"Mumsnet hates men"

(154 Posts)

There's a Facebook page created by some school kids called "shut Mumsnet down cos they hate kids" or some such thing, which is harmless enough.

But they've posted this advert from F4J, which is rather more sinister.

I wasn't aware that it was mandatory to hate men to be a Mumsnetter. I shall have to inform DH at once that he is to leave home and never see the DDs again. hmm

They're rather sad and scary aren't they?

HowlingTrap Thu 09-Jan-14 09:38:18

great post beachcomber.

HowlingTrap Thu 09-Jan-14 09:28:54

On a slightly off tangent , sorry to ask , Why is f4J so bad?

I'm asking in genuine ignorance , curiosity.

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 17:40:04

I think it is used on all oppressed classes, as scallops said, with the ceveat that within each oppressed class, special disdain is reserved for women who have the gall to think about themselves, when everyone knows it is their job to look after and service others.

(Or at least stand in the background and let men take the credit for having done all the work. Behind every great man.....)

scallopsrgreat Sun 05-Jan-14 17:29:18

I think the tactic is reserved for all the oppressed classes tbh. I think WoC experience this when talking about race issues, for example.

LRD my experience is also that this is a tactic reserved for women. I think you're right that it's partly because women are supposed to be self-sacrificing… but I wonder also whether it's because there are so darn many of us, women aren't a minority, many women are successful and happy, so how can there possibly be a problem.

Almost like the familiarity breeds contempt idiom: it's easier for people to believe that a minority with whom they have little personal knowledge or experience are oppressed than to believe that people they live and work with, see every day, a group to which they have 50% of belonging to themselves, are disadvantaged as well.

TheDoctrineOf2014 Sun 05-Jan-14 17:10:51

Really interesting posts, thanks everyone.

Btw, buffy I think it's a tactic reserved for women. Not necessarily white middle-class women - I was noticing (on the infamous twitter) that people are quite happy to accuse working class, disabled women of being 'privileged' over working class men. hmm

The argument that these women were racist and classist is a really difficult one, to me - people seem to imagine that in order to have anything worthwhile to say, you must be impeccably dedicated to acknowledging every single instance of your own privilege first.

This goes right back to what we were saying about 'kyriarchy', in my view. It affronts people to see women saying 'erm, actually ... I care about misogyny' because women are supposed to be self-sacrificing and to care more about others.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't acknowledge that feminist theorists have often been racially, educationally and financially privileged - but I'm sick of it being presented as entirely their fault that they were so.

Then, again ... that's why the internet is great.

I've been reading this thread as it develops and don't have anything to add to the recent excellent points made.

However I was mulling over this problem that feminists seem to face, the problem that often when we express some concern over an issue pertaining to women, someone wants to point out that other groups are oppressed too.

That's not a new observation, of course. What I was wondering though is whether activists or people who discuss issues facing other groups are subjected to the same silencing tactic?

An example that occurred to me is that I have been invited to participate in a men and boys wellbeing group, issues on the agenda include things like males don't tend to access health services as often or as quickly as they should, leading to later diagnosis. Another issue is high suicide rates among men. Lots of people participate in the group, and nobody has mentioned anyone saying that they shouldn't because, well, there are many people who are worse off than men in the UK and shouldn't we be thinking about them.

So is this silencing technique one that's reserved especially for the much derided white, middle class feminist? And if so, why might that be so?

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 16:58:57

I agree that second wave feminist writing is presented as old hat due to the reason you cite - that is all in the past now.

I also think it is presented as old hat simply because so much of it is bloody brilliant. Dangerously brilliant.

Which is what I mean when I say it is the stuff of revolutions. Which is why it must not be taught, printed, available, read, included as part of women's rights continuity. It and its writers must be made to go away - because they are outdated, racist, classist, mad, transphobic, lesbain, man hating, etc.

The argument that these women were racist and classist has been particularly useful here. Funnily enough if you take a woman like Gerda Lerner whose books I linked to earlier, she is criticised for being a white privileged woman along the same lines that Daly, Dworkin, MacKinnon, etc are. Then when you tell people that one of her first books was about the particular misogyny reserved for women of colour in white america, she is criticised for speaking for black women (which isn't what her book does, it is a historical work, not one that pretends to represent black female experience).

Feminists cannot win.

They should just STFU.

Gah. That was one of my new year's resolutions, too. blush

And thank you.

LineRunner Sun 05-Jan-14 16:26:44

LRD, stop saying sorry! You are a wonderful voice on here.

Yes, absolutely about reinventing the wheel. I think that's basically cognitive dissonance, too. You can't go through that process for someone else, they have to do it themselves.

I take your point about solidness - sorry if I seemed hasty. I just feel strongly that there is a lot of good stuff out there, and it can give a voice to people who wouldn't have a hope in hell of getting a book published.

Second wave feminism is presented as old hat because people would like to believe what it describes is entirely in the past.

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 16:11:09

Mmm, I think women are constantly having to re-invent the feminist wheel because we are erased - erased from history, put out of print, not taught, dismissed, not published in the first place, called mad/nutters, etc.

We are also often called racist in an effort to have us removed from decent society. A new fashion is to paint us as transphobic (as in your example of Sheila Jeffreys).

This has been very successfully done with the majority of the most important feminist thinkers.

I'm not setting up a internet V published books argument. Not at all. I just wish to join up the dots and for feminist writing and history to have a timeline and a SOLIDNESS to it, that IMO it is currently denied.

Second wave feminism is presented as something old hat that is now largely irrelevant when in fact it is the basis for current internet feminism. We just aren't encouraged to go back and read that basis because it is the stuff of revolutions. Seems a huge loss to me.

Sorry, I realize my comment comes across as if I'm implying there's been no change - and I do know that's not true. I can't imagine the levels of determination it would have taken to keep going in some subjects even twenty years ago (and depressingly, yep, the 80s are more than ten years ago. How did that happen?!). I just find it depressing it is still a big issue.

LineRunner Sun 05-Jan-14 15:59:17

My subject is a scientific one, and the referees were all male for a long time. I did an analysis in the 1980s and showed that women were getting shat on.

It did help change things.

But without private publications and digital publishing, many women like me wouldn't have had any exposure at all in their fields, even with PhDs under their belts.

That's just as an aside, really.

(These are probably the same people who say 'well I'm sure sexism used to be a problem, but in 2013 ...').

Actually, I think a really big problem I've noticed probably explains why I've not come across the same attitudes about 'all feminist theory started with the internet' that you find.

What I find a lot of is an assumption that feminist theory consists of a list of mostly white, middle or upper-class women, mostly dead, who wrote stuff ending in the 1970s. And the assumption that we're past all that now, there's nothing new going on, and if you want to read proper feminist theory it had better be one of those theorists.

And for goodness' sake, I want to say to those people, Jeffries is still publishing. She had a book out in 2013. We're not talking about the distant past.

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 15:53:58

And, yes it has always been hard for women to get published (especially when the subject was women's rights), which is why pamphlet and magazines were such a force in feminist writing - and these have been pretty well replaced by digital media.

Cross post, sorry. My last to line.

I haven't come across the tendency you mention but I can believe it is there.

Of course it is a travesty feminist theory is so difficult to teach. (And incidentally I would love to know how penthesiliea (probably spelling her name wrongly) got on as I remember her talking about a course she was writing to do just that, a couple of years ago).

I think that is still the case in many things. And a lot of departments that used to be 'women's studies' are now 'gender studies'. I spoke to Sheila Jeffries at the last conference and she wasn't even there to talk about some of the aspects of her work that get most criticism - but she was still being slated for it. Ironically she was talking about how she reckons that now it is actually much harder to be a lesbian feminist than it was in the 70s.

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 15:48:28

I think we may be talking at cross purposes LRD.

I guess what I'm saying is that there is a tendency nowadays to sometimes forget that feminism existed before the internet. And that the vast majority of what we think of as feminist analysis (the founding tenets of feminsm) was conceived of and written before PCs existed.

Thereby I'm always a little bemused when someone talks about feminist analysis (be it in a positive or critical way) as something on the internet.

The thing is with so much feminist (book) writing is that you really have to go out and find it. You won't read it at school, it won't be in your course work or on your book list at Uni (even if you are studying 'gender studies'), it may not be in your library and probably won't be in most bookshops (unless it is a women's bookshop).

Which is one of the reasons that the internet is so great. And, yes it is good that Dworkin is available on the internet. But it is a travesty and IMO blatant sexism that a work such as Right-Wing Women is not taught in universities and treated as a major work of political importance on a par with Engels, Marx, Mill, Foucault, etc. And this can be said for so much that has been written by women.

LineRunner Sun 05-Jan-14 15:42:13

Women of my generation in my subject found it massively harder to get into peer-reviewed print than men.

I suppose I just want to separate the two issues. Yes, you can read an awful lot of rubbish on the net (you can read an awful lot of rubbish in published books too - absolute drivel). And you can celebrate someone like Florence Nightingale without that implying you're dismissing other women who were less white and middle-class and, frankly, media-friendly. But I think digital media is probably here to stay, and I think a lot of fantastic writing is being put out there.

It's not, IMO, a blog-and-internet versus 'serious published books' contest and framing it in those terms just strikes me as unnecessary.

Yes, Dworkin is out of print. But she is available: radfem.org/dworkin/

Beachcomber Sun 05-Jan-14 15:16:29

LRD - yes I think feminists analyse patriarchy as being the root issue in women's rights. With patriarchy being simply defined as male dominated society. Patriarchy is just a system of social organisation.

I agree with you that a woman does not need to write a book to be a feminist. A woman does not need to write a book to be a brilliant thinker, to participate in and forward the movement or to contribute ideas to it.

Feminism is a grass roots movement that belongs to all women and girls, regardless of whether they can read and write books or not.

And, yes the internet has brought a lot to feminism as it allows women to exchange and share ideas, and to reach out to each other and organise. I'm not knocking that, I think it is ace.

I'm simply saying that feminism has a long and rich history and that it has been a long time in the making. And, that like most political movements, it has a written history. As you say, women's history has been censored/unpublished and much of it has been lost (writers such as Dworkin and Millet are out of print nowadays - which is awful). So much of feminist thinking never made it into writing at all, thanks to male dominated society.

However, feminist analysis does exist as very high quality written work of importance and influence and I take issue with people dismissing feminist analysis as something they have read on the internet when I doubt they have read any of the works that are considered important to the movement and its history, without which current feminist writing on the internet would probably not exist at the consciousness raised level it does.

I absolutely disagree with 'intellectualising' feminism, but I equally think it is a shame that relatively few women read the works of our foresisters. Especially as the vast majority of written feminism is intentionally accessible and is easily understood as it is about US, WOMEN and OUR lives and lived experience. We get it.

It is pretty amazing that thinkers such as Dworkin and Millet got published in the first place, and I'm not sure that they would now actually. All the more reason to read them...

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