Discussing feminism with women today

(129 Posts)
ContentedLittleMummy Tue 30-Jul-13 18:54:24

A post was opened about feminism on a forum I'm on. I'm a feminist, leaning more towards rad feminism but not buying into all their ideology. I don't believe men can be feminists, I think they can sympathise with the movement, as I can say against race rights, but they haven't truly experienced being a woman in a partiarchal society.

I got called names and a "man hater" and all sorts of horrible things, and I wondering if my beliefs are really out there and a bit insane?! I'm married to a man with two sons, and I don't "hate men" and I know that's a lazy thing to call a feminist but it's really got me down.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:22:47

So MadBanners, do you think white people should have gate-crashed that black-only march through New Cross 30 years ago?

In the name of standing up for what is right?

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:25:08

If they were asked to stay away, then no they shouldn't.

Was it right that the women on that march treated the men and boys so horribly?

GrimmaTheNome Tue 30-Jul-13 23:27:12

>So MadBanners, do you think white people should have gate-crashed that black-only march through New Cross 30 years ago?

isn't that rather different though - it sounded like the march she mentioned was not explicitly women-only - men and boys had come to support their partner/mother, they weren't gate-crashing they'd been invited.

If they'd been explicitly asked not to come, that would be different (though even then, surely this could have been explained politely)

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:28:19

I didn't say it was unreasonable to organise without men...

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:29:59

I don't think anyone said it was unreasonable to organise without men or have women only events and meetings.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:33:38

I might also be wrong here but if a man turned up at a feminist meeting and tried to take charge, I think he might get short shrift from the feminists there due to the nature of the women.

But I could be wrong on that. Maybe some men try and do that - but I'd be surprised if they got away with it.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:34:21

If the march was not designated women-only then obviously their behaviour was unreasonable as well as unpleasant.

But really, so what?

What do you want to do about the fact that some women somewhere were nasty twenty years ago? Ban all woman marches? Or what?

What sort of politics is this?

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:36:08

They weren't gatecrashing they were either just there, in the street going about their Sunday in London or walking on the pavement alongside the march (in the road, separated off) Some were following the route of the march, some were supporting partners.
They were hounded by angry women who had tarred all men with the same brush to the extent that they were pushing women out of the march who were carrying young sons.

I believe women and any other oppressed group should be allowed to organise events highlighting their issues but there has to be a limit and common sense and abusing the general public/ children for just being there is beyond the limit.

BasilBabyEater Tue 30-Jul-13 23:37:42

Kim, it's not as obvious as a man turning up and throwing his weight around.

That's not how it happens. I've no doubt that most members of culturally dominant groups have no intention of throwing their weight around and genuninely turn up with a view to being supportive.

Leadership gets ceded to them almost by default, because that's what conditioning does.

But I've said all this already and as it's a work night, I'm not going to go through it all again as I've got to go to bed.

Good night.

kim147 Tue 30-Jul-13 23:38:12

basil You seem to be over reacting to a comment.

MadBannersAndCopPorn Tue 30-Jul-13 23:39:15

The point is Basil that men should be able to stand aside whilst women protest and support them if they choose without being abused, that is all.

Men who support feminist issues should be able to call themselves feminists if they want to (it's only a name)

CiscoKid Tue 30-Jul-13 23:44:33

What sort of politics is this? Perfectly normal, I think. By women, for women in this case, but so what? When women have power, when they are dominant in a situation, why should we expect them to behave like saints? They are passionate and driven. Some are aggressive, some are not. Some use physical force, some do not.

If the whole point of feminism is that women and men are equal, and deserve equal rights, then that is because we are pretty much the same under the skin. All human, with the same drives, actions and reactions. And if we are the same, we will behave in the same way, good or bad.

scallopsrgreat Wed 31-Jul-13 00:16:12

kim147 did you mean to be so dismissive there? Women are forever being told they are "overreacting". It is pretty derogatory and a silencing tactic.

But Feminist isn't just a name. Words just aren't words. They have meanings. Feminism is a political movement with women at its heart. That matters.

I've been on women only marches with my son and with other boys and never seen behaviour like that MadBanners. I think you were pretty unlucky sad. People do behave badly. As Basil says, not sure what we are supposed to do about it or how we are responsible for that. We aren't advocating it.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 31-Jul-13 00:22:44

My husband is a Feminist. He has embraced Feminism along with me. As I learned about it, so did he...we have two daughters and he is passionate about stopping pornography from damaging women and men further.

He does more than 50% of the housework and we both work...my job involves longer hours so he does the school run. When he encounters casual sexism he always challenges is and he teaches our daughters about strong women from the past. He's a beautiful man and he IS a Feminist.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Wed 31-Jul-13 00:23:58

Feminists can't exclude men because they are part of the fight. They need to be educated along with other women and they can and do make change happen on a daily basis.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:00:23

scallops So if you think someone is over reacting to what someone is saying, aren't you allowed to say it without being accused of silencing?

Madbanners made a comment and I think basil has really over reacted and seen stuff in the comment that is not there. So I'm helping to defend someone and being supportive of someone else.

The fact that basil is female does not mean I can't say I think she's over reacting, does it? Or am I not allowed to say what I think confused

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:08:21

And I think:

"What do you want to do about the fact that some women somewhere were nasty twenty years ago? Ban all woman marches? Or what?

What sort of politics is this?"

Is over-reacting to a statement. Taking something and then extrapolating that someone thinks a poster wants a ban on all woman marches.

Just because someone is a feminist does not mean they can over react and see stuff that's not there, does it?

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:18:48

And if I was being dismissive, I wouldn't have bothered listening and responding to her arguments.

Which I did. And Basil didn't respond to some of the things I was saying.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:25:36

I was thinking about words.

I can't think of a single word like feminism for other "movements".

You can have a trans-activist. But I can't think of a word like "transism".

If someone said they were a trans activist, I would assume they were trans.

Same for gay rights. Is there a word "gayism" - no. And again, I would assume a gay activist was someone who was gay.

Similiarly for other movements like disabled rights and rights for ethnic minorities.

It's interesting that you have an immediately identifiable word like feminist and feminism.

Just thinking out loud - as you do at 4 in the morning grin

And like any movement, the oppressed group will and should always be at the heart. And I think most people would agree with that.

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:37:45

And if you look on AIBU, you'll see plenty of people telling others they're overreacting and being a little PFB about stuff. Or seeing stuff that's not there. Or going OTT in their reaction.

What's the difference?

kim147 Wed 31-Jul-13 04:55:06

Is it because I'm trans so I'm not allowed to say such things - but a woman can?

<Now I think I'm over reacting but I've been awake for 2 hours so I'm probably tired and a little sensitive grin >

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:07:38

I completely agree with what Basil said and expressed so well. And I think the accusations of 'confusion' and 'overreacting' are personal and rude and also typical of what is said to women to get us to Stop Saying Things.

As to whether a man can be a feminist - I don't know, but I have yet to come across a man who has been able to throw off the conditioning of patriarchy to the extent that he is aware of each and every aspect of his male privilege and who is able to really understand female oppression from a female perspective.

Most of the thinking, pro feminism men I have come across are aware of that and accept it and try hard to really think about the fact that being in the dominant group means they have to be very careful of how they approach feminism.

I have come across a lot of men who think they are doing the above but really really aren't. A lot of men are defensive and dismissive of what feminists say whilst claiming to support the movement.

There are also a lot of men who seem to find it hard to embrace the idea that women know more about female oppression than they do - social conditioning is hard to throw off. I have seen that quite a lot on here actually.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:12:47

And I am very surprised to hear of a women's march where male children were pushed/their mothers pushed around. In my 20 years of active feminism I have never come across such a thing. I think the poster who experienced that was extremely unlucky and I hope the organisers of the march were informed.

FloraFox Wed 31-Jul-13 06:35:00

ContentedLittleMummy I don't think that your views are insane or man-hating. I get very tired of the man-hating accusation and agree that it is very lazy.

I think there is a place for men in feminist activism but there is also a place for women only spaces and women only activism. I agree with what Basil and Beach have said.

Not every meeting or every piece of activism should have to accommodate or educate men, Neo, even if this is a worthy goal overall. There is a tendency for men to pop up demanding to be educated or to have his "valid viewpoint" discussed or debated which can be hugely distracting in feminist activism.

I also hate tone policing of women. Just because some women may have been obnoxious on some march somewhere sometime does not mean that feminists want to be more than equal to men. I am so tired of that argument. When women are even remotely close to being treated equally to men in our society I might be concerned about whether they might be more than equal.

Beachcomber Wed 31-Jul-13 06:53:07

I read an analysis of privilege recently that went something like;

"privilege is thinking that you always have the right to be included"

And that simple sentence really made me think. It made me think a lot about the flip side too which is that oppression teaches you that you are excluded and that that is the way things should be. I don't think there are many men who quite grasp how included they are and how excluded women are - it is woven into the fabric of our society and is so present that it has become invisible.

I have often heard men say that they don't see a systematic hatred of women in society, or that they don't feel privileged, which seems to me to again practically be a definition of privilege - to have the luxury of being unaware of it and blind to the hatred of women that is so glaringly obvious to women with our second class status and our constant juggling of submission, for the sake of safety, and resistance, in the fight for freedom.

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