.

I'm not saying that I have the answers, I'm simply saying that I believe that someone could have an internally-consistent belief system that said that abortion was morally wrong, but still call themselves a feminist.

I think the list of "you can't be a feminist if..." is incredibly small, and that the issue of abortion is not on that list.

garlicyoni Fri 26-Apr-13 14:47:26

Trill, I agree with others that your statement - the common position of anti-choice campaigners - is flawed.

The rights to your own body stop at the point when exercising those rights cause certain death to another person (even if it will cause massive inconvenience and upset to you, and even when there is a risk of injury or death to you, if it causes certain death to another person, you shouldn't do it).

If I'm stuck in a disaster situation with one other person, and we are both starving, should I let my companion eat me? Even if they're more starving than me?

If, in this two-person disaster, the other is too severely injured to seek help, should I leave them to the elements and forge on? Even if they're going to die?

An unborn baby is not capable of independent life. It is, basically, parasitical until almost a year after birth. I don't feel its rights exceed those of its independently-viable host.

WC - you're using the false premise of all anti-choice campaigners, that choice = imposing abortions on others. It doesn't. The only faction that wants to control other people's bodies is the anti-choice brigade. Feminists believe in a woman's right to control her own body. It's very simple.

Trill Fri 26-Apr-13 14:56:05

An unborn baby is not capable of independent life. It is, basically, parasitical until almost a year after birth. I don't feel its rights exceed those of its independently-viable host.

I don't either.

But I believe that some people could say that its rights are equal to those of the independently-viable host, and they could do so in a way that is not anti-feminist. Of course it's not actively feminist, but there is a logical argument that someone could mkae

LandOfCross Fri 26-Apr-13 14:58:44

The problem is that people who are opposed to abortion are portrayed as picket waving, Westboro Baptist activists.
When in reality we are nothing of the sort.

BasilBabyEater Fri 26-Apr-13 15:33:57

My problem with the causing death by action rather than inaction, is that I think you have the right to take any action with your own body you want and if there happens to be someone in your body that you don't want to be there anyway, you still have that right. Because that person has no right to be there without your consent IYSWIM.

It ties in with the arguments around rape and women's autonomy. It's about women's absolute power over their own body. For me, it really is philosophically simple, though of course in practice it can become fiendishly difficult.

There have been cases in the USA where women who have tried to commit suicide while they were pregnant, have been threatened with being tried for murder because in attempting suicide, they would have killed the baby. (I don't know if the trials were ever carried out.) This is a stark reminder that if you elevate the baby in a woman's body to having the same rights as a woman, what you are in fact doing, is depriving women of their rights.

I wish there was a compromise about this, but there really isn't. Either a woman is a full human being with full powers over her own body, or she isn't. Either she should be punished by the law for exerting illegal control over her own body, or she shouldn't.

WidowWadman Fri 26-Apr-13 15:51:41

100% agree with seeker "I'm saying that you have a perfect right to be anti abortion for yourself, and remain a feminist. I really don't think you can be a feminist and deny another woman self determination.

I do find this very difficult indeed, and I have struggled with it for nearly 40 years. But difficult or not, I believe it to be true"

I do believe that the feminist spectrum is a very wide one, but the second somebody suggests that a woman should not have the right to decide what happens to her own body, you drop off the feminist spectrum.

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 15:52:26

Of course Basil. There are also women suffering miscarriages and being charged with murder here for those interested

garlicyoni Fri 26-Apr-13 16:21:07

shock shock shock MrsR!

At least 38 of the 50 states across America have introduced foetal homicide laws that ... are increasingly being turned by renegade prosecutors against the women themselves.

Women are not people, they are propagators under public control. Apparently. angry

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 16:28:50

When access to abortion is threatened, pregnant women die.
This is why it is important not to legislate over other women's bodies. Fine to be anti abortion for yourself but leave others be.

YoniMatopoeia Fri 26-Apr-13 17:45:02

MrsM that link on prosecutions in America is horrific

msrisotto Fri 26-Apr-13 17:51:13

Terrifying i agree!

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 18:34:09

I am absolutely not saying that choice = imposition, other than that it has effect outside of just the woman involved. In my opinion the baby is also a person, and whether 'parasitic' or not, has rights. Right to life is, in my opinion, paramount over right to choice or bodily autonomy.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 18:39:07

And anyway, back to the OP... I'm sorry to offend the blogger, but I think it is base. 'Awesome' is unlikely to be something that many self-respecting feminists would choose to describe themselves as.

YoniMatopoeia Fri 26-Apr-13 18:41:41

One of my mum's friends was called by a hospital to give blood. He had a very rare blood group. They had nothing suitable for a casualty who had been brought in. He was on call to them (some years ago)o

Should he have been forced?

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 18:45:00

And yes, it is awful that pregnant women die when denied abortion. It is also, IMO, awful that children die during abortion.

I suppose the real question is about value of life. Someone above mentioned adults, implying that their needs are greater than an unborn child's. I'm sure I see things differently, but in my mind the child in the equation has greater need of protection than the adult. But I'm still very confused as to where that line should be drawn. Definitely well before birth though, I am sure of that.

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 18:46:17

Did your mum's friend engage in an activity that forced that person's existence? No?

WadsCollop Fri 26-Apr-13 18:49:14

And (sorry o rant) as for the 12 month parasitic state thing... Does that mean that breastfeeding mothers of newborn should have the right to kill their babies if it doesn't suit them to look after them? What nonsense!

Portofino Fri 26-Apr-13 18:54:32

As someone put it so succinctly up thread, the 5 tips are purely about changing your own behaviour, rather than influencing anything. A good START for being a feminist but long way to go. I just read a thread where the op is disappointed to be pg with a girl because she imagined climbing trees etc with her future son and is now faced (in her eyes) with a pink/princess future. How sad is that? I have not yet formulated a response. Things are THAT ingrained. I have a dd. she had a pink Barbie stage but is now more interested in science/animation/space and loves riding her bike and camping and cooking and stuff. She knows she can do anything (nearly) as long as she puts he effort in.

msrisotto Sat 27-Apr-13 07:21:22

* in my mind the child in the equation has greater need of protection than the adult. *
Your perspective is incredibly dangerous and actually caused Salvita's death in Ireland.

WadsCollop Sat 27-Apr-13 10:52:11

Nonsense. The child had no hope of survival. Of course she should have been given an abortion in that case.

WadsCollop Sat 27-Apr-13 10:53:12

Please understand, I am not advocating the banning of abortion. There is a vast gulf between that and saying that old gestation babies are real human beings.

seeker Sat 27-Apr-13 10:56:14

The number of late abortions for anything other than medical reasons is vanishingly small. Whatever the "pro-lifers" say.

BasilBabyEater Sat 27-Apr-13 11:11:15

So what if the child had had some hope of survival WadsCollop?

Would it have been OK to let Savita die in that case?

Trill Sat 27-Apr-13 11:54:07

I would prefer 100 late abortions for "bad reasons" than have one woman who needed an abortion refused one. People who request abortions after 12 weeks are often those who are most vulnerable - they are young or unwell so they didn't know they were pregnant, or they are in vulnerable social situations (abusive relationships, scared of telling their parents, in denial because of what they have been taught about girls like that, etc).

I think it's a shame that this thread has become just about abortion.

I quite like Hadley Freeman's writing in general. I do feel a bit that this is a little bit like Caitlin Moran's book and wonder if the motivation was I have something to say or more I could do that. One of my friends stopped reading Caitlin Moran's book simply because she didn't like the shouty style, so it certainly doesn't hurt to have a variety of easy-reading books that say "hey young people, feminism is relevant to you".

WadsCollop Sat 27-Apr-13 13:49:51

That's fine that you would prefer that. But I wouldn't. And I am a feminist, regardless of what these somewhat half-arsed 'tips' say.

BasilBabyEater Sat 27-Apr-13 14:06:24

Yes I agree with that Trill.

I suppose my one reservation is that every generation, a little spate of "feminism-lite" books come out, the ones that won't frighten the horses and won't upset anyone (especially men, we really mustn't ever upset them ever, about anything) and we never get further than the fem-lite stage because even tiny little changes (let alone changing society so that it's designed equally for men as well as women) are met with enormous backlash.

But I suppose feminism-lite is better than no feminism at all. <sigh>

BasilBabyEater Sat 27-Apr-13 14:07:16

And you haven't said whether it would hve been OK to let Savita die if there'd been a chance of her child surviving WC.

WadsCollop Sat 27-Apr-13 14:55:31

I think it should have been her choice, absolutely. I imagine she would, in that case, have weighed up all the facts and emotions herself. I'm not sure what I would do in that situation personally. It depends on so many things.

I'm not talking about situations of life or death for the mother. I'm talking about straightforward unwanted pregnancy. Again, there are so many factors and so many shades of grey, I really don't think it's a simple yes/no thing in any of these scenarios. I really am not advocating a ban on abortion at all, and absolutely agree that it would be a horrifically retrograde and damaging step to remove access to abortion. However, I would think the age at which a 'choice' abortion (as opposed to medical emergency etc.) ought, perhaps, to be lower than it currently is, and I cannot support or even fathom the notion that abortion should be granted at any stage for any reason.

The Savita case is simple in my mind. Viable life trumps unviable life. It is when we try to weigh up the value of two viable lives, then insist that we place greater importance on one than the other that I struggle.

MizK Sat 27-Apr-13 21:58:26

Not touching the abortion debate with a 50ft pole, although weirdly enough I drove past a group of anti abortion protesters holding their little signs today. It rained heavily a few minutes later, and I wasn't displeased to think of them dripping sadly onto their little pieces of card.

Anyway, the book. I'm looking forward to it. Hadley Freeman is a really entertaining writer and named both Miss Piggy and Jessica Mitford as being in her 10 favourite women. Sold.

My daughter is 13, and I welcome any book that might help her feel that it's OK to be who she is, that maybe she doesn't need to conform to the Kardashian/Victoria's Secret ideal of gloss that is currently in fashion. (Trust me, I know of many a bright, sparky girl that actually feels she must look immaculate at all times in order to uphold this weird standard).

I don't see any problem with her leaving out wider issues, because this seems to be a light hearted take on everyday women and their lives. In any case, sex trafficking etc is something that men need to be educated about far more urgently than women IMO.

Trill Sat 27-Apr-13 22:54:08

WC in case you hadn't noticed I was defending the idea that someone could be both pro-feminist and anti-abortion.

I then went on to state my personal views.

It seems that even if I state "this is not my personal view" or "this is what I would prefer" someone will try to complain about it.

msrisotto Sun 28-Apr-13 07:31:46

But the fact is that because of anti abortion laws, Savita died and this is what happens with restricted abortions.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 09:17:47

The late abortion argument is a bit of a red herring- there are only a tiny number of them for anything except the most tragic medical reasons. And there would be fewer if education and information was better.

But...but....but....I really don't think you can get past the fact that it is profoundly anti feminist to tell a woman what she can and can't do with her own body. However difficult and unpalatable that is.

Selba Sun 28-Apr-13 10:01:24

The dig at Germaine Greer somewhat undermines point 2

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 10:47:33

The GermainenGreernthingndoes underline the fact that just because a woman does something it doesn't hm wake it a feminist thing to do, though.

seeker Sun 28-Apr-13 10:48:49

Bizarre typos in that last post, sorry!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now