"I don't like being called a feminist. I'm a woman. That's it."

(89 Posts)

I read this opinion piece in the Huffington Post today.

To quote a small part of it: "If I'm honest, I don't take feminists seriously. Unfortunately I feel these protests don't do much for women. Certainly, they create a sense of solidarity among those who take part, but beneficial? I'm not so sure."

To some degree I agree with her - I've found solidarity in feminism, but I've also found outrage and impotence. Will my awakening change the world? Probably not, but it's made it more uncomfortable to live in the world, unchanged as it is.

But I don't see what difference changing the label of feminism will do, except to create a new name that far too many people don't identify with.

Bluestocking Fri 16-Nov-12 17:44:37

I very much doubt that Lucy Sherriff is as silly as this piece makes her sound. She's probably writing to generate some controversy. But I have noted a depressing tendency among very young women to imagine that, just because their men friends (apparently) regard them as in every way equal to themselves, that the struggle is over.

namechangeguy Fri 16-Nov-12 17:46:51

Because you called me stupid, at 15.39. Rather uncalled for, I thought, during an exchange of views.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 16-Nov-12 17:51:18

Isn't it interesting? There are many men who would be furious if you even hint that many people are sexist. I saw someone's (a man) face change when we talked about a networking event and only said that my friend was one of the two women present among 60 men and what did he think, as a man. And he was angry that we should bring gender into it! So it is obvious that sexism is offensive to (some) men as well as women. So why don't we already have equality now? hmm

WilsonFrickett Fri 16-Nov-12 17:51:58

It all makes me feel very sad and powerless tbh. Even if, as Bluestocking said, all the men of this writer's acquaintance (all of them?) do regard her as equal, what about the rest of the world? What about her contemporaries in other countries who can't access education? The woman a mere few years older than her in Ireland who died because she couldn't an abortion? The friends of her parents who can't find work due to years of SAHM-ing? It's just so narrow a view and so, so privileged. Ick.

No, I didn't, namechange. Read the post again and you will see.

upto - yeah, that sounds familiar. sad

I think blue is spot on about what is happening, though.

And I also think there is a pressure on young women to demonstrate that they're not 'those' feminists - they're still pleasing to men.

I think actually, getting uncomfortable when you realize how differently women who're not so privilged are getting it, is when lots of women start out being feminists.

namechangeguy Fri 16-Nov-12 18:00:11

'So why don't we already have equality now? '

One possible reason, LordCopper, is that sexism is still alive and kicking amongst the older generation, who see society as having pre-defined roles for men and women because those are the values they were raised with. It takes time for those people, especially in certain professions, to move on and be replaced by younger, more enlightened people. These things take time. But if women continue to outperform men in education as we are seeing now, their progress has to continue all the way up to the top.

Bluestocking Fri 16-Nov-12 18:01:14

Precisely, Wilson. If all these young men regard all the young women as equals, who is putting the horrible stories about sexual humiliation of women on the University Confessions facebook pages?

WilsonFrickett Fri 16-Nov-12 18:19:00

And who is actually grabbing her and leering over her in bars? Aliens, I presume.

The other thing is this kind of stuff makes me feel so old. The fact that things are more equal for younger women is A Good Thing. I don't want to take away from the achievements of the women who went before her to create a society where this young woman can feel equal. I feel like I'm standing in the background, sucking a lemon, muttering 'just you wait, just you wait.'

(Also. Learn to proof-read Ms Sheriff. It's gender neutral and will help you immensely in your journalistic career.)

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 16-Nov-12 18:23:51

It's the older generation, of course.

Bluestocking Fri 16-Nov-12 18:39:48

I know, Wilson, I know. <Grabs lemon for a quick suck>.

namechangeguy Fri 16-Nov-12 18:55:12

The older generation have a different set of values re gender roles. It is one possible explanation, but not the only one. It may explain the man's reaction, and why so few women were represented at a business function, or it may not. Is that not a possibility, based upon what we have been told?

Ah, I see. So it is rude and offensive to speak of 'men', but fine to speak of 'the older generation'?

What an interestingly hypocritical point of view.

'The older generation' include, these days, a large number of second-wave feminists. They're not just sexist elderly men, oddly enough.

Therefore, it is unlikely they explain All The Misogyny In The World, and even more unlikely they explain, say, rape and porn use. Which is sadly most certainly not restricted to the 'older generation'.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 16-Nov-12 19:05:52

Thank you for enlightening me namechange. Oddly enough I (and most of us here, I think) have thought of these possibilities as well, you know.

grimbletart Fri 16-Nov-12 19:08:39

LRD - agree with your view about the older generation. Speaking is one of the older generation - DH and I were married 46 years ago, so that gives posters an idea how ancient we are....my DH is the least sexist man I know and his forward-looking views would put many a youngster to shame.

Why is ageism OK when racism isn't and sexism is (hopefully) on its way to not being OK?

Old farts come in all ages namechangeguy!

Well said grimble!

(And congratulations on 46 years ... have you plans for your golden wedding?)

grimbletart Fri 16-Nov-12 19:15:24

Cheers - don't want to think about it yet. There's something quite scary about the thought......probably do summat different - what about a bungee jump to celebrate?

Don't mean to derail the thread. As you were everyone.

<gets coat>

I didn't think it was derailing. I hope the OP doesn't mind.

But best of luck for it anyway (and a bungee jump would be awesome grin).

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 16-Nov-12 19:40:24

Oh wow I think you should have some sort of mumsnet 50th anniversary event grimble.

If all these young men are so non-sexist, how comes they're buying nuts and zoo and regularly watching porn in which women don't actually exist, only "sluts" do? How come a third of them declare that they would rape a woman if they could get away with it? how come they're so keen on rape jokes and how come a third of all secondary school girls get sexually assaulted at school? Who is assaulting them, the teachers? I don't think so, their male peers are, you know, those liberated non-sexists.

I don't buy the "young men aren't sexist" line. That's what they said about our generation. And they were right, right up to the time everyone started having babies - and then suddenly, women found that their career, time and lives simply weren't as valuable as that of the egalitarian man they'd got together with and they found themselves downsizing all three and doing all the domestic labour and childcare.

I'm not cynical, I genuinely wish it were true that young people are less trapped in their gender roles than older generations were, but I actually think young people are less progressive than my generation was (I was young in the eighties when it looked like we didn't need militancy anymore because it was all going in the right direction. And then came the backlash. And now young men boast about how shit in bed they are and wear t-shirts telling the world they're sexist pricks. Which is useful, but hardly encouraging).

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 16-Nov-12 19:41:09

Oh and of course I don't mean all young men everywhere, every single one

<Pre-emptive eye-roll>

Bluestocking Fri 16-Nov-12 19:43:03

What Fastidia said. Complete with<eyeroll>.

FastidiaBlueberry Fri 16-Nov-12 19:45:53

grin

WilsonFrickett Fri 16-Nov-12 19:52:50

<eyes rolling so far back I can't even see the screen>

I don't think you are being cynical at all.

If young men aren't sexist - why do I see all these stories about rape and abuse on campus? I sincerely doubt it is the minority of mature students who drive in of an evening to do it, instead of staying home! Why are we hearing about people like Chris Brown and Ched Evans, who're hardly 'the older generation'?

It is nonsense.

UptoapointLordCopper Fri 16-Nov-12 20:00:08

fastidia it's not just having babies that's the "problem". The only example I can think of at the moment is in a Royal Society of Edinburgh report about women in science. Paragraph 75 says single women with no children are a lot less likely to achieve tenure than married men with children. So it's not babies that stop women. No doubt there are more examples.

I found this interesting ....

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