what has feminism ever done for us?

(391 Posts)

right girls, it's timne for a proper debate which isn';t about blardy weaning.

the motion is this:

feminism has not really acheived anything. women got the vote and were accepted in the workplace because of the world wars and not because of reason. Later, we accepted careers, but ended up neither having our cake nor eating it what with all the housework and childcare we were doing. and male hegemony still reigns supreme.

discuss.

Roseanna Mon 09-Apr-07 20:45:12

But it will still descend into SAHM vs WOHM unless we're extremely careful!

Carmenere Mon 09-Apr-07 20:46:05

It has allowed me to learn to use a computer to find out that I'm feeding my baby wrong

good point.

rules: no sahm bashing or wahm bashing. only man bashing. and no mention of spoons.

Hassled Mon 09-Apr-07 20:47:48

How can you say that ???!! (denotes sense of outrage)
Feminism achieved equality in the eyes of the law. Regardless of how equal we actually are in society, it is illegal to discriminate based on gender - which is one hell of an achievement.

it isn't illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender though. There are still clubs which are men only and lots of lap dancing clubs employ only women.

It is illegal to get caught discriminating against women when men do the same job: is that a big acheivement in itself?

TheArmadillo Mon 09-Apr-07 20:51:46

ITs more than getting the vote and being accepted into the workplace. It is accepting that intellectual women are equal to men. These acheivments are symbols of that but not the thing itself. There are other symbols too - a woman can take out a mortgage in her own name. She is no longer seen as the property of her husband or father. SHe can become an anglican vicar.

One of the things I study is gender - and I look at women, men and children 400 years ago. Things have changed, and many of those only recently.

NO things are not perfect, and at the moment I think we have come to a point where things have stagnated. We are waiting to go somewhere, either forward towards complete equality or back to how things used to be, and personally I hope we go forward, but I don't think that is a foregone conclusion.

Feminism has achieved a lot, but there is a lot more still to be won.

property...that's a good one.

I don't particularly agree with the statement below btw - it was an opening shot, so to speak. But I do think that feminism has been a double edged sword to say the least. many of our mothers didn't have the choice to go out to work. many of us don't have the choice not to. how is that better?

VeniVidiVickiQV Mon 09-Apr-07 20:55:23

Will watch this with interest.....

agreed.
I have feminism to thank for my education, and for that I am astonishingly grateful.

feminism failed to deal with the issue of childbearing, effectively or at all.
exhibit A - Xenia.

As far as sexual liberation goes, this generation has pissed it all away with their soft pornishness. Oooh yes I would love a threesome with my best friend, look how liberated I am while I flash my tits.
makes me cross tbh.

monkeytrousers Mon 09-Apr-07 20:56:36

I disagree Senora [tips cap politely).

Feminism has done so much. Women were ousted from the workplace after the world wars, 60s and 70s feminism fought hard to bring that opportunity of equality in the workplace back, and putting equal pay on the agenda.

Nodoy can have their cake and eat it - or a very few can for a short amount of time. Men certainly can't.

To call it as a male hegemony begs the question what do you imagine in it's place? A female hegemony? That can only happen, eg, women can only run the world if they fopsake primary carer rights. And the fact is most women want to be primary carer.

What they don't want is to be discriminated agianst for the rest of their lives for taking that choice (less of a real 'choice' if you factor in all the hormonal pressure) and segregatted and confined to domesticity for the rest of their lives - which was a victorian concept more than anything.

TheArmadillo Mon 09-Apr-07 20:57:37

Last message before I go to bed (feeling crappy).

I think there are two reasons why feminism today has stagnated:
1) because some (especially young) people think that equality is predetermined, i.e. any advanced society will become equal, just like any advanced country will be a democracy, because the course of history is predetermined.

2) because some people have lost sight of how women were treated 50, 100, 200 years ago or more and see little or no improvement in this, forgetting that the fact that they can debate this is just one of many advances that have been made.

Even equal status within the law is something that has been won, it still needs to be enforced so that it is the same in reality, but it is itself a huge step.

night armadillo.

at the assumption that equality is predetermined, though.

monkeytrousers Mon 09-Apr-07 21:04:26

I think feminism has tripped up on the concept of equality. Equality shouldn't mean 'sameness'. Women should not have to forsake their femininity and act like men, which they have to do in corporate structures.

Men and women are different; they have different sexualities for a start. Equality need not banish difference but feminism though it did, hence the 'gender is a cultural construct that is learned' rubbish, which hasn't done women any favours.

TwoIfBySea Mon 09-Apr-07 21:04:29

I think personal freedom has more to do with personal finances than feminism.

In olden days poor women worked, in the mills etc. nowadays they still work and still in poorly paid jobs rather than careers. Further education is still the privilege of those who can afford it rather than anything to do with equality (consider the student loans and if you are from a poor background, that amount alone must put thousands off.)

We don't have freedom of choice really as we are told what to do in terms of what should make us happy in life rather than it be a personal choice (note I am studiously avoiding the acronyms!) Expectations are more to do with money and gain than personal happiness. In that way feminism has done more damage than good.

So I think that the relevance of feminism has more to do with social standing.

I mean at the idea that lots of people think that.

Londonmamma Mon 09-Apr-07 21:04:54

Born in 1965 and growing up with two brothers I did feel there were things I wanted to do but couldn't because I was a girl. As a woman in 2007 there is nothing I want to do but can't because I'm a woman. There are things I CHOOSE not to do because I have young children.

monkeytrousers Mon 09-Apr-07 21:10:00

Feminism could only work with the society at hand though I2bS, which happened to be a capitalist one - very entrenched too. Things don't start anew, they have to emerge out of what was there before, and such things take time, especially if you want to avoid violence.

We could be guilty of losing sight of the pigger picture here anyway. On a global scale access to reliable birth control and abortion has probably done more for women than anything. After we gained control of our fertility, we could stop being exploited becasue of it. Most women around the world aren't so lucky. The rest of it are just quibbles.

so...

apart from women's education, their status as their own property, greater choice and theoretical equality in the eyes of the law in some circumstances, what has feminism ever done for us?

tribpot Mon 09-Apr-07 21:13:54

<pedant alert> Not sure whether 'female hegemony' is an oxymoron but am reminded of the bit in Legally Blonde where the feminista is campaigning for the spring semester to be called 'ovester'

It's hard to separate that progress which has been achieved by political will and that which has been made possible by technology, in my view. If we had to do washing like our grandmothers did, none of us could WOH because it took all sodding day. Okay, feminism could say "let the man stay at home stirring the coppers and doing that thing with the mangle" but realistically the two things go hand-in-hand. Women have much better control over their fertility now (although at what cost is not clear) - again, if you were pregnant every year / every other year, how could you go out to work, Xenia excepted

Perhaps it's best summed up by saying that, like the effects of the French Revolution, it's too soon to tell .

sorry.

actually twoifbysea I think that's a really good point. I've bored on about how people have more choice than they think they have on here before.

<strokes chin as current hobby horse meets new one>

monkeytrousers Mon 09-Apr-07 21:14:17

..are you just skipping my posts SP?

monkeytrousers Mon 09-Apr-07 21:19:42

There are always costs and benefits though Tribot. I think we in the west have probably quite near the pinnacle of what is possible with regards to equality and having a basic quality of life.

More things can be ironed out, but I wrack my brains at anything really substantial like freedom of movement, fertility rights, the welfare state and equality in the law.

sorry mt - temporary slective post blindness there. As I say, I have a bit of a thing about unneccessary greed and your post contradicts that a bit.

I'm going to have some more wine and come back to your argument in a min...

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